Week Six Predictions
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With a record of 49-11 (82%) after five weeks of picking, I am keeping myself positioned to be in this thing deep into the season...The Pick'em Contest crown has eluded me for six seasons, but this year I'm going to make a run at glory!
Here are my picks for the games of week six....
#25 Maryland (4-0) at #8 Florida State (4-0) - Noon - ESPN - This could be the game of the day in the whole country right here. Maryland is one of the hottest teams in America at 4-0 while FSU features NFL talent galore and a freshman QB in Jameis Winston that is making a quick impact in the ACC. The Terps will be a very tough opponent for the Seminoles on this day, but in the end Florida State will make just enough plays to stay unbeaten. Maryland gets Clemson at home, so if they can pull the upset, they would theoretically be in the driver's seat of the ACC Atlantic. Florida State, 34-29.
Michigan State (3-1) at Iowa (4-1) - Noon - ESPN2 - I haven't shown Iowa the love up to this point, and it is because they opened with a loss then played four mediocre teams. But if they can beat Michigan State this weekend at home, I will certainly pay them more attention. The Spartans are annually tough and have had two weeks to mull over their grueling loss on the road to Notre Dame. Iowa's defense is the key to this game, defending home turf. We all know the Spartans will play D, but if Iowa QB Jake Rudock can put 20 points up on his home field, I think Iowa wins. Iowa, 21-17.
Illinois (3-1) at Nebraska (3-1) - 12:30 - ESPNU - I can tell you one thing, Nebraska fans are probably pretty tired of kicking off in the morning and playing on third-tier channels this far into the season. Yes, a win over UCLA would probably see this game on ABC at 2:30 (local) instead of 11 AM, but it is what it is, and I'll stop complaining for them. Nebraska will beat Illinois, but I still am not off of Pelini's back. The Huskers deserve better. They are good enough to win games like this, over average competition, but are a fringe top 25 program at the moment - not Husker standards. QB Taylor Martinez goes big in this game. Nebraska, 33-17.
North Carolina (1-3) at Virginia Tech (4-1) - 12:30 - ESPN3.com - I've said many times that I was big on Larry Fedora coming in as the Tar Heel coach a season ago. But after going 8-4 in year one, he is staring a 1-4 record directly in the face as his club travels to Blacksburg this weekend. VT is on a rebound of sorts after the opening day loss to Alabama as they have won four-in-a-row and just went on the road to defeat Georgia Tech. They are a serious contender in the hunt for the ACC Coastal. It would be intersting to see UNC get a program-changing win here. But a 1-3 record means there is trouble, and VT is not the place you want to be when you have issues. Virginia Tech, 31-20.
#3 Clemson (4-0) at Syracuse (2-2) - 3:30 - ABC regional - Syracuse decided to spout off at the mouth a bit this week, and though it was just a fun comment or two about Clemson not being ready for what the 'Cuse and the Carrier Dome are gonna do, it may be just enough to get Clemson's full attention. The Tigers are more talented across the board, but a long road trip can be a major distraction. It is in games like this where QB Tajh Boyd can do work, keep CU in the top five, and go down as an all-time great...or he can lose control of his offense and see his team get upset...This game is a scare as 50,000 fans will have the dome rowdy for their first ACC game, but Clemson has the weapons to handle it. Clemson, 35-23.
Minnesota (4-1) at #19 Michigan (4-0) - 3:30 - ABC regional - I never thought I would see the day where Michigan was 4-0 and barely in the top 20 of the major polls. But here it is. Voters have the Akron game squarely in their memories and UM needs a big-time win to erase those thoughts. Minnesota is no push-over and will put up a fight against the Wolverines in the Big House. But I like Devon Gardner and crew to make plays and put some points up. If Michigan is to have a big season, they need to take care of business in a game like this, win convincingly, and start working their way up the polls. Another squeeker win at home isn't going to change their national perception. Michigan, 37-17.
#6 Georgia (3-1) at Tennessee (3-2) - 3:30 - CBS - If you are a Dawg fan, this game scares you to death! Here is a rivalry game on the road coming straight off of an emotional home win over LSU. Tennessee has been beaten up both on the field and in the press as they try to rebuild, and a win over Georgia would be exactly what the doctor ordered in Knoxville....I am so tempted to pick Tennessee I can't stand it. But I also think Aaron Murray and company get it rolling at some point and pull away. The atmosphere for this game will be exciting, and I can't wait to watch it go down! Georgia, 36-28.
