Week Six Predictions
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Several huge games go down once again this weekend. Here are my predictions for week six...
#11 Texas (4-0, 1-0) vs. #3 Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0) - 12:00 - ABC - From Dallas, TX - We all know this is the big game with the funny name. The Red River Shootout, er Rivalry, whatever. Basically, it is a huge game between two undefeated, storied programs. OU is receiving most of the attention entering this matchup because they have been #1 for several weeks this year. But Mack Brown isn't among the highest paid college football coaches for nothing. He will have his team ready for a piece of the national spotlight. I think the Horns can not only hang with the Sooners, but that they can beat them, too, with a solid defense. Texas, 29-25.
Maryland (2-2, 1-0) at #13 Georgia Tech (5-0, 2-0) - 12:00 - ESPNU - The Yellow Jackets and their nation's best rushing attack (378.2 ypg) will welcome in the Terps of UM, who are giving up 26 ppg, 66th in the country. I look for GT to score a lot here. That isn't the boldest of predictions, but it is what it is. Maryland is horrible on offense, ranking 88th nationwide at just 24.5 ppg. While anything can happen in college football, this, to me, is a pretty safe pick. Until somebody steps up and knocks them off, GT is looking like the class of the Coastal Division. Georgia Tech, 43-21.
Connecticut (2-3, 0-0) at #16 West Virginia (4-1, 0-0) - 12:00 - ESPN3.com - One of my favorite squads outside of my own, WVU, is once again a top 15 type program. To stay there, they must beat a UConn team that comes into this game with a pretty good D, giving up just 18.4 ppg which is 24th nationwide. They will go up against a Mountaineer offense, though, that is led by one of the best minds in the game, Head Coach Dana Holgorsen. The 'Neers are racking up over 40 ppg under their first year leader, and I see them maintaining that average in this one. West Virginia, 42-21.
Kentucky (2-3, 0-2) at #18 South Carolina (4-1, 2-1) - 12:21 - ESPN3.com - I am betting that USC will show a little something this week with a fresh breath of energy as Connor Shaw takes over at QB. Stephen Garcia's play was mediocre through five games, and to me, Spurrier has made the right call to get Shaw some snaps. After all, Garcia has just seven games left in his college career, and it doesn't seem logical to me to stick with him. Meanwhile, Kentucky would have a hard time beating a high school team right now. The Cats are bad, and will get steamrolled, despite the QB situation for the Gamecocks. South Carolina, 33-13.
#23 Florida State (2-2, 0-1) at Wake Forest (3-1, 2-0) - 12:30 - ESPN3.com - The Seminoles have lost two good football games to two pretty good top ten football teams. So while any national impact for this season is probably gone, an ACC Atlantic crown still is a possibility for FSU with so many games remaining. They can start to climb back towards that goal against a surprising Deacon team that is 2-0 in ACC play, having defeated NC State and BC. Wake has been riding the arm of sophomore QB Tanner Price, who has 1,119 yards passing with seven scores in 2011 (just two picks). This will be a very good game, and the 'Noles will be lucky to leave town alive. I'm picking FSU, but trust me, this will be a close one. Florida State, 33-28.
Boston College (1-4, 0-2) at #8 Clemson (5-0, 2-0) - 3:00 - ESPN3.com - Don't look now Tiger fans (really, don't) but your team is on a roll. The excitement level is at a generation-long high, and the end of the world could come to Tiger Town if CU was to slip up in this game. After three hard-core weeks, the Tigers could overlook a lowly BC team. But it will not happen. Besides being a much more talented team, this squad has adopted an attitude of one-game-at-a-time, and this was clearly addressed all week by Clemson's coaches and players. Of course, BC will send eleven guys out on the field just as Clemson will, but the difference in this game is that the Tigers have a ton to play for and the Eagles do not. Oh yeah, CU also has OC Chad Morris and some serious weapons on offense...and the Eagles do not. Clemson, 44-10.
#17 Florida (4-1, 2-1) at #1 LSU (5-0, 2-0) - 3:30 - CBS - Well, I have LSU as my top team in the land, and now it is time for them to defend that. These aren't the chompiest (is that a word?) Gators of the last decade, but they are OK. I know, I know, Alabama pummeled them at home six days ago. And yes, LSU plays D like the Tide does. But I still think this will be one heck of a ballgame. In the end, I think LSU finds a way to come away with a win (we are talking Les Miles here), but for all of those folks that think Florida is going to go into Tiger Stadium and get embarassed - think again. The Gator defense is 13th nationally at 14.8 ppg, and I think they will slow LSU down a bit. LSU, 30-24.
