Predictions and Picks for College Football Week 6
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Week 5 of the college football season was without a doubt the best and most entertaining weekend that we've seen so far this year.
It only takes one quick look at this Saturday's schedule, however, to realize that Week 6 has the chance to be even better.
There are a ton of crucial conference showdowns to tune in for, such as Georgia vs. South Carolina, LSU vs. Florida, West Virginia vs. Texas and Nebraska vs. Ohio State.
Here's a look at a few predictions for how Saturday's key action will play out.
Manti Te'o Will Have a Heisman-Caliber Performance
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
If Tyrann Mathieu could make it to New York City for the performance he had last season, then Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o definitely deserves an invitation for the season he's having so far in 2012.
Te'o has been the best defensive player in college football.
The senior middle 'backer has racked up 38 tackles, including 16 solo stops, in four games.
QB Stephen Morris and the Miami offense better beware, because Te'o is playing like a man on a mission this year.
Georgia vs. South Carolina: The Real Game of the Century
Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
The matchup between No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 South Carolina isn't getting nearly the same type of attention that either of the two games between LSU and Alabama did last year.
Don't be surprised, however, if the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks end up playing a great game that's actually worthy of that illustrious title.
Washington Will Come Back Down to Earth
Steve Sarkisian and Chip Kelly
Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
Washington just got done "upsetting" an overrated Stanford team that didn't belong near the Top 10 anyway.
The Huskies have been celebrating since last Thursday, but that celebration will come to a destructive end against Oregon at Autzen Stadium.
Les Miles Will Get Tricky
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Les Miles hasn't pulled any tricks out of his hat just yet, but he may finally break out a surprise or two against Florida on Saturday.
Miles ran a fake field goal against the Gators back in 2010, which almost cost him a shot at victory.
The always daring coach is surely eager to get everybody talking about one of his crazy decisions.
So, what will it be?
A fake field goal?
A double-pass play?
Having Tyrann Mathieu come running out at halftime to make a triumphant return to action?
Admit it, that third scenario would be pretty interesting.
Denard Robinson’s Reputation Will Keep Sinking
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Everyone has always wanted to embrace Michigan QB Denard Robinson and call him an elite player since he started off the 2010 season with that remarkable five-game run.
The truth is, however, that Robinson may be a great runner, but he's certainly not a true dual-threat quarterback.
Brady Hoke and Al Borges have ruined any chance Robinson had of being a truly dominant player.
After embarrassing performances against Alabama and Notre Dame, Robinson's reputation will take yet another hit against Purdue on Saturday.
No Team Will Take the No. 1 Spot from Alabama
Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Texas all have the chance to add a victory over a Top 10 team to their 2012 resumes this weekend.
Still, no matter who wins this weekend's biggest battles, no team in the country will be able to steal away the No. 1 position from Alabama.
The Tide are off in Week 6, but the team will still hold on to the top poll position going into Week 7, no matter what happens on Saturday.
Stefon Diggs Will Score 3 Touchdowns
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs looks like he could be this year's biggest star freshman receiver.
Diggs scored two touchdowns against West Virginia in Week 4, but he'll outdo himself this weekend against Wake Forest, scoring three touchdowns on the Demon Deacons.
Michigan State on Upset Alert?
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Michigan State has not looked like a true Big Ten contender early in the season, losing two of its first five games.
The Spartans would seem to be a much better team on paper than Indiana. However, the Hoosiers have the home-field advantage, and they could possibly pick off Mark Dantonio's underachieving squad.
Boise State Will Slip Up
Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE
Boise State has not looked like a vintage Chris Petersen-coached team so far this season.
The Broncos are 3-1, but they have not looked impressive, especially on offense.
Now, they have to go down to Southern Miss for an early-afternoon game. That could be a recipe for disaster.
Penn State's Defense Will Stymie Northwestern
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Northwestern's offense has featured one of the most productive and powerful attacks in college football this season.
The Wildcats are averaging nearly 34 points and 467 yards per game in 2012. However, they could have a tough time producing at that level against Penn State on Saturday.
