College Football Rankings 2017: Week 6 Standings, Schedule and Predictions

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2017

Washington State quarterback Luke Falk (4) throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Southern California in Pullman, Wash., Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Washington State won 30-27. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak/Associated Press

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, KY - SEPTEMBER 30:  Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs with the ball during the game against the Murray State Racers at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 30, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Imag
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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

LAWRENCE, KS - SEPTEMBER 23: Will Grier #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers runs for a touchdown against the Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

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:

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

PULLMAN, WA - SEPTEMBER 29:  The Washington State Cougars celebrate with Jamal Morrow #25 after his touchdown in the second half of the game against the USC Trojans at Martin Stadium on September 29, 2017 in Pullman, Washington.  Washington State defeated
William Mancebo/Getty Images

Oregon's 45-24 win over California epitomized the pyrrhic victory.

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:

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

PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Bryce Love #20 of the Stanford Cardinal runs for a touchdown during an NCAA Pac-12 football game against the Arizona State University Sun Devils on September 30, 2017 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by
David Madison/Getty Images

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.

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

Related

    Report: Locksley Expected to Be Next Bama OC

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Report: Locksley Expected to Be Next Bama OC

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report

    Stories Behind Football’s Most Powerful Friendship

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Stories Behind Football’s Most Powerful Friendship

    SI.com
    via SI.com

    FAU QB Driskel Quits Football with Eligibility Left

    College Football logo
    College Football

    FAU QB Driskel Quits Football with Eligibility Left

    Shandel Richardson
    via Sun-Sentinel.com

    Breaking Down 20 QB Battles to Watch This Spring

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Breaking Down 20 QB Battles to Watch This Spring

    Adam Rittenberg
    via ESPN.com