College Football Picks: Week 6 Predictions for Every Game

Jonathan McDanal@@jdmcdanalContributor IIIOctober 3, 2013

College Football Picks: Week 6 Predictions for Every Game

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    Ohio State at Northwestern is the site of ESPN's GameDay for Week 6.
    Ohio State at Northwestern is the site of ESPN's GameDay for Week 6.Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    After a week of great matchups like LSU vs. Georgia and West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State, the first weekend in October offers another round of exciting football. From ranked-versus-ranked matches all the way down to one "at least one of us gets to win" bout, here are predictions for every Week 6 FBS game.

    All times are in Eastern Standard Time. All stats up to date prior to games on Thursday, Oct. 3.

Air Force at Navy

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    Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Navy 28, Air Force 10

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 11:30 a.m.

    Air Force at Navy, assuming this game even happens (updates on the situation found here), is going to be a great brawl between two of the nation's top ground games. Both are averaging roughly 300 yards per game on the ground, and Air Force has just a slight edge with 15 rushing touchdowns to Navy's 11.

    The deciding factor here is not going to be as deep as in some other games. Both offenses rely heavily on the run, and rushing defense will decide this game. The Midshipmen allow just over 160 yards per game where the Falcons are yielding over 200.

    Added advantage: Navy just learned firsthand exactly what happens when you walk into a game expecting to win. The Midshipmen aren't likely to make that mistake again so soon.

    Prediction: Navy 42, Air Force 28

No. 7 Louisville at Temple

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    Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Louisville 30, Temple 7

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon

    This might be a conference game for Louisville, but it's going to look far more like an FBS vs. FCS matchup than something like Alabama vs. Texas A&M. The Cardinals rank in the top 15 of three of the four major categories (rushing yards, passing yards, points scored, points allowed), and Temple is not even in the top half of the country in any one of them.

    Temple needs to figure out how to win some games this season, but it would be more than just impressive if the Owls pulled this upset off. In fact, it's almost guaranteed that the media would cut into your favorite team's game if they nearing an upset late in the fourth quarter.

    Prediction: Louisville 56, Temple 0

No. 25 Maryland at No. 8 Florida State

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    Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Florida State 63, Maryland 0

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon

    Florida State's offense should theoretically have its way with Maryland's defense, just like the West Virginia offense that took down Oklahoma State should have. Maryland doesn't get a ton of respect for beating the Mountaineers, but the Terrapins' third-ranked scoring defense is not an easy one to get around.

    Florida State's scoring defense comes in at No. 17, after allowing 34 points to Boston College. That looked like a fluke game, but it still bears mentioning, as it's the Seminoles' most recent performance.

    To be sure, if these two teams repeat their last performances, the Terrapins will dominate the Seminoles. However, home-field advantage is in Florida State's hands, and the Terrapins will not make it out alive.

    Prediction: Florida State 38, Maryland 35

No. 20 Texas Tech at Kansas

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    Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo


    Final Score: Texas Tech 54, Kansas 16

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon

    Texas Tech is averaging over 400 passing yards per game this season, and it has virtually no rushing attack. (Why would the Red Raiders even care with that aerial assault?) Kansas' scoring offense ranks 105th in the country, and that pretty much settles this debate during the opening-arguments period.

    Even if Kansas' top-20 defense could manage to hold Texas Tech to half it's average points for this game, the Jayhawks would have to nearly double what the Red Raiders normally allow to win.

    Prediction: Texas Tech 52, Kansas 10

Penn State at Indiana

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Indiana 44, Penn State 24

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon

    Penn State's highly potent offense is going to have its way with Indiana's No. 97 defense, and the Hoosiers are going to use their No. 11 offense to set a new season high in points allowed for the Nittany Lions.

    The bottom line is that Indiana's Nate Sudfield is going to trump Penn State's freshman Christian Hackenberg. Not by much, but just enough to win the shootout.

    Prediction: Indiana 45, Penn State 41

Illinois at Nebraska

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    Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Nebraska 39, Illinois 19

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon

    Nebraska hosts Illinois on Oct. 5, and both teams are led by high-scoring offenses posting 40-plus points per game. The Cornhuskers favor the run, whereas the Illini favor the pass.

    This is going to be a great battle, and both teams are going to score a lot of points. The similarities don't end on offense, either. Both teams' losses were to ranked Pac-12 contenders back on Sept. 14.

    The key battle is actually Nebraska's passing defense (allowed 294 yards to UCLA) against Illinois' rushing defense (allowed 273 yards to Washington). Those are the best teams that each of these programs has faced so far.

