The 2023 college football season moves into Week 6 with a slate of games which is not spectacular but does contain some real intrigue in different conferences across the country. One game stands out from the rest: the last Oklahoma-Texas game in the Big 12 Conference. Next year’s Oklahoma-Texas game will occur with both schools being new members of the SEC.
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns (in Dallas)
Odds: Texas -5.5
This is the really big game of the week. Texas and Oklahoma are both unbeaten, and they have had similar seasons. Texas struggled against Wyoming and has looked average for portions of games against Rice and Kansas. Oklahoma struggled against SMU and has looked average parts of games against Cincinnati and Iowa State. Texas looked great against Alabama, and Oklahoma looked great versus Arkansas State and Tulsa. Strictly based on the opponents these teams have played, Texas looks like the better team and should indeed be favored in this game.
However, Texas’ offense under quarterback Quinn Ewers has not been relentlessly consistent this year. Oklahoma, with former UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel under center, has the more experienced and proven quarterback in this game. Oklahoma’s defense under head coach Brent Venables is a lot better than it was last year. Venables needed a full offseason after his first season as OU head coach to truly instill the scheme and principles he wanted to have with the Sooners. Oklahoma’s newfound stability on defense can be the source of a strong defensive performance against a Texas offense which still has a lot to prove. Oklahoma might not win, but it will keep this game very close to the end and will ultimately cover the spread. It would not be surprising to see Texas win by a field goal.
Pick: Oklahoma +5.5
Colorado Buffaloes at Arizona State Sun Devils
Odds: Colorado -4.5
The Colorado Buffaloes have given up an average of 45 points in their last two games: 42 at Oregon, 48 versus USC. They have lost two straight games and look a lot more mortal than they did a few weeks ago. They also don’t have star two-way player Travis Hunter, a very good receiver and cornerback who has made big plays on both sides of the ball. There are lots of reasons to not pick Colorado this week, and there are lots of reasons to think that the Coach Prime Deion Sanders magic has worn off and was probably overstated.
However, one has to look at the opponent and the larger overall situation when considering a pick. Even if one team is struggling, the other opponent might be struggling even more and might be more vulnerable. Such is the case with Arizona State entering Week 6. Arizona State has been torn apart by injuries. It’s not a matter of one or two injuries at various positions. It’s a situation in which Arizona State has only six healthy offensive linemen and only five scholarship linebackers. ASU basically has zero depth at two specific and very important positions on the field. The Sun Devils have hugely inexperienced players at both position groups and would be in even bigger trouble if they suffer at least one injury during the game at both spots. Colorado is an average team, not a good team, but with Arizona State’s complete lack of depth at offensive line and linebacker, the Buffaloes should be able to limit damage on defense and score in reasonably big numbers on offense. With the point spread being relatively small, Colorado is a good pick here.
Pick: Colorado -4.5
Maryland Terrapins at Ohio State Buckeyes
Odds: Ohio State -19.5
The Maryland Terrapins are an unbeaten team through the first five weeks of the season. This game against Ohio State is therefore a matchup of unbeaten teams. That’s why the game is receiving a considerable amount of attention. However, Maryland doesn’t belong in the same conversation as Ohio State. The Terrapins are a middle-of-the-road Big Ten team which should lose every game it plays against the top teams in the conference. Maryland has not shown that it can beat the top teams in the Big Ten – not this year, and not in previous years.
Maryland has played five bad teams so far this season Towson, Charlotte, Virginia, Michigan State, and Indiana. At least three of those five teams might have a new head coach next year. Maryland could not have had a smoother, easier schedule through the month of September. This game feels like a complete reality check for the Terps. They are about to get blown out.
