Last week, I preached on the quality of the Week 1 schedule in the Group of Five. Well, it’s time to pat myself on the back for sharing with you, dear readers, some solid must-see matchups.
All five games listed finished within 10 points, including thrillers between Houston and UTSA and North Carolina and Appalachian State. I’m equally excited about the Week 2 schedule, which we can only hope will live up to last week’s.
As a reminder, I used my head (I have a Harvard University degree from 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 hell happened to Louisville last week? Expected to have a high-flying offense, the Cardinals lost to Syracuse 31-7, and Malik Cunningham was disappointing at quarterback. UCF demolished an outscored South Carolina state team 56-10, and this home game is pretty winnable for the Knights (-5.5).
Last year’s game was a delight, with Louisville winning 42-35. If Louisville can bounce back from a Week 1 disaster, this should be nice.
4. UNC at Georgia State, Saturday, noon ET
North Carolina beat Appalachian State 63-61 last week in one of the most exciting games of the weekend. Georgia State struggled a lot on special teams, wasting a defensive performance in a 35-14 loss to South Carolina. If Georgia State avoids disastrous special teams mistakes (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 be fooled by 0-1 records, these are good football teams. UTSA (-2.5 this weekend) fell to a strong Houston team 37-35 in three overtime, and Army lost to Coastal Carolina 38-28. Each team will win a bunch of games this year, but one of them will start 0-2. Whoever collects the victory 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 puts an undefeated season on the line. This game should be fun, as Texas Tech is listed as one of the favorites at most sportsbooks, with the total listed at just over 60 points.
Texas Tech will be without Tyler Shough, their 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 communicators in the country. I expect 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 victory over Boise State, which certainly caught my eye. However, this week’s test is more difficult, as Jake Haener and the Bulldogs (+1) have every intention of causing an upset.
Haener went 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 getting one of those two wins would likely keep the Bulldogs in the top 25 for much of this season.
Honorable Mention: ODU in ECU
After Old Dominion defeated Virginia Tech and East Carolina came close to beating NC State as a competent kicker, this game looks solid on paper. I’m not entirely sold on Old Dominion though, and ECU is a 12.5-point favorite. I think it covers ECUs, which is why the game doesn’t appear in the top 5 this week.
Bennett Conlin is a college football contributor for HERO Sports, working full time covering sports betting industry news and legislation for sports handle Y USA Bets.