The Nittany Lions defense, led by linebackers Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti, has really started to gel and come together in the last couple of weeks.
The Rutgers Train Will Keep Rolling
Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Rutgers is 4-0 after the first month of the season, which may surprise some onlookers who expected the team to fall backwards after losing head coach Greg Schiano.
New coach Kyle Flood has come in and stabilized the program.
With Flood at the helm, it looks like Rutgers has the chance to compete for a Big East title in 2012.
That journey to a conference championship will continue with a win over UConn on Saturday.
Duke Will Move to 5-1
Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE
It's not often that you see a team like Duke with five wins after six weeks, but that could be exactly what we see after this weekend.
The Blue Devils have compiled a 4-1 record going into this Saturday's matchup with Virginia.
The Cavaliers offense has looked listless in the last three games, and it's going to be tough to rebound on the road.
Obviously, if Duke can get to 5-1, it would make clinching a bowl berth a whole lot easier.
Will We See a Brett Nottingham Appearance?
Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
Stanford is 3-1 and ranked in the Top 20. However, the Cardinal have not gotten great play out of quarterback Josh Nunes so far this season.
Nunes has completed just 52 percent of his passes and thrown four interceptions.
If the junior signal-caller continues to struggle against Arizona on Saturday, we could finally see a Brett Nottingham relief appearance.
Arkansas and Auburn Will Actually Play an Entertaining Game
Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Arkansas and Auburn have been two of the most disappointing teams of the early part of the season. The Razorbacks and the Tigers have combined to go just 2-7 this year.
Still, that doesn't mean that the two squads won't be able to put on an entertaining show when they meet at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
James Franklin Will Win on Saturday
Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE
On Saturday, we'll get to see the "Battle of the James Franklins!"
Missouri quarterback James Franklin will host Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin's Commodores.
So, which Franklin will prevail?
Well, let's just say that I fully expect the Tigers to pick up their first-ever SEC win this weekend.
Illinois Will Regain Some Respect
Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE
Illinois has been blown out in three of its last four games to Arizona State, Louisiana Tech and most recently Penn State last weekend.
The Illini are watching their season begin to spiral out of control. Now, they'll have to show some resiliency during a difficult road game against Wisconsin.
While it's going to be tough to take down the Badgers in Camp Randall Stadium, Illinois is definitely capable of giving them a serious push on Saturday.
South Florida’s Slide Will Continue
Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Watching QB B.J. Daniels hurl the ball out of bounds on fourth down with less than two minutes to go down 13 to Florida State is the type of play that tells you all you need to know about this year's South Florida team.
Right now, there's no reason to have any faith in the Bulls, who will be playing on the road at Temple on Saturday.
Will Dayne Crist Have a Super Performance?
John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE
No. Of course not.
Kansas State will embarrass its in-state rival on Saturday.
Munchie Mania Will Continue
Paul Frederiksen-US PRESSWIRE
Cincinnati QB Munchie Legaux has led the Bearcats to a 3-0 start this season—a record that includes a huge recent win over Virginia Tech in Week 5.
Leguax certainly isn't an elite passer, but he has a special unmistakable quality about him.
The dual-threat signal-caller will continue to impress this weekend at home against Miami (Ohio).
Ricardo Allen Will Have a Breakout Game
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Purdue's Ricardo Allen is one of the best cornerbacks in the country. However, Allen has yet to become a big-time national name just yet.
Allen could finally have his coming-out party against Michigan on Saturday.
QB Denard Robinson has been inaccurate and inconsistent as a passer this season.
Allen is the type of ball hawk who will definitely take advantage if Robinson makes an ill-advised throw.
TCU Will Struggle Without Casey Pachall
John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE
TCU may be 4-0 and ranked in the Top 20. However, it's not as if the Horned Frogs have overwhelmed opponents this season.
The team looked extremely ineffective against SMU last week.
Now, Gary Patterson's squad will have to face a tough Iowa State team without QB Casey Pachall, who has been suspended following a DWI arrest.
Without Pachall, the Horned Frogs offense could have trouble moving the ball consistently against the Cyclones.
