Well week 6 brings us plenty of great match-ups, not the least of which are the two being played in Tallahassee and Gainesville at 3:30 involving 3 of the state’s top programs. As always, a breakdown of some of the games of interest and then the rest of today’s games but a word of advice on reading the reviews, don’t feel overwhelmed or compelled to read the entire line-up of games all at once. Look for your favorite team first. Then perhaps dabble in some reviews of your conference rivals. Or sample some of the picks every few hours as you find the time to watch the games. Now, I do admit that some of the sophomoric humor is reserved for some of the less competitive games but hey don’t be intimidated by the length of the post. After all there is no quiz and it’s probably your day off so enjoy it.
TOP GAMES OF INTEREST
(5) Georgia at Vanderbilt – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – None of the early games really excite me today including this one between the Dawgs and the Commodores but it’s probably the best of the early day bunch. Vandy’s exuberance has been permanently sapped with the Alabama embarrassment and Georgia hasn’t been this excited since the days of Hershel Walker. How good is it for Georgia? They just locked down the #1 QB and possibly best player in the country yesterday in Justin Fields who is a home grown Georgia product. You can also tell from the comments Georgia fans are posting that they are doing well. In fact, I think they may be boasting just a wee bit too much. Just saying, be careful Dawg fans. But not this week. From ESPN comes this nugget, Vandy is 0-52 all-time versus Top 5 teams. Yikes! Sounds like the Commodores are still lining up Lionel Ritchie at QB. Georgia over a good but not great Vandy team by 10 or more.
LSU at (22) Florida – CBS (DTV-6) (SPEC-1060) – I could have buried this game in the middle of the picks today to make Florida fans search for it and to protect LSU fans from further taunting. I could have also diminished it’s importance especially since LSU is all but done in their quest for a great season, although with Alabama on the horizon there is always a chance for something special to happen. But nah, this game is here because after last year’s game was relocated to LSU the bad blood has only intensified between these two teams. No one is sold on the Gators being a true national powerhouse and neither am I. Two of their conference wins have been way too late for comfort against mid-range teams. But hey if McShark keeps winning then you have to hand it to him, he’s doing a great job. As for LSU, what has happened Tiger fans? I did warn last week that Troy was not to be taken lightly but I thought at home LSU would eventually pull it out. Tigers really need to dig deep this year to keep the season from becoming an unmitigated disaster. Florida seems to be gaining confidence and strength and their offense is starting to show signs of life although without Cleveland and Del Rio they continue to loose potential spark plugs. I like the Gators in a game that will be close but their special teams will be the difference.
(13) Miami, FL at Florida State – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – Miami fans, it’s now or well maybe next year. But then again you’ve been saying that for some time. No need to remind you who has won how many games in a row and certainly no need to remind us of who has more NCAA championships. All that is really in the past. The Canes are healthier than FSU, they have a competitive defense and they should be able to confuse the Noles true freshman QB. But what if they don’t you ask? And does FSU have a chance? Always with Jimbo Fisher at the helm. And you can expect the game will be close as it seems to be in all of their rivalry games. Still I expect Miami to hold on late as FSU will fall behind early as has been the game plan of late. Heck I picked UM and UF to beat us at the beginning of the season based on a hunch. But hey, I’ve been wrong before and I’d love to be wrong again.
(25) UCF at Cincinnati – ESPNU (DTV-208) (SPEC-1131) – Knights are for real. No one thinks they are just a team in transition after pounding a good Memphis team last week. Frost-ball is a good brand of football and don’t be surprised if he gets called to the majors after this season to coach Nebraska. But hey, enjoy him and the Knights while you can this season and don’t worry about the future. Knights on the road by 10 or more.
(11) Washington State at Oregon – FOX (DTV-35) (SPEC-1035) – Cougars and Ducks in a classic high scoring, no defense Pac-12 match-up. Washington State gets their chance to follow-up on their Pullman Party upset win over USC last Friday night. Meanwhile Oregon has a quiet 4-1 season with their only loss coming on a late field goal against Arizona State. Oregon could pull off the upset at home, but I see more offensive firepower on the Cougars sideline. They just can’t play too cocky and fall behind like they did against Boise State trailing 31-10 in the fourth quarter of week 2.
Stanford at (20) Utah – FOX Sports 1 (DTV-219) (SPEC-1153) – Stanford has rebounded with two good wins after starting 1-2. But they have come against UCLA and Arizona State two mediocre teams. Utah is equally well coached and they are at home. Tough game to call but even though my reason tells me to take the more athletically superior team in Stanford, I’m going with my gut and taking the Running Utes at home.