    Prediction: Nebraska 49, Illinois 39

Ball State at Virginia

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Ball State 48, Virginia 27

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon

    Ball State is heading over to Virginia to take on the Cavaliers on Oct. 5, and the game should be good. From what data is available, the Cardinals have a potent offense (40 points per game) that can easily win the battle, and Virginia has a defense (allowing 10 points per game if you exclude the Oregon debacle) that can hang with plenty of FBS teams.

    The deciding factor here is the Cavaliers' offense. It scored just three points against a Pittsburgh squad that's giving up more than 30 points per game. That's just not a recipe for success against many teams, and especially not one as competent as Ball State.

    Prediction: Ball State 24, Virginia 17

Eastern Michigan at Buffalo

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    Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Buffalo 42, Eastern Michigan 14

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon

    Buffalo has faced some seriously tough competition in Ohio State and Baylor, but bounced back over the course of the Stony Brook and Connecticut games. Eastern Michigan was busy losing to Rutgers, Penn State and Ball State after its lone win over FCS Howard.

    I give Buffalo the edge because it has faced better competition and posted better offensive and defensive numbers than Eastern Michigan.

    Prediction: Buffalo 28, Eastern Michigan 14

Michigan State at Iowa

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    Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Michigan State 26, Iowa 14

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon

    Michigan State has struggled with relatively weak teams this season, such as South Florida and Western Michigan. The Spartans seemed to figure out the whole "offense" thing against Youngstown State but faltered again in the Notre Dame clash.

    The issue here is that, regardless of its opponent, Michigan State has serious issues finding the end zone. The Spartans average 340.8 yards per game in total offense compared to Iowa's 447.4.

    Prediction: Iowa 24, Michigan State 6

Rutgers at SMU

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    Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Rutgers 55, SMU 52 (3OT)

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon

    Rutgers hits the road to take on SMU in Week 6, and there are just four stats you need to know to understand where this game is going: SMU scores 21 points per game and allows 40. Rutgers scores 36 and allows 21.

    Rutgers will take this high-scoring affair. 

    Prediction: Rutgers 45, SMU 38

Georgia State at No. 1 Alabama

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    John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Alabama 45, Georgia State 3

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 12:21 p.m.

    Alabama has one of the nearly guaranteed blowouts of the weekend against Georgia State. The Panthers have played Samford, Chattanooga, West Virginia and Jacksonville State so far, and they've yet to win a game.

    Georgia State brings a 17-point offense and 36.5-point defense to the game. Texas A&M brought a much more impressive offense and couldn't manage a win. The Panthers will earn their paycheck on the first Saturday in October.

    Prediction: Alabama 56, Georgia State 0

UNC at Virginia Tech

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    Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Virginia Tech 27, UNC 17

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 12:30 p.m.

    Virginia Tech and UNC have two common opponents so far this season, and that does one thing for analysis: It makes their national ranking in the four main stat categories that much more valid. Now, if both teams were ranked closely, it would not matter one bit.

    However, UNC is ranked 88th and 93rd on scoring offense and defense, respectively. Virginia Tech is 94th and 21st in those areas. The offenses are evenly matched, but the Hokies defense will run rings around the Tar Heels offense.

    Prediction: Virginia Tech 28, UNC 10

Army at Boston College

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Boston College 48, Army 27

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.

    Army and Boston College are insanely similar teams. Both favor the run, though Army is far better at 325.4 yards per game versus Boston College's 155 average. The Golden Eagles have a much better passing attack and overall balance, though.

    Army's game-breaking advantage here is its passing defense. The Black Knights rank 55th against the aerial attack, and that's going to force Boston College into run-first mode.

    In games where running the ball becomes the main event of a competition, the Black Knights will triumph.

    Prediction: Army 35, Boston College 13

Central Michigan at Miami (OH)

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    Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Central Michigan 21, Miami Miami 9

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.

    Central Michigan has had a terrible start to the season, even having faced low-quality competition like UNLV, New Hampshire and Toledo. (Low quality compared to Miami's enemies.) Miami took on Marshall, Kentucky, Cincinnati and Illinois, but it stands at 0-4.

    The game-deciding stat for this match is turnover margin. The Redhawks have a plus-four margin, while the Chippewas have a minus-four margin. With other things being nearly equal, this turnover issue is going to kill the Chippewas.

    Prediction: Miami 34, Central Michigan 28

South Alabama at Troy

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    Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Troy 34, South Alabama 33

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.

    South Alabama and Troy battle for continued contention for the Sun Belt title in Week 6, and this is going to be a nail-biter. These teams are well matched.

    South Alabama is allowing an average of 399.5 total yards per game, and Troy is allowing 439.6. This bodes well for the Jaguars, but the Trojans are far better at passing than anyone else they've faced this season.

    With yardage allowances so close, the nod has to go to the No. 16 passing offense in the country: Troy.

