College Football Picks: Week 6 Predictions for Every Game
While the biggest weekend of the college football season is closing in fast, Week 6 will provide a bit of separation before the showdown-filled slate in Week 7.
The Big Ten offers two Top 25 matchups with No. 25 Michigan State traveling to No. 4 Ohio State and No. 14 Iowa playing at No. 19 Michigan. Losses by either MSU or Michigan would basically eliminate them from the Big Ten―and College Football Playoff―picture.
But the biggest game is found in the SEC; 10th-ranked Florida will host No. 7 Auburn in a clash between 5-0 teams.
Those marquee contests highlight the predictions of all 48 games involving a Football Bowl Subdivision team. Games with an AP Top 25 team are listed in ascending order, and the remaining are listed chronologically after a preview of the five best matchups between unranked teams.
All odds courtesy of Caesars and current as of Tuesday.
AP Nos. 25-21
No. 25 Texas A&M (idle)
The Aggies somehow stayed in the Top 25 despite struggling with Arkansas and having two losses. They're off in Week 6 before hosting top-ranked Alabama next weekend.
No. 25 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Ohio State (7:30 p.m. ET, OSU -20.5)
For prediction, see No. 4 Ohio State.
Tulsa at No. 24 SMU (7:30 p.m. ET, SMU -13)
SMU has scored 37-plus points in every game and cruised to a 5-0 record. Unless Tulsa―which ranks 123rd nationally in yards per play―suddenly turns into an explosive offense, Sonny Dykes and the Mustangs will improve to 6-0.
Prediction: SMU 45, Tulsa 21
No. 23 Virginia (idle)
The next game is Virginia's most important contest of 2019. On Oct. 11, the Wahoos will travel to Miami for a Coastal Division clash. UVA could improve to 3-0 in ACC play and hand Miami its second conference loss. Or, the Canes will be right back in the mix.
No. 22 Wake Forest (idle)
Last week, the Demon Deacons picked up a solid road victory at Boston College. Now, they're preparing for a three-game homestand with Louisville, Florida State and North Carolina State. It's quite possible Wake Forest reaches 8-0 this season.
No. 21 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (Noon ET, OSU -9.5)
In two games with power-conference teams, Texas Tech has mustered only 30 points. Perhaps a return to Lubbock will assist the Red Raiders, but a dynamic Oklahoma State rushing attack (10th nationally in yards per carry) is built to take advantage of a soft run defense. Texas Tech surrendered a combined 515 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground to Arizona and Oklahoma.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 37, Texas Tech 24
AP Nos. 20-16
No. 20 Arizona State (idle)
Herm Edwards' club surged into the rankings after an upset victory at Cal. Since the Sun Devils already have a Pac-12 loss, though, every win is crucial. They're headed for a challenging back-to-back with Washington State and Utah.
No. 14 Iowa at No. 19 Michigan (Noon ET, Michigan -4.5)
For prediction, see No. 14 Iowa.
No. 17 Utah (idle)
Utah must be careful not to look ahead; Oregon State has played competitively in 2019, and a trip to Corvallis awaits the Utes in Week 7. Still, the marquee game on their October slate is at home against Arizona State in Week 8.
No. 16 Boise State at UNLV (10:30 p.m., Boise State -23.5)
Against three FBS teams, UNLV has mustered 323.3 yards per game and scored no more than 17 points. Expecting that to change against Boise State is unwise. The Broncos are tied for sixth nationally in third-down defense and have limited their last three opponents (Marshall, Portland State and Air Force) to 12 points per game.
Prediction: Boise State 38, UNLV 14
AP Nos. 15-11
No. 15 Washington at Stanford (10:30 p.m. ET, UW -14.5)
The whole "Stanford isn't that good" thing is strange. It still feels like the Cardinal are suddenly going to figure out their problems and be competitive, because that's what college football has come to expect. But they've allowed 9.4 yards per pass, which is tied for the fifth-worst mark in the country. Washington should dispatch Stanford relatively easily.
Prediction: Washington 34, Stanford 21
No. 14 Iowa at No. 19 Michigan (Noon ET, Michigan -4.5)
Two weeks ago at Wisconsin, Michigan looked completely overwhelmed at the line of scrimmage. Iowa has only 11 tackles for loss, yet the defense has allowed just 3.4 yards per carry and zero rushing scores. Shea Patterson must carry the Wolverines, but the evidence he's ready to handle that responsibility isn't there.
Prediction: Iowa 24, Michigan 20
Cal at No. 13 Oregon (8 p.m. ET, Oregon -17.5)
Unfortunately for Cal, quarterback Chase Garbers is out indefinitely because of a shoulder injury. The Bears remain a stout defensive team and can frustrate Justin Herbert, but we can't trust Cal to score enough points for the upset.
