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College Football Week 6 Preview
By Jonathan Hull

I should probably keep my head in the sand after last week's debacle. I went a putrid 8-12. I went with the favorites in every upset while swinging and missing when I did go with upsets. The disappointing showing makes me 53-27 on the season.

But at least I've gotten half my MLB playoffs picks correct with the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers meeting in the ALCS. Now I just need Philadelphia and Milwaukee to win Friday to have me batting 1.000 with the MLB. Maybe I'm analyzing the wrong sport?

1. No. 3 Oklahoma (4-0) vs. No. 11 Texas (4-0)
Time/TV: Noon, ABC
Last game: Oklahoma 62, Ball State 6; Texas 37, Iowa State 14
Last meeting/series: Oklahoma 28, Texas 20 (2010); Texas leads all-time series 52-38-5.
Analysis: It's one of the best rivalries in all of college football. I'd personally place it in the top three all time with Michigan-Ohio State and Auburn-Alabama. Obviously, it's debateable, but do remember I am from Texas and have seen first hand how important this rivalry is to both programs and both states. The Longhorns are undoubtedly improved. Garrett Gilbert is finally out from behind center and has announced his intentions to transfere. (A wise decision with a report being leaked that he's been seen on SMU's campus, which is a perfect situation for him to transfer to. Gilbert would fit SMU's run-and-shoot offense much better than he did Texas' scheme.) Texas is still using two QBs for the time being, but should consider going with David Ash over Case McCoy. Ash is a bigger threat with his legs and proved he has the ability to put the ball down the field in the air against Iowa State. But many fans and boosters want to see McCoy just because of his last name. Whoever is starting behind center for Texas is about to get by far his biggest test of the season. Oklahoma's defense has been dominant in every sense of the word. It's one of the best defenses Bob Stoops has had during his tenure with the Sooners and he's had some great ones. While Texas' defense should be able to challenge OU junior QB Landry Jones, the Longhorns don't have the hosses to pull the upset.
Prediction: Oklahoma 24, Texas 17

2. No. 17 Florida (4-1) at No. 1 LSU (5-0)
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., CBS
Last game: Alabama 38, Florida 10; LSU 35, Kentucky 7
Last meeting/series: LSU 33, Florida 29 (2010); Florida leads all-time series 30-24-3.
Analysis: Florida couldn't have asked for a tougher SEC schedule. The Gators are fresh off a disheartening loss to Alabama, losing their starting QB John Brantley in the process, and now face a just as terrifying defensive unit at LSU with a first-time starter. The last person I want to be on Saturday is Jeff Driskel. Driskel gets the dubious honor of being Florida's starting QB, but gets to make his first collegiate start in Death Valley. No thanks. Florida's defense is good enough to keep the Gators close for a while, but ultimately LSU is going to take this one over.
Prediction: LSU 23, Florida 10

3. No. 15 Auburn (4-1) at No. 10 Arkansas (4-1)
Time/TV: 7 p.m., ESPN
Last game: Auburn 16, South Carolina 13; Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 38
Last meeting/series: Auburn 65, Arkansas 43 (2010); Auburn leads all-time series 11-8-1.
Analysis: Perhaps the top two offenses in the SEC meet here. Arkansas leads the conference in total offense, while Auburn has certainly shown its ability to put points on the board, not considering last week's narrow 16-13 upset win against South Carolina. The Tigers are playing without their top two receivers this week, though, putting a lot of pressure on Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb in the running game. They might be wishing they had Arkansas' depth at receiver, which could change everything. Holding South Carolina to 13 points last week was an anomaly for the Auburn defense. That's not a strong unit and Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson should pick it apart with his talented slew of receivers.
Prediction: Arkansas 38, Auburn 21

4. Ohio State (3-2) at No. 14 Nebraska (4-1)
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ABC
Last game: Michigan State 10, Ohio State 7; Wisconsin 48, Nebraska 17
Last meeting/series: Ohio State 34, Nebraska 7 (1956); Ohio State leads all-time series 2-0.
Analysis: The hits keep rolling up for Ohio State. All those who still picked the Buckeyes to win the Big Ten even after all the distractions and suspensions are quickly backtracking. Now they're going to be missing three key players for this game, too. A .500 record appears imminent as Nebraska gets its first Big Ten victory.
Prediction: Nebraska 27, Ohio State 10

