'Tis the weekend of the Red River Rivalry, when all eyes are upon Texas as the Sooners and the Longhorns get it on at the Cotton Bowl in the 2011 edition of one of college football's best rivalries. College Gameday's going to be there, too.
But there's also violent chess from Baton Rouge, where a rookie Gators QB tries to take on an amped LSU defense; a problem-filled Ohio State team walks in Nebraska; and Penn State and Iowa get together trying NOT to repeat the truly awful 6-2 game of 2004, which was less "defensive battle" and more "offensively offensive."
Anyway, here's the VFA's Week 6 Predictions, starting with a certain duck.
Cal at Oregon
First, we wouldn't be surprised when all is said and done if Oregon is a top-5 team. Yes, they are that good. Their litmus tests probably won't come this Thursday night against the Bears—they'll come in clashes with Arizona State and Stanford. But the great news for ESPN viewers is that the atmosphere's going to be great and the cheerleaders are going to be better. Prediction: Oregon by 14.
Boise State at Fresno State
You can't help but get the feeling that Fresno State had a darned good chance of putting itself on the college football map for 2011 if it had turned over Ole Miss last week, but it didn't. Now Boise State comes to visit, and if you can't think of any reasons why Kellen Moore will stumble, they probably won't. Prediction: Boise by 21 in a game that gets ugly by halftime.
Texas vs. Oklahoma
Always awesome to see one half of the Cotton Bowl in red and the other half in burnt orange. The place is going to be rocking, and we'd like to point out that even if both teams are crappy, this is STILL one of the best rivalries in college football. Oh, and the corn dogs are great too. On the field, Travis Lewis leads a frightening defense against an offense and a team that's suddenly finding its mojo at just the right time. This one's going to be fun. Prediction: OU by 10 in one that gets open in the last five minutes.
Florida at LSU
Last week the Gators created one of the most electric atmospheres in college football before and during the first drive of their game against Alabama. Then it all fell away. After the war against 'Bama, starting QB John Brantley is injured, and Jeff Demps ain't much better. And LSU has no major problems, apart from the usual one (we missed you Jordan Jefferson!) about quarterback. Oh, and Driskel's first away game's going to be in Death Valley. Good luck with that. Prediction: Roar! LSU by 14
Iowa at Penn State
Penn State was AWFUL against Indiana, turning in a dreadful performance. Yeah, the two red-zone turnovers didn't help for one of the country's most mediocre offenses (93rd in points). And it doesn't help when both quarterbacks are as bad as each other, which means that if the score ends up 6-2 Iowa—as it did in 2004—we'll hardly be surprised. Iowa isn't that good either. If you love tackling and scrimmages in the 50-yard line area, this should be fun. Prediction: Iowa wins 6-3.
Ohio State at Nebraska
It's been a horrible week for Ohio State, after revelations about three of their players meant that they are going to lose Dan Herron and DeVier Posey because of a second NCAA investigation. Oh, and the fact that their offense looked completely and utterly anaemic against Michigan State, in which the crowd gave a sarcastic celebration after they managed to stop a shutout and finish their Horseshoe defeat at 10-7. Can you blame it all on Luke Fickell? No. But we wouldn't be surprised if he's not around next year. And Nebraska? They'll be running the ball a lot this week after the Wisconsin disaster. Prediction: Nebraska wins by 7.
Arizona State at Utah
One of the more intriguing matchups of the college football season for a number of reasons. First of all, Arizona State struggled mightily for parts of its victory over Oregon State last week, which means the Sun Devils' trip up to Utah—who will be urgently seeking their first Pac-12 victory—could worry them. Remember, this is a team that just lost to USC. Prediction: Utah in a last-ditch field goal stunner.
Auburn at Arkansas
Both teams won in pretty crazy fashion last weekend, with the Razorbacks taking advantage of the "A&M" (a.k.a., Second Half Collapse) and Auburn taking advantage of the Garcia (a.k.a., Crappy Quarterbacking). This week will be intriguing, because it'll probably end up being crazy. Prediction: Arkansas by 4 in a crazy, crazy game.
Michigan at Northwestern
The Michigan Wolverines are unbeaten and looking like trouble, especially with Brady Hoke's suddenly-improved defense. We love quarterback Denard Robinson, too. Don't get us wrong, Northwestern's always good for an upset—particularly when Dan Persa's going to be running the huddle. Prediction: Not this time. Michigan by 14.
Miami vs. Virginia Tech
Both sides slipped out of anyone's interest this season, and that's pretty sad. The Hokies proved any season noise about their possible greatness was hokum by getting outperformed at home by Clemson, and Miami hasn't been outstanding all season—no surprise considering their problems. Prediction: Virginia Tech by 3 with a scoreline more exciting than the game is.
Georgia at Tennessee
Nighttimes are always a bit special at Neyland Stadium, and it's going to be even more special what with a one-loss and seemingly reborn Tennessee team and a Georgia team that's finding its feet. Mark Richt won't be too happy with linebacker-come-racing-driver Cornelius Washington, who's suspended for speeding, which could give Tyler Bray some holes to exploit in the UGA defense. On the UGA side, they've won three confidence-building games on the trot and Aaron Murray is the real deal at quarterback. If the Bulldogs can get Orson Charles loose (as well as Herschel heir Isaiah Crowell), this could fun. Prediction: Georgia wins a shoot-out. By 5.
'HOB-NAIL BOOT'....it never gets old