Prediction: Oregon 24, Cal 13
Purdue at No. 12 Penn State (Noon ET, Penn State -27.5)
This is a rough time for Purdue. Star wideout Rondale Moore and quarterback Elijah Sindelar were injured on the same play. Moore (leg) is out Saturday, and Sindelar (collarbone) might be done for the season. Without them, Purdue simply doesn't have the offensive firepower to keep up with Penn State.
Prediction: Penn State 45, Purdue 10
No. 11 Texas at West Virginia (3:30 p.m. ET, Texas -11.5)
The context of this matchup says "trap game" for the Longhorns. They know Oklahoma looms in Week 7. West Virginia isn't good this season but has home-field advantage and can embrace the spoiler role. But the Mountaineers also surrendered 10.6 yards per pass attempt to Kansas, so how are they going to stop Sam Ehlinger?
Prediction: Texas 44, West Virginia 24
AP Nos. 10-6
No. 7 Auburn at No. 10 Florida (3:30 p.m. ET, Auburn -3)
For prediction, see No. 7 Auburn.
Bowling Green at No. 9 Notre Dame (3:30 p.m. ET, Notre Dame -45.5)
Scot Loeffler's first season with Bowling Green is, uh, not going well. The Falcons have losses of 52 points to Kansas State, 28 to Louisiana Tech and 42 to Kent State. There is your context for a Notre Dame blowout win.
Prediction: Notre Dame 55, Bowling Green 7
Kent State at No. 8 Wisconsin (Noon ET, Wisconsin -37)
The inglorious honor of "most difficult nonconference schedule" goes to Kent State, which also traveled to Arizona State (30-7 loss) and Auburn (55-16 loss). Wisconsin's powerful rushing attack will add a third ugly loss to Kent State's resume, but the Golden Flashes can finally move on with 2019 after Week 6.
Prediction: Wisconsin 45, Kent State 10
No. 7 Auburn at No. 10 Florida (3:30 p.m. ET, Auburn -3)
Auburn has an impressive group of wins yet is just now entering the difficult stretch of the campaign. The Tigers have a defense capable of limiting and frustrating Kyle Trask, but the same sentence applies to Florida's defense against Bo Nix. And this week, Jabari Zuniga and CJ Henderson are expected to return for the Gators. Unless the Auburn offensive line thrives, this is a big ask for Nix.
Prediction: Florida 20, Auburn 16
No. 6 Oklahoma at Kansas (Noon ET, Oklahoma -34)
Les Miles just watched his defense allow 300-plus rushing and passing yards to TCU. The last person he wants to see is Jalen Hurts, who is averaging 434.5 total yards despite having six combined runs and passes in all fourth quarters combined.
Prediction: Oklahoma 52, Kansas 13
AP Nos. 5-1
Utah State at No. 5 LSU (Noon ET, LSU -28)
This is an important game for Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, who has attracted some attention as a potential first-round NFL draft pick. LSU, meanwhile, has ceded only 6.4 yards per pass attempt. The Tigers will overwhelm Utah State's defense, but the Love vs. LSU storyline is worth following.
Prediction: LSU 45, Utah State 21
No. 25 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Ohio State (7:30 p.m., OSU -20.5)
On the bright side, MSU put up 442 yards and 40 points against Indiana last week. The Spartans need that level of offensive production to compete Saturday. However, the Hoosiers hit 33 of 42 passes for 286 yards and three scores and were an overthrown pass from taking a fourth-quarter lead. That's not a promising sign heading into a matchup with Justin Fields and a superb receiving corps.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Michigan State 17
No. 3 Georgia at Tennessee (7 p.m. ET, Georgia -24.5)
Tennessee is "on the brink of something special," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said, per Anthony Dasher of Rivals. B/R's Adam Kramer replied, "I imagine an assistant bet Kirby lunch that he wouldn't actually say this and Kirby, like many of us who enjoy free lunches, jumped at the opportunity." And Georgia is about to take all of Tennessee's lunch money.
Prediction: Georgia 41, Tennessee 10
No. 2 Clemson (idle)
Clemson is probably itching to play again following a nerve-wracking one-point win at North Carolina, but this is good timing for an off weekend. Dabo Swinney and Co. can look into why their offense is struggling before they take on Florida State.
No. 1 Alabama (idle)
Nick Saban's team is averaging a 37-point margin of victory behind Tua Tagovailoa, who has 23 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. This steamroller heads to Texas A&M in Week 7.
The 5 Best Unranked Battles
TCU at Iowa State (Noon ET, Iowa State -3.5)
Both teams have allowed less than 3.2 yards per rush this season, yet both offenses are most effective when running the ball. Will one offense break through? Or will that be a statistical wash, shifting the pressure to the quarterbacks? We're going with the latter, and the advantage goes to Iowa State's Brock Purdy.