Washington State Will Get Blown out Again
Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Last week, Washington State played Oregon tough for a half before eventually losing to the Ducks 51-26.
This weekend, the Cougars could be in store for another blowout when they face Oregon State.
The 3-0 Beavers are starting to surge, and they're going to be just too much for Mike Leach's team to handle.
David Ash Will Outduel Geno Smith
Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
West Virginia QB Geno Smith may have all of the Heisman buzz at this point in the season. However, Smith has yet to face a secondary that's anywhere near as talented as the one Texas has.
The Mountaineers offense could struggle in its first true road test of the season against a talented Longhorn defense.
It wouldn't be all that shocking if Texas' David Ash is the top-performing quarterback on the field on Saturday night.
Bo Wallace Will Outduel Johnny Manziel
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Just like Geno Smith, Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel has enjoyed a very strong start to the 2012 season.
Manziel has only played in four games, but he's already established himself as one of the most entertaining, must-watch players in the country.
The Aggies just got finished embarrassing Arkansas 58-10 last week, but they could have a letdown performance against Ole Miss on Saturday.
We may see Rebel quarterback Bo Wallace play a better game than Manziel.
Mike Glennon Will Outduel EJ Manuel
Rob Kinnan-US PRESSWIRE
So far this season, Florida State QB EJ Manuel has been as good as anyone could have hoped.
Manuel has completed 73 percent of his passes for over 1,110 yards, and he's led the Seminoles to a 5-0 start and a Top Five national ranking.
This will mark his second road game in a row, though, which means he could have a tough time against N.C. State.
Wolfpack QB Mike Glennon will be using the game to show that his early-season struggles are behind him. He'll be motivated to have a better game than the more highly-touted Manuel.
Braxton Miller Will Outduel Taylor Martinez
Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller has been one of the biggest stars of the first five weeks of the season.
The athletic dual-threat quarterback has burned defenses with both his arm and his legs, as he's led the Buckeyes to a 5-0 start. However, Miller has yet to face a quarterback who has talent equal to him.
Still, the sophomore signal-caller should be able to rise to the challenge when Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez comes to town.
Louisiana Tech’s Offensive Onslaught Will Continue
Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
Louisiana Tech's offense has just embarrassed two BCS schools, Illinois and Virginia.
Now, the Bulldogs will be looking to really put on a show against a lackluster UNLV defense this weekend.
Clemson Will Shut Down Tevin Washington
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Last year, Georgia Tech QB Tevin Washington rushed for 176 yards against Clemson and helped the Yellow Jackets roll over the previously unbeaten Tigers, 31-17.
The Clemson defense remembers what Washington did to it in 2011, and the unit will be looking for payback when the teams square off this weekend.
Stepfan Taylor Will Make a Statement
Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor took some criticism after he failed to make much of an impact in a loss to Washington in Week 5.
Taylor should have a nice, big bounce-back game this weekend, however, when the struggling Arizona defense comes to town.
The Wildcats are currently giving up an average of nearly 167 rushing yards per game.
Giovani Bernard Will Total over 200 Yards of Offense
Liz Condo-US PRESSWIRE
Virginia Tech has shown a ton of flaws in two early losses to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
The Hokies defense has not come close to living up to expectations this season, and you can bet that North Carolina will be looking to expose the unit's weaknesses.
Tar Heels RB Giovani Bernard is the type of dangerous offensive playmaker who could give the Virginia Tech defense a lot of trouble on Saturday.
Jeff Tedford Will Cool Down His Seat
Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
Many Cal fans have begun to turn on coach Jeff Tedford following the team's horrendous 1-4 start.
Tedford has been put on the hot seat by many of his naysayers who are seeking a change. However, he isn't the type of coach who will just go down without a fight.
If the Golden Bears can pull off a big win against a 4-1 UCLA team this weekend, it could turn around the team's whole season and possibly help save Tedford's job.
Air Force Will Rush for over 500 Yards
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Air Force is currently averaging 396 rushing yards per game. The Falcons have the type of potent rushing attack that could really overpower a mediocre defense like the one Navy has.