Pick: Ohio State -19.5
LSU Tigers at Missouri Tigers
Odds: LSU -4.5
LSU is a team in crisis right now. The Bayou Bengals were a preseason national championship contender under head coach Brian Kelly, but they have lost twice before the midpoint of the season. LSU lost to Florida State in the season opener and then at Ole Miss this past Saturday. The Tigers have a horrible defense. They allowed 55 points in the loss to Ole Miss, which is absolutely ridiculous. It’s hard to understand how LSU went from being the SEC West champion last year to a total trainwreck on defense this year. LSU’s ability to field a reasonably competitive defense is in great doubt heading to Missouri. This game figures to be very high scoring. LSU is certainly not a lock to win. However, LSU should be able to score a very high number of points in its own right behind quarterback Jayden Daniels. LSU should still be able to win this game and cover the spread, probably with a 49-42 final score or something in that ballpark. Over is probably a good bet – even if the line is pretty high at YouWager and other sportsbooks.
Pick: LSU -4.5
Alabama Crimson Tide at Texas A&M Aggies
Odds: Alabama -1
This is a fascinating game. Alabama is a weak and vulnerable team this year, but the Crimson Tide have looked better the past few weeks under quarterback Jalen Milroe. They have beaten Ole Miss and Mississippi State without a lot of drama. The problem for Alabama in this game could be that Texas A&M might have stumbled into a better quarterback situation. Conner Weigman, the Day 1 starter, got hurt.
However, Max Johnson – originally the backup for this team – actually looks like a better quarterback than Weigman was. Johnson knows Alabama well, having played at LSU before transferring to the Aggies. He gives A&M a better chance to win this game. Ultimately, though, Alabama’s defense is for real, and it will stop A&M when it really matters.
Pick: Alabama -1
Syracuse Orange at North Carolina Tar Heels
Odds: North Carolina -9.5
This is an intriguing game involving Heisman Trophy contender Drake Maye of North Carolina. The Tar Heels should be able to handle the Syracuse Orange in an ACC game, but North Carolina struggled earlier in the season against Appalachian State, raising real questions about the Tar Heels’ consistency. North Carolina will win outright, but the spread is a hard one to call. We’ll give the slightest edge to Carolina but would recommend you stay away from a point-spread play here.
Pick: North Carolina -9.5
Kentucky Wildcats at Georgia Bulldogs
Odds: Georgia -14.5
This is the second straight week Georgia is a 14.5-point favorite as Bovada has them at that number. Last year’s Georgia team was usually favored by a lot more points, given that it had national championship talent and was able to go all the way and lift the championship trophy in January. This Georgia team is clearly not as good as the 2022 national championship group. That’s why the spread is lower. The spread is also lower because Georgia did not cover a 14.5-point spread last week against a not-very-good Auburn team. Kentucky, which just beat Florida by 19 points, has a very good defense. The Wildcats might not win this game on the road, but they do have a really good chance of being able to keep the game close. Some people will say that Georgia is due for a game in which it plays especially well and finally stops making basic mistakes. Yet, Georgia has to prove that before being given the benefit of the doubt against the spread.
Pick: Kentucky +14.5
Michigan Wolverines at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Odds: Michigan -18.5
This is another road game for Michigan. The last one against Nebraska went extremely well. Michigan won by almost 40 points and easily covered a double-digit spread. There’s little reason to doubt the Wolverines as they play a struggling Minnesota team which lost to Northwestern earlier this season. Michigan should win big.
Pick: Michigan -18.5
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Louisville Cardinals
Odds: Notre Dame -6.5
This is a fascinating game between once-beaten Notre Dame and unbeaten Louisville. Notre Dame should be tougher and stronger at the line of scrimmage, but the Fighting Irish have had consistent problems scoring this season. They don’t have elite and especially fast wide receivers and have had a hard time stretching the field to get opposing defenders out of place. Louisville is 5-0 and will be very excited for this game under head coach Jeff Brohm. Louisville will be very motivated. However, motivation doesn’t win ballgames if the opponent has better players and superior line play. Notre Dame will wear down Louisville over the course of four full quarters.
Pick: Notre Dame -6.5
Virginia Tech Hokies at Florida State Seminoles
Odds: Florida State -23.5
This is a blowout in the making. Florida State has not played many games at home this season. Its opener was in Orlando against LSU. FSU visited Boston College and Clemson and will relish coming home to Tallahassee against a bad Virginia Tech team. FSU should win by at least 35 points, which is what they’re priced at at BetOnline Sportsbook.