5. No. 12 Michigan (5-0) at Northwestern (2-2)
Time/TV: 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
Last game: Michigan 58, Minnesota 0; Illinois 38, Northwestern 35
Last meeting/series: Northwestern 21, Michigan 14 (2008); Michigan leads all-time series 52-15-2.
Analysis: Michigan has won eight of the last 10 matchups against Northwestern, but the Wildcats snapped a five-game losing streak in the series with a 21-14 victory in 2008. Northwestern looked like a different team last week with Dan Persa back at the helm at QB. Persa is a playmaker and gives Northwestern a chance every week. Michigan is one of the nation's top 10 teams in my opinion. Obviously, Denard Robinson has been lethal and is in Heisman contention, but it's the impact defensive coordinator Greg Mattison has had on his unit that has the Big Ten buzzing. Mattison, a former defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, has brought a NFL attitude with him to Ann Arbor. With Brady Hoke and Mattison, the future looks bright for the Wolverines, although it won't surprise me if Mattison's name gets tossed around for a few head coaching jobs after the season. Persa and Northwestern can threaten the Wolverines, but an upset seems unlikely.
Prediction: Michigan 32, Northwestern 21

6. Miami, Fla. (2-2) at Virginia Tech (4-1)
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., ABC or ESPN
Last game: Miami 45, Bethune-Cookman 14; Clemson 23, Virginia Tech 3
Last meeting/series: Virginia Tech 31, Miami 17 (2010); Miami leads all-time series 17-11.
Analysis: Both teams are still trying to recover from recent letdowns, although Miami's came two weeks ago against Kansas State, losing 28-24. Virginia Tech's offense appeared lost against Clemson, but it's starting to become the type of offensive performance one expects from the Hokies once or twice a season. Both teams recently lost some key players on defense, too. Virginia Tech has won six of the last eight games against Miami. The Canes' last win against the Hokies came in 2008, 16-14. This should be a great battle between RBs Lamar Miller and David Wilson, but which QB do you trust more, Jacory Harris for Miami or Va. Tech's Logan Thomas? Want a third option, eh? Since there isn't one, the answer is Thomas since less will be put on his shoulders from his coaching staff.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 17, Miami 13

7. Missouri (2-2) at No. 20 Kansas State (4-0)
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., ABC
Last game: Oklahoma 38, Missouri 28; Kansas State 36, Baylor 35
Last meeting/series: Missouri 38, Kansas State 28 (2010); Missouri leads all-time series 59-32-5.
Analysis: Missouri has won five straight against Kansas State. That win streak ended an impressively long 13-game win streak in the series for Kansas State that lasted from 1993 to 2005. The Tigers streak is in jeopardy, though. The Wildcats are one of the surprise teams of the season, and while there's nothing overly impressive about them, they're finding ways to win games. Missouri played extremely well against Oklahoma, though, and an upset seems in store.
Prediction: Missouri 39, Kansas State 36

8. No. 24 Texas A&M (2-2) at Texas Tech (4-0)
Time/TV: 7 p.m., FX
Last game: Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 38; Texas Tech 45, Kansas 34
Last meeting/series: Texas A&M 45, Texas Tech 27 (2010); Texas A&M leads all-time series 36-32-1.
Analysis: I consider this to be the most underrated rivalry in the nation. Again, I'm from Texas, so maybe I'm exposed to this one more, but there is genuine hate that brews between these two schools. More so off the field than on it. Considering how great A&M has been at times in its history and how mediocre or below average Texas Tech has been, the fact that this all-time series is separated by a mere four games speaks to how great of a rivalry this is. This is a sort of homecoming for A&M QB Ryan Tannehill, whose father went to Tech as a quarterback but switched to playing receiver (Sound familiar). Tannehill's father was also my freshman basketball coach inĀ  high school. Just a fun fact. Tannehill grew up cheering for the Red Raiders and probably would have ended up at Tech had an offer ever come his way. But of all the schools he had personal workouts for, Tech was the only one not to give him an offer. Tech has been somewhat untested this season, at least not at the level A&M has been, but Nevada and Kansas put up a lot of yards and points against the Red Raiders. That doesn't bode well against Tannehill and the Aggies offense, which is still one of the best units in the Big 12.
Prediction: Texas A&M 41, Texas Tech 31

