College Football Picks Week 6: Previewing Saturday's Most Stirring Showdowns

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 24: Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes controls the ball against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The college football season is starting to get good.

After weeks of witnessing ranked teams secure 70-0 blowouts against undermatched squads willing to take a beating for a hefty check, premier schools finally begin facing worthy adversaries.

Last week's tilt finally featured some ranked opponents squaring off. Alabama shut out Mississippi, Oklahoma knocked Notre Dame out of the AP Top 25, and Georgia edged out LSU in a 44-41 thriller. How can this week up the ante?

These games offer potential for must-watch TV as top-ranked squads will strut their stuff against other capable clubs.


No. 25 Maryland at No. 8 Florida State

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 28: Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles reacts in the second half against the Boston College Eagles in the second half at Alumni Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Any seats left on the Jameis Winston fan bus?

Winston promptly earned everyone's attention by completing all but two of his 27 attempts for 356 yards and four touchdowns to start his college career. Through four starts the freshman has a 73.6 completion percentage, 1,048 passing yards and 12 touchdowns for the Seminoles.

Florida State met its first challenge of the season against Boston College. The Eagles scored 34 points against a defense that allowed 26 points during the previous three games. But Winston's high-powered offense rose to the occasion, scoring 48 points, including a 55-yard Hail Mary to close out the first half, to top the Eagles.

Florida State now faces a fellow 4-0 squad in Maryland, which shut out West Virginia two weeks ago. The Terrapins have surrendered 10.3 points per game this season, and they have a legit quarterback of their own in C.J. Brown. The senior has compiled seven passing touchdowns and six rushing scores to just one pick this season.

But Maryland won't have enough at its disposal to keep up with its ACC Atlantic rival, who has scored 51.3 points per game.

Prediction: Florida State 34, Maryland 24


No. 15 Washington at No. 5 Stanford

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Running back Remound Wright #22 of the Stanford Cardinal rushes for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Washington State Cougars on September 28, 2013 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. Stanford defeated Wa
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Another duo of undefeated conference foes will meet on the Pac-12 side. 

Washington enters the game at 4-0 after defeating Arizona 31-13. The Huskies grabbed two interceptions to hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season, jumping up one spot after the win.

But a much tougher opponent awaits in Stanford, which has scored 97 points in its last two games.

After jumping out to a 29-0 halftime lead to trounce Arizona State, Stanford posted 55 points against Washington State last Saturday. Kevin Hogan picked apart the Cougars with 286 passing yards and three touchdowns, all of which spanned at least 45 yards.

Stanford certainly can't take Washington lightly after suffering one of its two losses to its Pac-12 nemesis last season. The Huskies were 7-6 in a down year, but they now have a 72.3 completion percentage from senior quarterback Keith Price.

Look for the Cardinal to keep their title hopes alive with a narrow victory at Stanford Stadium.

Prediction: Stanford 31, Washington 23 


No. 4 Ohio State and No. 16 Northwestern

Looks like Ohio State is just fine no matter who plays quarterback.

Kenny Guiton successfully took the reins from an injured Braxton Miller. In fact, he fared so well that whispers of a quarterback controversy began to spread. Playing his first game in three weeks, Miller quickly put that speculation to rest with 198 passing yards, 83 rushing yards and four touchdown throws in a 31-24 victory over Wisconsin.

At 5-0, Ohio State now gets another ranked opponent in Northwestern, which is also undefeated in the Big Ten at 4-0. By Saturday's end, we'll know who the real team to beat is in this conference.

Despite their unblemished record, the Wildcats have yet to face a ranked opponent, yet they have allowed 23.8 points per game against some lackluster opposition. They won't be able to pound the Buckeyes into submission through the gun, which could spell a long day for the Wildcats.

Prediction: Ohio State 41, Northwestern 21