The Midshipmen could be in for a very long day trying to contain RB Cody Getz and the rest of the Falcons' backfield crew on Saturday.
Seth Doege Will Light Up Oklahoma’s Secondary
Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
Texas Tech currently has the seventh-ranked passing attack in the country, averaging nearly 359 yards through the air per game.
Now, the Red Raiders will have the chance to finally prove themselves against a ranked team this weekend when they host Oklahoma.
The Sooners have a ton of talent in the defensive backfield, but QB Seth Doege should still be able to pick apart the Oklahoma secondary and put up some impressive passing numbers.
Caleb Sturgis Will Miss a Game-Winning Field-Goal Attempt
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
I expect that the Florida-LSU game will come down to a late field-goal attempt.
Gators kicker Caleb Sturgis has been one of the most productive kickers in the country in recent years. But if Sturgis has to face a pressure-packed situation on Saturday, I wouldn't be shocked if he failed to deliver.
Purdue Will Beat Michigan
Pat Lovell-US PRESSWIRE
Purdue had a big statement win at home over Ohio State last season. Now, this year, the Boilermakers will get an impressive victory over another conference powerhouse when Michigan comes to town this weekend.
The Wolverines offense has been very disappointing so far this season, and the unit will have trouble matching up with Purdue's athletic defense.
If QB Caleb TerBush can create enough plays through the air, Purdue could drop Michigan to 2-3.
Prediction: Purdue 33, Michigan 22
North Carolina Will Beat Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech would be 0-2 in the Big East right now, but thankfully the Hokies play in the ACC, where they are still 1-0.
Frank Beamer's squad can certainly still reach its goal of making it back to the ACC championship game. However, Virginia Tech could experience an early bump in the road against North Carolina on Saturday.
The Tar Heels offense features one of the best passers in the ACC, Bryn Renner, as well as one of the most explosive all-purpose threats, Giovani Bernard.
Renner and Bernard will do enough to get the win at home for North Carolina.
Prediction: North Carolina 27, Virginia Tech 21
Penn State Will Beat Northwestern
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Watching Northwestern sprint out to a 5-0 start has been one of the best surprise stories in college football so far this season. However, the Wildcats will finally stumble in Happy Valley on Saturday.
After an 0-2 start, Penn State has rebounded and reeled off three straight wins.
You can tell that the Nittany Lions are really starting to build confidence and beginning to gel as a team.
Prediction: Penn State 30, Northwestern 26
Arkansas Will Beat Auburn
Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Both of these teams have looked equally bad so far this season, which is why it's tough to tell which one will be motivated enough to win this game.
Auburn may have the home-field advantage, but Arkansas has the NFL-caliber quarterback.
Prediction: Arkansas 29, Auburn 23
Stanford Will Beat Arizona
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Arizona started off the season 3-0, but the Wildcats have since cooled off, losing consecutive games to Oregon and Oregon State.
That losing streak is going to continue this week against a Stanford team that will be looking to prove itself after a miserable performance against Washington last week.
The Cardinal should be able to ride RB Stepfan Taylor to a comfortable win at home.
Prediction: Stanford 45, Arizona 31
Upset Special: Kentucky over Mississippi State
Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE
So far, three of my four upset specials have paid off (Arizona over Oklahoma State, Kansas State over Oklahoma and Cincinnati over Virginia Tech).
The underdog I like most this week is Kentucky.
Mississippi State may be 4-0 this season, but outside of an impressive performance at home against an average Auburn squad, the Bulldogs haven't really proven themselves yet.
Kentucky may be the worst team in the SEC, but the Wildcats showed last week against South Carolina that they can be feisty at home.
Prediction: Kentucky 34, Mississippi State 31
Wisconsin Will Beat Illinois
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
You have to expect that RB Montee Ball will eventually get back on track and start performing like the player we saw last season.
This weekend's game against Illinois could be the perfect spot for Ball to finally have his breakout performance of 2012.
The Illinois defense has looked very shaky against quality opponents, and the Illini could struggle to slow down Ball and company at Camp Randall Stadium.
