It’s a new week of Weather Wagers and that means a chance for us to redeem our records, right past wrongs, and try and catch our breaths after an exciting start to the season. While we aren’t necessarily hitting it out of the park with our picks so far, the games have been electrifying and there has been plenty of weather to talk about with delayed games, rainy games, and a few windy games too. Did anybody see that Iowa game on Saturday? It was delayed three times due to lightning and finally ended just before 3am at Kinnick Stadium. We haven’t had much tropical weather to talk about yet this season, and that could change as the tropics appear to be getting more active. This weekend the weather looks fairly calm across the country again, but that doesn’t mean we have nothing to talk about. In fact, just the opposite.

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Here are our selections this week:

Clemson @ Wake Forest, Truist Field, Winston-Salem, NC, Clemson -7, O/U 55.5

How about sunny, blue skies, and highs in the 70s? Weather won’t be a factor in this ACC showdown. This game is quite intriguing from multiple levels. Not only does it feature two programs that could win the ACC this year, but it features two very different head coaches, and two programs on different paths. Clemson is trying to get back on top of the college football world, while Wake Forest is trying to climb the ladder out of the bottom dwellers of the sport. Both are having success so far this season, but neither program has played anybody yet. Wake Forest does have two semi-decent wins against Vanderbilt and Liberty. But this is the first real test for both teams. So far this season, both squads appear evenly matched. Points per game = 41 for Clemson and 42 for Wake. Total yards per game = 425 for Clemson and 434 for Wake. Yards allowed per game = 314.7 for Clemson and 314.7 for Wake. Can it get more even than this? I don’t think so. While Clemson may have better athletes on the field for this game, Dave Clawson gets the most out of his guys each and every season. Dabo is one of the best head coaches in the game, but one does wonder if he has issues at the QB position. The game is at Wake, so given the numbers above, I’ll take Clemson to win, but take the points with Wake. Wake Forest +7.

Duke @ Kansas, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS, Kansas -7.5, O/U 66.5

How fun is it that both Duke and Kansas are undefeated early in the season? I was hoping College Gameday would see fit to travel to Lawrence this weekend for a fun matchup between basketball schools that currently have zeros in the loss column for their football teams. Alas, they decided to head to Knoxville instead. This game could be Kansas’ real coming out party with lots of interest in the Jayhawks for the first time in what feels like eons. It’s going to be a hot day for football with highs in the upper 80s and plenty of sunshine for this clash. Lance Leipold came in to fix the Jayhawks after the Les Miles disaster and has done what he did in Buffalo – turned the program around in a hurry. QB Jalon Daniels is fun to watch and he along with the rest of the squad took Houston behind the woodshed in grand fashion. Houston is a good team and expected to compete in the AAC. This wasn’t just some also-ran that Kansas beat up on this past weekend. They are 3-0 for the first time since 2009. Their game this weekend also featured a lightning delay that lasted for over an hour. It didn’t matter. Leipold has this team humming right now and he could be a name to watch to replace Scott Frost at Nebraska. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Kansas at home will be too much for the Blue Devils even though they are also having a great start. I’ll lay the points with the home team here. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk! Kansas -7.5.

Texas @ Texas Tech, Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX, Texas -6.5, O/U 60

Another fun matchup here where weather won’t be a factor this week. More sunny skies and highs in the low 90s at kickoff. Hey, everything’s bigger in Texas, right? And the temperatures follow suit. The heat won’t bother either team as they are certainly used to it. This is the opening of Big 12 play for both schools and both are off to a decent start. Each program has a loss to a better team, Texas to Alabama and Tech to NC State, but each were competitive. And Tech notched a victory against Houston too, one of the better AAC programs, allegedly. The stats say both programs are evenly matched and with the Alabama game in their review mirror, Texas is a bit banged up. The question is when QB Quinn Ewers is able to come back after getting hurt in that game. Tech QB Donovan Smith is off to a good start under head coach Joey McGuire throwing 7 touchdown passes for 785 yards on the season. He has also thrown 5 picks, however. Texas is favored here, but something tells me that the Alabama game has to catch up with them at some point. The Red Raiders will keep things close at home. Give me Tech and the points. Texas Tech +6.5.