    Prediction: Troy 44, South Alabama 38

UTSA at Marshall

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    Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Marshall 34, UTSA 10

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 2 p.m.

    Marshall has Rakeem Cato. He isn't enough to win all the Thundering Herd's games all season, but UTSA's 80th-ranked passing defense is simply not good enough to keep up with him.

    Cato has lost just two games, but each was by one possession (Ohio and Virginia Tech). He might have won the Tech game if not for a dropped pass in the end zone in triple-overtime, too.

    UTSA is on the rise, but the Herd are still out of reach at the moment.

    Prediction: Marshall 52, UTSA 35

Ohio at Akron

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    Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Ohio 34, Akron 3

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 2 p.m.

    Akron has won just one game this season. Despite unexpectedly competing well against Michigan and Louisiana-Lafayette, the Zips are still a stone's throw away from winning a game over a team like Ohio.

    The Bobcats come well-prepared to attack the Zips at their weakest point, regardless of what that happens to be on Saturday, Oct. 5. Whether it's Tyler Tettleton from under center or the Beau Blankenship/Ryan Boykin tandem in the backfield, no formation is going to stop all three of them at once.

    If Akron plays to its recent level, it will keep this game close.

    Prediction: Ohio 41, Akron 34

Florida Atlantic at UAB

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    Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor


    Final Score: Florida Atlantic 37, UAB 23

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m.

    Florida Atlantic and UAB are both handy if you want to keep a game close, and that's going to make this bout interesting. There is one glaring advantage in this game, and it belongs to the Owls.

    If you erase LSU and Vanderbilt from UAB's schedule, the Blazers are allowing 31 points per game. If you leave all FAU's opponents intact, including East Carolina and Miami (FL), the Owls are allowing just 27.

    It isn't a huge advantage, but just looking at that little tidbit leads one to believe that Florida Atlantic has a better defense. We will find out on Oct. 5.

    Prediction: Florida Atlantic 28, UAB 24

Western Michigan at Toledo

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    Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Toledo 47, Western Michigan 20

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m.

    Western Michigan and Toledo are vastly different teams, and this game will not be interesting for very long. The Rockets come in with a 2-3 record, including a win over FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington.

    The Broncos enter the match 0-5, including a four-point loss to the Nicholls State Colonels. Western Michigan is looking for that one win to avoid being tagged as the worst team in the FBS, and it is currently ranked 99th or worse in all four major categories.

    Toledo's worst one is its scoring offense at 90th, and Western Michigan ranks 122nd in that measure.

    Prediction: Toledo 42, Western Michigan 10

No. 3 Clemson at Syracuse

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    Tyler Smith/Getty Images


    Final Score: Clemson 49, Syracuse 14

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    Clemson outranks Syracuse in all four major areas, and the most entertaining part of this game is the color orange. It's going to be everywhere.

    Syracuse still hasn't proven that it can cope with the loss of Ryan Nassib under center, and while the Orange are figuring out how to get the ball downfield, Clemson is going to be showing them exactly how it's done with Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins.

    Clemson is not a lock for the ACC title by any means, but it's going to take a talented and gritty squad to beat the Tigers. Syracuse is not that team.

    Prediction: Clemson 52, Syracuse 24

No. 6 Georgia at Tennessee

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    Final Score: Georgia 34, Tennessee 31 (OT)

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    Georgia's defense has performed terribly in the first few weeks of the season, allowing 30-plus points three times.

    Tennessee's defense is marginally better, statistically speaking, but the Vols have faced just one Top 10 team. Georgia has faced three. This game is going to boil down to offensive power, and that gives Georgia the edge.

    If you don't take Aaron Murray against the Tennessee defense, you have a lot more faith in Butch Jones than most others do.

    Prediction: Georgia 42, Tennessee 31

Georgia Tech at No. 14 Miami (FL)

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    Brian Blanco/Getty Images


    Final Score: Miami 45, Georgia Tech 30

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    Georgia Tech and Miami have similar defenses in that they are both allowing fewer than 13 points per game. Their offenses could not be more different, though. Miami's balanced offensive attack yields the 10th-most points in the nation, and Georgia Tech's rushing offense earns the Yellow Jackets nine fewer points per game.

    So, clearly this game boils down to the Hurricanes' rushing defense against the Yellow Jackets' passing defense. That's bad news for Georgia Tech. It allows 181.3 yards per game through the air, and Miami allows just 123.3 on the ground.

    Both teams have yet to play a style of offense even close to what they're about to encounter, but Miami has a slight edge here. It's just a 60-yard advantage, and that could be three touchdowns or none, depending on where the Yellow Jackets allow them to happen.

