College Football Picks: Week 6 Predictions for Every Game

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2020

College Football Picks: Week 6 Predictions for Every Game

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    Mike McCarn/Associated Press

    While the sample size is relatively small, Week 6 is unquestionably the biggest week of the 2020 college football season so far.

    The weekend boasts a quartet of Top 25 showdowns, including a couple of enormous ACC games. Top-ranked Clemson hosts No. 7 Miami, and No. 8 North Carolina welcomes No. 19 Virginia Tech to Chapel Hill. Those results will have a considerable effect on both the ACC standings and early College Football Playoff conversations.

    In the SEC, Top Five teams Georgia and Florida both take on ranked opponents in Tennessee and Texas A&M, respectively. And even though both Texas and Oklahoma have lossestwo, in OU's casethe Red River rivalry is always notable too.

    B/R's predictions are broken into three sections: AP Top 25 teams, best games of unranked teams and the rest of the slate.

AP Nos. 25-21

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    No. 25 Minnesota (0-0) IDLE

    Season opener: vs. Michigan (Oct. 24)

             

    Texas Tech (1-2) at No. 24 Iowa State (2-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    The key question for Texas Tech is whether quarterback Alan Bowman will be healthy. He exited Saturday's loss to Kansas State with a leg injury. If he plays, the Red Raiders are a solid pick. But without the assurance that he'll be available, Iowa State can lean on quarterback Brock Purdy against a mediocre Texas Tech pass defense.

    Prediction: Iowa State 41, Texas Tech 30

              

    Coastal Carolina (3-0) at No. 23 Louisiana (3-0), Noon ET

    Although the 23rd-ranked Ragin' Cajuns landed the headlines for toppling Iowa State, they've survived Georgia State and Georgia Southern by five total points since then. Coastal Carolina, meanwhile, smashed Kansas and crushed Arkansas Statewhich beat Kansas Stateby 29 points. Freshman quarterback Grayson McCall, who's averaging 11.6 yards per pass attempt, will lead CCU to a win.

    Prediction: Coastal Carolina 38, Louisiana 30

               

    Oklahoma (1-2) vs. No. 22 Texas (2-1), Noon ET

    The only thing stopping the Red River rivalry from being a clash of 1-2 teams is Texas' miracle comeback against Texas Tech two weekends ago. What an unexpected start to 2020 in the Big 12. Oklahoma is making an uncharacteristic number of mistakes offensively, and the defense is just bad. Texas is flawed too, but the Longhorns have the firepower to shred this OU defense.

    Prediction: Texas 45, Oklahoma 38

                

    No. 4 Florida (2-0) at No. 21 Texas A&M (1-1), Noon ET

    For prediction, see No. 4 Florida.

AP Nos. 20-16

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    LSU RB John Emery Jr.
    LSU RB John Emery Jr.Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    No. 20 Michigan (0-0) IDLE

    Season opener: at Minnesota (Oct. 24)

                

    No. 19 Virginia Tech (2-0) at No. 8 North Carolina (2-0), Noon ET

    For prediction, see No. 8 North Carolina.

               

    No. 18 SMU (4-0) IDLE

    Next game: at Tulane (Oct. 16)

               

    Missouri (0-2) at No. 17 LSU (1-1), 9 p.m. ET

    LSU responded nicely after the loss to Mississippi State. The Tigers cruised past Vanderbilt with a 100-yard showing from running back John Emery Jr., and star receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. caught two touchdowns. Missouri managed just 4.9 yards per play against Alabama and Tennessee, suggesting the offense isn't much of a threat against top competition.

    Prediction: LSU 38, Missouri 17

               

    No. 16 Wisconsin (0-0) IDLE

    Season opener: vs. Illinois (Oct. 24)

AP Nos. 15-11

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    UTSA (3-1) at No. 15 BYU (3-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    BYU is quietly one of the nation's most impressive teams. While the defense has surrendered just 3.9 yards per play, quarterback Zach Wilson has totaled 990 yards and 11 touchdowns. BYU has enjoyed three wins of 31-plus points. It seems unlikely that a UTSA defense that gives up 6.1 yards per snap can control BYU.

    Prediction: BYU 48, UTSA 21

             

    No. 14 Tennessee (2-0) at No. 3 Georgia (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    For prediction, see No. 3 Georgia.

