All it takes is one week of success, ONE WEEK. HOOOOOOOOAHHHHH!!! Gambling is for the boys . . . said no significant other, EVER. That said, go big or go home, gang. Let’s ride.
With the exception of @barnburnerziggy, who took a one week sabbatical to clear his head, the BarnBurner staff was on FIRE last week. Led by @BarnBurnerbaker and @barnburnerslim at matching 5-1 records, I rounded out the crew’s picks with a solid 4-2 week myself. Let’s see if we can keep the good times rolling with some juicy week 6 matchups. Mychal Kendricks insider trading tip: I think we can.
Stay thirsty, my friends. On to the games. . .
Texas versus Oklahoma (-8)*
With both teams ranked inside the top 20, the Red River rivalry returns to prominence for the first time in the last decade. Up until 2012, the winner of this game almost always went a long way towards deciding who won the Big 12 championship. This year may be no different particularly since both teams are 2-0 in conference play. OU quarterback Kyler Murray continues to put up video game-like numbers a week after he torched the Baylor Bears for 432 yards and six passing TDs. With the exception of Army, teams have had little success this season at slowing down the Sooners high-powered offense. Texas, on the other hand, has won with their defense in matching their longest winning streak (four) since 2013. The Texas offense struggled in last week’s 19-14 win over Kansas State and currently ranks 7th in the Big 12. Fortunately, Texas QB Sam Ehlinger has cut down on turnovers. He should have an opportunity to complete some passes this week to a litany of tall wideouts, led by 6’4” Lil’Jordan Humphrey (the man with the best first name in all of college football) and 6’6” Collin Johnson.
@farmerbarn: As underwhelming as the Longhorns have been for the past few years, this rivalry has been alive and well. Three out of the last four games have been decided by five points. I think that trend continues. OU wins, but the ‘Horns cover.
@BarnBurnerSlim: Kyler Murray and the high-octane Oklahoma offense vs the number 2 ranked defense in the Big 12 looks like a compelling matchup on paper, but I think the Sooners run away with this one.
@barnburnerziggy: I blamed my rough start on a pulled hammy, faked an injury, and took a stint on the DL. But I’m back. Give me the Sooners. Still not buying Texas.
@barnburnerbaker: I have to eat some crow here, as Texas has been better than I anticipated and have given them credit for. That being said, I don’t think OU will have any trouble with them. Sooners.
Kentucky versus Texas A&M (-5.5)
An undefeated Kentucky isn’t getting a whole lot of love from Vegas going on the road to play Texas A&M in College Station for the first time since 1952. The ‘Cats are one of the feel-good stories of this college football season, sitting at a perfect 5-0 record that includes upsets over Florida and Mississippi State. Kentucky boasts two bona fide NFL prospects in tailback Benny Snell Jr. and defensive standout Josh Allen (no, not that Josh Allen). After a week 2 near-monumental upset win over Clemson, the Aggies followed up a loss to Alabama with a ugly win over Arkansas. Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond struggled last week, throwing two interceptions and rushing for only 14 yards. With Josh Allen likely breathing down his neck for most of the game, Mond will need to find more success escaping the pocket and extending plays. If Kentucky can get out of College Station with a win, it’s chances of being undefeated for a November 3rd matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs become a legit possibility.
@farmerbarn: Toughest game of the week for me to pick. I think the ‘Cats are for real, but going into College Station, a hostile environment, and coming away with a win is no easy feat. Just ask Clemson. I’d love it if the 10/3 Georgia-Kentucky game was a battle of the undefeateds with winner in the driver seat of the East, but I think that’s for naught. A&M.
@BarnBurnerSlim: Man, I am enjoying this Kentucky team so far this season. While the clock finally strike midnight on the Wildcats? Yes, probably, but I think they have at least one more valiant effort in them, Wildcats cover.
@barnburnerziggy: Vegas thinks Florida will hang with LSU but Kentucky is almost a touchdown ‘dog? I’d have considered taking Kentucky as the favorite so I’ll gladly take 5.5 points. Are we even sure TAMU is any good? Kentucky covers and probably wins.
@barnburnerbaker: I’m drinking the Kentucky kool-aid. I picked them last week against South Carolina and I’m rolling with them again. I’m with Ziggy here and am not sure why A&M is such a big favorite here. Wildcats straight up.
LSU (-2.5) versus Florida
People keep picking against LSU and the Tigers and Ed Orgeron keep proving them wrong. After pasting Ole Miss by almost thirty points, the Tigers and quarterback Joe Burrow are riding high. While the Ohio State transfer has yet to set the world on fire, Burrow is one of only two Power 5 QBs to have more than six TDS and no interceptions (the other is Alabama QB and Heisman frontrunner Tua Tagovailoa). As for the always formidable Tigers defense, LSU sits at plus-7 in turnover margin with a ridiculous nine turnovers in five games. If anyone can figure Florida out, take a bow. After losing to Kentucky for the first time in the last 32 years, the Gators and new coach Dan Mullen responded with impressive conference victories over Tennessee and Mullen’s former school Mississippi State. That was good enough for Florida to make a return to the AP Top 25 list. Florida’s offense continues to struggle generating any points, but that doesn’t matter much when your defense holds teams to single digits like it did against Mississippi State. Take it from Coach O himself, “This is going to be the best defense we faced so far this year.”
