As you find yourself further and further in the hole, take a deep breath and remember that you got yourself in this mess . . . and are unlikely to ever get out of it because you’re a gambling addict.
What many thought would be an uneventful Week 2 turned in an unexpected thriller (Clemson and A&M). The Dawgs took care of business with the ease of an experienced and veteran team. This week’s matchups feature a series of top 25 clashes led by The Ohio State Buckeyes and TCU Horned Frogs. With Urban Meyer knowing he has one week left to gamble with his good friend and buddy Zach Smith, let’s get on to a recap of Staff records and this week’s picks.
At this point, you’d be wise to literally pick the opposite of whichever team @FarmerBarn and @BarnBurnerZiggy sadly choose. The records of both can be summed up in one word: WOOF. On the other hand, @BarnBurnerBaker and @barnburnerslim continue to hover around the .500 mark.
(1) Ohio State (-12.5) at TCU
Even without their embattled coach, Ohio State’s breezed to an easy 2-0 behind the stellar play of quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The Junior has an eye-popping 9 touchdowns and only one interception in only five or so quarters of action. Even more insane is the Buckeyes 300 rushing yards average per game. The TCU defense, however, looks to be the first real test for the Ohio State offense. The Horned Frogs rank 6th nationally in total defense and only allow 213.5 yards per game. For TCU to win, first year starting quarterback Shawn Robinson has to successfully make use of his arms and legs. Robinson will have to limit turnovers and avoid the presence of one of the best defensive lineman in the nation in Nick Bosa.
@FarmerBarn: Gary Patterson defenses are almost always stout, so 12.5 points for Ohio State is no small number. That said, this is a game that Urban Meyer has almost assuredly game planned for the entirety of his three game suspension. I got Ohio State to cover in a game that’s competitive almost all throughout.
@barnburnerziggy: Coming from a lifelong hater of Ohio State, they rarely drop games when logic would tell you there is some overarching reason they should lose. Missing Urban Meyer is a perfect example of one of those situations. Everyone in the country is rooting for OSU to have a loss to show for Urban-gate, meaning they will be hyper-focused. They’re also really goddamn good this year and will roll a possibly over-rated TCU team. Buckeyes cover.
@BarnBurnerSlim: Listen, I know Ohio State is the better team. I really do and think they should win this game easily. But I have a strange feeling about this one due to OSU keeping TCU out of the CFP a few years ago and this being the last game before Urban’s return. Give me the Horned Frogs in a weird one.
@BarnBurnerBaker: I’ll be in attendance for this one on Saturday night and I’m expecting a competitive game. Neither team has been tested at all yet, so it’s hard to say what’s going to happen in a marquee match up. Ohio State has the edge in playmakers and experience, but they’ll be far from home and without Urban Meyer. I’m taking the Buckeyes to win, but I think TCU will keep it within 12.5.
(2) LSU at Auburn (-9.5)
LSU shocked many (myself included) when they drubbed Miami in Week 1. A top 10 Auburn team gives the Tigers and still embattled coach Ed Orgeron another chance to make an early season statement. The Tiger’s win against Miami didn’t come without a cost, as linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson was lost for the season. Fortunately for LSU, the defensive cupboard is far from bare. Sophomore linebacker Jacob Phillips will get the unenviable task of shadowing dual threat Tiger quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Stidham’s stats through two games look rather pedestrian at a mere 2 touchdowns, but he’s taken care of the ball (no interceptions). With playmakers all over the field for both SEC West foes, this game will go a long way towards deciding if either team can challenge Alabama for the division crown.
@FarmerBarn: Call me stubborn and stuck in my ways, but I still don’t trust this LSU team. Why? The Ogre, plain and simple. That said, I think LSU hangs around against a Tigers team still finding its way enough to cover.
@barnburnerziggy: LSU shocked everyone by beating number 8 Miami in Dallas, but playing at Auburn is a whole different animal. Auburn could quite possibly see their SEC title game hopes die in Week 3 if they don’t take care of business here. I think that Auburn is a much better team than an LSU team whose number 12 ranking is warranted based on their resume but probably not reflective of their actual talent. I’ll take Auburn to cover at home.