Bills @ Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL, Bills -5.5, O/U 53.5

Can anybody stop Buffalo and Josh Allen? It certainly doesn’t seem that way…at least so far. The Bills dismantled the Titans on Monday Night Football last week for the world to see and look like the AFC East division kings again. Who else can even come close? The only hope for anybody else in the division would appear to be the Dolphins who had an improbable comeback last week against the birds from Baltimore. While both teams love to pass given they have great QBs, some showers are possible during this game. I don’t think the weather will be a major factor, however. It should be a tight matchup as Buffalo seems to struggle to run the ball. Ordinarily, I would take the home team in a spot like this. But Vegas likes the Bills and who am I to argue? They just seem leaps and bounds better than most, even a resurgent Dolphins squad playing at home. Bills -5.5.

Cowboys @ Giants, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, Giants -2.5, O/U 39.5

The Cowboys looked very good taking it to the defending AFC champion Bengals last week. Cooper Rush is doing just fine at QB but Dallas is leaning on its defense to carry them, and why not? Micah Parsons has been amazing and just seems to be in the right place at the right time. That is preparation folks, not luck. This defense has only allowed 2 touchdowns in the first two games, against Tom Brady and Joey Burrow no less. The Cowboys defense is legit and should keep them in this game as they travel to New York. In fact, it could be a defensive game given showers are in the forecast, and that would favor Dallas’ D. I’m a fan of Brian Daboll, former Nick Saban assistant, and hey – the Giants are 2-0. They just need to find a few more pieces before they can be respectable again in my opinion. For example, getting some consistent play out of their wide receivers and giving QB Daniel Jones more options. I think Sterling Shepherd could emerge as a leading receiver as he has been targeted the most. Even though they are 2-0, I just feel like the Giants are too inconsistent right now to go up against this elite defense from Dallas. I’ll take the Boys on the road. Cowboys +2.5.

West Virginia @ Virginia Tech, Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA, West Virginia -1.5, O/U 50.5

A strong cold front moving through Thursday should be clear of the region by the time kickoff rolls around. However, behind the front, temperatures will plummet and winds will pick up. This game is a field goal spread and if it comes down to that, things could get interesting with gusts over 20 mph at times in Lane Stadium. Virginia Tech enters the game at 2-1 with first year head coach Brent Pry, formally defensive coordinator at Penn State. They had a tough opening loss to Old Dominion, but bounced back and beat Boston College and Wofford. West Virginia has two losses on the early season already (to Pitt and Kansas) and desperately needs to get a Willy in the paper Friday morning. I like J.T. Daniels as the better QB in this game over Grant Wells. It’s going to be tough for West Virginia to come into Lane Stadium and walk out with a victory, especially as the pre-game “Enter Sandman” tradition plays. Neal Brown’s seat may get hot if he drops to 1-3 on the road here. I like Brown and the Mountaineers to pull out the win on a windy Thursday night. Just a gut feeling here that they can bounce back after two tough losses. Give me West Virginia money line upset on a gusty night.

Minnesota @ Michigan State, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI, Minnesota -3, O/U 51

This game isn’t sexy on paper, but there’s a reason it’s our second “Under the Radar” game this week. A passing shower is possible, but there shouldn’t be much on the radar in East Lansing this Saturday. Mel Tucker and Michigan State have some wounds to lick after the drubbing they took in Seattle against the Huskies last week. No defense. No run game. Only 42 yards on the ground to be exact. Now, it’s a chance for Sparty to return home to the friendly confines of Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. The problem? Minnesota comes to town with an undefeated record and a team playing on all cylinders right now. The Golden Gophers have allowed only 170 total yards this season compared to the 354 for Michigan State. They have only allowed 6 points per game while scoring 50. Now, they have played nobody. Absolutely garbage schedule so far. This will not only be a test for P.J. Fleck, but a road test against a tough coach needing a win. Here’s the deal though. Fleck has Kirk Ciarrocca back as his offensive coordinator after he didn’t work out during the pandemic at Penn State. He also has veteran QB Tanner Morgan returning and he and Ciarrocca seem to have magic together. Can Mel Tucker survive off the transfer portal for another year? I don’t think so. I like Fleck and the Gophers to pass the test here with their experience and toughness. Minnesota -3 on the road.

Nevada @ Air Force, Falcon Stadium, USAF Academy, CO, Air Force -24, O/U 45

I’ve been doing okay picking out some of my “best bets” the last two weeks. I believe I’m 5-1 over the last two weeks in this segment. Let’s keep it rolling. I like Air Force to cover in this one at home. I saw enough of Nevada last week at Kinnick to know they aren’t very good. I think they could be one of the worst teams in the country despite having a 2-2 record. This is a big number to cover admittedly. But I like the Falcons to fly high and get the cover here. Just because I’ve seen Nevada play football. Air Force and the points at home, -24.