                 

    Arkansas (1-1) at No. 13 Auburn (1-1), 4 p.m. ET

    Golf clap for Arkansas, which snagged its first SEC victory since 2017 with a triumph over Mississippi State. But the Razorbacks' reward is a date with an angry Auburn team, which returns home following an ugly loss to Georgia. This should be a defensive battle, and Arkansas' lack of explosiveness on offense will decide the game.

    Prediction: Auburn 24, Arkansas 13

               

    No. 12 Oregon (0-0) IDLE

    Season opener: vs. Stanford (Nov. 7)

              

    No. 11 Cincinnati (3-0) IDLE

    Next game: at Tulsa (Oct. 17)

AP Nos. 10-6

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    No. 10 Oklahoma State (3-0) IDLE

    Next game: at Baylor (Oct. 17)

               

    No. 9 Penn State (0-0) IDLE

    Season opener: at Indiana (Oct. 24)

                

    No. 19 Virginia Tech (2-0) at No. 8 North Carolina (2-0), Noon ET

    The problem with Virginia Tech is we're uncertain who will be available. Last week against punchless Duke, the Hokies had 21 players outincluding quarterback Hendon Hooker. If he's not starting, Virginia Tech's offense will very likely struggle. The offensive line has been better than expected, but UNC's run defense is stout. With a 44.4 completion rate and only 7.5 yards per attempt, Braxton Burmeister hasput nicelya whole lot to prove.

    Prediction: North Carolina 34, Virginia Tech 20

               

    No. 7 Miami (3-0) at No. 1 Clemson (3-0), 7:30 p.m. ET

    For prediction, see No. 1 Clemson.

               

    No. 6 Ohio State (0-0) IDLE

    Season opener: vs. Nebraska (Oct. 24)

AP Nos. 5-1

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Florida State (1-2) at No. 5 Notre Dame (2-0), 7:30 p.m. ET

    If FSU found a quarterback in Jordan Travis, the 'Noles have a fighting chance. Additionally, Notre Dame had a disrupted practice schedule within a three-week layoff and might be a little rusty. But this Irish defense is built to overwhelm a shaky Florida State offensive line. Notre Dame pulls away in the second half.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 34, Florida State 16

                

    No. 4 Florida (2-0) at No. 21 Texas A&M (1-1), Noon ET

    Florida quarterback Kyle Trask has 684 passing yards and 10 touchdowns in two weeks. Texas A&M gave up 435 passing yards and four scores in a 52-24 loss to Alabama. Anyone else not feeling optimistic about a complete reversal in seven days? Florida's defense is a concern, but the Aggies have bigger problems.

    Prediction: Florida 38, Texas A&M 27

                

    No. 14 Tennessee (2-0) at No. 3 Georgia (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    This is a measuring-stick game for Tennessee. Georgia held Auburn to six points and a middling 3.5 yards per play. Through two games, the Dawgs have ceded a meager 4.8 yards per pass attempt and grabbed four interceptions. Compare that excellence with Tennessee's top concern, which is whether the passing gameunlike the last three seasonscan be productive against top competition. It's fair to believe "no" until the Vols prove otherwise, but this is the first opportunity to change that narrative.

    Prediction: Georgia 27, Tennessee 16

               

    No. 2 Alabama (2-0) at Ole Miss (1-1), 6 p.m. ET

    Mississippi is playing exactly as anticipated with a fun offense and wild ride of a defense. The latter has surrendered 1,201 yards and 92 points in two games. That is, well, an enormous issue against Lane Kiffin's former team. Alabama just put up 544 yards and 52 points on Texas A&M. The over/under of 73.5, per DraftKings, is more interesting than the prediction itself.

    Prediction: Alabama 56, Ole Miss 28

                 

    No. 7 Miami (3-0) at No. 1 Clemson (3-0), 7:30 p.m. ET

    We're about to see if Miami is a neat September story or a legitimate threat. As impressively as quarterback D'Eriq King has played, Miami lacks a standout wide receiver and is vulnerable at linebacker and cornerback. That's a rough set of problems, especially opposite Travis Etienne and Trevor Lawrence. Short of having King run all over Clemson, Miami's upset hopes hinge on generating turnovers. And the Tigers' first-team offense doesn't have any in 2020.