9. Iowa State (3-1) at No. 25 Baylor (3-1)
Time/TV: 7 p.m., Not televised
Last game: Texas 37, Iowa State 14; Kansas State 36, Baylor 35
Last meeting/series: Iowa State 24, Baylor 10 (2009); Iowa State leads all-time series 5-4.
Analysis: I have lamented about my admiration of Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads a few times in my college football pieces over the last few weeks. I have also gone on and on about how wonderful Robert Griffin is. Now the two meet in an underrated showdown. This looks like a great matchup to me and I'm a bit disappointed it won't be televised. Baylor should have beaten Kansas State, but shoulda, woulda, coulda. Griffin and the Bears are certainly the better team here and they simply have too many weapons for Iowa State to deal with.
Prediction: Baylor 38, Iowa State 24

10. Iowa (3-1) at Penn State (4-1)
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., ABC or ESPN
Last game: Iowa 45, Louisiana-Monroe 17; Penn State 16, Indiana 10
Last meeting/series: Iowa 24, Penn State 3 (2010); Iowa leads all-time series 12-11.
Analysis: Iowa has certainly had Penn State's number for some time now, having won nine of the last 11 game against the Nittany Lions. Penn State hasn't beaten the Hawkeyes since 2007. This is an important game for both teams as each jockeys for position in the Big Ten. It's hard to go against Iowa's recent dominance of the Nittany Lions, even in Happy Valley.
Prediction: Iowa 21, Penn State 16

11. Georgia (3-2) at Tennessee (3-1)
Time/TV: 7 p.m., ESPN2
Last game: Georgia 24, Mississippi State 10; Tennessee 41, Buffalo 10
Last meeting/series: Georgia 41, Tennessee 14 (2010); Tennessee leads all-time series 20-17-2.
Analysis: Two of the SEC's top three QBs are pitted here with Tennessee's Tyler Bray and Georgia's Aaron Murray. This is also a case of two programs appearing to be headed down two different paths. The Vols are making strides in the right direction, while Georgia appears to be readying for a new head coach next season.
Prediction: Tennessee 29, Georgia 20

12. TCU (3-2) at San Diego State (3-1)
Time/TV: 10:30 p.m., Not televised
Last game: SMU 40, TCU 33; Michigan 28, San Diego State 7
Last meeting/series: TCU 40, San Diego State 35 (2010); TCU leads all-time series 6-0.
Analysis: This is one of the MWC matchups I had circled at the beginning of the year. San Diego State gave an excellent and eventual Rose Bowl-winning TCU squad a scare last season. The Frogs aren't anywhere near that type of prominence in 2011 with a struggling defense and a less efficient offense that greatly misses Andy Dalton. San Diego State's offense is putting up nice yardage numbers, but its scoring isn't where it would like to be. I had marked this as a loss for TCU before the season. I'm sticking with that prediction now as the Frogs miss LB Tanner Brock more than Dalton this week.
Prediction: San Diego State 38, TCU 32

13. Air Force (3-1) at Notre Dame (3-2)
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., NBC
Last game: Air Force 35, Navy 34, OT; Notre Dame 38, Purdue 10
Last meeting/series: Notre Dame 23, Purdue 12 (2010); Notre Dame leads all-time series 52-25-2.
Analysis: Air Force is coming off a thrilling OT victory agaisnt Navy. Notre Dame ran through Purdue, meaning the Falcons were more impressive last week. Notre Dame can't afford its typical mistakes in this one because Air Force will jump all over those extra opportunities. Notre Dame isn't that much better than the Falcons, but home-field advantage should still mean something in South Bend.
Prediction: Notre Dame 37, Air Force 28

14. Pitt (3-2) at Rutgers (3-1)
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
Last game: Pitt 44, South Florida 17; Rutgers 16, Syracuse 13, OT
Last meeting/series: Pitt 41, Rutgers 21 (2010); Pitt leads all-time series 21-7.
Analysis: Pitt finally looked like the team it's supposed to be against South Florida last week after losing two close games to Iowa and Notre Dame. The Panthers could easily be undefeated right now. If they continue to play like that, then Rutgers shouldn't be a problem. That's proven to be a big if in recent history, though.
Prediction: Pitt 31, Rutgers 27