UCLA @ Colorado, Folsom Field, Boulder, CO, UCLA -21.5, O/U 57

Speaking of dreadful teams, enter the Colorado Buffalos. They may be the worst team in the country. Yes, I just wanted to give Nevada that honor, but at least they have won two games. Colorado is winless and playing like it. They are dreadful. What a shame for a program with such history and tradition. I picture the wagon with the buffalos tipping over to describe the state of their football program. Let’s be honest though, Chip Kelly isn’t lighting it up either. UCLA almost lost to South Alabama last week. Laughable. Maybe playing in an empty stadium kept the team from feeling any sort of emotion. They played lifelessly for 3 quarters and had to come back late – against South Alabama! Troy Aikman called out the poor attendance on Twitter and I had a few folks tell me it was due to the school not being back in session yet. Seriously? Do you think Alabama would be playing in an empty stadium if they had a couple games before classes started? Please. It’s a sad state of affairs for both schools, but one at least has won games. The Chip Ship should roll through Colorado easily. Despite the poor start last week. Chip -21.5.

Boston College @ Florida State, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL, Florida State -17.5, O/U 48.5

Boston College seems like a team that is on the wrong track. They lost to Rutgers first of all, then dropped one to Virginia Tech who lost to Old Dominion. Florida State seems to be trending in the opposite direction after beating LSU and Louisville in back-to-back weeks and starting the year off 3-0. Be careful here. I really like Jeff Hafley, BC’s head guy. He was the defensive coordinator at Ohio State before landing in Chestnut Hill. I realize this is a tough road test, but Florida State suffered a few too many injuries in that Louisville game, including QB Jordan Travis. I’m also wondering when some of their sloppy play catches up to them. It may be this week. I think FSU is the superior team and will likely win at home. But Boston College isn’t dead yet and they need to show up. I think they will and could keep it close, much like Louisville did last week. I’ll take BC and the points. Boston College +17.5.

Here’s a summary of my picks for Week 5. Enjoy your football weekend!

Games of the Week

Wake Forest +7

Kansas -7.5

Texas Tech +6.5

Bills -5.5

Cowboys +2.5

Under the Radar Game

West Virginia ML

Minnesota -3

Brett’s Best Bets

Air Force -24

UCLA -21.5

Boston College +17.5

Let’s try and get back on the winning side this week, shall we? I’m most interested in the Bills vs. Dolphins matchup on the NFL side this week and the Texas @ Texas Tech clash in college. Lots of great games, not much weather. Enjoy and good luck! -Brett Thackara

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The Eagles helped me seal a win with my picks over Brett last week. With the Eagles and Penn State keeping me in an upbeat football mood, let’s see how I handle this week’s slate of games:

Clemson @ Wake Forest, Truist Field, Winston-Salem, NC, Clemson -7, O/U 55.5

Dave Clawson and Dabo Swinney have built formidable programs in the ACC, especially on the Clemson side of things. Dabo always seems to have a tight ACC game every year, even during the Trevor Lawrence years. I am not certain that Dabo has solved the offensive woes for Clemson yet that kept them out of the playoff picture last year. Wake Forest seems to have no trouble putting up points this year, but Clemson’s defense will be by far the stoutest they have faced to date. It will be a beautiful day weather-wise, and this may be the game of the weekend coming down to the final moments. I like Clemson to win, but the -7 line is too rich. I will take Wake Forest to lose, but cover at +7.

Duke @ Kansas, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS, Kansas -9, O/U 64

This is a battle of the unbeatens and perhaps the biggest two surprise programs of the season. I absolutely love that Kansas is relevant again under Lance Leipold- he probably won’t be long for the job with Nebraska and Arizona State looking for quick fixes to their messes. This may be the best Kansas football since Mark Mangino in the early to late 2000s. Mike Elko, Duke’s new head coach, has also had a great showing in the first month. This is a fairly big line, and it appears Kansas has the talent edge in the matchup. In fact Kansas has had three straight games of over 200 yards rushing. It will be a warm day with temperatures in the mid-80s, but sunshine-filled skies. I will take Kansas to start 4-0 and cover at -9.

