2 Loss Saban or 2 Loss Fisher, Who Needs the Win More? – Week 6 Preview

The Red River Shootout, B1G Noon, and SEC Ranked vs. Ranked action. Why must all good things be at 11 AM?

It’s an SEC heavy week, so don’t make any Saturday plans with your buddies down south – unless of course football is involved. Not only are there 3 big SEC matchups this week, but future SEC members have the best game of the week. 11 AM (CT) is the best TV window this week, and I’ll explain why shortly. Who loses the CBS SEC 2:30 spotlight game will have season long ramifications. And, I look at the P5 conference races for those who want to renege on their preseason predictions. I know I have some picks I want back.

At the bottom, I have my picks for the week. I’m on a lot of road teams this week; I’m not sure how that happened. Last week was rough, but I didn’t do too bad for how many bad breaks I got. I was 4-4 ATS. Hopefully, this week goes a bit better. 

What is Interesting this Week? 

I’ll be attending the Wisconsin Homecoming game vs. Rutgers on Saturday morning (So I’m missing the good morning games). After that, the plan is to watch games that matter and games that are close. And if things start to slow down, check in on some B1G action. 

  • Odds listed refer to spreads taken from FanDuel at the time of writing

11:00 AM CST: The Reason You Need 3 TVs

For the 1 TV-owning casual viewer, there is a decision to be made Saturday morning. For the 3 TV-owning sports-loving extraordinaires, invite some friends over and share the wealth. Actually, though, most of us have only one TV. And if you’re going to watch one game, the choice is fairly obvious: 

3 Texas vs 12 Oklahoma (+6.5) 

The Red River Shootout. One of the greatest rivalries in college football. If you live in Texas or Oklahoma, you likely think it is the best. Casuals out there might wonder why it isn’t played during rivalry week. Well, the answer is pretty simple: The game is played at the Texas State Fair. More specifically in the Cotton Bowl on the Fairgrounds. 

Generally, I’m against neutral site college football games. I love on campus games with raucous home crowds, city wide tailgating, and student section antics. Many home college venues have history and tradition that can’t be replicated at a neutral field. The Cotton Bowl gets a pass though. 

I love how the crowd is essentially cut down the 50 yard line, half burnt Orange and half crimson. Teams spend half the game playing into end zones surrounded by the opposition. The stadium is a relic from the past when the only thing that mattered at a football game was the football. It’s all bleachers, with 0 premium seating options. The millionaires and VIPs in attendance have to wait in the same lines and sit on the same hard steel as the rest of us. Not that there should be much sitting. The Cotton Bowl is meant for football, and that’s it. 

So what about the actual game? 

Texas – Undefeated, Hiesman candidate QB, expects to win the Big 12 and make the playoff.

Oklahoma – Undefeated, very very good QB, expects to win the Big 12 and avenge last year’s embarrassment. 49-0, the worst loss in the history of the rivalry. 

Texas is the more proven team and has more talent on the roster. Oklahoma is a bit of a question mark outside the QB position. They haven’t played any marquee opponents, and they brought in 40 new players last offseason. That’s almost half a roster. 

A matchup to watch. Sooner HC, Brent Venables, was brought in to fix the defense. That has gone well with the run D, they are 28th in the country right now, but hasn’t translated to the pass yet – 51st. Quinn Ewers might tear the Oklahoma defense apart if they don’t tighten up. 

Oklahoma has a 2nd problem, they can’t run the ball. They’re 64th in the country in rushing, and a lot of that is Dillon Gabrial, the QB, scrambling for yards when his O-Line collapses. If Oklahoma gets a lead late, there will be no running the clock out. Texas will be in the game till the clock hits 0s.

Oklahoma is only a touchdown underdog, so they definitely have the dudes necessary to win the game. There are just some matchups that Texas has clear advantages in. 

Maryland at 4 Ohio State (-19.5) 

I wish Maryland was ranked because this game deserves more attention. Yes, the spread is massive, but that’s the amount Ohio State generally beats teams like Maryland by. The thing is, this isn’t a team like Maryland. When people think of Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, etc, they think: scrappy, might go 6-6, won’t do anything special. Maryland isn’t “a Maryland” this year.