BEST OF THE REST
So with that let’s turn our attention to the best of the rest of the games being televised. And if your favorite team can’t get on one of a dozen different national channels then you have bigger issues with your program and should look forward to basketball.
Tulsa at Tulane – ESPN3 (Your computer screen) – Tulsa has not found the win column but once this season while Tulane has doubled that output including a nice win over Army. Not sure if this game will even get played as the real hurricane threat in New Orleans is Nate this weekend. This game is only here in case Rogers Turner or Jessica K. Hew want to figure out why their beloved Green Wave are not on TV. Green Wave over the Golden Hurricanes by couple of Piña Coladas.
Wake Forest at (2) Clemson – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – Nice two game stretch for Wake who just played FSU tough. Who knows maybe they are better than what people thought they were and will knock off Clemson on the road. Nah, I’m just kidding. In the misery loves company category, Wake has lost 38 straight against Top 5 teams. Clemson by at least 21.
Iowa State at (3) Oklahoma – FOX (DTV-35) (SPEC-1035) – Ketchup and Mustard is another big underdog against a Top 5 team but they have fared much better in that respect than Wake and Vandy. In fact they are 1-32 in their last 33 against Top 5 teams. Yeah, you wouldn’t catch me picking the Cyclones even if their QB Jacob Park had not declared he was taking a “personal medical leave” and is not at the game this Saturday. And what is that about? A personal medical leave? Is that because he doesn’t have AFLAC and doesn’t want to get sacked by Oklahoma 12 times in a game? Sooners by a lot over the Cyclones.
(4) Penn State at Northwestern – ABC (DTV-9) (SPEC-1090) – Ah, another team with an illustrious record against Top 5 teams. Drum roll please . . . . Northwestern is carrying their own 36 game losing streak against Top 5 opponents. Didn’t I tell you the early morning games are duds? Preseason Big Ten darling Northwestern will be practically eliminated after this week’s loss and Saquon Barkley is the real deal and if you haven’t seen him play this is a good game to watch his highlight reel. In fact, I drafted Dalvin Cook on my fantasy keeper team so I may need another running back next year. Hmmmm. . . Barkley as a Brown perhaps? Nah, wouldn’t want that for the nice fella. Nittany Lions turn the Wildcats into road kill winning by at least 14.
Ole Miss at (12) Auburn – SEC Network (DTV-611) (SPEC-1150) – Speaking of road kill, talk about a rough week. What if you wake up on Monday morning and you realize that your dream of being a college mascot has been crushed. The reason? Not because you did anything wrong but because your lovable costumed exterior has been eliminated, effective immediately. The Ole Miss Rebels it seems retired Colonel Reb a few years back and in their search for the perfect replacement, created Rebel the Bear. I’m guessing it was a marketing survey which revealed that younger fans love plush bears with university colors. Fast forward to this week, when Rebel the Bear’s retirement was announced effective immediately as he or she will be replaced with the new Ole Miss Landshark. Sounds like the Rebels may have been reading my post last week but you know who really has to be upset? Gator fans. I think for years they would have wanted to change their name. I mean heck they celebrate with that Jaws theme every game. Ah but alas, I’m also sure that Coach McSharky would have blocked that move. I’ll take the War Eagles over the Land Sharks in a match-up of misfit mascots. And by the way, the University Chancellor conferred with student and alumni groups. Rebel Bear even had a chance in a democratic election but lost in the student-government poll by a land slide (not related to Landshark) 81 percent to 19 percent. No word yet on whether the Russians hacked Bear’s email account.
Texas Tech at Kansas – FOX Sports 1 (DTV-219) (SPEC-1153) – Kansas is just awful. How bad is awful? Kansas has won 5 conference games in the past 8 years. That’s right 5-65. So when you bemoan a bad season or a bad stretch let the Jayhawks put things in perspective for you. Every year they roll out a football product that no one should be paying to see. And so when Texas lost last year to them you’re darn tootin right Charlie Strong should have been fired. Probably on the spot. Kansas won’t win this Saturday or any other Saturday on their remaining schedule. Red Raiders by a lot.
Illinois at Iowa – Big Ten Network (DTV-610) (SPEC-1138) – Speaking of underperformers, how about this tandem. Illinois has but 8 conference wins in the past 5 years. Meanwhile Iowa has struggled all year, including a come from behind win against Iowa State to avoid a disappointing loss. They recently got beat by Nittany Lion and Sparty but they should rebound nicely at home against the Not-so-Fighting-and-more-like-the-Disagreeable Illini by a late TD.
Eastern Michigan at Toledo – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – Speaking of suggesting mascot changes why not the Toledo Torpedoes instead of the Toledo Rockets? As for Eastern Michigan you can call them the Eagles or the Turkeys but they ain’t going home with the prize. Torpedos at full speed ahead and a win as they open up MAC Conference play.