    Prediction: Clemson 48, Miami 31

The Next-Best Games

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    NC State QB Devin Leary
    NC State QB Devin LearyKeith Srakocic/Associated Press

    North Carolina State (2-1) at Virginia (1-1), Noon ET

    Consider this more a game of curiosity than national relevance. Last week, NC State upset then-undefeated Pitt behind a brilliant day from quarterback Devin Leary. Virginia has a new starter in Brennan Armstrong, a dual-threat weapon with 675 yards and six touchdowns in two games. He's likely to thrive against an unimpressive NC State defense, but Leary should keep the Wolfpack close.

    Prediction: Virginia 34, NC State 27

                

    Pitt (3-1) at Boston College (2-1), 4 p.m. ET

    Despite last week's loss, Pitt has shown its quality in 2020. Boston College is a nice surprise under first-year coach Jeff Hafley, who's turned a mediocre defense into a respectable unit. Although a 41.7 red-zone touchdown rate over the last three weeks is concerning, Pitt is the deserved favorite because of quarterback Kenny Pickett. His mobility will be key against BC's disruption.

    Prediction: Pitt 24, Boston College 20

              

    Kansas State (2-1) at TCU (1-1), 4 p.m. ET

    Since falling to Arkansas State in the opener, Kansas State has victories over Oklahoma and Texas Tech. TCU, however, may be catching K-State when quarterback Skylar Thompson (arm) is unavailable. Head coach Chris Klieman told reporters Thompson has "a chance" to play. That's not reassuring for a prediction made at the beginning of the week.

    Prediction: TCU 34, Kansas State 27

                 

    Mississippi State (1-1) at Kentucky (0-2), 7:30 p.m. ET

    How will Mike Leach's team bounce back from a loss? Kentucky is more talented than an 0-2 record may suggest, but a defense that has ceded seven passing touchdowns and 9.9 yards per pass attempt with zero interceptions and three sacks isn't promising. This is an ideal opportunity for Mississippi State's offense to rebound.

    Prediction: Mississippi State 38, Kentucky 28

The Rest of the Slate

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    South Carolina coach Will Muschamp
    South Carolina coach Will MuschampJohn Raoux/Associated Press

    Tulane (2-1) at Houston (0-0), Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET

    Prediction: Tulane 34, Houston 24

                

    Louisville (1-2) at Georgia Tech (1-2), Friday, 7 p.m. ET

    Prediction: Louisville 28, Georgia Tech 23

              

    South Carolina (0-2) at Vanderbilt (0-2), Noon ET

    Prediction: South Carolina 29, Vanderbilt 24

                

    UL Monroe (0-4) at Liberty (3-0), Noon ET

    Prediction: Liberty 45, UL Monroe 21

              

    Duke (0-4) at Syracuse (1-2), 12:30 p.m. ET

    Prediction: Syracuse 26, Duke 17

                

    The Citadel (0-3) at Army (3-1), 1:30 p.m. ET

    Prediction: Army 35, The Citadel 14

                

    Texas State (1-3) at Troy (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Prediction: Troy 24, Texas State 20

                

    Central Arkansas (2-2) at Arkansas State (1-2), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Prediction: Arkansas State 31, Central Arkansas 26

                

    Middle Tennessee (0-4) at Florida International (0-1), 4 p.m. ET

    Prediction: FIU 34, Middle Tennessee 24

                

    Florida Atlantic (1-0) at Southern Miss (1-3), 4 p.m. ET

    Prediction: Southern Miss 30, FAU 27

                

    Temple (0-0) at Navy (1-2), 6 p.m. ET

    Prediction: Temple 31, Navy 21

                

    East Carolina (0-2) at South Florida (1-2), 7 p.m. ET

    Prediction: East Carolina 28, USF 27

                

    UTEP (3-1) at Louisiana Tech (2-1), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Prediction: Louisiana Tech 27, UTEP 21

                

    Marshall (2-0) at Western Kentucky (1-2), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Prediction: Marshall 31, Western Kentucky 17

                

    Charlotte (0-2) at North Texas (1-2), 8 p.m. ET

    Prediction: North Texas 35, Charlotte 33

                

    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from NCAA.com, cfbstats.com or B/R research. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.