By Todd Fuhrman
Rivalry Week is here (kind of) bringing with it some of the classic matchups we know and love as fans of the game. Oklahoma, #5 in our Bet the Board Top 10, heads to the Cotton Bowl to take on an upstart Texas Longhorn squad in the weekend’s marquee match-up. Notre Dame continues to climb up our rankings with another chance for a resume building victory at Virginia Tech under Ian Book’s direction and the suddenly explosive big play offense. Our overrate and underrated squads reside in the SEC this week, and after reading, our Best Bet should not be a surprise given how we feel about each of them.
Bet the Board Top 10 Week 6:
3.) Ohio State
8.) Notre Dame
10.) Penn State
Kentucky is 5-0 and ascended to #13 in the popularity poll after their home victory over South Carolina. The Wildcats have caught the attention of even the most casual college football fan with upsets against Florida, Mississippi St, and the aforementioned Gamecocks. Kentucky is doing an excellent job defensively, holding opponents to just 4.2 yards per play while workhorse back, Benny Snell has thrown his hat into consideration for a Heisman trophy where he’s currently 50/1 at BetOnline.ag to win the prestigious award. While Kentucky continues to achieve they just don’t belong in the Top 15 of any true power poll. They rank 100th in yards per pass attempt this year and if their running game can be neutralized (by, say, a defensive front like Texas A&M?), there’s zero confidence they can win a conference game through the air. While Kentucky has been impressive and Mark Stoops deserves a world of credit for this torrid start, their on-field performance isn’t quite as lofty as the accolades being heaped on them by the media.
Underrated: Texas A&M
The Aggies are just one game above .500, but their only two losses have come against the #1 and #4 teams in our Top 10, Alabama and Clemson. A&M’s run defense is proving to be superb, holding opponents to 3.3 yards per carry despite facing two teams in the Top 20 in rushing offense. They’re back in the Top 25 in offensive efficiency and Top 50 in defensive efficiency (again, it’s critical to factor in 2 of their 5 games have been against Top 5 opponents). With a big home game looming this week vs. Kentucky, Texas A&M can make a major statement with a dominating win vs an undefeated SEC foe.
Best Bet: Texas A&M -5.5
When our overrated (Kentucky) and underrated (Texas A&M) teams are playing each other you better believe we’re going to be going to the window with a ticket on the game. The Aggies should be able to stuff Benny Snell and the Wildcat running game this week, forcing the Wildcats to become rather one dimensional. Kentucky’s passing offense leaves a lot to be desired and A&M won’t be intimidated after facing both Clemson and Alabama this year. This is Texas A&M’s only home game over a 6-game stretch and Kyle field is sure to be rocking with the undefeated Wildcats coming into town. Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher knows Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops all too well; Stoops worked as a defensive coordinator under Jimbo many moons ago. This line opened -6.5, and though it has dropped, we expect this number to tick back up closer to 7 by game-time.