College Football Predictions Week 6: 25 Hunches for This Week's Games
It seems like college football just got underway but here we are going into the sixth week of the season, and the landscape is slowly starting to take shape.
We still have unbeaten teams, we have teams that have completely disappointed and fallen flat on their faces, teams that looked dead but have come roaring back, and we have those that continue to win despite what we might expect.
For those of you that watched the Texas and Oklahoma rivalry, blood feud, shootout, or whatever you want to call it, you'll have more rivalries to watch for this weekend, and there could be some upsets.
Upsets. I like that word. Makes me look forward to Saturday.
We'll talk about quite a few scenarios that could take place this weekend and we'll cover games from coast to coast with some solid matchups this weekend. We'll go from the coast of California to the gulf coast of Florida and everywhere in between.
And, in true college football preview fashion, we'll have a new guest picker on board for this week. He's another radio guy who is all too familiar with the Michigan and Michigan State rivalry. He has a lot to live up to, with my last two guests combining to win eight of their nine picks.
So, instead of getting long-winded like I have the tendency to do, how about we get to the games?
No. 25: Baylor Is 4-1? Seriously?
The Baylor Bears are normally the whipping boy in the Big 12 conference, spending most of the season in the cellar.
However, that hasn't been the case so far this season, and they'll get a chance to prove just how "for real" they are as they travel to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas to take on Texas Tech.
Win that game and they'll make a believer out of me.
No. 24: Will There Be an Upset In Manhattan?
There's only one name you'll have to keep in the back of your mind going into Friday night's game. Daniel Thomas.
The Kansas State running back is averaging 157 yards per game through four games this season. He'll be going up against a Nebraska team that is 53rd nationally against the run.
To me, it sounds like the Cornhuskers could be in trouble, especially since they've already allowed two 100-yard rushers so far this season.
If they can't stop him, there's going to be a Friday night celebration in Manhattan, Kan.
No. 23: A Recovery In Raleigh
I'm not sure whether to look at NC State's 41-30 loss to Virginia Tech last week as a bad loss or if the Hokies are finally starting to find their groove.
Whatever the case may be, the Wolfpack will be facing the ACC's worst offense in Boston College on Saturday.
NC State is averaging 36.2 points per game, while the Eagles are only averaging 19.3.
No. 22: Who Wants The Cellar More?
The battle between the SEC cellar dwellers will take place in Athens, Ga., on Saturday between 2-3 Tennessee and 1-4 Georgia.
Neither team has played anything resembling good football, though there's something to be said for Tennessee "almost" knocking off LSU if not for a bonehead penalty by the Vols.
Same could be said about Georgia for "almost" beating Arkansas two weeks ago.
But, alas, "almost" only counts in horseshoes.
No. 21: Does Indiana Pose Any Threat To Ohio State?
The Indiana Hoosiers looked like they had Michigan beaten. But the Wolverines had this guy by the name of Denard Robinson, not sure if you've heard of him.
They go from almost taking down Michigan to playing at the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio, against the second-ranked Buckeyes, who had a less-than-stellar performance against Illinois last week, albeit without Terrelle Pryor for most of the game.
While it's not likely the Buckeyes lose at home, don't think they'll get by without a fight from the Hoosiers.
No. 20: Cowboys Stadium Will Be Hopping
Arlington, Texas, will be a hot spot of activity this weekend.
Getting kicked off on Saturday afternoon, will be the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas A&M Aggies. Jerrod Johnson vs. Ryan Mallett. The SEC vs. the team that almost went to the SEC.
Johnson, the Texas A&M quarterback, turned the ball over five times all by himself against Oklahoma State last week. It was the main reason the Aggies didn't come away with what should have been a win.
Play like that against Mallett and Arkansas and the Aggies will be in for a long day.
Side note: I mentioned Arlington, Texas, would be a hot spot this weekend. Not only are the Aggies and Razorbacks playing, but the Texas Rangers will be hosting Games 3 and 4 of the American League Divisional Series and the Dallas Cowboys will be home against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Cowboys' Stadium and Rangers' Ballpark could attract more than 200,000 fans combined before the weekend is out.
No. 19: They Got One, Can They Make It Two?
"It feels great. There's no better feeling than winning. Guys are just happy, jumping around the locker room. There's no better feeling."
That was a quote given to the Associated Press by Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist after the Irish broke their three-game losing streak against Boston College.
They were jumping around after they beat...Boston College? I can't remember the last time the Irish celebrated a win like they had just received a berth into the national championship game.
In any event, the Irish will return home to South Bend to host the Pitt Panthers on Saturday.
Normally I would give Notre Dame the edge in this match up, especially playing at home. But I don't know that I'll do that this time around.
No. 18: Ronnie Hillman a One-Man Wrecking Crew In Provo
San Diego State is starting to become a household name on the tongues of Mountain West fans. Some even wonder if the Aztecs will become a thorn in the sides of either TCU or Utah when the two teams have to face them.
However, the first team to feel said thorn will be the team going independent after this season, BYU.
