Week 5 didn’t bring any massive upsets to the college football landscape, but more than a few ranked teams fell. In fact, 8 of the last 11 teams in the AP Top 25 suffered a loss, creating a major shakeup in the rankings. Which underdogs are worth betting this weekend?
North Carolina Moneyline (+150) vs. Miami
It’s a bit surprising to see Miami still favored in this one, even at home. The Hurricanes haven’t played since their 45-31 upset loss to Middle Tennessee, and their loss to Texas A&M a week earlier continues to look worse as the Aggies struggle.
North Carolina looked terrific on the road against Virginia Tech this past weekend, and the Tar Heels have had one of the overall best offenses in the nation this season. While the defense is a work in progress, causing a loss to Notre Dame, UNC’s 32 points against the Fighting Irish were more than Ohio State’s 21 points in Week 1.
Miami’s quarterback situation is volatile after Tyler Van Dyke’s benching, but Drake Maye has played like a darkhorse Heisman contender for the Tar Heels. Maye has 19 touchdown passes through five five games, plus 255 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground.
Considering Middle Tennessee QB Chase Cunningham racked up 408 yards on just 16 completions against Miami, Maye and North Carolina is by far the better bet at +150. UNC +4 also works just as well.
Kansas (+7) vs. TCU
Kansas has won as an underdog in three of the last four weeks, but the Jayhawks again enter as a home underdog against undefeated TCU. Neither team is known for its defense, but it’s worth noting Kansas won because of its defense this past weekend. The Jayhawks held Iowa State to just 26 rushing yards in a 14-11 win, also notching five sacks. That could be a good sign against dual-threat TCU QB Max Duggan.
The Horned Frogs’ defense isn’t bad at all, but it’s a step down from Iowa State’s and should allow Jalon Daniels to relax after struggling against the Cyclones. If Kansas can keep up the defensive momentum it built in Week 5 and get the offense close to where it was the first four weeks of the season, this game can at least be a tossup.
Washington State (+13) vs. USC
USC has been begging for an upset. I’m not sure it happens here, but Washington State is clearly capable of keeping this game close. The Trojans’ offense struggled mightily in a narrow win over Oregon State two weeks ago and struggled to break away from Arizona State until the second half this past Saturday. Washington State is better than both of those teams.
Transfer QB Cameron Ward is turnover-prone but gives the Cougars’ offense a high ceiling with his 1,445 yards and 13 touchdowns through five games. Washington State’s defense has only slipped up once this season in a 44-41 loss to Oregon. Otherwise, it’s dominated California and Wisconsin, among others.
Jake Dickert’s team is capable of slowing down Caleb Williams and has the offense to take advantage of that, unlike Oregon State or Arizona State. If Ward limits turnovers just a bit, I expect this game to be close to the end.
Arizona (+13) vs. Oregon
I’m going back to the Pac-12 here for another fun, resurgent offense. Arizona has scored 31+ points in four of its five games so far, including a 43-point showing that got Colorado coach Karl Dorrell fired this past weekend.
Jayden de Laura threw for six touchdowns, and receiver Jacob Cowing continued to look like one of the best pass-catchers in the nation with 180 yards. Just like Washington State managed 41 points against Oregon, this offense can do damage to the Ducks.
Bo Nix has proven me wrong over the last four weeks, leading Oregon to four consecutive games of 40+ points, so I wouldn’t bet Arizona to win outright. The defense, which has allowed three quarterbacks to throw for 300+ yards this season, might struggle just enough with this new Arizona passing game that the Wildcats keep it fairly close.