College Football Week 6: Previews and Predictions for the Top 10 Games

Josh Sachnoff@@JSachnov17Contributor IIIJanuary 14, 2017

College Football Week 6: Previews and Predictions for the Top 10 Games

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    Week 6 of the college football season will consist of two critical conference games between ranked opponents. No. 16 Northwestern is looking to take down No. 4 Ohio State at home, while No. 15 Washington travels to No. 5 Stanford in hope of upsetting them for a second consecutive year. 

    Maryland has made their way into the AP Top 25, but will they still be there after traveling to Florida State? 

    There are also teams that will be hoping to bounce back this week, such as Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss and Notre Dame.

    With conference play beginning to start up and highly ranked teams on upset alert, here are the best games to watch on Saturday:


No. 25 Maryland at No. 8 Florida State

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    No. 25 Maryland @ No. 8 Florida State  Noon ET  ESPN 

    It’s no surprise that Florida State is off to a solid 4-0 start, but it’s surprising to see Maryland at 4-0 as well, after winning just four total games last season.

    The Terrapins 37-0 shutout win over West Virginia on Sept. 21 was a confidence booster, but going into an always tough Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee will be a challenge.

    Senior quarterback C.J. Brown has thrown for 1,043 yards, rushed for 283 yards and scored 13 total touchdowns this season.

    The rushing attack led by Brown and running back Brandon Ross is ranked 24th in the country with 226.8 yards per game. The defense has also held opponents to an impressive 10.3 points per game. 

    So much for questions at the quarterback position for Florida State. Freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has been one the most impressive players in the country. Winston has passed for 1,048 yards and leads the ACC with 12 touchdown passes.

    The Seminoles are averaging 51.3 points per game (fourth in the country) with Devonta Freeman in the backfield and Rashad Greene in the passing game.

    The Seminole defense continues to be among the best in the country with linebacker Christian Jones

    The Terrapins must establish a rushing attack against the Seminoles, otherwise it’s going to be hard to pull off the upset. 

    The 'Noles are 21-2 all-time against the Terps and have never lost to them at home. 


    Prediction: Florida State 45, Maryland 24 

TCU at No. 11 Oklahoma

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    TCU @ No. 11 Oklahoma  7 p.m. ET  Fox

    Oklahoma has become of the one of the most talked about teams in college football after their dismantling of Notre Dame last week in South Bend.

    New starting quarterback Blake Bell was by no means perfect in the Sooners 35-21 win, but he made the offense much better, as he passed for 232 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 59 yards as well.

    The Sooner’s balanced attack caused all sorts of problems for the Irish defense as it racked up 450 total yards.

    The Sooner defense gave up a few big runs against Notre Dame, but basically shut their offense down the entire game. The Sooners finished the game with three interceptions with one going for a touchdown. The defense is only giving up 12 points per game. 

    TCU is already in a must-win scenario, as they are 0-1 in Big 12 play. If the Horned Frogs were to lose this game, it would put them in a deep hole that they may not ever get out of.

    Trevone Boykin is only going to be able to do so much on the offensive end, meaning the defense, which had five turnovers last week against SMU, will need to play a big role in stopping the Sooner’s improving offense.

    A few weeks ago, it would have been a difficult pick, but Oklahoma seems to be clicking offensively now and are a true Big 12 contender.


    Prediction: Oklahoma 34, TCU 20

No. 22 Arizona State vs. Notre Dame (Arlington, TX)

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    No. 22 Arizona State vs Notre Dame (Arlington, TX)  7:30 p.m. ET  NBC

    Arizona State put up an astounding 612 yards and 62 points up on what was Lane Kiffin’s team, until he returned to Los Angeles and was immediately fired.

    While USC struggled in Tempe, long-time rival Notre Dame found themselves struggling all game long against an unproven Oklahoma squad. While Notre Dame is on the verge of losing a chance at a BCS bowl bid, Arizona State is trying to make a move into the national spotlight in a prime-time showdown in “Jerry World.” 

    The Sun Devil offense has looked good so far this season. Quarterback Taylor Kelly is averaging 342.5 passing yards per game and has thrown 11 touchdowns. Wide receiver Jaelen Strong continues to be a threat for defenses in the passing game, as he’s gone over 100 yards in receiving in three of Arizona State’s four games.

    The Sun Devil defense hasn’t necessarily been as good as many would have imagined, but they are easily good enough to shutdown Notre Dame’s offense. 

    The Irish offense has been a nightmare the past two games. Tommy Rees’ accuracy is a problem, and the fact that he threw two interceptions in two plays against Oklahoma with one going for a touchdown, is scary for this team going forward. It puts a lot of pressure on George Atkinson III to make big plays out of the backfield.

    The Irish defense has two of the best defensive linemen in the country with Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt, but if the offense can’t score points it’s going to be impossible to win games.

    There is no chance that Notre Dame's offense will be able to keep up on the scoreboard with Arizona State's in this one. 


    Prediction: Arizona State 38, Notre Dame 24


No. 4 Ohio State at No. 16 Northwestern

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    No. 4 Ohio State @ No. 16 Northwestern  8:00 p.m. ET  ABC 

    From the start of the season, this has been the game where Ohio State would be on upset alert.