Maryland would be favored to win the West if they were in that division. In the East, they’re 4th best and getting 0 coverage. Taulia Tagovailoa is QB3 in the B1G, maybe even QB2. He’s got nearly identical numbers to Kyle McCord at OSU, except Taulia has twice as many touchdowns. And Taulia is playing with way less WR talent around him. 

O-Line was a big concern for Maryland going into the year – it was going to be the thing that held them back. They have 4 new starters on the O-Line, and everything is working perfectly. That’s what good developmental programs like Iowa and Wisconsin do. That’s what Maryland is becoming. 

Ohio State – Well, they have every advantage possible. 

  • More talent overall
  • More depth
  • The better defense (it’s not close)
  • They are at home
  • They are coming off a bye

I wish this game was at Maryland, or right after that physical game OSU played against Notre Dame. Maryland is good enough to knock off a big boy like Ohio State. But this week, they have the deck stacked against them. 

23 LSU at 21 Missouri (+4.5) 

Who is the toughest Tiger? I don’t know, and I don’t know where to start with this game. How about we start with LSU’s defense? 

Nope, couldn’t find it.

I had LSU winning the West this year, and they still can. Their offense and QB are good enough to win every game on their schedule. Unfortunately, they caught Lincoln Riley’s Disease. LRD happens when,  despite your amazing offense, your defense is so bad you have the ability to lose any game you play. That’s what LSU has going on right now, and that’s why their point spreads will be about a touchdown for every game for the rest of the year. No one knows what will happen until they get on the field. 

LSU is 114th in total defense; that’s 4th from last in the P5 and right below Georgia Tech. You don’t win titles playing that kind of defense. 

Now to Missouri. They are 5-0, which is a pleasant surprise. The only losable games they’ve played have been against Memphis and Kansas State, but still, it’s impressive that they pulled those games out. Missouri is… a football team? They aren’t spectacular at anything, but I don’t know that they’re terrible anywhere either. QB Brady Cook has been good, the run game has been steady, and the defense has done enough to win games. Missouri is well-rounded, yet unspectacular. If they beat LSU, I won’t be surprised for a second. I’ll say good for them, and move on. 

Missouri is the most under-the-radar team in the SEC right now. If they beat LSU, they’ll finally get some attention. But even then, does anyone think they’re getting past Georgia? I think not. 

Who Gets Their 2nd Loss?

The narrative for this game will center around the loser. The winner will get their flowers, I’m not discounting that. But the loser will be drug through the mud by the SEC media, the CFB media, their fanbase, and the college football general public. 

11 Alabama at Texas A&M (+1.5) 

Let’s cover the 2 scenarios for the possible loser.

Texas A&M Losing:

Jimbo Fisher’s squad will be 4-2, halfway to the dreaded 8-4 finish that has plagued the program since Fisher arrived in College Station. Jimbo currently has the 2nd largest buyout in college football at over $70 million, which makes him basically unfireable. The Aggies will have lost to the only 2 decent teams on their schedule, giving them little reason to think things will be better as the season goes on. Losing at home will be especially painful for the over 100,000 members of the 12th man who think their team should be competing at the level of Alabama and Georgia. Especially when A&M has a top 5 talent roster in the country. Fisher’s decision to bring in Paterno as the new OC will be heavily questioned, and could be a full blown firestorm if the offense is to blame for the loss. Things would look bleak for the 12’s. 

Now option B, Alabama Losing:

Saban has lost it. The dynasty is over. It’s the 1st week in October, and Bama is already out of the playoff. Saban has shown that the Tide struggling on the road the last few years is not an anomaly – it’s a trend. Bama fans now fear any and all road games for the rest of the season. And if A&M can take down Bama, what’s to stop Tennessee or LSU from doing the same? Saban hasn’t lost 3 regular season games since 2010, and he hasn’t lost 4+ since his first season – 2007. Both of those streaks appear to be in danger now. Alabama is due to win a title, they win one every 3 years minimum (this is not an exaggeration). Alabama is the most talented team in the country, and in week 6 they already appear dead in the water.

So yeah, the loser of this game is going to have it pretty rough. And there’s one more detail that applies to both teams. No 2 loss team has ever made the 4 team playoff. And with how many other contenders are out there, I don’t think one is making it this year either.

