Good afternoon everyone. Baker here. Welcome to my newest column “How’s the Baker Feeling?” where I’ll be sharing some thoughts and opinions from the past week of football and prepare for the upcoming week. The plan is to touch on a little bit of everything from news, scores, fun tidbits, fantasy & pool happenings, etc. I’d like to get some Q&A going as well. I’m certainly open to suggestions on topics you’d like to see more or less of. You can tweet me your ideas @BarnBurnerBaker.
How’s the Baker Feeling?
The big bombshell over the weekend was the Chicago Bears‘ trade with the Oakland Raiders for DE/OLB Khalil Mack. If you’ve been following along with the #MackWatch, then you know that the Packers were favored to land him. I’ve been refreshing my newsfeed every five minutes for the past two weeks hoping to see the news that Mack was coming to the Packers. Saturday morning I was woken up to several texts letting me know he was heading to the Bears. They signed him to a (defensive player record) six-year $141 million deal, so #MackWatch isn’t going away anytime soon. Unfortunately that now means keeping an eye out to make sure he doesn’t crush Aaron Rodgers. The good news is, is that the Bears gave up a King’s ransom to land him. They’ll be without first-round draft picks for the next two years and I don’t think getting Mack makes the Bears legit contenders yet. He certainly makes them better, but I’m hoping in the long-run that he won’t be able to live up to the mega deal and the Bears will miss those first round picks dearly. It does sound like he is going to play (probably on a limited basis) on Sunday night. Good news, Steve Young is reporting that the Pack is planning to block Khalil. If you’re wondering, I’m picking the Packers.
We’ve made it. Football season is finally here and fall weather won’t be far behind. It was a pretty good start to the season this past weekend unless you’re a Michigan, Florida State, or Miami fan. My big winners for the week were Notre Dame, LSU, and Auburn. I would’ve had all three in the pick em if I had just trusted myself and took LSU. I turned in a 9-3 opening week all together though (still wasn’t enough to win the Barn’s week one contest) and I’m excited to keep that rolling. I’m starting this week off by picking the Eagles straight up to beat the Falcons tonight. I’ll be keeping an eye out for Josh’s NFL picks later this week and we’ll have a full slate of college games to break down as well. Two full days of nonstop games are heading our way this weekend.
I’m hopeful that the Miami RedHawks (my alma mater) can end the Cincinnati Bearcats 12 game winning streak in the 123rd Battle for the Bell. UC is coming off an outstanding 26-17 win against UCLA, but Vegas has the RedHawks as a -1.5 point favorite. Miami got off to a slow start against Marshall losing 35-28. They dug themselves into an early hole, battled back, but ultimately fell to 0-1. Saturday’s game will be played at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati at 8pm. If you’re looking for a solid, albeit unfamiliar rivalry, the game will be on ESPN3. I’m hopeful the RedHawks will #FlyTheFlag with a big-time win.
Team of the Week
Saturday’s 24-17 win over Michigan was a huge first step for Brian Kelly’s Irish. Notre Dame now is 1-0 and should be favored in every game from here on out. They have multiple games still scheduled with top 15+ plus programs, but the task feels less daunting after beating Michigan. The veteran ND defense looked the part on Saturday night and quarterback Brandon Wimbush showed poise and confidence. Notre Dame should roll through Ball State this weekend and looks like a team ready to throw their name into the playoff contenders’ conversation. We’ve been here before, but this looks like a much improved Notre Dame squad than what we have seen in the past few years.
Video of the Week
For a short week, it’s sure felt like a long one. Luckily, this is what’s awaiting us in just three short days:
Quote of the Week
“I looked over to [football staffer Quinn Tempel] and said, ‘Are we really doing this?’ I had a smile on my face and ran out,” Day said. “When you have those guys behind you, this coaching staff behind you, that’s what it is.” –Ohio State’s Interim Head Coach Ryan Day name drops our guy Quinn Tempel. These never get old.
Please say hello to The Kings in the North I and The Kings in the North II.
I haven’t played Fantasy Football in five years, but I’m back in a big way. Look for both of my teams to win a combined five games this year. I’ll make sure to keep everyone in the loop as to how the team is faring and any moves I’m planning to make as the season progresses. May even offer a suggestion or two in the future.
I’m also competing in my annual survivor (one strike) pool again this year. You have to pick one winner every week and you can’t pick a team twice. Lose and you’re out. It continues to grow each year and we are up to 722 members for the 2018 season.
I’m going to kick things off with what I hope is a safe pick:
Buccaneers at Saints.
I’ll report next week on how many people are left and hopefully I’ll be one of them. Have a good weekend. We’ll see you next week!