The Spread, Week Five: The Fraud List

This year’s Fraud List is coming to you a week earlier than normal, because this is not going to be a normal year. Undefeated Power 5 conference teams are dropping like flies, and honestly I’m afraid if I wait another week, there won’t be anyone left to populate this list. And then I’ll have to think of something completely new and original to write, and nobody wants that.

A Fraud Team is a currently unbeaten team that I believe will end the season with a least five losses, of which their tend to around 2-4 each year. I’ll pick five and consider the list a success if at least one team is a true fraud and none of them finish better than 8-4.

1. Oregon State

The Beavers have three wins and so do their three opponents. Combined. Even though their only close win was on the road against Hawaii (is it still “on the road” when it’s Hawaii?) the softness of their opening schedule can not be overstated. Three of their next four games are on the road, and that includes USC and Stanford.

2. Washington

Similar to Oregon State, with close wins over Hawaii and Eastern Washington, the Huskies have played slightly better opponents and have a couple of blowouts as well. They take on Stanford next week and travel to Oregon on October 18th.

3. TCU

The Horned Frogs have only played two games, so maybe it’s not fair to put them on this list. But I’m still doing it. They play at dismal SMU next week, then face Oklahoma, Baylor, and Oklahoma State.

4. N.C. State

The Wolfpack’s first four opponents are a combined 9-7, which isn’t terrible, but we’re talking about Old Dominion, Presbyterian, Georgia Southern and South Florida here. Hardly a fearsome bunch of teams. Their next four opponents are Florida State, Clemson, Boston College and Louisville, teams that are a combined 10-4 (which includes Clemson’s losses to FSU and Georgia.)

5. Mississippi State

I think 8-4 is more likely for the Bulldogs, but I wouldn’t rule out a freak loss to Kentucky or Arkansas while they try to navigate through upcoming opponents like Texas A&M, Auburn and Alabama.

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