Last week, I preached about the quality of the Week 1 schedule across the Group of Five. Well, it’s time to give myself a pat on the back for sharing some solid must-watch matchups with you, dear readers.
All of the five games listed finished within 10 points, including thrillers between Houston and UTSA and North Carolina and Appalachian State. I’m similarly stoked about Week 2’s schedule, which we can only hope lives up to last week.
As a reminder, I use my noggin – I have a college degree from the Harvard of Harrisonburg – and college football betting odds to put together this G5 viewing guide.
5. Louisville at UCF, Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET
What the heck happened to Louisville last week? Expected to have a high-flying offense, the Cardinals lost to Syracuse 31-7, and Malik Cunningham was underwhelming at quarterback. UCF demolished an overmatched South Carolina State squad 56-10, and this home game is quite winnable for the Knights (-5.5).
Last year’s game was a treat, with Louisville winning 42-35. If Louisville can bounce back from a Week 1 mess, this should be enjoyable.
4. UNC at Georgia State, Saturday, Noon ET
North Carolina beat Appalachian State 63-61 last week in one of the most thrilling games of the weekend. Georgia State struggled mightily on special teams, wasting a defensive performance in a 35-14 loss to South Carolina. If Georgia State avoids disastrous special teams miscues – South Carolina scored two touchdowns on blocked punts – the Panthers (+7.5) could legitimately win this game.
3. UTSA at Army, Saturday, Noon ET
Don’t let the 0-1 records fool you, these are good football teams. UTSA (-2.5 this weekend) fell to a strong Houston team 37-35 in three overtimes, and Army lost to Coastal Carolina 38-28. Each team will win a bunch of games this year, but one of them is going to start 0-2. Whoever picks up the win will have to earn it.
2. Houston at Texas Tech, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
Houston’s schedule isn’t particularly daunting, so a win over the Red Raiders brings an undefeated season into play. This game should be fun, as Texas Tech is listed as a short favorite at most sportsbooks, and the total is listed at just over 60 points.
Texas Tech will be without Tyler Shough, its starting quarterback, but the Red Raiders still have the firepower to score on Houston’s defense. Fortunately for the Cougars, quarterback Clayton Tune is among the best signal callers in the country. I’m hoping for a shootout.
1. Oregon State at Fresno State, Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET
Under head coach Jonathan Smith, Oregon State has steadily improved. The Beavers won seven games last season and opened the 2022 season with a 34-17 win over Boise State, which certainly caught my attention. This week’s test is tougher, however, as Jake Haener and the Bulldogs (+1) have every intention of pulling the upset.
Haener was 36-42 for 377 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s 35-7 victory over Cal Poly. Fresno State plays Oregon State and USC in back-to-back weeks, and grabbing one of those two wins would likely keep the Bulldogs in the top-25 picture for much of this season.
Honorable Mention: ODU at ECU
After Old Dominion defeated Virginia Tech and East Carolina came within a competent kicker of beating N.C. State, this game looks solid on paper. I’m not quite sold on Old Dominion, though, and ECU is a 12.5-point favorite. I think ECU covers, which is why the game doesn’t appear in this week’s top 5.