    Prediction: Miami 44, Georgia Tech 25

Minnesota at No. 19 Michigan

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images


    Final Score: Michigan 42, Minnesota 13

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    Minnesota just logged its first loss of the season against a good Iowa program, and Michigan is coming off a bye after back-to-back lackluster performances that it can't afford to let happen again.

    The big question here is whether the Michigan that played Notre Dame is returning on Oct. 5, or if it's going to be the almost-lost-to-Akron version of the Wolverines. Of course, if the Golden Gophers show up and play the same game they did against Iowa, then all will go according to Michigan's plan.

    The offensive lines and quarterbacks are going to decide this game, and that's not good for the Gophers. Devin Gardner has a 7-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has taken five sacks, and Philip Nelson has a 2-4 ratio with seven sacks.

    It's not much of a difference, but it's enough to decide a close game.

    Prediction: Michigan 31, Minnesota 28

Kansas State at No. 21 Oklahoma State

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    Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Oklahoma State 33, Kansas State 29

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    Kansas State takes on Oklahoma State in T. Boone Pickens Stadium on Oct. 5, and the Wildcats are looking for their first Big 12 win of the season. The Cowboys are trying to move past the West Virginia upset as quickly and painlessly as possible.

    Unfortunately for Kansas State, that means the Cowboys' 40-point offense is going to take complete advantage of the Wildcats' 48th-ranked scoring defense for a rebound win.

    Prediction: Oklahoma State 31, Kansas State 18

NC State at Wake Forest

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    Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Wake Forest 28, NC State 13

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    NC State is better than Wake Forest in the most important facets of the game. The Wolf Pack will start fast and leave the Demon Deacons in the dust. 

    Wake has shown (against Army) that it has the raw talent to win against a good number of FBS foes, but the issue is execution. The Deacons stopped a premier rushing attack in that game, but they haven't managed to look that good in any of their other games against FBS opponents this season.

    Prediction: NC State 38, Wake Forest 13

Massachusetts at Bowling Green

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Bowling Green 28, Massachusetts 7

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    Bowling Green is a top-half team nationally in both scoring offense and defense. Massachusetts barely breaks the top 100 in scoring defense, and the Minutemen are far worse on offense.

    Massachusetts averages just seven points per game, and it's allowing more than 30. The Minutemen may or may not find a victory sometime before the season ends, but it's not coming against the Falcons in Week 6.

    Prediction: Bowling Green 45, Massachusetts 6

Rice at Tulsa

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    Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor


    Final Score: Rice 30, Tulsa 27 (OT)

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    Taylor McHargue and the Rice Owls are about to core their first decisive win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Tulsa's defense is allowing almost 200 yards on the ground in each game, and the Owls have the nation's 30th-ranked ground attack coming to town on Oct. 5.

    Tulsa isn't good against the run, and that's what Rice does best. The Owls may not make the postseason, but they'll be 3-2 after Week 6.

    Prediction: Rice 24, Tulsa 21

Northern Illinois at Kent State

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    Matthew Holst/Getty Images


    Final Score: Northern Illinois 38, Kent State 24

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    Northern Illinois has yet to lose a game, thanks to a 40-plus-point and 260-plus-rushing-yard offense. Kent State has yet to win anything other than a couple of gimme games against Western Michigan and FCS opponent Liberty.

    That's because the Golden Flashes are sitting on the nation's No. 117 scoring offense and the 81st-ranked defense. Kent State is nothing compared to what it was last season, and Northern Illinois is going to be yet another reminder of that fact.

    Prediction: Northern Illinois 42, Kent State 10

East Carolina at Middle Tennessee

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    Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: East Carolina 24, Middle Tennessee 17

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    East Carolina comes into Week 6 sporting the 24th-ranked passing attack in the country and a defense that routinely does enough to win its games. Middle Tennessee comes in at 3-2 with its only losses to UNC and BYU.

    The Blue Raiders have just one advantage over ECU, and that's the run. Every other advantage is on the purple side of the ball this week.

    Prediction: East Carolina 49, Middle Tennessee 28

North Texas at Tulane

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Tulane 24, North Texas 21

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

    North Texas and Tulane are equally matched in almost every aspect of the game. They score an equal amount of points, they allow almost the same number of points, and they even rush for the same general number of yards in every game.

    The only perceivable difference between the two is that North Texas gains about 80 more yards per game through the air than Tulane does. It's the lone advantage on the field not named Cairo Santos, and North Texas will exploit that advantage for the win.

    Prediction: North Texas 35, Tulane 31

Washington State at California

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    Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Washington State 44, California 22

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m.

    California and Washington State take each other on in a Week 6 conference battle. The Golden Bears and the Cougars have faced vastly different schedules, as the former has faced two current Top 5 teams where the latter has faced just one.