Georgia Tech (3-1) at #14 Miami (4-0) - 3:30 - ESPNU - We will know a lot more about the ACC Coastal after this Saturday as a couple of big games go down. If the Hurricanes want to be back in the national talks, a win here would go a long way in doing that. GT isn't a powerhouse, but they are respectable enough and have a tricky gameplan to defend. I think the Jackets get a few scores, but that Miami answers those scores and then some. An upset here would not surprise me a bit, but I have to go with the home guys - after all, this game is on the "U." Miami, 33-26.
#24 Ole Miss (3-1) at Auburn (3-1) - 7:00 - ESPNU - Of all of the games in this week's list for the Pick'em Contest, this is the game that I actually stopped and mulled over for the longest amount of time. On one hand you have a young, talented Ole Miss squad that sees their only loss on the road at Alabama. On the other hand, you have Auburn starting to get settled in under Gus Malzahn. The Tigers are always tough at home - especially at night. In this case, it is just too hard for me to pick against Auburn at home. Over the years, they have nearly always found a way to defend Jordan-Hare Stadium, and until I see that start to change, I have to pick the home guys. Auburn, 28-24.
Arkansas (3-2) at #18 Florida (3-1) - 7:00 - ESPN2 - The Gators are looking for some offense to go along with what is a pretty solid defense. With QB Jeff Driskel out for the season with a broken leg, it gets even tougher for Coach Will Muschamp to find some yardage and points. Tyler Murphy went 15 of 18 against Kentucky and can help the Gators control the ball. They lead the NCAA in time-of-possesion at 38 minutes per game. Bret Bielema is going to do good things at Arkansas, but he hasn't had time yet and I think Florida is still better at this point....and in the Swamp for this one. Florida, 26-20.
TCU (2-2) at #11 Oklahoma (4-0) - 7:00 - FOX - Is this a trap game for Oklahoma? Sandwiched in-between Notre Dame and arch-rival Texas, TCU is a tough opponent that could sneak into Norman and knock OU from the national title hunt. The Horned Frogs are dangerous. Last week they broke a 17-17 tie with SMU by scoring 31-straight points to win 48-17. They know how to play football under long-time coach Gary Patterson and if the Sooners look ahead - or are still basking in their road win at South Bend - they will lose this game. As per my predictable predictions, i will predict the home team wins...but this will be a great game! Oklahoma, 27-21.
Kentucky (1-3) at #13 South Carolina (3-1) - 7:30 - ESPN3.com - South Carolina returns home after a win on the road at Central Florida. QB Connor Shaw suffered a shoulder injury, but it was announced today that he will play Saturday. He is a gritty player and I expect him to have a solid day leading USC to an SEC win. Kentucky just isn't good at all, and if USC has troubles in this one then I will have to rethink my thoughts on the Gamecocks. As of now, I see them as dangerous on offense (Mike Davis becoming a serious running back) and with serious potential on defense. I'd like to see them wax Kentucky to verify these thoughts. South Carolina, 38-10.
#22 Arizona State (3-1) vs Notre Dame (3-2) - 7:30 - NBC - This game will be played in Jerry's World in Arlington, Texas...As this is a neutral site game, I think ASU is the team to pick here. I admire the way they played against Stanford on the road. They went down 29-0, but stormed back and made it a game as the fourth quarter got interesting...I know Notre Dame is the big name here and despite their shortcomings it still seems as if they should be picked. But on the field, I think the Sun Devils are strong and that the bowl game type of atmosphere of this game will be in their favor. Arizona State, 28-21.
#4 Ohio State (5-0) at #16 Northwestern (4-0) - 8:00 - ABC - I am always a wimp and never pick upsets...but I finally will here! ESPN's College Gameday program is in Evanston for the first time in years (maybe ever) and the excitement level in the Wildcat program is at an all-time high. This is very likely the first time I have picked against Urban Meyer (and it may be the last), but I think the emotion factor of college football is with Northwestern in this big home game, and I see them knocking off a top five team. Yes, the Buckeyes have great players and Meyer is a great coach, but for some reason, I think Northwestern gets it done. Northwestern, 30-28.
#15 Washington (4-0) at #5 Stanford (4-0) - 10:30 - ESPN - Here is where Stanford can pick up some points with the poll voters...if they can just get the win first! The Huskies have climbed into the top 15 and into a lot of national discussions with a 4-0 start, including a whalloping of Boise State to start it off. The home Cardinal can make a case for #3 - or better - if they can dismantle Washington on national TV. This is the late game, and some East coast viewers may miss it. But the scores and highlights will not lie, and if Stanford wants to get serious about this national title thing, here is step one. Stanford, 40-20.
* All rankings AP, all times EST
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