    The Buckeyes are coming off an emotional 31-24 victory over Wisconsin, while Northwestern comes in off a bye week. The Wildcats haven’t looked especially good this year yet, but they will more motivated than ever going into this weekend's matchup.  

    This will also be head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s biggest game of his coaching tenure with ESPN College GameDay in Evanston for the first time since 1995 and a prime-time game on ABC. Will the Wildcats somehow ruin the Buckeyes national title hopes and 17-game winning streak?

    Whoever doubted Braxton Miller after returning from his sprained knee ligament couldn’t have been more wrong. Miller passed for just 198 yards but threw four touchdown passes and rushed for 83 yards. Ohio State is currently putting up 287.2 rushing yards per game (12th in the country) and 48.2 points per game (seventh in the country). 

    Northwestern’s duo quarterback unit consisting of dual-threat Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian will play a hand in giving the Buckeye defense problems, but the backfield with Treyvon Green and star player Venric Mark, who has missed the Wildcats’ last three games with a leg injury, will be critical in knocking off Ohio State for the first time since 2004. 

    This is going to be a game where defense is key. Ohio State has one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the country with Miller, and it will be up to the Northwestern defense, led by senior linebacker Damien Proby, to not only stop the run, but avoid getting beat deep by Devin Smith or Philly Brown. 

    Ohio State has to at least contain Northwestern’s rushing attack if they plan on staying undefeated.

    This is a tough call, but if there is any team that is going to knock off the Buckeyes this year, it’s going to be Northwestern. I’m going with the upset! 


    Prediction: Northwestern 37, Ohio State 34 

No. 15 Washington at No. 5 Stanford

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    No. 15 Washington @ No. 5 Stanford  10:30 p.m. ET  ESPN      

    Stanford’s only Pac-12 loss came against Washington last year in Seattle. The Cardinal had Josh Nunes under center still and the Huskies were not sound offensively. 

    Washington has already come along way since finishing with a disappointing 7-6 campaign. The offense is hitting on all cylinders with Keith Price, who has passed for 1,044 and nine touchdowns, and running back Bishop Sankey, who already has 607 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

    The defense continues to be one of the best in the country as it ranks fourth in the country in points against (10.8 points per game). 

    Stanford punished Washington State 55-17 last week in Seattle. Between quarterback Josh Hogan, running back Tyler Gaffney and wide receiver Ty Montgomery, the Cardinal offense is a threat to opposing defenses.

    The Stanford defense is holding opponents to an astounding 105 yards per game this season. Army is the only team to rush for over 100 yards. 

    This is a critical game for these Pac-12 North Division opponents. A loss for either one could keep them out of the Pac-12 title game in December.

    Unlike last year, there is going to be offense in this ball game. The biggest battle in this matchup will be Sankey in the Husky backfield against the stout Stanford defense. 

    The Huskies have looked impressive thus far, but how can you pick against the Cardinal at home?


    Prediction: Stanford 38, Washington 28

The Other 5

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    Michigan State @ Iowa  Noon ET  ESPN2

    Iowa upset Michigan State in East Lansing last season in double overtime 19-16. After losing the first game of the season, the Hawkeyes are on a four-game winning streak mostly because of running back Mark Weisman and a stellar defense.

    The Spartans come off a bye week after losing to Notre Dame 17-13 on Sept. 21.

    The offense needs to put points on the board because the defense may not be able to keep Iowa below their 13.3 points per game in a tough Kinnick Stadium environment.

    Prediction: Iowa 20, Michigan State 17  


    Kansas State @ No. 21 Oklahoma State  3:30 p.m. ET  ABC

    Oklahoma State is supposed to be the team to beat in the Big 12 this season but were stunned in their conference opener 30-21 at West Virginia. Now they are already in desperation mode with Oklahoma and Baylor proving to be conference contenders as well. Kansas State is already off to a shaky start this season and chances of the offense being able to outscore the Cowboy's high-powered offense is slim. 

    Prediction: Oklahoma State 38, Kansas State 27


    No. 6 Georgia @ Tennessee  3:30 p.m. ET  CBS

    Georgia is coming off an emotional 44-41 win against LSU and Tennessee barely defeated South Alabama 31-24 last week. When the Vols have played teams far superior than them, they have been completely outplayed. Aaron Murray and the Dawgs are going to win big in “Rocky Top.” 

    Prediction: Georgia 48, Tennessee 20


    Arkansas @ No. 18 Florida  7 p.m. ET  ESPN2

    The Hogs kept up with Texas A&M last week, but eventually fell 45-33. On a two game losing streak, Bret Bielema’s squad is in dire need of a win, but can they go into “The Swamp” and knock of the Gators for the first time since 1982? With the way new Florida starting quarterback Tyler Murphy has played since replacing Jeff Driskel, along with a defense only giving up 12.8 points per game, the answer would be “no.” 

    Prediction: Florida 26, Arkansas 17


    No. 24 Ole Miss @ Auburn  7 p.m. ET  ESPNU

    Ole Miss was supposed to give Alabama a tough game last week, but were shutout 25-0. The Rebels now must bounce back against an Auburn team that has already surprised the nation with its improvement under new head coach Gus Malzahn. This will be one of the best games of day with both teams fighting to stay in the SEC West Division race. 

    Prediction: Auburn 28, Ole Miss 24