    However, even after facing a tougher schedule, California's passing attack ranks fourth in the country, and its rushing attack ranks 97th. (Cal has had to rely on the pass a lot due to playing behind, and that means its rushing attack has obviously suffered.)

    Washington State ranks 14th and 121st in those categories, and that doesn't look good for the Cougars. Cal is going to rip this Washington State team apart with its offense, and there's little that the Cougars will be able to do about it.

    Prediction: California 56, Washington State 17

Florida International at Southern Miss

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    Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Florida International 24, Southern Miss 23

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m.

    Florida International and Southern Miss are both 0-4 this season, and they have the misfortune of holding this week's "somebody-has-to-win" bowl. Both teams are nearly last in all four major categories, with one huge exception: Southern Miss' passing attack.

    It's ranked 70th in the nation at 224.3 yards per game, and it's going to make the difference in this game. The Golden Panthers will slink out of the Golden Eagles' stadium wondering where on earth a win is going to come from if it didn't come from Week 6.

    Prediction: Southern Miss 13, Florida International 9

UCF at Memphis

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    Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: UCF 24, Memphis 17

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 4:30 p.m.

    UCF at Memphis may have looked like an interesting match before the season got underway, but now it looks like a blowout just waiting for its kickoff. The Knights have played great competition over the past two games—against Penn State and South Carolina—and nearly came away undefeated through it.

    Memphis is 1-2, and its only win is over the Arkansas State Red Wolves, which is not the team it was over the past few years. 

    UCF almost averages through the air what Memphis does in total yards per game. This is going to be a gigantic issue for the Tigers. 

    Prediction: UCF 42, Memphis 15

No. 23 Fresno State at Idaho

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Fresno State 61, Idaho 14

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 5 p.m.

    Fresno State just survived a ridiculous fourth-quarter performance by the Hawaii Warriors to escape with a five-point win that impressed no one. Well, except for Hawaii fans, of course. 

    Idaho is coming off its only win of the season so far, and that was against a Temple squad that may be one of the worst in the country. The Vandals have an average (losing) score of 39-15 this season, and they do not look ready to compete with a Top 25 team to say the least.

    Fresno's Derek Carr will enter Idaho's stadium and tear that 116th-ranked scoring defense apart.

    Prediction: Fresno State 42, Idaho 3

No. 2 Oregon at Colorado

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    Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Oregon 57, Colorado 16

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.

    Oregon doesn't just outrank Colorado in the all but one of the major categories, the Ducks completely outclass the Buffaloes on all three fronts. Oregon is Nos. 1, 2 and 4 nationally in rushing, scoring and points allowed, respectively, through Week 5, and Colorado is Nos. 103, 59 and 91, respectively.

    The Ducks may eventually get upset, but it won't be this week.

    Prediction: Oregon 59, Colorado 10

Liberty at Old Dominion

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    Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Old Dominion 21, Liberty 17

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.

    Old Dominion is enjoying its final FCS opponent in Week 6 before taking on the Pittsburgh Panthers in the following game. The Monarchs still have award-winning quarterback Taylor Heinicke (the FCS' Johnny Manziel, sans drama), and he will lead them to victory over 3-2 Liberty.

    If this game happened in Week 2, right after Liberty hung with Kent State, the prediction might have been different. However, now that we've all seen how bad Kent State has been, that game holds zero value for the Flames.

    Prediction: Old Dominion 42, Liberty 35

No. 10 LSU at Mississippi State

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    Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: LSU 59, Mississippi State 26

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

    LSU's only loss this season was by three points to the Top 10 Georgia Bulldogs. Mississippi State has lost to a ranked Oklahoma State and an unranked Auburn. This bout will be good, but it won't be as good as some may have hoped during the preseason.

    The difference-maker in this game isn't going to be a straight-up rushing or passing attack, nor is it going to be either one of those defenses. It's simply going to be LSU's balanced offense that finds the end zone like a truffle-hunting pig.

    LSU's scoring offense is ranked 18th in the country, and Mississippi State's is No. 48—more than a touchdown difference.

    Prediction: LSU 42, Mississippi State 18

TCU at No. 11 Oklahoma

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Oklahoma 20, TCU 17

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

    Oklahoma has kept itself undefeated through the first four games of the season, and its defense has been its strength. The Sooners are allowing a sixth-best 12 points per game, and they are up against the TCU Horned Frogs, who are allowing almost 23.

    Even if the offenses were evenly ranked, TCU would clearly be at a slight disadvantage. However, Oklahoma's offense is nearly three points better, even though the schedules are currently about equal in strength. (You can't really know full schedule strength until all games have been played.)

