2018 NCAAF Week 6 Weekend Preview

October 4, 2018

We’ve got a tie game, ladies and gentlemen.

I managed to spoil Matt’s birthday weekend in the slightest way possible, taking our head-to-head matchup in the prediction game. Perhaps he should’ve taken his girlfriend’s advice and gone with the Fighting Irish at home.

This week, my buddy Danny, who is going to ball out this winter on my rec basketball team (congratulations, this is your surprise invite), will look to break the tie. Danny was a bit eager on Twitter earlier this week so you may have gotten a sneak preview at some of his picks, but ATC is excited to have a new guest on the blog all the same.

After last weekend, the overall standings now look like this:

K. Becks – 16-9

Guests – 16-9

Unfortunately I’ve been left with very little time to devote to the preview this week, so we’ll jump right in to the “Three Thoughts” from last weekend.

1. It looked like Urban Meyer was calling the plays in the first half of the Ohio State-Penn State game, and Ryan Day was handed the keys in the second half. Seriously, Urban, it’s time to relinquish full control to the guy who may well one day take over for you permanently. Day’s no fear attitude offensively and willingness to let Dwayne Haskins do his thing will guide the Buckeyes to the CFP easily, if his boss lets him.

2. Add Clemson to the list of CFP contenders that will drop a game to a team it has no business losing to this season. Trevor Lawrence is a true freshman, after all, and Syracuse got to him. Expect adversity to get the best of the Tigers at some point during the next two months.

3. We’ve seen the last of the relatively calm waters at the top of the heap. The upsets are going to start happening this weekend. September is over, wake up to the chaos.

Let’s take a look at the top games to watch this weekend.

5 Games to Watch This Weekend

Maryland at #15 Michigan (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

The Terrapins have the ability to keep this one uncomfortably close thanks to a solid defense that can handle Michigan’s run heavy attack. The problem for Maryland is going to be getting anything going on the ground offensively – Michigan has found its groove the past two games, allowing 67 rushing yards total against Nebraska and Northwestern.

If this wasn’t at the Big House, I’d be taking Maryland in the upset. Even so, the Terps should be in the game for all four quarters and may even require the Wolverines to make some key fourth quarter stops to avoid being upset.

My Pick: 19-16 Michigan

Danny’s Take: Maryland 14 Michigan 27

#19 Texas vs. #7 Oklahoma [game in Dallas] (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

The Red River Rivalry is ATC’s pick for “Game of the Week”, which is how it should be more often than not. Texas has played solid defense against a couple of capable offenses since losing to Maryland in the home opener and will give Oklahoma its toughest test of the season thus far on that side of the ball. The blueprint to beat the Sooners lies in the Oklahoma game film against Iowa State, which is really good news for the Longhorns. Texas is basically the same team defensively with a better offense, and Iowa State was competitive against the Sooners but unable to points on the board when it mattered most.

Kyler Murray has been dazzling this season and it will take a major effort for the Longhorns to rattle him in the pocket. But this result has been a long time coming for Texas – it has been six years since the Longhorns have entered this showdown as a ranked squad and three more since they won as a ranked squad. Both of those stats get reset to zero in 2018.

My Pick: 34-31 Texas

Danny’s Take: Texas 14 Oklahoma 34

#5 LSU at #22 Florida (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The Gators are honoring the 2008 national championship team on Saturday and specifically Tim Tebow, who will become the sixth individual inducted into the Swamp’s Ring of Honor. And good vibes aside, Florida has been playing well lately and the Kentucky loss looks much better than it did three weeks ago.

Neither of these teams will score a lot of points, but the Gators will need to limit the LSU run game to have a chance at winning this one. Although I’d love to see Joe Burrow continue his winning ways being a former Buckeye, he hasn’t been outstanding for them this season. In this game he’ll need to make big plays late (something he has done) in a game that won’t see either team build larger than a single digit lead at any point.

My Pick: 20-17 Florida

Danny’s Take: LSU 38 Florida 20

#13 Kentucky at Texas A&M (Saturday, 7 PM ET)

The Wildcats have quickly become one of my favorite teams in college football this season, if only because I want to see them have a much needed and well-deserved good season. Although they have been the underdog in several contests this year, it feels like travelling to Kyle Field with as much of a target on their backs as they’ve had in decades is the biggest test yet. The Aggies are talented enough offensively to give this Kentucky defense a lot of trouble.

Texas A&M is a 5.5 point favorite heading into this one, so despite knocking on the Top 10’s door the Wildcats don’t get the nod from Vegas. While that is concerning for my pick, I’ve rolled with them twice already this season and will continue to do so here.

My Pick: 35-31 Kentucky

Danny’s Take: Kentucky 17 Texas A&M 24

#6 Notre Dame at #24 Virginia Tech (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

The Kid has the Fighting Irish rolling, so give Notre Dame credit for making the move to start Ian Book at quarterback against Stanford last weekend. Book improved his touchdown total to seven this season and has yet to throw a single interception on the year. While he’s not as athletic as Brandon Wimbush, he’s no slouch in that area, either. Virginia Tech has a very tough task of stopping the junior signal caller both on the ground but most importantly through the air. Unfortunately for the Hokies, that is an area of major concern. Bud Foster’s defense has been uncharacteristically poor against the pass, allowing over 300 yards per game.

Unless something changes in a big way for Virginia Tech’s secondary, the Hokies will need to rely on Book coming back down to earth and the rest of the Fighting Irish playing down to their competition. Based on what we’ve seen from both of these teams this season, there is no reason why Notre Dame shouldn’t win by double digits.

My Pick: 34-21 Notre Dame

Danny’s Take: ND 25 Virginia Tech 27

5 To Flip To

Boston College at #23 North Carolina State (Saturday, 12:30 PM ET)

This matchup isn’t going to make waves across the country, but both teams will hover around the top 25 all season and there is a good chance this one could come down to a final drive.

Florida State at #17 Miami (FL) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

Both teams have been a disappointment this season, but hopefully the rivalry aspect will bring out the best of both in this one.

Arizona State at #21 Colorado (Saturday, 4 PM ET)

The Herm Edwards project is trending more towards being uneventful than anything else, but the Sun Devils have a chance to knock off another ranked opponent this weekend. Colorado is well coached and won’t go down easily, though.

#8 Auburn at Mississippi State (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET)

Why is this game on the “5 to Flip To” list? See “Three Thoughts” point No. 3 above.

Utah at #14 Stanford (Saturday, 10:30 PM ET)

What happened to Stanford in South Bend last weekend wasn’t all that surprising to anyone that watched the Oregon game two weeks ago, but what we don’t know yet is how Stanford will fare against the next tier of teams in the Pac-12. The Cardinal are still in the driver’s seat in the North Division but have plenty of trap games remaining – this is one of them.

In the past, I’ve asked readers to let me know if they’d like to be guests on Around The Corn to make weekly college football picks. And while that invite still stands (email kbecks@aroundthecorn.com or message me on Facebook or Twitter if interested), the truth is that I’m basically asking friends and family on a weekly basis. Writing is a passion of mine, as is commenting on sports. But sharing those two passions with others are what has always made this worthwhile. So tell me what you think of the site and let me know what could be done better, or what would make you come back without prompting. I’d really appreciate it.

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