This is a playoff elimination game. 

Conference Race Round Up

September has ended, conference play has started, and some teams have already had their dreams shattered. It’s early, but let’s look at how some of the conference title races are developing around the P5. Some are still wide open, and for some it feels like we can already see the ending. At the end of October, I’ll check in on the conferences again and see how right/wrong I was below. 

B1G East

We don’t know much here yet. There are 4 undefeated teams that have yet to play each other. 

  • Ohio State
  • Penn State
  • Michigan
  • Maryland

Maryland could decide the winner of the division by beating 1 of the Big 3. If the Big 3 all tie with losses to each other, the tiebreaker likely goes to OSU. 

B1G West

This division is pathetic. There’s only 1 team that’s undefeated in conference play: Wisconsin. And that’s with an impressive 1-0 record. 

Illinois and Nebraska are out of it at 0-2. The loser tonight likely doesn’t even make a bowl game.

Northwestern is 1-2 and I don’t expect much from them.

There are 3 teams at 1-1 who can steal the crown from Bucky:

  • Purdue 
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa

Purdue already lost head-to-head with Wisconsin, so it doesn’t look great for them. Minnesota has an insane schedule, still having to play OSU and Michigan. So that leaves Iowa. They have the easiest path to taking the top spot, but they’ll have to do it with a backup QB and an OC who doesn’t know what he’s doing. So everything is normal in the B1G West. 

SEC East

We all expect Georgia to take this division, Right? If they do slip up, and there is an opening, the most likely candidates to catch them are 2-0 Kentucky and 1-1 Tennessee. They would need the head-to-head tiebreaker though, Georgia’s schedule is just too easy to expect them to lose 2 games.

Missouri at 1-0 is interesting, but I don’t see them taking the East.

I expect the order of finish in the East to be: 

  • 1: Georgia
  • 2: Kentucky
  • 3: Tennessee
  • 4: Missouri
  • 5: Florida
  • 6: South Carolina
  • 7: Vanderbilt

SEC West

This is the interesting division. Auburn, Arkansas, and Mississippi State are all 0-2 and out of the race at this point. 

Alabama and Texas A&M are 2-0, the winner this week will be in the poll position. But LSU and Ole Miss aren’t out of it, they both only have 1 conference loss and LSU still has to play both Bama and A&M. Okay, Ole Miss might be out of it, they drew Georgia out of the East this year, and it’s at Georgia. 

This is a 3-way race, and we might not know the winner until rivalry week.

Order right now:

  • 1: Winner of Alabama at Texas A&M
  • 2: Loser of Alabama at Texas A&M
  • 3: LSU

Big 12

Undefeated teams in conference play:

  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Kansas State
  • West Virginia

One of these teams is not like the others. West Virginia was expected to be firing a coach this year, not in the race for a championship. But at 4-1 with their only loss coming to Penn State, they might be legit. 

1 loss teams I think can keep up with the top 4: 

  • Kansas 
  • BYU

BYU’s only loss is to Kansas. And Kansas’s was when their starting QB was hurt (at Texas). It does feel like we are headed to the inevitable Oklahoma vs Texas rematch in the Big 12 title game. I hope someone steps up and prevents that tired matchup from taking place.


The 3 favorites:

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • USC

All 3 of these teams play each other, who’s the best will sort itself out.

The sneaky teams:

  • Washington State
  • Oregon State
  • UCLA

Wazzou is still undefeated. They also don’t have to play USC or Utah. Oregon State also misses USC. UCLA misses Oregon and Washington. Watch out for these 3 teams at the end when the tiebreakers come into play for entry to the championship game. 

Basically Iowa:

  • Utah

They play good defense, their offense is terrible, and the QB is hurt. This is Western Iowa.

Don’t even bring it up:

  • Colorado

Colorado’s preseason win total was 3.5; it’s now 5.5. Make a bowl game, be proud you overachieved, and build towards next year.


Florida State and who? That’s the question, right?

Well, Clemson is not the answer. They have 2 conference losses and they look like they’ll drop a third sometime soon.

