Free College Football Picks: Expect BYU to Bounce Back in Week 5 vs. Connecticut

Joe Catalano

Monday, September 28, 2015 9:04 PM GMT

Monday, Sep. 28, 2015 9:04 PM GMT

Conn played Missouri in a defensive battle. Can Conecticut step up their game is the question, as they're a 17.5 point underdog.Can we trust them as our college football pick?

Kickoff is scheduled for 10:15 p.m. ET on October 2nd at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. This game can be seen on ESPN 2. A nationally televised game on a day in which there are very few games, will either benefit a team or do the opposite. Look for BYU to raise the level of their play as they have been in this spotlight many times before and can ill-afford a 3rd loss so early in the NCAA Football College Season.

 

The "Shireffs" Is In Town
Okay, so maybe I exaggerated when introducing Connecticut's starting quarterback, Bryant Shirreffs, but the sophomore has been waiting to play and the one part of his game that I like is that he's not going to force the issue and commit a turnover.

Thus far this season, Shirrefs has thrown for 847 yards, 4 TD, and 1 INT. He's an accurate passer that gives the Huskies the tools to be competiive as long as the defense holds up their end of the bargain. Shireffs is coming off of his best college outing in a 28-18 loss to Navy as he threw for 219 yards and 2 TD. Accuracy is not a problem with this second year starter.

 

Noel Thomas
Connecticut doesn't have one major star as a number 1 option where running and catching the football is concerned, but this would be a great spot for leading receiver, Noel Thomas, to get his first touchdown of the season.

Thus far this season, Thomas has been very consistent and has amassed 286 yards receiving. We are only 4 games into the season and he's just about equal with last season's production as he's become more involved in the offense. BYU has allowed almost 27 points per game and I can see guys like Noel Thomas and running back Arkeel Newsome (153 yards, 1 TD) having break out games as there will be holes in the Cougars defense and UConn is used to defensive battles.

 

An Opportunity to Go Over the .500 Mark
The major noticeable difference between these two teams is that BYU has had a very tough schedule in comparison to UConn. The Cougars have faced the likes of Michigan, Boise State, UCLA, and Nebraska. BYU has held their own as they lost 24-23 to UCLA and defeated Nebraska 33-28. I don't care if Nebraska is having a good or bad season. When a team has a "W" with the name Nebraska next to it on their resume, it's a major accomplishment and they're taking a major step down (as the odds indicate) when facing the Huskies.

 

On the Job Training
Freshman quarterback, Tanner Mangum, got a taste of Big Ten Football as he faced head coach, Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines and it was his worst outing of the season as the Cougars lost 31-0 and he was just 12 for 28 for 55 yards passing. Will there be a lingeing affect is the major question here as the circumstances are much more appealing in this game? After all, this is a guy that threw for over 300 yards against Boise State and played very well against UCLA.

I expect a bounce back performance here as Mangum will have running back, Adam Hine (312 yards, 2 TD) and 3 receivers with 180 yards or more, led by Mitchell Juergens (250 yards 2 TD). The passing game will get a major boost despite the excellence in defense that Connecticut has displayed thus far against the college football odds. My college football pick will be siding on BYU.

College Football Pick: BYU -17.5 at 5Dimes

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