Need a little help with your picks this week? Here’re a few quick tips and pointers to consider heading into what on paper looks like a much more promising week of college football than last week’s by-the-numbers display.
#21 Nebraska @ #12 Ohio State
#12 Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) has been the cream of the crop in the Big Ten, but that’s not saying a lot in a conference that has seen Michigan and Michigan State underachieve while Illinois has flat out bottled it.
#21 Nebraska (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) might have been sat where the Buckeyes are sat were it not for an upset loss to UCLA in Week 3. The two teams collide in Primetime Saturday night, with the Cornhuskers looking for a repeat of last year’s victory.
Much has been made of Braxton Miller’s impressive running game, but the Nebraska defense may have enough to quiet the superstar down. But then again, they said that about Michigan State. The Buckeyes defense could be pivotal if the offense can’t get things going, but Ohio State hasn’t looked weak in that department. Yet.
Odds: Ohio State is favorite (-3½) in a tough game with the over/under at 58.
Take: The under for sure, with the Cornhuskers upsetting the Buckeyes in a close game, a result that will really set those Big Ten critics off.
#5 Georgia @ #6 South Carolina
The way the first five weeks have played out, the SEC East is going to be a very tough division to win this year. Two of those teams looking to do just that are #5 Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC) and #6 South Carolina (5-0, 3-0 SEC), who collide with each other at Williams-Bryce Stadium on Saturday.
Georgia has looked good with the dual running threat of rookies Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. The pair has caused chaos for opponents so far this year.
The Gamecocks counter with the quarterback duo of Dylan Thompson and Connor Shaw, both of whom have passed for 500+ this year. The Bulldogs’ defense will be tested, and after last week’s showing against Tennessee, there are a few questions about how it will cope.
Odds: South Carolina is favorite (-1), just. The over/under is 57.
Take: The Bulldogs. South Carolina has won the last two but history tells us that Georgia doesn’t lose three in a row.
#4 LSU @ #10 Florida
Another of those teams looking to take the SEC East will face a tough challenge at the weekend. While bragging rights mean nothing at this time of year (unless you’re on the winning side that is), there are some serious bragging rights on the line at The Swamp on Saturday as #4 LSU (5-0, 1-0 SEC) visits #10 Florida (4-0, 3-0 SEC).
The East has been forgotten in the West’s dominance of late, but this game represents a good chance for the right side to stick a boot in the left side. Despite having gone unbeaten, LSU has frankly looked a little ordinary. A stagnant win over Auburn followed by a ‘squeaky’ win over Towson that couldn’t have been much more embarrassing if it had been a loss, has more than a few questioning how far LSU will go this far.
The answer is not far unless the Tigers find a long range passing game. At the moment, a one dimensional offense is not going to work.
Florida meanwhile haven’t looked great. They’ve been food but not great. A win on Saturday would be a huge achievement though, and not just one to look back on at the end of the season, but one that could propel the Gators onwards now!
Odds: In what would seem like ridiculously short odds were it not for LSU’s troubles, the Tigers are just three-point favorites, with the over/under at a miserly 44½.
Take: The big story would be for Florida to win, but LSU should ‘squeak’ another win here.
And now, an even quicker look at a pair of important games.
#8 West Virginia @ # 11 Texas
They’ve proved they can win a shootout, but now #8 West Virginia (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) needs to show us something more. A little defense never harmed anybody, did it? #11 Texas (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) hasn’t really emerged yet, so this would be a good time to do so.
Odds: Texas is favorites (-7) over the Big 12 newcomers. The over/under is a staggering 75 points.
Take: The under on the points. Yes, the under! West Virginia is actually going to be playing against a defense this year. Take the Mountaineers for the upset though.
#23 Washington @ #2 Oregon
After last week’s win over Stanford, expect #23 Washington (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) to come crashing down to earth this week. Yes, everybody wants #2 Oregon (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) to slip up and the underdog to come through one more time, but the Ducks are simply too talented and too well coached.
Odds: Oregon is favored by 24 points. The over/under is 65 points.
Take: Oregon to win and to beat the spread. Even after a close first half last week, the Ducks still bombarded the scoreboard.
AP Top 25 (Week 6 Fixtures)
#13 USC (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) 38-28 Utah (2-3, 0-2 Pac-12) (Thursday)
#23 Washington (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) @ #2 Oregon (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12)
#3 Florida State (5-0, 2-0 ACC) @ North Carolina State (3-2, ACC)
#4 LSU (5-0, 1-0 SEC) @ #10 Florida (4-0, 3-0 SEC)
#5 Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC) @ #6 South Carolina (5-0, 3-0 SEC)
Kansas (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) @ #7 Kansas State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
#8 West Virginia (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) @ #11 Texas (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Miami (FL) (4-1, 3-0 ACC) @ #9 Notre Dame (4-0)
#21 Nebraska (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) @ #12 Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
Washington State (2-3, 0-2 Pac-12) @ #14 Oregon State (3-0, 2-0 Pac-12)
Georgia Tech (2-3, 1-2 ACC) @ #15 Clemson (4-1, 1-1 ACC)
Iowa State (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) @ #15 TCU (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
#17 Oklahoma (2-1, 0-1 Big 12) @ Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Arizona (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) @ #18 Stanford (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12)
#20 Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0 SEC) @ Kentucky (1-4, 0-2 SEC)
Connecticut (3-2, 0-0 Big East) @ #22 Rutgers (4-0, 1-0 Big East)
#24 Northwestern (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) @ Penn State (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten)
#25 UCLA (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) @ California (1-4, 0-2 Pac-12)
#1 Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) BYE
#19 Louisville (5-0, 0-0 Big East) BYE