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College Football Handicapping: Week 5 Starting Quarterback Changes


Lots going on with starting quarterbacks heading into Week 5. We’ll start first with Virginia Tech’s Ryan Willis who now takes over for Josh Jackson. Jackson fractured his fibula during last week’s infamous upset loss to Old Dominion. Willis, who started his career at Kansas, stepped in and went 9-of-18 for 131 yards and a touchdown. For his career Willis has completed 54% of his passes to go with a 13-17 TD-to-INT ratio. The Hokies are catching +4.5 at Duke this weekend.

Next we have Kansas State’s Alex Delton who came in relief last week of under-performing starter Skylar Thompson. Reports indicate that the move to Dalton caught everyone off guard including offensive coordinator Andre Coleman and Thompson himself. It sounds as if Bill Snyder grew tired of Thompson’s “serviceable” ways. Both quarterbacks had previously split time and combined for 191 ypg through the air. That’s actually the team’s highest production over the last four seasons but with a weak offensive line and lacking run game (3.85 ypc), there’s far more onus on the quarterback position this season. K-State is +8 home underdogs to Texas on Saturday.

Lastly, Clemson is going with freshman Trevor Lawrence as the full-time starter over Kelly Bryant. Bryant had started 18 straight games but will now transfer following the decision. Lawrence has already proven to have more upside. In four games of part-time duty, he averaged 10 yards per attempt, threw nine touchdowns, and owned a QB Rating of 191.8 — numbers that were far superior to that of Bryant’s (8.5 ypa, 2 TDs, 146.9 QB Rating). The betting markets appear excited that Lawrence will take all of the snaps as Clemson was bet up from -19.5 to -25 for Saturday’s home tilt vs. Syracuse.

“He’s not much different in the skill set than Josh is,” Cornelsen said. “We’ve got confidence in him to come in and continue to do what we’re doing on offense. He’s obviously been in those situations before. It will be good for him to have a week knowing he’s going to be in the game. It’s always a little different with your urgency and preparation and getting those reps with the ones.”

It also lines up with what Delton and Thompson said immediately afterward. Delton told reporters that Snyder “came over to me right before the drive and told me I was going in.” Thompson, with disgust in his voice, said he was blindsided.

“I’ve been with this senior class for four years. Seeing how much we built and poured into this program, it’s tough to walk away from it,” Bryant said. “But at the same time, I’ve got to do what’s best for me. And I feel like this is the best situation for me.”

Andrew Lange

With significant market influence, Andrew Lange has produced a decade-long 58% winning rate on over 750 selections in college basketball. Using a low volume, high return approach, Lange's results in the NFL have been equally impressive with a 61% mark and over +49 units of profit on a 1, 1.5, and 2-unit scale since 2012.