College Football Group of 5 Parlay for Week 5: Picks for UAB vs Tulane, Troy vs Georgia State & More

College Football Group of 5 Parlay for Week 5: Picks for UAB vs Tulane, Troy vs Georgia State & More article feature image

Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt.

Last week, we had a chance to sneak out not one but two moneyline upsets, but a first-half Hail Mary from Troy ended up being too much to overcome for the upstart Hilltoppers from Western Kentucky.

Colorado State limited the damage by pulling out a road win in Murfreesboro, and then there was the FIU debacle down in Miami. Let’s just say that the Liberty luckbox may never stop cranking out covers.

After a card full of dogs last week, we pivot to a slate filled with chalk, ranging from short favorites to teams handing out touchdowns like candy on Halloween.

The other common denominator is the Deep South, with a pair of games taking place in the ATL and a third kicking off in the Big Easy.

Troy vs. Georgia State

Saturday, Sept. 30
7 p.m. ET
Georgia State -1

Here we are at the end of September, and some teams are still skating by on their 2022 reputations. That includes Troy — specifically its underwhelming defense.

Last season, the Trojans were a defensive force with playmakers galore in their front seven. Many of those studs have moved on, and they’re simply not as disruptive up front. The numbers bear that out.

Troy has plummeted to 99th in Defensive Havoc and a troubling 69th in Success Rate against the pass. That’s bad news when they travel to Atlanta to take on a perfectly balanced Georgia State offense with a veteran quarterback.

Darren Grainger, now in his third season as GSU's starting quarterback, has transformed himself as a signal-caller. His completion percentage jumped from 58.6% last season to a hair under 70% this year. As a result, the Panthers have become one of the most explosive offenses in the country, ranking fifth in that metric.

Troy’s offense, meanwhile, is waiting for the bottom to fall out. Troy ranks 111th in Success Rate and lets everyone into the backfield with a rank of 130th in Havoc Allowed.

Plus, the Trojans can’t run at all despite featuring a fantastic back by the name of Kimani Vidal. Their offensive line is to blame for Vidal’s struggles. This was a red flag entering the season as Troy returned just 40% of its line starts, and it doesn’t appear to have been successfully addressed in the transfer portal.

The Trojans’ lone saving grace has been big passing plays. In a one-possession win last week, they hit a Hail Mary to end the first half against Western Kentucky. Is that kind of boom-or-bust luck sustainable? Hardly.

And now they take their show on the road against a surging Georgia State team that has achieved sustained success under Shawn Elliott in recent years with four bowl appearances since 2017.

I like the Panthers to make a statement in the Sun Belt race and would play them all the way to three against the spread.

Play: Georgia State -1.5 (Play to -3)

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UAB vs. Tulane

Saturday, Sept. 30
12 p.m. ET
Tulane -21.5

As someone who has faded Trent Dilfer every which way this season, I’ve taken to watching his weekly press conferences on Mondays. It’s a hodgepodge of coach-speak, unhinged ramblings and the occasional leak of strategic information.

For example, before UAB's game against Georgia Southern, Dilfer acknowledged that he and his staff were in the dark vis-a-vis the Eagles’ defensive game plan due to GSU playing an option-oriented FCS opponent in their opener.

I played Georgia Southern against UAB, and true to form, the Eagles defense flummoxed UAB and forced three turnovers while generating nine tackles for loss en route to covering as a touchdown favorite.

This week, Dilfer made it clear that the Blazers need to play nearly flawless football to beat Tulane and quarterback Michael Pratt.

Now healthy, Pratt is the best quarterback in the AAC and has a chance to carve up an awful Blazer defense. Dilfer's defense ranks 132nd in Defensive Rushing Success Rate, 120th in total defense and 113th in Sack Rate. Plus, it's allowing opposing FBS QBs to complete 74% of their passes. Pratt will have a field day.

Dilfer didn’t disappoint from a soundbite perspective, hitting the Birmingham press corps with a one-liner that “stats are for losers.” Here’s a stat for you, Trent: Tulane is 17-5 as a home favorite since 2019, the sixth-best mark nationally.

Willie Fritz and his Green Wave handle their business at Yulman Stadium. And if their home cooking isn’t enough, their defense will be. Tulane ranks 11th in Havoc, fifth in Sack Rate and doesn't give up explosive pass plays (26th).

That will make it difficult for Jacob Zeno and the UAB offense, which is already predicated on dink-and-dunk passing, to find the end zone.

My numbers call for this one to be Tulane -27.5, so I’ll play the Green Wave all the way up to 24.

Play: Tulane -21.5 (Play to -24)

Bowling Green vs. Georgia Tech

Saturday, Sept. 30
3:30 p.m. ET
ACC Network
Georgia Tech -22

If you were impressed by Tulane’s ATS splits as a home favorite, may I interest you in Bowling Green’s work as a road dog?

It’s actually impressive how badly the Falcons have performed when catching points on the road. Under Scot Loeffler, BGSU is 8-15 (34.7%) as a road dog, the worst mark in the MAC since he arrived in 2019.

The Falcons' 2023 metrics don’t paint a better picture either. Action Network Betting Power Ratings place them 124th nationally, and SP+ ranks them even lower at 126th.

Offensively, Bowling Green sits just 115th in Success Rate and 120th in Havoc Allowed. It simply can’t run the ball at all, checking in at 125th in Rushing PPA. And when the Falcons are forced to pass, three-time transfer Connor Bazelak looks lost. He's coming off a conference loss in which his QBR graded out at 8.5 out of 100.

While Bowling Green is sinking, there’s reason for optimism in Atlanta.

Georgia Tech has finally found its quarterback. Texas A&M transfer Haynes King has been a revelation, accounting for 12 touchdowns against just two picks thus far in 2023.

Eric Singleton Jr., an undersized track star has been a gamebreaker in the slot. Through four games, the Georgia native has four touchdowns and is giving the passing game pop.

From a situational standpoint, Georgia Tech can’t overlook the Falcons because they need this win to maintain any chance of reaching bowl eligibility. This would be the Ramblin’ Wreck’s third win, setting them up with opportunities against Boston College, Virginia and Syracuse later in the season.

Given the importance of this nonconference game and the fact that these offenses are headed in opposite directions, I’ll play Georgia Tech to win this one comfortably.

Play: Georgia Tech -22 (Play to -24)

Calabrese's Week 5 Group of Five Parlay

  • Georgia State -1.5
  • Tulane -21.5
  • Georgia Tech -22

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