Texas @ Texas Tech, Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX, Texas -6, O/U 60

Texas Tech games generally do not feature a lot of defense. I think there will be a lot of points, and the line agrees with a O/U 60. Sark and the Longhorns found a way to hold off UTSA last week, and the amount of talent and speed with Texas is evident. They still have injury problems at quarterback and that brings this match-up closer than it should be in reality. Bijan Robinson, Texas’ star tailback, is having a tremendous season and should find a lot of running room throughout the game. It is going to be hot in Lubbock, but I don’t think that stops what could be a special season for Texas if they don’t trip up here. I will take Texas to win by multiple touchdowns- I take them at -6.

Bills @ Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL, Bills -5.5, O/U 51.5

This promises to be a fun matchup with two high-flying offenses. Both teams are likely the only ones to slow down their own offensive game plan with self-inflicted wounds. I give Miami the slight edge as the home team, and coming off their huge comeback against the Ravens I think they have the momentum. The Bills and Dolphins will make this division fun all year long. In this first match-up I am going with the first year head coach in Mike McDaniel starting 3-0, I take the Dolphins straight-up!

Cowboys @ Giants, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, Giants -2.5, O/U 39.5

Cooper Rush made an impressive debut as the fill-in for Dak Prescott. In many ways he might have the quarterback Dallas needed in their game against the Bengals to make up for their first week ugly performance. I think the magic Cooper Rush dust fades this week though as the Giants seem to be figuring out a recipe for winning- mostly avoiding turnovers. Saquon also seems healthy and a force to reckon with. The Giants will be the surprise undefeated team in the NFC East- a 3-0 start in the Meadowlands! Give me Giants -2.5!

West Virginia @ Virginia Tech, Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA, West Virginia -1.5, O/U 50.5

Fall will be arriving in Blacksburg at the same time West Virginia will be rolling into town. Neal Brown is desperate for a win, and Brent Pry is doing his best to push forward after the embarrassing loss to ODU in Week 1. Virginia Tech does not seem to have a lot of firepower on offense, and I think that West Virginia is going to put up some points. Pry always leads a respectable defensive effort, but it won’t be enough. The equalizer may be the weather if the showers roll through during the game as currently projected. I look for West Virginia to escape with a clean win though- West Virginia -1.5.

Minnesota @ Michigan State, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI, Minnesota -3, O/U 51

PJ Fleck and the row the boat campaign seem to have something going again. Mohamed Ibrahim and Tanner Morgan are a part of a formidable offense led by an old Penn State friend in Kirk Ciarrocca. Mel Tucker’s group is reeling from a disaster of an effort against the Washington Huskies. Often times at the college level a bad loss can snowball into a second loss. I see that happening here, but not without a good effort from the Spartans and quarterback Payton Thorne. I’ll take the favorite with the Golden Gophers at -3.

Maryland @ Michigan, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI, Michigan -16.5, O/U 65

Mike Locksley brings his Maryland Terrapins to Ann Arbor for a battle of Big 10 unbeatens. While Michigan has put up over 50 points in each of their first three games, they faced some pretty down teams. Taulia Tagovailoa is Tua’s brother and you can tell there is a ton of talent that runs in the family. Taulia should give Michigan fits and keep the game closer than the line indicates. Michigan should win, but I’ll bank on Maryland making it a game- Maryland +16.5.

Iowa @ Rutgers, SHI Stadium, Piscataway, NJ, Iowa -7.5, O/U 34.5

This is a fun early-season Big 10 matchup! Iowa’s offense is more than sluggish, while Greg Schiano continues to build a much better brand of Rutgers football. This game could easily come down to a last-second field goal. Schiano may find a way to pull an upset and go to 4-0. Rutgers could be a big problem down the pike for a lot of Big 10 teams, so it will be interesting to see how they fare against Ferentz’s stingy defense. Look for Iowa to win, but for Rutgers to cover at +7.5.

Raiders @ Titans, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN, Raiders -2, O/U 45.5

Both the Raiders and Titans are struggling to find their footing in this early 2022 NFL season. Titans have been woeful on offense, while the Raiders have been wildly inconsistent themselves. I trust Mike Vrabel more than I trust Josh McDaniels, and something has to give! I will take the Titans to figure out just enough offense on a possibly damp day to squeak out a win. Titans for the win straight-up!

Games of the Week

Wake Forest +7

Kansas -7.5

Texas -6.5

Dolphins ML

Giants -2.5

Under the Radar Game

West Virginia -1.5

Minnesota -3

Doppler Dandies

Maryland +16.5

Rutgers +7.5

Titans ML

*All odds from Caesars Sportsbook as of 9/21/22.