Temple at East Carolina – ESPNU (DTV-208) (SPEC-1131) – The Pirates got their obligatory win over UConn a couple of weeks ago and were hanging with USF last week before Quinton Flowers blew the game wide open. Temple has not played as well as in recent years. East Carolina is only a 3 point underdog and I think they will turn this into a home win since they have so few potentials on their schedule. Pirates over the Owls by a late field goal.
Duke at Virginia – WRBW (DTV-65) (SPEC-1065) – Blue Devils finally lost last week against Miami but that game was much closer and was actually 17-6 going into the fourth quarter. Bronco Mendenhall and his Cavaliers have done their part to turn the corner and show tremendous improvement in year two. Now they need to go out and get some conference wins. I like Virginia’s chances but I’m going to pick the Blue Devils on strength of their resume this year. And I know, past performance is not indicative of future results but I think Duke’s defense will keep this game close and they will pull it out late. But don’t fret Wahoo fans the Tar Heels are on deck and that is a very winnable game.
(23) West Virginia at (8) TCU – FOX Sports 1 (DTV-219) (SPEC-1153) – Even if you are flipping back and forth between the Gators, Noles and Canes, Oh My, you can and should keep this game on your list of favorites as well. West Virginia has found their stride since losing to Va Tech to open the year. TCU pulled off the mild upset in their win over Oklahoma State. TCU’s defense is outstanding and they are well coached by Gary Patterson but Dana Holgerson is no slouch. While the tendency is to predict a high scoring game, I’m putting the restrictor plates on this one and predicting a lower scoring game in the 30s with TCU coming out slightly ahead.
(21) Notre Dame at North Carolina – ABC (DTV-9) (SPEC-1090) – UNC is just abysmal this year and they can’t stop anyone. Notre Dame has found replenishments for coach Brian Kelly to survive another season. Fighting Irish win this as part of their annual 5 games against the ACC tour.
Air Force at Navy – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – Ah, Academy Football. Triple option running attacks with undersized military giants and huge vocal and supportive crowds. You an almost picture yourself being transported back in time when these two teams play and the only thing missing are the old hand operated score boards. The home team has won 6 of the last 8 games in this series and I think today, the home team follows suit. Navy by about 10.
Minnesota at Purdue – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – So the Row-the-Boat expedition finally became the Titanic as it hit an iceberg last week with a loss against Maryland. This week is no easy picnic against Jeff Brohm’s Purdue Boilermakers whom everyone had already slated as the next head ball coach at (insert university in the SEC with head coaching troubles) a few weeks ago before they also hit the land mass known as Michigan. One of these will escape with a win and while at the start of the season I had the Golden Gophers winning their first 5 games, I’m not so sure anymore. Purdue has shown better signs of life. Boilermakers by 9.
Western Michigan at Buffalo – ESPNU (DTV-208) (SPEC-1131) – Surprise Dawn Virginia Halliburton Dunham. The Broncos are back on TV but only because the Tulsa-Tulane game got moved because of the hurricane. Still this may be one of the few chances to see your beloved team win this year on national television. The Bulls are improving but the Broncos should be better as they seek their second MAC win in as many tries. Broncos by 16.�
Charleston Southern at Indiana – Big Ten Network (DTV-610) (SPEC-1138) – Yeah and then there’s this game on the Big Ten Network. Quick name the Charleston Southern mascot. Time’s up. Hoosiers win easily in what should be their homecoming game but alas that will be next weekend against Michigan because there is nothing alums love to see better than losing to the obnoxious neighboring program, year after year.
Maryland at (10) Ohio State – FOX (DTV-35) (SPEC-1035) – This Terp team surprised with a win over Texas and then last week with a mild upset of Minnesota but they are on their third starting QB due to injuries. If they can leave Columbus with their third string QB intact, they should consider that a win. Buckeyes by 20.
Arkansas at South Carolina – SEC Network (DTV-611) (SPEC-1150) – Arkansas has already lost at home to Texas A&M 50-43 and now face an improved South Carolina squad on the road in Columbia. The SEC West may have dominated the East in recent years but this is one game I think the Least takes back. Gamecocks over the Razorbacks by 7.
Oregon State at (14) USC – Pac-12 Network (DTV N/A) (SPEC-822) – Beavers are terrible. Thank goodness DirectTV does not have the PAC 12 channel so I won’t even be tempted to watch this train wreck. Trojans by a lot.