    Prediction: Oklahoma 35, TCU 17

Arkansas at No. 18 Florida

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    Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Florida 30, Arkansas 10

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

    Arkansas has fell just short against its two toughest opponents (Rutgers and Texas A&M). Florida did the same thing against Miami, but somehow managed (via turnovers) to squeak by Tennessee.

    The Gators have one distinct advantage here, and that's the country's No. 8 scoring defense. If Arkansas had trouble putting points up on Rutgers, then the Hogs will have an infinitely more troublesome time with the Gators.

    The defense will pull its weight, and the only doubt is whether Florida's offense can do enough to pull off the win here.

    Prediction: Florida 27, Arkansas 24

No. 24 Ole Miss at Auburn

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    Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport


    Final Score: Auburn 30, Ole Miss 22

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

    Despite the fact that these two teams have eerily similar resumes, Auburn is unranked in this game against No. 24 Ole Miss. For this one, it's time to break out the chart, because they are so similarly tested.

    CategoryAuburnOle MissAdvantage
    Passing90th79thOle Miss +11
    Rushing22nd48thAuburn +26
    Scoring Offense76th76thNone
    Scoring Defense45th56thAuburn +11

    Now, don't just add those numbers up and assume that Auburn will win by 26 points; that's not how this works. What does matter is how big the difference is between the two ground games. Auburn averages 232.3 yards on the ground to Ole Miss' 199.

    That is not a big difference, but it will be enough for the Tigers to score an upset at home. Playing at Jordan-Hare Stadium will also help Auburn pull this one out.

    Prediction: Auburn 38, Ole Miss 35


Cincinnati at South Florida

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    David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: South Florida 26, Cincinnati 20

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

    This is another blowout masquerading as an AQ conference game. South Florida had a terrible season last year that cost its head coach his job. Now the Bulls have moved to an AQ conference, and there will be growing pains.

    One is facing a Cincinnati program that is outperforming it by 200 yards and 20 points per game offensively and another 20 points defensively. This will not be fun for South Florida fans, and it could end up a shutout.

    Prediction: Cincinnati 52, South Florida 3

New Mexico State at New Mexico

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport


    Final Score: New Mexico 66, New Mexico State 17

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

    New Mexico and New Mexico State are battling for the state championship in Week 6, and there will be bragging rights for a year. Both teams have far more losses than wins so far, but the Aggies are the winless ones.

    The Lobos are much better at two things that matter greatly: scoring and running the ball. New Mexico has the No. 3 rushing attack in the country at 324.5 yards per game (just 15.7 yards shy of New Mexico State's total yardage per game).

    The Lobos just need to run the ball until the final whistle blows. It might be the simplest, most effective game plan in history.

    Prediction: New Mexico 55, New Mexico State 42

Texas State at Louisiana-Lafayette

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    Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Louisiana-Lafayette 48, Texas State 24

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

    When you evaluate Texas State and Louisiana-Lafayette, you have to do two things:

    1. Throw out Louisiana's win over Nicholls State.

    2. Realize that Wyoming is a good team this season.

    After those two things, this game looks much, much different. The Bobcats' 18 points allowed per game looks incredible considering the Texas Tech Red Raiders are part of the equation, and the Ragin' Cajuns' 36 points scored per game drops by 17.5 when you take away their 70 against Nicholls State.

    When the clock strikes zero in the fourth quarter, Texas State is going to be tired, sweaty and victorious.

    Prediction: Texas State 37, Louisiana-Lafayette 24

Kentucky at No. 13 South Carolina

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    Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: South Carolina 35, Kentucky 28

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

    The 1-3 Kentucky Wildcats skip on over to Williams-Brice Stadium to take on the 3-1 South Carolina Gamecocks on Oct. 5. Similarities between the two teams? Well, they're both in the SEC East, and...well, that's it.

    Kentucky's biggest drawback for this game is simply an unbalanced offense that relies on a successful passing game. Granted, this is somewhat due to playing from behind, but that should be expected against South Carolina.

    South Carolina's balance, ability to score and statistically similar defense are going to bring home the win here. If the defense (ahem, Jadeveon Clowney) steps up, as Steve Spurrier has mentioned, this game could get lopsided quickly.

    If the Gamecocks continue to play flat, don't think that Kentucky won't take advantage. If this turns into a UCF match again, the Wildcats would win it.

    Prediction: South Carolina 37, Kentucky 17

No. 22 Arizona State vs. Notre Dame (Neutral Location)

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    Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Notre Dame 37, Arizona State 34

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

    Arizona State had a fluffy game against Sacramento State back in Week 2, then everything hit the fan. Notre Dame had the same situation against Temple on Aug. 31, and the schedule played out similarly.

    Now, they meet face-to-face, and the Fighting Irish are in for a world of hurt. Forget everything you might have hoped for them, this is going to be a loss. Quite simply put, Arizona State brings the No. 7 passing attack that anchors the No. 12 scoring offense in the nation.