Iowa (3-1, 0-0) at Penn State (4-1, 1-0) - 3:30 - ABC/ESPN regional - My ranking of Penn State at 23rd in my weekly poll drew mixed reviews, but I stand by it. Is PSU a nationally elite team? No. Are they a Big Ten challenger? Probably not. But they have good players and a coaching staff that has been winning games since the Bronze Age...Enter Iowa. Here is a team that is used to being in the top 15, but in 2011 finds themselves unranked. The Hawkeyes can score, ranking 20th nationwide at 37.8 ppg. They are led by junior QB James Vandenburg, who has ten TDs, just one INT, and 1,095 yards passing already in 2011...This should be a whale of a game. We have a die-hard Hawkeye on the site who will not like this pick, but I am going with the Lions at home with a strong defense. PSU, 26-21.
Miami (2-2, 0-1) at #21 Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-1) - 3:30 - ABC/ESPN regional - It was probably a painfully long week of practice for the Hokies. Both the offensive unit (scored just three points) and the defensive unit (allowed 23) most-likely had a week they would rather forget. The Hurricanes have probably also seen enough of the practice field. Miami lost to Kansas State at home two weeks back, and first-year HC Brady Hoke isn't the type to stand for that kind of stuff. You can bet his team will also be ready to play. In this game, I feel Miami will catch VT in a bad mood. Maybe Tech isn't as strong as in year's past, but they still have the elements to beat Miami at home, and that is what I think will happen. VT, 34-24.
#15 Auburn (4-1, 2-0) at #10 Arkansas (4-1, 0-1) - 7:00 - ESPN - Both of these teams are coming off of hard-fought, defensive wins, on the road, a week ago. The question now is what team wants to do it again? I am super hesitant to pick against Auburn. After winning 18 of their last 19 games, including 13 straight SEC wins, I am a fool to pick against War Eagle. But I think Arkansas can really play, and at home, they will play well. They average just beneath 40 ppg scored, and are holding teams to 22 ppg. There are very few schools in the nation I respect more on the gridiron than Auburn, but for the second straight week I am picking their opposition. I was proven wrong a week ago...Arkansas, 33-24.
#24 Texas A&M (2-2, 0-1) at Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0) - 7:00 - FX - Ah, what do with Texas A&M. I correctly predicted preseason that this team was way overrated (#7 national rank AP). Sure enough, two losses in five weeks later, they are proven not to be national title contenders. But as much as I give them a hard time, I still think they are pretty good - top 25 even. So after a couple of close losses to Oklahoma State and Arkansas, I think I will predict A&M to bounce back with a win - a win that is just good enough for Mike Sherman to maintain his .500 record with the program over four-plus seasons. Aggies, don't let me down. I am hesitant to pick you. Texas A&M, 36-29.
Georgia (3-2, 2-1) at Tennessee (3-1, 0-1) - 7:00 - ESPN2 - One of the best rivalries in the South will go down from the checkered end zoned field of Neyland Stadium. UT is showing some life under Derek Dooley in year two. Though they already have a loss (Florida), they seem focused. UGA, has two heartbreaking losses already this season (Boise State and South Carolina) as they try to win for embattled Coach Mark Richt. If they can win this one, momentum could seriously build as Vandy is up next, followed by a date with Florida. A small winning streak could get UGA back into the SEC East hunt. I think it will start Saturday in Knoxville. Georgia, 30-27.
Colorado (1-4, 0-1) at #7 Stanford (4-0, 2-0) - 7:30 - Versus - This is one of those games I would bet my house on. Colorado will get pummeled in this one as Stanford piles on the points to look good for the rankings. The Buffaloes just aren't very good while I consider Stanford to be one of the top teams in not only the Pac-12, but nationwide. QB Andrew Luck is trying to stay a Heisman front-runner, and this is a stat-padding game for him. He will try to add to his eleven TDs and 1,013 passing yards. This one could get ugly, and I am picking it to do just that. Stanford, 50-7.
Ohio State (3-2, 0-1) at #14 Nebraska (4-1, 0-1) - 8:00 - ABC - With all of the electricity that will be in the stands for the Huskers first ever Big Ten home game, you can bet the team will be ready. On top of that, Coach Bo Pelini probably just gave his team the hardest week of practice they have ever had following their dismal performance in Madison last week. OSU is not that great of a team this year, but still has some players. I expect them to put up a good fight. But this game just seems to be all about the Huskers. They will bounce back of the loss and will play a solid home game before a wild home crowd with QB Taylor Martinez redeeming himself. Nebraska, 37-27.
Washington State (3-1, 1-0) at UCLA (2-3, 1-1) 10:30 - I am not a fan of Bruin Coach Rick Neuheisel. I think he is mediocre to the very definition. He is 17-25 at his alma mater over four years, and already has three losses here in 2011. I would love to see WSU go into LA and put him out of his misery. But I think Neuheisel will win this one, and just enough more this year, to carry over into yet another weak season in 2012.
* All times Eastern, all rankings AP
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