The Cougars aren't exactly making the Mountain West feel the loss with their departure the way they're playing. At 1-4, I'm not sure they impress themselves.
One guy who could be a Cougar wrecking crew all on his own is Aztecs running back Ronnie Hillman, who has rushed for 532 yards, averaging 133 yards per game, and eight touchdowns.
No. 17: No Ranked Opponent To Get In The Way This Week
Two ranked opponents faced, six total points scored, 48 total points given up.
It's a good thing Penn State doesn't have to worry about facing a ranked opponent. This week, it's Illinois back in the comfortable confines of Happy Valley.
Quarterback Robert Bolden is having a tough season through five games. Though he's thrown for 1,035 yards, he has just a 53.7 completion percentage and has been intercepted six times to just three touchdowns.
Those kind of problems could let Illinois sneak in and take a win on the road.
No. 16: How Many Players Will North Carolina Suit Up?
North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates seems to be the one consistent Tar Heel who suits up week in and week out. Apparently, he wasn't good enough to be offered an agent.
I will give the Tar Heels credit, they've been putting up one heck of a fight and almost won a couple of big games, including one against LSU at the beginning of the season. How good would this team have been with ALL of their players on the field?
That aside, they have another challenge as Clemson comes to town fresh off back-to-back losses to Auburn and Miami, but neither were blowouts.
Another test for the Tar Heels. One I believe they'll pass.
No. 15: Falcons Keep Flying Up The Rankings
The Air Force Falcons have always been that one team in the Mountain West that could come up and bite you when you least expected it.
If they had a rough start to their season, they'd always pick the most opportune times to come alive.
This season, they got off to a hot start and have won four of their first five, pushing them inside the top 25.
On Saturday, they'll be back home to take on Colorado State: not the best of teams in the conference but one that can play inspired football when they want to.
The only thing the Rams won't be able to stop is Falcons quarterback Tim Jefferson. He has almost as many rushing yards (349) as he does passing yards (503), but he has seven rushing touchdowns to just three through the air.
No. 14: A Win in Berkeley Takes The Win Streak To Four
The UCLA Bruins are staring up at the top of the PAC-10 wondering who they're going to pick off next: Houston, Texas, then Washington State.
Say what you want about the win over the hapless Cougars, but a win in Austin over then sixth-ranked Texas says something, regardless of how overrated some thought the Longhorns were from the start.
Three straight wins heading to Berkeley and looking for a fourth against a Cal team coming off losses to Nevada and Arizona in consecutive weeks.
However, the Bears are also coming off a bye week with extra time to get ready for UCLA's newfound pistol offense. If Cal is ready, this should be a good game.
No. 13: It Was Just a Fluke
When I did the updated power rankings in the PAC-10 conference, I put Arizona third just behind Stanford and Oregon, respectively.
The only reason they're not higher is their less than stellar 10-9 win over Cal two weeks ago. It was a win that needed a late fourth-quarter score just to get to that point.
What surprised me even more was the fact that this same Arizona team scored 34 points on then ninth-ranked Iowa a week prior to their match up with Cal.
The Wildcats will have to deal with Jacquizz Rodgers and Oregon State on Saturday. Arizona is the better team in this one and will prove their one-point win over Cal was just a fluke.
No. 12: Iowa State Riding High
After two straight road losses to Iowa and Kansas State, the Iowa State Cyclones have returned home for back-to-back wins against Northern Iowa and Texas Tech.
This weekend, they'll face a ranked team for the first time since their 35-7 loss to Iowa in the second game of the season. This time, it's the Utah Utes coming to town.
Putting up 52 points against Texas Tech is nothing to sneeze against, but Utah hasn't exactly faced a solid opponent this season outside of Pittsburgh to start the season.
With Iowa State playing at home, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cyclones' momentum carry into this one.
No. 11: Showdown In The Swamp
If there's a game the Florida Gators need to forget, it's the one against Alabama.
The Crimson Tide gave new meaning to "Roll Tide" as that's exactly what they did. Rolling right over the Gators 31-6 in Tuscaloosa.
Fast forward one week and the Gators will have another tough test coming to town in the LSU Tigers who are coming off a controversial ending against Tennessee.
Thanks to a penalty for too many players on the field, the Vols handed LSU another shot at the win. A shot they took full advantage of after botching their first attempt.
LSU hasn't exactly been solid all year long, almost suffering a loss against North Carolina in the season's opening week.
No. 10: Will Boise State Drop Again in The Polls, Even With a Win?
Boise State 59, New Mexico State 0
You would think a 59-point win would be enough to keep Boise State at the third spot in the rankings.
After Oregon upended Stanford in Eugene, the pollsters apparently thought more of Oregon than they did of Boise State. Though some weren't surprised of that.
This week, the Broncos will have Toledo visiting the blue turf and it's left some, myself included, wondering if they could possibly drop in the polls again this week despite another possibly blowout?
At this point, I believe the Broncos to be safe as I don't see the pollsters thinking more of a possible TCU win at home over Wyoming than they would of Boise State's home win over Toledo.
