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Saturday, 1 October 2016

#BetweenTheHashMark:  Week #5 Preview
A trifecta of Top 10 match ups highlight a busy week 


Some weeks just aren't as exciting as others in the world of NCAA football friends.  The top contenders for the #CFBPlayoff continued to win and dominate their opponents.  We did see some big wins though *cough Wisconsin cough*  The Badgers pulled off the biggest win of the week knocking off Michigan State.  But we did see a few other interesting results, most notably Duke upsetting Notre Dame, the domination of Ole Miss over Georgia and Auburn taking down LSU....further proof the SEC could just be more wide open than people expect (minus Alabama it appears so far).  And looking for an upset story of the season?  How about the fact Minnesota, West Virginia and Wake Forest are all undefeated?  What??!!

With predicted results all over the turf for top teams last week, little change should be seen in the #PowerRankings:

NCAA

1. Louisville (LW: 1)
2. Alabama (2)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Houston (4)
5. Clemson (5)
6. Wisconsin (NR)

Little change at the top of the NCAA rankings this week as all the best stayed the course and won their games last weekend.  The only change was the addition of Wisconsin.  The Badgers went into Spartan Stadium and dominated previously undefeated and #8 ranked Spartans.  The Badgers look week in and week out like a dark horse team to challenge Ohio State and Michigan for the B1G championship...and perhaps even an outside shot at the #CFBPlayoff.  Having said that, this week WILL result in changes in the rankings with Wisconsin playing Michigan and Louisville battling Clemson.  Things are about to get interesting with the #PowerRankings football fans!

While south of the border was business as usual, north of the border produced a much different story...most notably the upset of last week's #1 ranked team.  Let's see how last weekend's results changed the #PowerRankings of CIS football:

CIS

1. Montreal (LW: 2)
2. Ottawa (3)
3. Laval (5)
4. Laurier (4)
5. Western (NR)
6. Regina (NR)

Well, well, well...change is the theme in CIS this season.  Huge upset results from a week ago caused a major shake up in the rankings this week.  Most notably out west where previously #1 ranked Calgary lost on the road to Regina last week, dropping completely out of the rankings while the Rams move up and enter the rankings for the first time this season.  The OUA continues to dominate the Top 6 though with 3 teams filling out the ranking list, led by now #2 Ottawa.  The Calgary loss means advantage Montreal!  The Carabins have been to back-to-back Vanier Cup games and perhaps #TwineTime has been undervaluing their talent.  Given the power match ups on the schedule though this week, expect to see some more shake ups in the rankings next week (especially in Ontario).

Last week was a tough one for #TwineTimePredictions friends.  Both NCAA and CIS had a horrible winning percentage, dropping both overall season records down a few percentage points as well.  On one hand I am almost embarrassed by the poor results....#TwineTime should be better than this!  On the other hand, perhaps this shows both football seasons are resulting in more parity and more upsets...which as a fan I love to see.  Let's just hope I can turn it around this week and put last week far behind me!

Here are the Week 5 predictions:

NCAA

Last Week:  35 - 17  (67%)
Overall Record:  201 - 53 (79%)

GAME of the WEEK:  (5) Clemson def. (3) Louisville - October is Orange month and it's time for the orange Tigers to start showing who they really are.  They have been zombie walking through the first month of the season and many doubt whether this is team that can have the same success they had last season in reaching the championship game.  This is the game to prove who is for real and who isn't!  HUGE playoff implications on the line here.  Expect a great game and hopefully a close one.  Can we just put in the request now for OT?

UPSET of the WEEK:  North Carolina def. (12) Florida State - The Tar Heels had a lot of attention on them this season as being the dark horse ACC team.  They escaped the challenge from fellow dark horse contender Pitt last weekend....this weekend it's time to show if the hype was real in the offseason or not.  If they can knock off the Seminoles, on the road, watch out!  Could they also give Clemson and Louisville a run for the title?

Notre Dame def. Syracuse

(20) Arkansas def. Alcorn State - Yawner!

(13) Baylor def. Iowa State

(23) Florida def. Vanderbilt

Oklahoma State def. (22) Texas

(2) Ohio State def. Rutgers

Iowa def. Northwestern

East Carolina def. UCF

Temple def. SMU

(14) Miami def. Georgia Tech

Appalachian State def. Georgia State

Duke def. Virginia

Boston College def. Buffalo

Colorado def. Oregon State - The Buffs go for the sweep of Oregon!  Wow!

Ohio def. Miami (OH)

Bowling Green def. Eastern Michigan

Navy def. Air Force

Auburn def. Louisiana Monroe

(11) Tennessee def. (25) Georgia

Tulane def. UMASS

Ball State def. Northern Illinois

NC State def. Wake Forest - The Decons have to be one of the weakest 4-0 teams we have ever seen.  Time to come back to reality Wake Forest fans!

Akron def. Kent State

Maryland def. Purdue - The Terps would be 4-0 if they win this game.  Really?

(4) Michigan def. (8) Wisconsin - Last weekend's win over MSU was huge for the Badgers.  To pull back to back upsets...on the road...to sweep the state of Michigan....yikes!  This should be a good game but I think the Big House will be rocking loud and proud and the Wolverines will come away with the victory.  My heart says Badgers though...if that means anything?!