15. No. 22 Arizona State (4-1) at Utah (2-2)
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., Not televised
Last game: Arizona State 35, Oregon State 20; Washington 31, Utah 14
Last meeting/series: Arizona State 38, Utah 0 (1993); Arizona State leads all-time series 16-6.
Analysis: Utah hasn't beaten Arizona State since 1976, and while the two programs haven't met since 1993, the Utes have lost seven straight to the Sun Devils. That streak could easily continue here with Arizona State playing its best football in years. Utah certainly has some weapons, but the Utes have proven inconsistent from week to week.
Prediction: Arizona State 37, Utah 20

16. Vanderbilt (3-1) at No. 2 Alabama (5-0)
Time/TV: 7 p.m., ESPNU
Last game: South Carolina 21, Vanderbilt 3; Alabama 38, Florida 10
Last meeting/series: Alabama 24, Vanderbilt 10 (2007); Alabama leads all-time series 60-18-4.
Analysis: Wins for Vanderbilt in this series have been few and far between. The Commodores haven't beaten Alabama since 1984 and have lost 21 straight games. Vandy is much improved and it's impressive how well coach James Franklin has recruited as he has dared to go after some big time recruits in Florida, and get them too. But while the Commodores have played well, they're not ready for anything the Crimson Tide is about to bring their way.
Prediction: Alabama 31, Vanderbilt 6

17. East Carolina (1-3) at Houston (5-0)
Time/TV: 7 p.m., Not televised
Last game: North Carolina 35, ECU 20; Houston 49, UTEP 42
Last meeting/series: ECU 38, Houston 32 (2009); ECU leads all-time series 6-4.
Analysis: Houston's offense keeps it in every game. The Cougars defense, on the other hand, puts them in danger of losing every game. Nothing changes here as ECU could certainly put a blemish on Houston's record. For now, I'll stick with Case Keenum and the Cougars.
Prediction: Houston 45, ECU 40

18. Washington State (3-1) at UCLA (2-3)
Time/TV: 10:30 p.m., Not televised
Last game: Washington State 31, Colorado 27; Stanford 45, UCLA 19
Last meeting/series: UCLA 42, Washington State 28 (2010); UCLA leads all-time series 38-18-1.
Analysis: Washington State is a somewhat surprising 3-1 with QB Marshall Lobbestael taking the reigns of the offense and rolling with them. UCLA is still underachieving and this is one head coaching job that will surely be available at season's end, if not before then.
Prediction: Washington State 31, UCLA 28

19. Colorado (1-4) at No. 7 Stanford (4-0)
Time/TV: 7:30 p.m., Versus
Last game: Washington State 31, Colorado 27; Stanford 45, UCLA 19
Last meeting/series: Stanford 41, Colorado 37 (1993); Colorado leads all-time series 3-2.
Analysis: Stanford's schedule is greatly unchallenging. The Cardinal doesn't face what should be deemed a real challenge for several weeks still when they play at USC on Oct. 29, then host Oregon two weeks later on Nov. 12. Notre Dame to end the year could be a possible hiccup as well. The Cardinal should probably go undefeated with this kind of schedule. At the very least they shouldn't have more than one loss.
Prediction: Stanford 42, Colorado 13

20. Maryland (2-2) at No. 13 Georgia Tech (5-0)
Time/TV: Noon, ESPNU
Last game: Maryland 28, Towson 3; Georgia Tech 45, NC State 35
Last meeting/series: Maryland 28, Georgia Tech 26 (2007); Georgia Tech leads all-time series 13-6.
Analysis: I'm not too impressed with Georgia Tech. I know Yellow Jackets making a lot of big plays and have one of the best offenses in the country, but I'm not buying on a basis of their schedule. Where has the challenge come from? At one point this season, I was ready to believe Maryland could be a challenge, but Gary Crowton has killed another offense. Ga. Tech is headed to 6-0 and might begin to flirt with the top 10 in the polls.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 43, Maryland 17

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