@farmerbarn: Is this going to be the week? The week that I believe in Ogre and his boys and they do me dirty. Dammnit, I’m going with the Tigers (against better judgment).
@BarnBurnerSlim: I don’t think I’ve bet on the side of LSU yet this season, and I’ve been burned every damn time I’ve picked against them. Not this time, give me LSU.
@barnburnerziggy: I hear Slim on this one. I took Miami and Auburn both against LSU and lost both times. I still don’t think they’re elite though and Florida keeps getting better since that Kentucky loss. Florida covers.
@barnburnerbaker: As the resident LSU bandwagon captain, there’s no way I could go against Coach O yet. They’re going to add another top 25 win this weekend and it’s time the nation took notice. Hold that Tigah!
Notre Dame (-6) versus Virginia Tech
The Irish find themselves unbeaten after an impressive victory over Stanford. Quarterback Ian Book has jumpstarted the Irish offense, helping generate 94 points in Notre Dame’s last two games. The junior followed up his first start of 2018 where he passed for 325 yards and 5 TDs with an efficient stat line of 24-of-33 for 278 yards and 4 TDs. What’s more, the Irish welcomed back senior rusher Dexter Williams last week after he missed the first four games of the season due to suspension. Williams, or “Juice” as his teammates call him, rushed for a career-high 161 yards on 21 carries with 45 of those yards coming on his first touch of the night (a touchdown no less). The Hokies responded to a gut-wrenching upset loss to Old Dominion — a loss that also cost them starting QB Josh Jackson for the season — with a bounce-back victory over previously unbeaten Duke. Making his first start for the Hokies, former walk-on and Kansas transfer Ryan Willis threw for 332 yards and three scores. In doing so, he earned conference player of the week. Virginia Tech’s turbulent offseason of player exits bled over into the season with the dismissal of defensive end Trevon Hill. The injuries and dismissals continue to warrant the question of how much defensive coordinator Bud Foster can pull out of a relatively young and inexperienced group.
@farmerbarn: Think this game is a close one, but Dexter Williams’ return is too much for an overmatched Bud Foster defense. Irish by one score.
@BarnBurnerSlim: I’m a fan of what Fuente and co have done so far at VT, and their home field advantage shouldn’t be taken lightly. I think Notre Dame is just too good and the Irish will win by at least a TD.
@barnburnerziggy: Fuck Brian Kelly. I’m taking the Hokies.
@barnburnerbaker: Ian Book has jumpstarted the offense and Dexter Williams looked electric last week. I’m also loving how tough the Irish defense has looked so far this season. This is going to be a tough environment, but playoff teams win this game. Let it be known that I have the Irish heading to the playoff. ND covers.
Boston College versus NC State (-4.5)
Fun fact: NC State had only one school (surprise, surprise – Alabama with a ridiculous 12 players taken) feature more players selected in last year’s NFL draft. The Wolfpack have built upon the success of coach Dave Doeren’s player development to start the season 5-0. A win against 4-1 Boston College would mean the Wolfpack head into their bye atop their respective division in the ACC and with a date against Clemson (10/20) looming. A possible first round projected pick by many NFL pundits, the Wolfpack are led by senior quarterback Ryan Finley. Finley’s enjoyed a terrific start to his senior season with a 68.6 completion percentage on 1,313 yards passing for eight touchdowns to just one interception. Meanwhile, a Wolfpack defense that lost stars Bradley Chubb and B.J. Hill to the NFL has nonetheless continued to prove a tough egg to crack. They’ll face arguably their toughest test on the season in Eagles tailback and Heisman contender A.J. Dillon. The sophomore is 5th nationally with 130 rushing yards per game. However, he suffered an ankle injury in last week’s victory over Temple that leaves his status in question for this week’s game.
@farmerbarn: I think NC State is legit, and it could be the alcohol but I am a firm believer that they can challenge a suddenly vulnerable Clemson for the ACC crown.
@BarnBurnerSlim: Too much Ryan Finley, Wolfpack cover.
@barnburnerziggy: If you labeled NC State vs BC as the top ACC matchup of Week 6 before the season, you’re lying. But here we are. NC State is much better though (which I’m basing largely off BC’s Purdue game). NC State.
@barnburnerbaker: I legitimately flipped a coin for this game. HEADS! BC will cover.
Just for the Hell of It Game: Miami (-12.5) versus Florida State
Willie Taggart’s first year coaching the Seminoles has been anything but smooth. Blowout losses at the hands of Virginia Tech and Syracuse to go along with near losses to a bad Louisville and Samford have naturally had people questioning whether Taggart’s qualified for the job. A blowout loss to Miami would only ratchet up the angst and disgust of the Seminoles fanbase.
@farmerbarn: Is this the game that represents the breaking point for Florida State fans? Yes, yes it is. Taggart a flop, Miami by a lot.
@BarnBurnerSlim: Florida State appears to suck, Miami hasn’t sucked since Week 1. Advantage: Miami.
@barnburnerziggy: Those are some impressive advanced metrics by Slim. I’m sold. Canes cover.
@barnburnerbaker: It pains me how wrong I was about Florida State. I really thought they were going to be improved. Turns out I don’t know as much as I think I know. Miami.
*All odds via OddsShark.
Banner Image: MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World