Penn State def. Minnesota - The Gophers are undefeated.  Time to come back to reality though on the road vs Penn State!

West Virginia def. Kansas State - The Mountaineers could be 4-0 after this weekend.

(9) Texas A&M def. South Carolina

San Jose State def. New Mexico

(21) TCU def. Oklahoma - Yikes, the Sooners were my pre-season pick to win the national championship and they enter this game with a 1-2 record.  Sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some...the Sooners certainly gave me a huge loss.  My bad!

Troy def. Idaho

Old Dominion def. Charlotte

(18) Utah def. California

(16) Ole Miss def. Memphis - A week or two ago I actually would have picked the Tigers for the upset here.  Memphis is 3-0 entering the game and are a very good team.  Ole Miss is just better, especially if the team that dominated a good Georgia team last weekend comes to play again this weekend.  This has minor upset potential though.

(1) Alabama def. Kentucky

Florida Atlantic def. Florida International

Louisiana Tech def. UTEP

Middle Tennessee def. North Texas

Southern Mississippi def. Rice

Western Kentucky def. Houston Baptist

Cincinnati def. South Florida

Western Michigan def. Central Michigan - A Battle for Directional Michigan supremacy.  Western and Central both have MAC title aspirations and the winner of this game will have the inside track towards reaching the championship game.

Texas State def. Incarnate Ward

Pittsburgh def. Marshall

Missouri def. LSU - Can the Tigers rebound?  I am not so sure now.

(19) San Diego State def. South Alabama - Did you know SDSU is 3-0 and ranked in the Top 20 right now?  Don't worry if you were not aware of this fact...most people aren't.  But don't underestimate this team...they could run the table this season and finish undefeated.  Imagine if that happened...where would they fall when bowl game invites go out?

Louisiana Lafayette def. New Mexico State

(17) Michigan State def. Indiana

USC def. Arizona State - This is a huge upset call if you look at records alone.  USC is 1-3 and ASU is 4-0.  But, on paper, the Trojans are still the stronger team on paper on both sides of the ball.  If USC wants to try and save their season, this is where it starts!  ASU can literally put the fork in the USC season by beating them on the road.

Oregon def. Washington State - #GoDucks

(24) Boise State def. Utah State

Fresno State def. UNLV

UCLA def. Arizona

Nevada def. Hawaii

CIS

Last Week:  7 - 6 (54%)
Overall Week:  33 - 16 (67%)

GAMES of the WEEK: (6) Laurier def. (3) Western & (7) Ottawa def. (10) Carleton - We have the double dip of games to watch this week.  Four of the top contending teams in Ontario will be facing off when Laurier and Western take the field as well as Ottawa and Carleton battling it out.  The winners of these two games will be considered the favourites for the OUA title.  In both games, I am going with the road team.  All 4 teams had dominating wins last week in building momentum for the blockbuster games this weekend.  Both Ottawa and Laurier are the last remaining undefeated teams in Ontario and I expect both to continue their winning streaks.  Laurier (#1) and Ottawa (#3) have the top defenses in Ontario and defense wins championships.

UPSET of the WEEK:  St. Mary's def. St. FX - The AUS title is anyone's for the taking so far this season (except maybe Mount Allison).  The X-Men sit at 2-1 alone in first place but St. Mary's is 1-2 and, with a win this weekend, would shoot into a tie for first place.  St. FX does have a strong defense but if the Huskies can push through and find the end zone early in the first half, they have a legit shot at pulling the upset here.

UBC def. (9) Manitoba - OK UBC I was wrong to say your season was over last weekend in predicting you to lose to Alberta in the Upset of the Week.  You DESTROYED the Bears and, with it, rejuvenated your season.  The Bisons come to town fresh off a big win of their own over Saskatchewan.  While Manitoba was the #TwineTime pre-season pick to hoist the #VanierCup, I am just not ready to close shop on the T-Birds for the season yet.  I expect a close game here, perhaps OT, but in the end the home team goes home happy and keeps the repeat chance alive and well.

Acadia def. Mount Allison

(8) McMaster def. Guelph

Queen's def Waterloo - An elimination game for Queen's.  If they lose to winless Waterloo, the season is over.

Toronto def. Windsor - Similar to the game above, this is an elimination game for both of these teams.  The winner still has an outside shot at making the playoffs.

Concordia def. Bishop's

(1) Montreal def. Sherbrooke

(4) Regina def. Saskatchewan - The Battle of Saskatchewan got even more interesting after last weekend's "upset" results.  Regina knocked off Calgary while Saskatchewan suffered a loss to Manitoba.  A loss for the Huskies could result in them missing the playoffs.  A loss for the Rams means falling out of first place and in risk of falling from 1st to 4th in one weekend.  HUGE game out West....and a provincial battle!

(5) Calgary def. Alberta - The Battle of Alberta is....way less interesting than the Battle of Saskatchewan mentioned above.  Calgary is looking to rebound from their upset loss last weekend while Alberta is still looking for their first win of the season.  The Dino's have only allowed 73 points in 4 games while the Bears have only scored 53 points in 4 games.  Yikes!

(2) Laval def. McGill