Kansas State at Texas – FOX Sports 1 (DTV-219) (SPEC-1153) – Longhorns should have moved this game to the Longhorn Network. Only because fewer fans will see them lose at home. These two teams are evenly matched and I’m not sure yet which one will have the better season but I just think that last year’s Texas team still lives in the heart of too many of these kids and losing tends to breed losing and vice versa. I’m going with K-State by a touchdown on the road even though Texas is the heavier favorite.
SMU at Houston – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – Now this has fireworks written all over it. SMU is improving under Chad Morris. Houston is returning to this stratosphere under Major Applewhite. All signs point to an SMU upending of Houston despite the Cougars being a 7 point home favorite.
(1) Alabama at Texas A&M – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – Next! These SEC games aren’t even tune-ups for the Crimson Tide. Bama has outscored opponents 125-3 in the past two games and these were SEC conference opponents. Heck they scored 17 touchdowns in that stretch. I’m not sure if FSU will score 17 TDs this season. Aggies may think because they beat Alabama in this century they’ll win again. Wrong. At least not in the foreseeable future. Bama by 28 or more.
(16) Virginia Tech at Boston College – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – Boston College may not win the division but at least in the ACC the bottom of the barrel don’t go years without being competitive. This is not a great BC squad and they will get out-coached and out-muscled today by Va Tech but they won’t go through a stretch of only winning 4 conference games in 6 years like some other conferences. Hokies by 10.
Michigan State at (7) Michigan – ABC (DTV-9) (SPEC-1090) – Ah the Paul Bunyan Trophy Game. The annual battle in Michigan over a silly 4 foot trophy that was thrust into this rivalry by a Michigan Governor when Sparty first joined the Big Ten Conference in 1953. Since then, despite holding the recruiting edge in most years, Michigan’s lead is only 36-26 in this series. Michigan State has been waiting for this game for a year and if it were in East Lansing, I’d give them a better chance of pulling off the upset. Harbaugh knows that you don’t take an in-state rivalry lightly and the game is in Ann Arbor so I’ll take Michigan but only by 2 late.
Missouri at Kentucky – SEC Network (DTV-611) (SPEC-1150) – Ugh! Poor Kentucky. They finally got their shot at Florida and had them in the crosshairs and then Doh! They blew it. Plain and simple. And how they played last week against Eastern Michigan tells me they weren’t quite ready but they escaped with a win. Luckily there is still plenty of football left in the season and they have a chance to have a winning record in conference play for the first time in Kentucky football since 1977. I think they can do it given they play both Mississippis but it starts with a second conference win over a very beatable Missouri team. Wildcats over Tigers in a close one worth watching.
(9) Wisconsin at Nebraska – Big Ten Network (DTV-610) (SPEC-1138) – Okay, I’ll admit when my crystal ball is wrong and I picked Nebraska at the start of the year to be the Big Ten dark horse. Not sure what I was thinking but I believed in Mike Riley then and thought he could muster a win over Wisconsin and Ohio State to position themselves to win the division. I should stick to my convictions but when you figure out that the light ahead of you is not a beacon of light but a freight train headed right towards you, a smart guy jumps out of the way. Wisconsin but in a closer game than anticipated by smart guys in Vegas.
Arizona at Colorado – Pac-12 Network (DTV N/A) (SPEC-822) – Hey another PAC 12 game I won’t get and won’t miss. Colorado has returned back to earth after last year’s sensational season. Arizona hasn’t played enough quality teams to assess how good they are. I’m always picking against Colorado and they make me look bad. But I can’t help myself even though I know the mountain air will favor them. Rich Rod over Coach Mac by a touchdown in another road-touchdown-underdog-special-upset-pick.
Hawaii at Nevada – CBS Sports Network (DTV-221) (SPEC-1137) – Oh boy seriously? Hawaii? Nevada? Who cares. Take Hawaii and the over as Nevada can’t play defense to save their lives.
California at (6) Washington – ESPN (DTV-206) (SPEC-1127) – After starting off 3-0 Cal has dropped a couple of PAC-12 games. Nothing tells me they will correct that this weekend against a very good and well coached Washington team. Washington’s offense continues to excel under one of the most underrated offensive gurus Chris Petersen. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if his next stop is in the NFL. Washington cruises today as Cal can’t seem to put together 60 full minutes of football to win a big game like this and it’s on the road.
(19) San Diego State at UNLV – ESPN2 (DTV-209) (SPEC-1128) – I think UNLV may play a bit more inspired by the tragic events this past week in Las Vegas but still sports does not guarantee happy or predictable Hollywood endings. San Diego State is a darn good team and has their sights set on playing in a big bowl game. UNLV lost to Howard to start the year. Aztecs in the dessert in an emotional game by double digits.