    Notre Dame's No. 53 defense simply can't compete with that this season. This doesn't mean that the Irish are destined to fail for years to come, but it does mean that a rebuilding year is going to hit them extremely hard.

    It will be felt the fullest against the Sun Devils, even though the Irish got a glimpse of it against Michigan.

    Prediction: Arizona State 48, Notre Dame 21

Missouri at Vanderbilt

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    Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Missouri 51, Vanderbilt 28

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

    Missouri and Vanderbilt engage in a battle for the SEC East, and the Tigers are aiming at undefeated status each and every week. Luckily for them, they outmatch Vanderbilt in quite a few areas of interest, and the outcome projects well for Missouri.

    The Tigers are averaging well over 500 yards of total offense and 45.5 points per game where Vandy is putting up just 400 yards and 34 points. Both are allowing roughly 21 points per game, so that 100-plus-yard discrepancy will be the deciding factor.

    Prediction: Missouri 35, Vanderbilt 31

Louisiana Tech at UTEP

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Louisiana Tech 38, UTEP 35

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

    Louisiana Tech and UTEP are forming a new type of bowl. We'll call this the two-win bowl. The loser walks away with just the one victory it brought to kickoff, and the winner gets that second one.

    The Bulldogs bring the No. 63 scoring defense to the table, and the Miners' is ranked 115th. Before you Louisiana Tech fans get too excited, the offenses are just ad badly mismatched.

    The Bulldogs are 118th in scoring offense to UTEP's 53rd-ranked offense. This is going to be one of the worst examples of disciplined defense this season, but someone will win, and it's going to be the better offense.

    Prediction: UTEP 56, Louisiana Tech 35

No. 4 Ohio State at No. 16 Northwestern

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    Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Ohio State 40, Northwestern 30

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m.

    Ohio State and Northwestern meet in a battle of the unbeatens that will yield a front-runner for the Big Ten title. For now, the higher-ranked Buckeyes are the clear favorite, but the conference schedule is just beginning to rear its ugly head. Anything can happen.

    Both teams are gaining about 500 yards of total offense so far this season, but the Buckeyes' yards are turned into an average of 48.2 points. That's going up against Northwestern's 41.3 points per game.

    On top of all that, the Buckeyes are allowing almost one touchdown less than the Wildcats. Unless something drastic changes before kickoff, this game will be another notch in Urban Meyer's belt.

    Prediction: Ohio State 52, Northwestern 38

West Virginia at No. 17 Baylor

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Baylor 73, West Virginia 42

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m.

    Baylor may have had a relatively easy break-in period for 2013, but the Bears did exactly what they needed to do to earn a ranking off the backs of lesser opponents: win by a landslide. They are ranked fifth or better in all four major categories with per-game averages of over 700 yards of total offense, nearly 10 touchdowns and allowing just barely more than a touchdown.

    West Virginia has little hope. Even if you combine their two most lopsided wins, you can't come close to Baylor's least decisive win (70-13 over Buffalo). West Virginia might have upset Oklahoma State, but this upset is not going to happen.

    The Mountaineers' average of 20 points per game will not work against this Baylor offense.

    Prediction: Baylor 63, West Virginia 20

No. 15 Washington at No. 5 Stanford

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    Final Score: Stanford 31, Washington 28

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 10:30 p.m.

    Statistically, Washington is scoring more points than Stanford and allowing fewer. The Huskies are both rushing and passing for more yards as well. In fact, almost everything here points to a Washington win.

    The issue? The game is at Stanford, and the Cardinal were upset by the Huskies last season. Does that mean Stanford will win? Not necessarily. If you look at Stanford's worst performance of the season, it was against a run-first Army offense that hung with the big boys until late in the game.

    Washington had an equally questionable performance against Illinois, and that does leave the door open for the Cardinal. However, the Huskies are going to be just as motivated as their opponent by the prospect of a potential national title.

    Stanford should want the win badly, but desire is not going to stop Bishop Sankey and Keith Price all by itself. Despite the comments that are definitely coming, here goes:

    Prediction: Washington 43, Stanford 40

San Jose State at Hawaii

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: San Jose State 37, Hawaii 27

    When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at midnight

    San Jose State and Hawaii are both struggling this season. Some of that is due to there being break-in games against teams like Stanford, Utah State, Oregon State and Fresno State. The other part is simply due to lack of offense.

    Here, we are going to cover momentum. Stats between two teams with a single combined win are laughable, as they mean less than nothing. If you are both losing terribly, does it really matter who's losing less badly? (In some cases, yes, but not in this one.)

    Hawaii just had an incredible fourth-quarter performance, nearly taking down the Fresno State Bulldogs as a result. The last-second Hail Mary was picked off to end the game.