@BarnBurnerSlim: I wasn’t a fan of LSU going into the season as they were a borderline Top 25 team prior to beating Miami and after 2 weeks, I’m still not a fan. The make-up should come off at Jordan-Hare courtesy of the Auburn defense. If Auburn’s offense sputters like it did in Baton Rouge last year, we could have another close one, but I don’t see that happening. Auburn.
@BarnBurnerBaker: I’m the only one, but I’m a believer in LSU. I think this team loves Ed Orgeron and they’re rallying behind him. The defense has looked sharp so far and I think Joe Burrow is capable of doing just enough. I have a feeling this game stays low scoring and tight and for that, I’m sticking with LSU to cover.
(3) Boise State at Oklahoma State (-2.5)
Sadly, Mike Gundy‘s immaculate Joe Dirt mullet is no more. I’m tempted to stop the game preview right here and now in a show of protest . . . but onward we must go. Heading into the 2018 season, the Cowboys faced the task of replacing a historically great quarterback and wide receiver tandem in Mason Rudolph and James Washington. Rudolph set more than 50 records during his time as OSU quarterback while Washington left school as the Cowboys all-time leading receiver. Through two games, OSU signal-caller Taylor Cornelius has performed admirably with a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio. The same can be said for his cast of receivers in Jalen McCleskey, Tyron Johnson and Tylan Wallace. The Cowboys opponent is perpetually pesky Boise State, no longer viewed as a
@FarmerBarn: This is the toughest game to call — a virtual tossup. With both teams likely put up a boatload of points, it’s likely to be anyone’s game heading to the 4th. I’ll go Boise, and it’s no upset.
@barnburnerziggy: This one really intrigues me. Boise State has the name brand that every other Group of Five team lacks (even you, UCF) that would make the College Football Playoff committee at least think about them if they went 12-0 and a few other things went right. However, this is Boise’s only chance to have anything resembling a big win on their resume as the rest of their schedule is their MWC slate plus an average BYU team. Oklahoma State is probably better and is playing at home, but this game means everything to Boise’s season. I’ll take Boise to cover and to pull off the upset.
@BarnBurnerSlim: This is an interesting one as it is really the first test for both teams, after 2 weeks of beating up on inferior opponents. I respect what the Broncos have done over the years, but I think the Cowboys are better on both sides of the ball. Oklahoma State.
@BarnBurnerBaker: Again, I’m having a hard time deciding since neither team has been tested yet. I respect Boise State, but I’m confident that Oklahoma State is more talented across the board. I think they’ll cover at 2.5, but Boise State is always a tough out. Oklahoma State.
(4) Oklahoma (-17.5) at Iowa State
A rematch of what was last year’s biggest WTF upset of the regular season (ISU 38 – OU 31). Cyclones coach Matt Campbell earned a well-deserved raise ($22.5 million extension) after he took a perennial doormat of the Big 12 to a respectable 8-5, punctuated by the October upset of #3 Oklahoma and the end of the year Big 12 Coach of the Year award. Campbell is one of only two coaches who can say they’ve beaten Lincoln Riley since he took over the reigns of the Sooners program. Rest assured the ever competitive Riley and his team will look to avenge last year’s shocking loss. The Sooners caught a bad break in last week’s game when stud running back Rodney Anderson was once again lost for the year (for the third time in the last four seasons). Luckily for the Sooners, they still have quarterback Kyler Murray and a quartet of offensive passcatchers in Marquise Brown, CeeDee Lamb, Lee Morris, and A.D. Miller.
@FarmerBarn: OU’s had this one circled all offseason. Even though last year’s loss to the Cyclones didn’t prove fatal to their college football playoff appearance, the Sooners let that game slip away with bone-headed turnovers and a horrible day on D. This year is a different story. Sooners by a lot.
@barnburnerziggy: This iteration of Oklahoma may be just as good as last year’s CFB Playoff squad and Kyler Murray has shown no signs of Baker Mayfield’s shoes being too big to fill. They whipped Chip Kelly’s UCLA (what a nightmare start for him, btw) and until someone proves they can compete with Oklahoma or they make the spread -30, I’m riding them. Oklahoma covers on the road.
@BarnBurnerSlim: Oklahoma is no doubt the better team, as we’ve seen them beat up on FAU and UCLA. Iowa State upset the Sooners in Norman last year, so OU will be looking for revenge in Ames. I think the Sooners struggle out of the gate in their Big 12 opener, but put it away late…But Iowa State still covers.