Prediction: Wisconsin 38, Illinois 28
Clemson Will Beat Georgia Tech
Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE
Clemson will be looking to avenge last season's loss to Georgia Tech when the Tigers host the Yellow Jackets this weekend.
Ultimately, Dabo Swinney's squad just has too much offensive firepower for Georgia Tech to handle.
Prediction: Clemson 35, Georgia Tech 20
Texas Tech Will Beat Oklahoma
Brett Deering/Getty Images
QB Seth Doege and the Texas Tech Red Raiders will be looking to prove that their win over Oklahoma last season was no fluke.
Doege will certainly put a ton of stress on the Sooners defense on Saturday, and Oklahoma may not have an answer for Texas Tech's explosive passing attack.
Prediction: Texas Tech 44, Oklahoma 38
Florida State Will Beat N.C. State
Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE
Florida State will have to play its second consecutive road game against an N.C. State team that just got beat by Miami last weekend.
The Seminoles are clearly the more talented team on both sides of the ball. However, if Wolfpack QB Mike Glennon plays up to his potential, this game could be a lot closer than it should be.
Still, in the end, Florida State should survive its first real scare of the season.
Prediction: Florida State 34, N.C. State 30
Notre Dame Will Beat Miami
Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE
Miami's offense has expended a lot of energy in the last two weeks, scoring a combined 86 points against Georgia Tech and N.C. State.
The Hurricanes may finally end up running out of gas against the stout Notre Dame defense at Chicago's Soldier Field.
Notre Dame has had two weeks to prepare for Miami, and that will show on Saturday.
Prediction: Notre Dame 24, Miami 13
Oregon Will Beat Washington
James Snook-US PRESSWIRE
The Oregon defense may not make Washington QB Keith Price look as bad as he did against LSU's dominant defense. However, the Ducks shouldn't have much of a problem holding Price in check and keeping the Huskies offense contained.
Oregon may have struggled early on in its first road game against Washington State, but Chip Kelly's squad will come out firing on all cylinders against a suspect Washington defense this Saturday.
Prediction: Oregon 47, Washington 21
Ohio State Will Beat Nebraska
Rob Leifheit-US PRESSWIRE
Sadly, Ohio State, the best team in the Big Ten, won't be eligible for the postseason this year. However, the Buckeyes can still assert their dominance as much as they want to in the regular season.
That's just what they'll do at home against Nebraska on Saturday.
The Cornhuskers had to expend every ounce of effort and energy to beat Wisconsin last weekend. They'll likely be flat on the road against an Ohio State team that is continuing to build momentum week after week.
Prediction: Ohio State 36, Nebraska 27
Texas Will Beat West Virginia
Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE
West Virginia may have a better passing attack than Texas, but that's about the only distinct advantage that the Mountaineers have over the Longhorns.
Texas is loaded with top-notch talent at almost every position. It's a very balanced team that just doesn't have many glaring holes.
Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey will put a lot of pressure on the Longhorns secondary. But in the end, the Mountaineers just won't have the running game or the defense to pull off a big road victory.
Prediction: Texas 40, West Virginia 30
LSU Will Beat Florida
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
This game should be much more entertaining and dramatic than the 41-11 blowout we saw last year.
Florida has the type of running game and defense to match up very well with LSU.
The problem is, the Gators simply don't have the depth at the offensive skill positions that the Tigers do.
This one has the chance to be a one-score game, and I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up in overtime. Eventually, though, LSU has the type of playmakers that will make explosive plays when it counts.
Prediction: LSU 28, Florida 24
Georgia Will Beat South Carolina
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Georgia has lost two straight games to South Carolina, which means the Bulldogs will have the revenge angle in this game.
Both of these teams are built to win the SEC East this season, and they're two very evenly matched squads. That's why this game is so tough to call.
We're likely going to be in store for a very physical, grind-it-out defensive battle, which could come down to the wire.
In the end, I give Aaron Murray the slight edge over Connor Shaw.
Prediction: Georgia 23, South Carolina 17