What I will say is, if Auburn continues to win, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see them jump Boise in the polls in the coming weeks.
No. 9: ACC Showdown In Miami
Like the Red River Shootout here in Texas, the rivalry between Miami and Florida State is one that a lot of college football fans look forward to. Even those without ties to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Last year, Miami went to Tallahassee and fought tooth and nail for a 38-34 victory. For the Hurricanes, it was a victory road on the arm of quarterback Jacory Harris. An arm that gone numb after Harris took a hit from blitzing cornerback Greg Reid.
Harris said after the game that it was just a freak funny bone incident. He was able to shake it off and bring his team back from a 31-24 deficit, scoring the final 14 points of the game for the final tally.
This year will feel a little different. Miami players will look to the Florida State sideline and, for the first time, won't see Bobby Bowden pacing up and down. The Seminoles will also play this rivalry without their head coach for the first time in decades.
Although there will be a different feel to the game, a different atmosphere without the long time Seminoles' head coach, the game will be played with the same intensity, the same hatred, and the same spirited game that has taken place for quite some time.
No. 8: Alabama Heads Out For Another Road Test
After making the Florida Gators look like a second rate school last Saturday, the Crimson Tide will head back out on the road to take on South Carolina.
The Gamecocks are coming off a 35-27 loss at Auburn last week and will be looking to take a direct shot at the target planted squarely on Alabama's back.
I have to admit, I doubted Alabama could take down Arkansas on the road and I was proven wrong. I'm not going to bet against them this time, either.
No. 7: Gregg Henson From 105.3 FM Dallas, TX
Gregg Henson, one half of the Gavin and Gregg Show on 105.3 FM The Fan, or better known as "G-Bag Nation," here in Dallas, Texas.
He was also on the air in Detroit on WDFN and WXYT, so he's more than familiar with the Michigan and Michigan State rivalry, which is exactly why I brought him in to try his hand at making the picks of the week.
The last two guests, former Padres catcher Rob Bowen, and ESPN Radio's R.J. Choppy, combined for an 8-1 record, so Gregg has big shoes to fill.
No. 6: Baylor at Texas Tech
Gregg Henson: So much for Tommy Tuberville bringing the defense. Tech has a long road post-Mike Leach. Robert Griffin runs wild.
Todd: Gotta agree with Gregg on this one. Even though the two teams will be on a neutral field, the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, this will be Baylor's day.
No. 5: LSU at Florida
Gregg Henson: Les Miles is on the hot seat and Florida will only make it hotter. Florida needs to bounce back with a statement game this week.
Todd: LSU should have lost to Tennessee last week if not for a gift-wrapped "do over" by the Vols. I think the Gators handle their business at home.
No. 4: Michigan State at Michigan
Gregg Henson: Denard Robinson will go wild again, but so will Michigan State's offense. Michigan has lost two straight to the Spartans, but they won't get three. Wolverines' defense will step up a bit. Finally.
Todd: I'm torn on this game. As well as Michigan State played last week in their upset win over Wisconsin, I think they're going to have some momentum going into this one.
The Wolverines needed a last-second touchdown from "The Freak," as I'll call him, to get the win over Indiana.
The only thing the Wolverines have in their corner is playing at home. I'll take the Spartans to win late.
No. 3: Arkansas at Texas A&M
Gregg Henson: Ryan Mallett is greater than Jerrod Johnson.
Todd: This is more a neutral site than anything, even though the Aggies are closer to their home than Arkansas. However, don't count out the Razorback fans making a trip west to Arlington if only to get their first look at Cowboys Stadium.
I like Arkansas to roll in this one.
No. 2: Florida State at Miami
Gregg Henson: Miami's Randy Shannon is further along in his rebuild and has possibly the best team in Florida.
Todd: Miami playing at home, Jacory Harris is still their quarterback but Florida State hasn't lost since being embarrassed by Oklahoma.
Looking at the wins for the Seminoles, I don't see anything that catches my eye and makes me wonder if Florida State can pull this out. I think Miami will pull away late.
No. 1: Five Players to Watch
QB Bryant Moniz (Hawaii) - Moniz leads the nation in passing with 1,869 yards, averaging 373.8 yards per game. He'll be up against Fresno State, who has a questionable secondary at best. He might have a big day on Saturday.
RB LaMichael James (Oregon) - Washington State has been giving up big points and could very well give up big yards to arguably the best running back in college football. James put up 257 yards against Stanford last week, and he could do better than that this week.
WR Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State) - Blackmon leads the nation in receiving yards per game (139.5) and could put up big numbers against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
WR Travis Cobb (Arizona) - The senior wide receiver has become a dangerous kick returner so far this season. Through three games (six returns), Cobb is averaging 37.83 yards per return and already has a kick return for a touchdown this season.
DL Nick Fairley (Auburn) - The junior defensive lineman, through five games, has 11.5 tackles for a loss this season. The Tigers will face Kentucky this weekend, which means Fairley could have a big day.