@BarnBurnerBaker: Oklahoma is been impressive, albeit against no competition yet. They can light up the board and I know they remember what happened last year when they overlooked Iowa State. I have a hard time believing that can happen again. So far Oklahoma has been the most exciting team in the country to watch. I’m expecting that to continue. Sooners in another rout.
(5) USC at Texas (-3)
Last year’s game between the Trojans and Longhorns was a thriller, but let’s be honest — that’s not the game college football fans immediately think of when you talk the USC-Texas rivalry. No, that would be the 2006 Rose Bowl, a game featuring a heroic performance by a Mr. Vince Young in a contest that had a stupid amount of guys who would go on to play in the NFL. This year’s game features two teams desperate to get back to that level of buzz and among the nation’s elite. Entering year 2, Longhorns fans thought Tom Herman‘s team would be greatly improved off last year’s 7-6 season. An early season flop against Maryland dispelled that belief. His coaching counterpart, Clay Helton, has also drawn the ire of his team’s fanbase. That despite a 28-11 record with a Rose Bowl win in the last four seasons. With both teams at 2-1, a loss is likely to send their respective fans into an uproar.
@FarmerBarn: I think the team who gets the best quarterback play is the team that wins. If that’s the case, I trust JT Daniels more than I do Sam Ehlinger. Fight On.
@barnburnerziggy: What does Texas need to do before people forget that it’s not 2009 anymore and that Colt McCoy and Vince Young are long gone? Until Texas proves to me that they aren’t a mid-to-bottom-tier team in an average Big 12, that’s what they are. USC didn’t look great against Stanford, but they did hold a good Cardinal team to 17 and losing in Palo Alto is a whole lot more respectable than losing to Maryland. Plus, true freshman quarterback JT Daniels will get better with each game at this point in his career. I think the Trojans win this one and will happily take USC to cover as the underdog.
@BarnBurnerSlim: This could be the game in which JT Daniels begins to show glimpses of how good he can be. USC struggled against a bigger and better Stanford team, but I don’t think they should be the underdogs in this game. I am of the opinion that Texas is trash until proven otherwise. Trojans over Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns.
@BarnBurnerBaker: Texas has to be right up there in the conversation for most overhyped programs in history. I think they’re headed for another 7 win season and Tom Herman has looked overwhelmed since leaving Houston. I have zero confidence in them and I enjoy watching them struggle. The networks will try and bring up the 2005 National Championship game to try and stir some interest, but I could care less about this one. Thankfully, I’ll be at TCU-Ohio State and not have to bother seeing it. USC.
Just for the Hell of It Game: Vanderbilt at Notre Dame (-14.5)
Vanderbilt gets to travel up to South Bend to see if they can hang with the big boys. Let’s hope Commodore defensive lineman Nifae Lealao learned his lesson last year on pre-game trash talk.
@FarmerBarn: Vanderbilt’s looked pretty good through two weeks. But pretty good isn’t ready for a Notre Dame defense that’s one of the nation’s best. Notre Dame by three scores.
@barnburnerziggy: I’m not sure what to make of Notre Dame. They definitely are not the 8th best team in the country and barely surviving Ball State at home is nothing to be proud of. They did beat Michigan to open the season, but I’m not sure Michigan is anything but an 8 win team at this point, either. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt sports two wins over respectable opponents in MTSU and Nevada with huge margins of victory. And 14 points is a lot when Notre Dame hasn’t scored more than 24 all season. Shit, I convinced myself. Vandy covers this one.
@BarnBurnerSlim: This feels like the game in which Vandy rolls into with high expectations and then proceeds to obnoxiously shit the bed for 4 quarters. But I think this Vanderbilt team is different, and think they actually have a chance in this one. Solid QB play along with a stout defense, Vandy could pull off the upset in South Bend. I won’t go that far, but give me the Commodores, baby!
@BarnBurnerBaker: Notre Dame definitely had a hangover after an emotional win against Michigan in week one. I think the Ball State game will be a wake up call and Brian Kelly isn’t going to let it happen again. I’m expecting Notre Dame to put together a full game this week on both sides of the ball. All is well in South Bend. Notre Dame, easy.