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College Football Group of 5 Parlay: 3 Picks for Week 5, Including Tulane, Kent State & More

College Football Group of 5 Parlay: 3 Picks for Week 5, Including Tulane, Kent State & More article feature image
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David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell.

Each week, to coincide with the release of the “Group of Five Deep Dive” under the Big Bets On Campus podcast banner, I’ll be sharing my Group of Five parlay of the week.

We came within 2.5 points of a clean sweep last week, but as it turned out, Old Dominion’s monster second half against Arkansas State wasn’t enough to seal the deal.

Akron flirted with an outright upset, which is something to keep in the back pocket as it enters MAC play. The Zips could steal a win or two in conference play as their offense continues to gel in Year 1 of the Joe Moorhead era.

With conference play kicking off in earnest for most of the G5, I’m fading a preseason darling, counting on a bounce-back performance in the MAC, and expecting a points-filled affair in Fun Belt country.


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Tulane vs. Houston

Friday, Sept. 30
7  p.m. ET
ESPN
Tulane ML +125

Houston is wounded physically and emotionally. Derek Parish, the driving force behind its “Sack Avenue” defensive line, is out for the year. But that’s just the beginning. The Cougs have seven starters either out or dinged up.

This was the same U-of-H program that had New Years Six aspirations just a month ago. Now sitting at 2-2, it seemed deflated, evidenced by its near loss to lowly Rice last week. The Cougars edged out the Owls by seven at home, and all the postgame commentary was as though they lost.

Dana Holgorsen is beginning to point fingers, and other hallmarks of a team on the verge of a collapse are emerging, namely issues with penalties.

Things went south in hurry during Holgo’s first season in H-Town, resulting in the departure of D’Eriq King after four games. Could we be in line for another meltdown?

Meanwhile, Tulane is riding high with a 3-1 record complete with a tremendous road win over K-State. The passing game is explosive (9.4 YPA), and Michael Pratt looks rejuvenated under a new offensive staff.

If it hadn’t had a rough kicking night against Southern Miss with a blocked punt and field goal, it would be 4-0.

Running back Tyjae Spears has also stepped up, giving the Green Wave excellent balance in Jim Svoboda’s first season as offensive coordinator.

The final piece of this upset puzzle is the Green Wave defense, particuarly their secondary. Against all odds, the TU pass defense has been great thus far, cracking the top 10 in a handful of key metrics.

Chris Hampton has completed a major turnaround for the Green Wave, who ranked 120th against the pass last year. If they can rein in the Houston passing attack, I have faith in the Tulane offense to finish the job.

Pick: Tulane ML +125


Ohio vs. Kent State

Saturday, Oct. 1
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Kent State -11

This game begins and ends with defense.

Kent State’s historically bad defense from last year has improved against an unprecedent Power Five nonconference slate. The Golden Flashes faced three top-seven offenses in September, yet they’ve improved across the board under new defensive coordinator Jeremiah Johnson.

Ohio is headed in the opposite direction on defense. It opened the season allowing 38 to FAU, 46 to Penn State and 43 to Iowa State.

But the roof really fell in on the Bobcats on Saturday. The Ohio defense surrendered 52 points to FCS Fordham, dropping its run defense to 92nd nationally and its pass defense to the bottom of the barrel of the FBS ranks (376.3 yards per game).

Yes, the Bobcats have the Maple Missile, quarterback Kurtis Rourke, coming off of a career game. But it’s the Kent State offense that looks primed to pop in conference play.

Collin Schlee enters as the sixth-rated passer, according to ESPN’s QBR metric. The trio of Devontez Walker, Dante Cephas and Marquez Cooper have also all had their moments against elite athletes in the past four games, including matchups against Washington, Oklahoma and Georgia.

This line opened at 7 and has bubbled up to 11, but I would still play this all the way up to Kent -13 against a listless Bobcat defense.

Pick: Kent State -11


Georgia Southern vs. Coastal Carolina

Saturday, Oct. 1
6 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Over 64

It goes without saying this weekend, but any game in the Southeast has the potential to be impacted by Hurricane Ian. This matchup is no expectation.

As it stands, the weather prediction calls for light wind and rain in the area. The weather doesn’t concern me in regard to this total as much as Grayson McCall’s ankle.

The Chanticleers’ field general is the critical chess piece on the board in this game, and if he’s limited or sidelined, this becomes a pass for me. McCall got in a limited practice on Wednesday, and head coach Jamey Chadwell expects his veteran passer to suit up, according to Brandon Dunn of WPDE in Myrtle Beach.

McCall has been cooking in 2022, posting an 11:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, connecting on 70% of his attempts and peppering in a couple of rushing touchdowns.

If he’s near full-strength, he’ll be throwing into an awful Georgia Southern defense. Teams can run on the Eagles (5.7 YPC, 123rd), and their pass rush is nonexistent (125th in Sack Rate). That should allow for the Chants to show off their full playbook while chipping in at least 35 points.

The pleasant surprise of what has been an insane September for the Sun Belt East has been the Eagles’ emergence as a dynamic offense. Kyle Vantrease has three 300-plus yard games and has accounted for 10 touchdowns through four games.

Jalen White is giving them nice balance on the ground, averaging 5.4 yards per carry with six scores already to his name. Can they do damage against Coastal’s defense? If early returns are any indication, absolutely.

In a word, the Coastal defense is struggling. Despite a schedule of Army, Gardner-Webb, Buffalo and Georgia State, the Chanticleers have allowed over 26 points per game and have had a tough time getting off the field (83rd in 3rd-down defense).

They haven’t even been able to pull off the bend-don’t-break approach, ranking 76th in red-zone defense. They’re also allowing big plays through the air (7.9 YPA) with regularity. The Chants have given up 16 plays of 20-plus yards through the air this year, ranking 103rd.

Two lackluster defenses against dynamic offenses is a perfect recipe for an over.

Pick: Over 64


College Football Week 5 Group of Five Parlay (+703)

Tulane ML +125

Kent State -11

Georgia Southern vs. Coastal Carolina Over 64

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