Following a somewhat underwhelming Week 5 in terms of upsets across the college football landscape, fans could be in store for a few surprises in Week 6.
The last week peaked early, with the Washington State Cougars defeating the USC Trojans on Friday night. As a result of the victory, the Cougars climbed from 16th to 11th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Washington State goes from the hunter to the hunted as it travels to Eugene, Oregon, to face the Oregon Ducks in what is one of Week 6's most intriguing matchups.
The North Carolina State Wolfpack are also ranked inside the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2010, though they may not stay there long with the Louisville Cardinals coming to town.
Below is the AP Top 25 heading into Week 6, followed by the week's four biggest games.
AP Top 25
1. Alabama Crimson Tide, 5-0 (LW: 1)
2. Clemson Tigers, 5-0 (LW: 2)
3. Oklahoma Sooners, 4-0 (LW: 3)
4. Penn State Nittany Lions, 5-0 (LW: 4)
5. Georgia Bulldogs, 5-0 (LW: 7)
6. Washington Huskies, 5-0 (LW: 6)
7. Michigan Wolverines, 4-0 (LW: 8)
8. TCU Horned Frogs, 4-0 (LW: 9)
9. Wisconsin Badgers, 4-0 (LW: 10)
10. Ohio State Buckeyes, 4-1 (LW: 11)
11. Washington State Cougars, 5-0 (LW: 16)
12. Auburn Tigers, 4-1 (LW: 13)
13. Miami (Florida) Hurricanes, 3-0 (LW: 14)
14. USC Trojans, 4-1 (LW: 5)
15. Oklahoma State Cowboys, 4-1 (LW: 15)
16. Virginia Tech Hokies, 4-1 (LW: 12)
17. Louisville Cardinals, 4-1 (LW: 17)
18. South Florida Bulls, 5-0 (LW: 18)
19. San Diego State Aztecs, 5-0 (LW: 19)
20. Utah Utes, 4-0 (LW: 20)
T21. Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 4-1 (LW: 22)
T21. Florida Gators, 3-1 (LW: 21)
23. West Virginia Mountaineers, 3-1 (LW: 23)
24. North Carolina State Wolfpack, 4-1 (LW: NR)
25. UCF Knights, 3-0 (LW: NR)
Games to Watch
No. 17 Louisville Cardinals at No. 24 NC State Wolfpack
Louisville allowed four sacks and Lamar Jackson was limited to 64 rushing yards in the Cardinals' 47-21 defeat to the Clemson Tigers.
After the Cardinals offensive line had a bit of a break the last two weeks against Kent State and Murray State, the unit will be put to the test against a North Carolina State front seven that sacked James Blackman four times in a 27-21 win over Florida State.
Louisville will also have to game-plan for a Wolfpack offense that has shown nice improvement in 2017. Ryan Finley has 1,403 yards and nine touchdowns through the air, while Jaylen Samuels has 333 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns.
As much as the Cardinals have to worry about an offense that got exposed against Clemson, their defense allowed 63 combined points and 745 yards to Purdue and North Carolina.
Going on the road to play North Carolina State—on a short week no less—could leave Louisville prime for an upset.
Prediction: NC State 31, Louisville 28
No. 23 West Virginia Mountaineers at No. 8 TCU Horned Frogs
Apparently the key for TCU to have a big year is to have a bad year immediately preceding it.
In their last game, the Horned Frogs faced off with the third-best offense in FBS in terms of average yards per game. Now, they get the second-best offense Saturday.
Oklahoma State's 499 yards and 31 points may seem like a lot, but the Cowboys are averaging 583.4 yards and 46.8 points per game. TCU did a good job of keeping the Oklahoma State offense in check, and it will need to do the same at home against the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Will Grier is right at home in Morgantown, West Virginia. He has thrown for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. It's fair to say, though, he hasn't faced stiff competition. Virginia Tech, East Carolina and Kansas rank 40th, 126th and 124th, respectively, in pass defense.
Although TCU only sits 68th, College Football Talk's Bryan Fischer noted the numbers don't necessarily tell the full story about the Horned Frogs secondary:
Bryan Fischer @BryanDFischer
TCU’s secondary is FULL of multi-year starters and one of the deepest units in the country. Showing up today, but bad throw by Rudolph there2017-9-23 22:43:56
The TCU offense isn't too bad, either, with Kenny Hill looking more like the quarterback who dazzled fans early into his sophomore campaign at Texas A&M. Hill has 965 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions. Darius Anderson has also rushed for 422 yards and six touchdowns.
TCU's overall balance should be enough to defend home field and avoid the upset.
Prediction: TCU 38, West Virginia 30
No. 11 Washington State Cougars at Oregon Ducks
Oregon's 45-24 win over California epitomized the pyrrhic victory.
Kevin Wade @KwadeSays
Oregon's night so far: Herbert: Questionable Royce Freeman: Questionable Dillon Mitchell: Questionable Tyree Robinson: Ejected Pisarcik: Injured2017-10-1 03:49:33
Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman reported Justin Herbert has a broken collarbone that will leave him out for at least a month, while the school has kept mum regarding Royce Freeman's status after he exited Saturday's game with an injury.
Even if Freeman is healthy enough to play against Washington State, Herbert's backup, Taylor Alie, had 96 passing yards in his first three years. He went 9-of-13 for 41 yards while filling in after Herbert's injury as well.
Teams coached by Mike Leach have rarely been known for their defense, but The Ringer's Michael Lombardi argued the 2017 Cougars are an exception to the rule:
Michael Lombardi @mlombardiNFL
That was the best defense I have seen from a Mike Leach-coached team, fast, athletic and most of all tough--they fought hard.2017-9-30 14:05:42
Washington State hasn't climbed this high in the polls since the 2003 season, when they went 10-3 and won the Holiday Bowl. In 2015, the Cougars spent two weeks inside the AP Top 25 before falling out at the end of the year, and they reached the No. 20 spot last year before finishing with three straight defeats.
Saturday's game will be a good test to see whether Washington State is a serious challenger to Washington for Pac-12 supremacy.
Prediction: Washington State 51, Oregon 35
Stanford Cardinal at No. 20 Utah Utes
Staying in the Pac-12, Bryce Love is doing his best to overshadow Saquon Barkley in the Heisman Trophy race. Love ran for a school-record 301 yards in Stanford's 34-24 win over Arizona State.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Bryce Love broke Christian McCaffrey’s Stanford single-game record with 301 rushing yards today and now has 1,088 yards in 5 games 😳 https://t.co/lGyH3H0IRU2017-9-30 23:30:32
The fact the Cardinal are so far out of the national-title picture hurts Love's chances of winning the Heisman, but that could change if the junior running back has another big game against No. 20 Utah. The Utes rank 10th in run defense (87.0 yards per game) and eighth in yards per carry allowed (2.7).
This game has the feel of LSU's matchup with Alabama in 2015. The Crimson Tide limited Leonard Fournette to 31 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, which put pressure on a lackluster LSU passing game. Alabama won 30-16.
K.J. Costello did well while replacing an injured Keller Chryst against Arizona State, but Stanford will be in trouble if the offense has to rely heavily on the sophomore quarterback to compensate for an off night for Love.
Prediction: Utah 23, Stanford 20