Prediction: Iowa State 23, TCU 20
Tulane at Army (Noon ET, Tulane -3)
The last time we saw Tulane, the Green Wave pulled off a miraculous win over Houston with a go-ahead touchdown in the final seconds. This contest should be just as tight. Army has repeatedly proved it's capable of shutting down rushing attacks (no matter the competition level), so Tulane must be able to throw effectively. We're not expecting it.
Prediction: Army 28, Tulane 21
Baylor at Kansas State (3:30 p.m. ET, Kansas State -2)
We're still learning about both teams. Baylor has a promising offense and solid defense, yet its red-zone efficiency is a slight cause for concern with two touchdowns in its last six trips. Kansas State hasn't impressed offensively lately. Though this isn't a comfortable prediction, the unknown makes this matchup intriguing. Baylor gets our nod because of quarterback Charlie Brewer, who has 10 touchdowns to zero interceptions and consecutive 300-yard games.
Prediction: Baylor 27, Kansas State 24
Virginia Tech at Miami (3:30 p.m. ET, Miami -13.5)
Justin Fuente appears to be on the hot seat after the Hokies lost by 35 to Duke, yet Miami regularly plays down to its competition. Even as Virginia Tech battles perception and quarterback issues, we're not placing full trust in the Hurricanes, either. They'll win another one at home, but a dominant showing isn't likely.
Prediction: Miami 31, Virginia Tech 20
Arizona at Colorado (4:30 p.m. ET, No Line)
Khalil Tate and J.J. Taylor are both questionable for Arizona. If they play, the Wildcats have a better chance to win. But their uncertain status for a conference road game against a productive offense has us leaning toward the Buffs.
Prediction: Colorado 31, Arizona 24
The Rest of the Slate (1/2)
South Florida at UConn (Noon ET, USF -11)
Prediction: USF 38, UConn 22
Maryland at Rutgers (Noon ET, No Line)
Prediction: Maryland 45, Rutgers 14
Boston College at Louisville (12:30 p.m. ET, Louisville -6.5)
Prediction: Boston College 27, Louisville 24
Eastern Michigan at Central Michigan (3 p.m. ET, EMU -6.5)
Prediction: Eastern Michigan 31, Central Michigan 21
Ohio at Buffalo (3:30 p.m. ET, Ohio -3)
Prediction: Ohio 30, Buffalo 23
Air Force at Navy (3:30 p.m. ET, Air Force -3)
Prediction: Air Force 28, Navy 21
Arkansas State at Georgia State (3:30 p.m. ET, Arkansas State -7)
Prediction: Arkansas State 37, Georgia State 28
Ball State at Northern Illinois (3:30 p.m. ET, NIU -4)
Prediction: Northern Illinois 26, Ball State 23
Illinois at Minnesota (3:30 p.m. ET, Minnesota -14)
Prediction: Minnesota 38, Illinois 20
Marshall at Middle Tennessee (3:30 p.m. ET, Marshall -4.5)
Prediction: Marshall 34, Middle Tennessee 21
Western Michigan at Toledo (3:30 p.m. ET, Toledo -1)
Prediction: Western Michigan 34, Toledo 29
Memphis at UL Monroe (3:45 p.m. ET, Memphis -17)
Prediction: Memphis 37, UL Monroe 21
North Carolina at Georgia Tech (4 p.m. ET, UNC -10.5)
Prediction: North Carolina 28, Georgia Tech 16
Northwestern at Nebraska (4 p.m. ET, Nebraska -7)
Prediction: Northwestern 24, Nebraska 19
Troy at Missouri (4 p.m. ET, Missouri -24)
Prediction: Missouri 38, Troy 17
The Rest of the Slate (2/2)
Western Kentucky at Old Dominion (6 p.m. ET, WKU -3.5)
Prediction: Western Kentucky 27, Old Dominion 22
Rice at UAB (7 p.m. ET, UAB -8.5)
Prediction: UAB 31, Rice 13
UMass at Florida International (7 p.m. ET, FIU -26.5)
Prediction: FIU 38, UMass 21
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (7:30 p.m. ET, Ole Miss -7)
Prediction: Ole Miss 29, Vanderbilt 24
Pitt at Duke (8 p.m. ET, No Line)
Prediction: Duke 31, Pitt 23
Liberty at New Mexico State (8 p.m. ET, Liberty -6)
Prediction: Liberty 34, New Mexico State 24
UTSA at UTEP (8 p.m. ET, UTEP -1.5)
Prediction: UTEP 23, UTSA 21
Oregon State at UCLA (9 p.m. ET, No Line)
Prediction: Oregon State 30, UCLA 20
San Diego State at Colorado State (10 p.m. ET, SDSU -7.5)
Prediction: San Diego State 24, Colorado State 19