College Football Picks Week 6: 5 Best Matchups Outside the Top 25

Eric Steitz@esteitz16Analyst IIIOctober 5, 2012

College Football Picks Week 6: 5 Best Matchups Outside the Top 25

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    Week 6 of the College Football season is full of great games. With games like No. 5 Georgia against No. 6 South Carolina, No. 4 LSU against No. 10 Florida and No. 8 West Virginia against No. 11 Texas, the top 25 provides a lot of action. But, there are games outside the top 25 that can’t be missed.

    Weeks like this are a college football fan’s dream. With BCS implications all around the country, there is no shortage of quality football on the Saturday slate.

    It starts early with LSU and Florida at 3 p.m. EST. Late-night top-25 matchups include No. 2 Oregon hosting No. 23 Washington, No. 21 Nebraska traveling to No. 12 Ohio State and Texas against WVU in Austin.

    Outside the top 25, there are some big games that could be major factors in conference standings. Here are the best matchups outside the top 25 for CFB’s Week 6.

Arkansas (1-4, 0-2) at Auburn (1-3, 0-2) 12 P.M. EST

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    Whoever predicted that the game between Arkansas and Auburn would be an irrelevant game is probably a rich individual. Arkansas’s collapse has been well dissected, starting from their Week 2 loss to Louisiana-Monroe. Meanwhile, Auburn knew it had a tough road―just not this tough.

    These two teams sit at the bottom of the SEC West with 0-2 records. The game is no longer about BCS implications, or even major bowl games, and more about dignity.

    To any SEC school, one win in the first six weeks will certainly get the coaching staff on the hot seat. Fortunately for Auburn, they host the Razorbacks after nearly knocking off No. 4 LSU last week. Arkansas heads into the contest coming off a 48-point loss to SEC newcomer Texas A&M last week.

    Despite the horrific records, this game still pits two talented SEC programs against each other. Any time that happens, it’s bound to be a good football game.

Virginia Tech (3-2, 1-0) at North Carolina (3-2, 0-1) 12:30 P.M. EST

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    The ACC standings look a little different than was predicted in the preseason―at least in the Coastal Division. The preseason poll picked Virginia Tech to win the Coastal Division, followed by Georgia Tech and North Carolina.

    Currently, it’s Miami (4-1, 3-1) then Duke and Virginia Tech at 1-0 in the conference, with Miami already boasting a 3-1 record that includes an overtime win over Georgia Tech.

    VT may be looking up to Miami in the standings, but the Hokies still control their own destiny. Winning the Coastal Division means the Hokies have a shot at either Clemson or Florida State in the ACC title game. But that’s on the minds of the Tar Heels, too.

    North Carolina could put a big blemish on the VT season if they knock off the Hokies. At 0-1 in the conference, the Tar Heels would love nothing more than to even their record. The Heels have won two in a row against weak competition but still have some momentum coming into this one.

    At home with the new stadium could provide UNC a needed spark. They are 3-0 at home this season. This is a big game to watch with the potential to shake up the ACC.

Michigan (2-2, 0-0) vs. Purdue (3-1, 0-0) 4 P.M. EST

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    The Big Ten opener for these two programs starts with a great rivalry. This is an exciting game for Big Ten fans, especially after Michigan’s rough start.

    The Boilermakers are a fairly solid team on both sides of the ball. They are ranked in the top 50 in pass offense (43rd), rush offense (33rd) and rush defense (22nd). Purdue’s three wins are against Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan and Marshall. Michigan will be a tougher test.

    The Wolverines are going to have a tough time in this game. Preseason Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson has struggled through the air, completing just under 55 percent of his passes with eight interceptions. It will be Robinson’s legs against a stingy Purdue run defense.

    These two do have a common opponent in Notre Dame. Purdue looked poised to knock off the Irish in Week 2, but couldn’t stop ND’s final drive. The Boilermakers lost 20-17 in heartbreaking fashion.

    On the other side, Michigan dropped a seven-point contest to Notre Dame two weeks ago. Robinson struggled. He threw four picks in the first half, and the loss dropped the Wolverines out of the top 25.

    Michigan hopes to right the ship in Big Ten play on the road to Purdue. Michigan hasn’t won a game away from home this season―though it is early. This should be another great conference game.

Texas A&M (3-1, 1-1) at Ole Miss (3-2, 0-1) 7 P.M. EST

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    Texas A&M picked up its first SEC win in school history with a 40-point blowout of Arkansas last week and hopes to carry that momentum into a tough game with Ole Miss.

    Ole Miss is coming off a 33-14 loss to top-ranked Alabama last week. The Rebels even led the Crimson Tide in the second quarter after a one-yard touchdown run. That didn’t last long as ‘Bama took the ensuing kickoff back to the house. It was all Crimson Tide after that.

    The Rebels are an inconsistent team, evident by their blowout at the hands of Texas (66-31) and struggling with UTEP (28-10). But, they have a lot of pride and showed they can compete against quality teams like Alabama.

    A&M is on the outside of the top 25 but could break into the rankings if they handle the Rebels on Saturday. QB Johnny Manziel has impressed this season with more than 1,000 passing yards already. He hasn't thrown an interception, which is even more important as the Aggies get ready for the heart of the SEC schedule.

Louisiana-Monroe (2-2, 0-0) at Middle Tennessee (3-1, 1-0) 3:30 P.M. EST

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    Louisiana-Monroe kicks off its Sun Belt Conference season against Middle Tennessee Saturday in Murfreesboro.

    The Warhawks are 2-2 but have wins over Arkansas and Tulane. ULM’s two losses to Auburn and Baylor have been by a combined eight points. The Warhawks battle and have a lot of skill. The use of their two-QB formations provides a wrinkle that is difficult to defend.

    ULM racked up 560 yards of offense against a weak Baylor defense. The quick tempo for the Baylor offense allowed ULM to get more offensive snaps; that won’t happen this weekend against a solid rushing team in Middle Tennessee.

    The Blue Raiders are 29th in the country in rushing offense. Led by senior RB Benny Cunningham, MTSU will try to control the ball and the clock against Louisiana-Monroe’s offense. Drayton Calhoun and Jordan Parker complement Cunningham well in the backfield of the 45th-rated offense in the country.

    It’s not a BCS conference, but the winner of this one could start banging, not just knocking, on the door of the top 25. MTSU’s wins over Georgia Tech by 21 and Memphis by 18 give the Blue Raiders some impressive wins.

    This is a great mid-afternoon game featuring two teams that rarely get attention. They play some pretty solid football, too.