The options:

  • Duke
  • Louisville
  • North Carolina
  • Miami

All 4 of these teams are still undefeated in conference play (Miami hasn’t played a conference game yet). I think Louisville is a little fraudulent. Miami still has to play FSU. UNC and Duke don’t play FSU at all. 

Looking at all that: I’ll say the winner of UNC at Duke is going to the ACC championship game to face FSU. Unless something unexpected happens, which it probably will. 

Spread Picks*:

Last week was rough. .500 isn’t good enough, and I got one of my favorite picks wrong. The Iowa pick was doomed by McNamara’s injury on Iowa’s 2nd offensive series. I still feel good about the Duke pick, it just didn’t go my way. If you watched the game, Duke looked like the better team. That’s enough living in the past; it’s time for this week’s picks. I’ve got more than usual for you this week, I guess I just have strong feelings about a lot of week 6 games. 

Maryland (+19.5) at Ohio State
Is Maryland going to beat OSU? Probably not. Is Maryland going to lose by 3 touchdowns? I find that also very unlikely. Maryland has an explosive offense, and Ohio State has had issues putting up points all year. 

Texas (-6.5) vs Oklahoma 
Texas is back. I just threw up a little in my mouth. 

Boston College at Army (-3)
Boston College is a really really weird team. They lost to Northern Illinois, but damn near beat FSU. In the end, I think the fact that Army is at home makes the difference. The Black Knights take care of business.

Marshall (+6.5) at NC State Moneyline – Upset Pick
Marshall is a member of the Sun Belt now for those not keeping up with realignment in the offseason. They are 4-0 and already beat 1 ACC team this year (Virginia Tech). NC State has looked rough the last couple of weeks, they almost lost to Virginia for crying out loud. If NC State plays like that again, then Marshall wins by 10. 

Washington State (+3.5) at UCLA
Even after they beat Oregon State, Wazzou continues to be underrated. The game is at UCLA, but that is the farthest thing from a home field advantage in college football, especially with a noon local kickoff time. I expect the Cougars to win, but I’ll take the 3.5 points for insurance. 

Alabama at Texas A&M (+1.5)
If this article was written on Sunday, Texas A&M would’ve been the upset pick this week (the line was 3.5). Now it’s practically a pick’em, and I pick the Aggies. Bama has struggled on the road for the past few years, and I don’t see that trend changing. Once again, I’ll take the 1.5 just in case we get a flukey result and Bama pulls it out by 1.

Colorado (-4.5) at Arizona State
How the mighty have fallen. The Buffs lose 2 games and all hope is lost. Back in reality, this team is still massively over performing compared to preseason expectations. Everyone is fading Colorado right now, and the line movement shows it. I’m going the other way, Deion wins the bounceback game comfortably. 

Kentucky (+14.5) at Georgia
Georgia keeps winning close due to their inability to start fast. I don’t know what changes they could’ve made to fix that issue in the last 7 days, and Kentucky will be the best team they’ve played yet this year. Gimme the Wildcats to make this a good game. 

Notre Dame (-6.5) at Louisville – Favorite Pick
Scheduling wise, a lot of outlets are marking this game as a Notre Dame letdown spot. It’s after 2 tough games, and right before USC. I just don’t see it that way. Notre Dame is a great team that is dying to blow someone out. Louisville is overrated. Yes, they’re ranked and undefeated, but the wins are close and against bad teams. Louisville could easily be 2-3. The gold domes take care of business. 

Georgia Tech at Miami (-20.5)
Georgia Tech just got blown out by Bowling Green. Miami is better than Bowling Green. 

Oregon State (-9.5) at Cal
The Beavers are good. They handled Utah without issue, now they do the same with Cal.

How I’ve Done so far this Season:

Upset Picks must be +3 or greater to be “Upsets”

Favorite Picks: 4-2 (Oregon delivered, Washington did not)
Upset Picks: 3-3 (There weren’t many upsets last week, I was better off not picking one)
Total Record ATS: 24-15-1 (4-4 last week – not good enough to beat the juice)

*These picks are to express my opinion on games from a point spread perspective. I am not advocating for you, the reader, to gamble on any of these games. Please bet responsibly.

Want more Walk On Fan? 

Check out this week’s Wisco Wednesday: We look at the upcoming Rutgers game and talk about some of last week’s B1G games.

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This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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