    The momentum and confidence is all on Hawaii's side, and it's a home game. Momentum isn't enough to overcome a great team, but the Spartans just aren't looking great this season.

    Prediction: Hawaii 38, San Jose State 35

BYU at Utah State

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: BYU 31, Utah State 14

    When: Friday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m.

    BYU has the No. 4 rushing attack in the land, and the Cougars are 2-2 entering the in-state rivalry game against Utah State. The Aggies have the country's 37th-best rushing defense and the No. 25 scoring offense.

    BYU's big issue here is a lack of balance on offense. The Cougars are averaging 185.3 yards through the air and over 300 on the ground. Utah State is giving up an average of 126.6 yards on the ground.

    The one position that can decide this game is quarterback. If Taysom Hill (BYU) doesn't outplay Chuckie Keeton (Utah State), the Cougars won't have a chance.

    Prediction: Utah State 25, BYU 21

Nevada at San Diego State

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    Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: San Diego State 51, Nevada 44 (OT)

    When: Friday, Oct. 4, at 9 p.m.

    Nevada is coming into this skirmish with a 3-2 record, and San Diego State brings a 1-3 record of its own. Both have lost every game against BCS AQ opponents, which skewed their stats grossly.

    The kicker in this game is that Cody Fajardo will be under center for the Wolf Pack. Nevada proved that it can win without him, and that's going to make them feel like they can beat anyone in the country with him.

    While that may or may not be true, San Diego State's 100th-ranked scoring offense and 99th-ranked scoring defense aren't going to upset the Wolf Pack. You need a much better offense than that to take down Nevada.

    Prediction: Nevada 49, San Diego State 37

Texas at Iowa State

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


    Final Score: Texas 31, Iowa State 30

    When: Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

    Iowa State's conference opener is a home game against the Texas Longhorns. The Cyclones come into this game with a 1-2 record, and Texas is 2-2 with a victory over the underwhelming Kansas State Wildcats.

    In this particular matchup, stats mean little. For one, the level of competition has been completely different for each team thus far, and that renders stat rankings nearly useless. Secondly, Texas' starting quarterback, David Ash, will reportedly not be playing in this game.

    Luckily, Texas' 37th-ranked rushing offense is lining up against Iowa State's 84th-ranked rushing defense. Even if Case McCoy is a complete disaster, the Longhorns can move to a Wildcat formation and do some serious damage.

    Iowa State is in for a long game, unless Texas refuses to come off its passing attack. If the Longhorns allow turnovers to decide this game instead of running the ball, their entire offensive staff should come into question.

    Prediction: Texas 34, Iowa State 27

Western Kentucky at Louisiana-Monroe

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    Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Western Kentucky 31, Louisiana-Monroe 10

    When: Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

    Western Kentucky and Louisiana-Monroe get together for a Sun Belt battle on Oct. 3, and it should be interesting to say the least. The Hilltoppers boast the country's 26th-ranked rushing attack, and the Warhawks have the country's 67th-best passing attack.

    Kolton Browning is a piece of dynamite waiting to explode (2012 stats here) at any moment, but this is Week 6. The question now is whether he'll ever get his fire lit.

    As for the Hilltoppers defense, it has allowed just 177.8 rushing yards per game, and that includes a win over the Navy Midshipmen—the country's No. 8 rushing attack that averages 294 yards on the ground.

    The Warhawks are in for a rude awakening when their passing game winds up as their only asset, as Western Kentucky shuts that down, too. (The Hilltoppers are ranked No. 13 against the pass.)

    Prediction: Western Kentucky 28, Louisiana-Monroe 13

No. 12 UCLA at Utah

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    Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: UCLA 34, Utah 27

    When: Thursday, Oct. 3, at 10 p.m.

    UCLA opened the season with a decisive win over the Nevada Wolf Pack, and the Bruins have moved to 3-0 with their smallest margin of victory being 20 points over then-No. 23 Nebraska. This team is ready to dismantle nearly everything—and everyone—in its path.

    Both these teams are capable of winning this game, but the nod has to go to UCLA. There are two major advantages on UCLA's side: Brett Hundley and halftime. Hundley is 61-of-92 this season for 848 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions.

    Utah's scoring offense is ranked 20th in the country, so this will not be a blowout for UCLA, either. The Utes have had a knack for making games close, regardless of the opponent, and that trend should continue.

    The Utes joined the Pac-12 to bolster their program and make runs for national titles. It has taken a few years for them to build up enough to contend with the middle of the pack, but they are there.

    UCLA is not in the middle of the pack, but Utah is capable of making life difficult for anyone in the nation.

    Prediction: UCLA 45, Utah 35