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Clemson Football

Lowell's Locks: Week Five

September 29, 2023

The tie. The only thing I consider worse than a loss. Notre Dame couldn’t hold a late lead on Ohio State, inexplicably having only ten defenders on the field for the Buckeyes’ late game-winning touchdown, handing them a 17-14 win as a 3-point favorite. That led to my first push (tie) of the season and a 4-1-1 record, bringing my total record to 17-6-1 on the year. I bet too hard on Ole Miss and against Saban (rat poison!), which was my one loss. The most shocking result? What Oregon did to Colorado. I picked the Ducks to cover 20.5, but it was the way they totally dominated from beginning to end that was surprising. It might be time to raise the expectations on this Oregon squad. 

On to this weekend’s games.

Friday, September 29th:

 #10 Utah at #19 Oregon State (-3.5):

If I had one piece of advice beyond the spread, it would be to take the under of 44.5. These two teams love to play defense (allowing 9.5 and 17.8 PPG, respectively) and run the ball (165.50 and 224.75 YPG). There is speculation swirling once again about Utah quarterback Cam Rising, who went through warmups against UCLA but did not play. If he does play, this is as close to a lock as you’ll get with Utah getting 3.5. If not, the Beavers do have the advantage with quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, although he did have some struggles last weekend against Washington State. In either case, I don’t expect this to be more than a field goal game, and Utah getting that 3.5 is too enticing. 

Lowell’s Lock: Utah covers +3.5

Saturday, September 30th:

#24 Kansas at #3 Texas (-16.5):

This has the makings for one of the best games of the weekend. Both teams have elusive guys who can sling it at quarterback in Quinn Ewers for Texas and Jalon Daniels for Kansas, and both squads have playmakers all over the field. No one is giving little old Kansas a shot in this one, but Kansas has typically played the Longhorns tight outside of an epic collapse late last season. The key stat to watch for me doesn’t come from the offense, though. Kansas ranks eighth in the country in tackles for loss (8.75/game) and 35th in sacks (2.75/game). Texas ranks 46th and 53rd in allowing those respective things to happen. The true test of Texas being “back” never hinged solely on the Alabama game. It also matters how they handle games like this week to week. They’re going to get their first test in that category here.

Lowell’s Lock: Kansas covers +16.5

#11 Notre Dame (-5.5) at #17 Duke:

The timing here could not be worse for Notre Dame. After scratching and clawing and coming up just short in a physical game against Ohio State, they hit the road to take on (undefeated!) Duke. Blue Devils head coach Mike Elko has done a tremendous job molding this team in his image. They play fast and physical on defense, and they love to run the ball. Notre Dame is built much of the same way, and the quarterback battle between Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman and Duke’s Riley Leonard should be phenomenal, but I’m not sure the Irish will be fully up for a second straight hard-hitting game. Everyone may have to finally give Duke their flowers after this one.

Lowell’s Lock: Duke covers +5.5

#13 LSU (-2.5) at #20 Ole Miss:

This is one of those lines from Vegas that surprises me. Neither of these teams are great on defense, but the LSU passing attack led by Jayden Daniels has been consistently good. Ole Miss and Jaxson Dart have been good throwing the ball around as well, but struggled heavily against Alabama’s defense and were shut down last weekend, arguably their first real competition on the season (Tulane was missing starting quarterback Michael Pratt when the Rebels played them). Expect the Tigers to keep being explosive through the air in this one and get the stops they need to pull away late.

Lowell’s Lock: LSU covers -2.5

South Carolina at #21 Tennessee (-12):

South Carolina got back in the win column last weekend against Mississippi State, but not as comfortably as they might have liked against a struggling Bulldogs squad. Will Rodgers torched the Gamecocks for 487 yards, and as a reminder, the Bulldogs no longer run the air raid. Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler stayed hot, throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns on 18-20 passing, but the offensive line again struggled to keep him upright, allowing four sacks to bring their total sacks allowed to 17 on the season (127th in the country). If there’s any spot the Tennessee defense can take advantage of, it’s there. The Volunteers rank third in the country in sacks (16) and fourth in tackles for loss (39). The offense got moving a little bit better last weekend against UTSA, particularly on the ground, as they ran for 303 yards at a 9.2 yards per carry clip as a team. UTSA isn’t great against the run, but neither are the Gamecocks. Expect the Vols' defense to assert themselves and the Tennessee offense to keep it moving for a relatively painless win. 

Lowell’s Lock: Tennessee covers -12

Clemson (-6.5) at Syracuse:

After a crushing loss to Florida State, this game becomes a matter of if Clemson can get in the right frame of mind to bounce back. Syracuse can’t be dismissed at 4-0 and with Garret Shrader at quarterback, but the offensive line hasn’t played great (89th sacks allowed, 74th tackles for loss allowed), the skill positions are thin, and Shrader is the Orange’s leading rusher on the season. The playoffs may be off the table, but a shot at Another Clemson Championship is still on the line for the Tigers. A now confident Clemson offense and a stout Clemson defense help the Tigers bounce back in a big way on the road. No late game heroics from the kicker required. 

Score Prediction: 38-17 Clemson

Lowell’s Lock: Clemson covers -6.5

Until next week, folks. 

Lowell’s Locks

  Weekly Results Season Results
Week 1 5-1  5-1 
Week 2 4-2  9-3 
Week 3 4-2  13-5 
Week 4 4-1-1  17-6-1 
Week 5    
Week 6    
Week 7    
Week 8    
Week 9    
Week 10    
Week 11    
Week 12    
Week 13    
Conference Championships    


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Lowell's Locks: Week Five

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