Viewers Guide, Picks: Week 6

We are back with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 6 of the college season.

Georgia (and QB Aaron Murray) will collide with South Carolina (and RB Marcus Lattimore) Saturday night

I ended up 20-3 straight-up and 10-12-1 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 100-30 SU and 58-61-1 ATS. My three straight-up misses last week were Stanford (lost to Washington), Iowa State (lost to Texas Tech) and Arizona (to Oregon State).

In Big Ten games, I was 6-0 straight-up and also 3-3 ATS. Through five weeks, I am 42-10 straight-up and 20-24 ATS.

This is, arguably, the best weekend of college football this season. There are three games matching six of the nation’s top 11 teams: No. 4 LSU at No. 10 Florida, No. 5 Georgia at No. 6 South Carolina and No. 8 West Virginia at No. 11 Texas. Plus, there are other tasty match-ups like USC-Utah tonight and Washington-Oregon, Miami (Fla.)-Notre Dame, Nebraska-Ohio State, Arizona-Stanford and Northwestern-Penn State all on Saturday.

Here we go with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 6 of the college football season:

Thursday’s Game

* USC (-14) at Utah, 9 p.m. (ESPN) -- Although USC defeated Utah 23-14 last year, that game went down to the wire. Trailing by three, Utah was attempting a last-second field goal. The Trojans blocked it and returned it for a touchdown to account for the final nine-point margin. Utah comes in at 2-2 with losses at Utah State and at Arizona State (37-7). USC comes in off a 27-9 win over Cal. USC 38-19

Friday’s Games

* Pittsburgh at Syracuse (-1 ½), 7 p.m. (ESPN) -- Pitt has won seven straight in this rivalry by an average of 16 points, including last year’s 33-20 win at Pitt. Pitt is 2-2 and Syracuse is 1-3. These two will move from the Big East to the ACC next year. Syracuse 26-23

* Utah State at BYU (-6 ½), 10:15 p.m. (ESPN) -- Utah State is 4-1 with the lone loss at Wisconsin (a game USU probably outplayed UW). BYU is 3-2, bouncing back from losses to Utah and Boise State by blasting Hawaii 47-0. BYU is 21-2 all-time against USU, although the Cougars won just 27-24 last year. BYU 30-20

Saturday’s Games

* Navy at Air Force (-7 ½), 11:30 a.m. (CBS) -- Navy is 1-3, while Air Force is 2-2. Navy has won seven of the last nine, but AFA has won the last two (including a 35-34 OT thriller last year at Annapolis). Air Force leads the nation in rushing (396.3 ypg). Good enough for me. Air Force 34-20

* Northwestern at Penn State (-3), noon (ESPN) -- Northwestern is trying to get to 6-0 for the first time since 1962, while Penn State is trying to extend its three-game winning streak. PSU leads the all-time series with Northwestern 12-3 and has won five straight in the series. Northwestern has only won once at PSU (in 2004). PSU QB Matt McGloin has thrown for 417 yards and six TDs in two wins over the Wildcats (35-21 in 2010 and 34-24 last year). But this Northwestern team is hitting on all cylinders after piling up a school-record 704 yards in last week’s 44-29 win over Indiana. At No. 24, Northwestern is ranked for the first time since December 2008. This should be a fun one. Penn State 34-27

* Arkansas at Auburn (-9 ½), noon (ESPN2) -- Arkansas’ season of misery continues with this trip to Auburn, which hasn’t been much better. Who would have thought these two teams would have two wins combined at this stage of the season? Arkansas has won three of the last four meetings, including 38-14 last year at Arkansas. Auburn comes in off a painful 12-10 loss at No. 2 LSU. Arkansas has lost four straight. Auburn 31-17

* Kansas at Kansas State (-24 ½), noon (FX) -- Things are so bad for Kansas and Charlie Weis, sitting at 1-3, that the KU student newspaper has jumped off his bandwagon already. Kansas comes in off three straight losses, while K-State sits at 4-0 with wins over Miami (Fla.) (52-13) and Oklahoma (24-19). When he was hired, Weis wondered aloud why KU’s instate rival has enjoyed so much success against the Jayhawks (wins in 15 of the last 19 meetings, scoring 59 points in each of the last two years). The student Weis needs to concern himself with is K-State QB Collin Klein. Kansas State 59-20 (I could not resist … and I don’t think Bill Snyder will be letting off the gas pedal, either)

* Michigan State (-16) at Indiana, noon (Big Ten Network) -- Two teams coming off losses in their Big Ten openers collide in Bloomington. MSU owns a commanding 41-15-2 lead in the rivalry for the Old Brass Spittoon. MSU has won three in a row, seven of the last eight and 11 of 13 against IU. I look for MSU to get back on track. The Spartans rolled 55-3 over the Hoosiers last year in East Lansing. Michigan State 41-17

* Arizona at Stanford (-9 ½), 3 p.m. (Fox) -- Both teams are coming off tough losses. Stanford followed its win over USC with a stunning loss at Washington. Arizona dropped a 38-35 heartbreaker at home to Oregon State. Stanford has beaten Arizona the last two years, including a 37-10 win at Arizona last year. Stanford 34-24

* Illinois at Wisconsin (-14), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market) -- This game also matches two teams that dropped their Big Ten openers last week. Illinois leads this all-time series 37-35-7, but Wisconsin has won the last two, six of the last seven and 11 of the last 15 meetings. Illinois’ season seems to be circling the drain, while UW at least went on the road and gave Nebraska a good game last week (30-27 loss at Nebraska). Wisconsin 41-14

* Oklahoma (-5 ½) at Texas Tech, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market) -- Texas Tech is riding high at 4-0 after its road win at Iowa State (24-13). Oklahoma returns to action for the first time since its home loss to Kansas State (24-19) on Sept. 22. The visiting team had lost seven straight in this rivalry until Texas Tech pulled out a 41-38 win in Norman last year. That snapped OU’s 39-game home winning streak. Oklahoma 26-17

* LSU (-2 ½) at Florida, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- The first of two huge SEC showdowns matching teams in the top 11 in the AP poll. LSU comes in off that all-too-tight win over Auburn and could be ripe for the upset. Florida is rested coming off a bye week. LSU took a 41-11 win over a beaten up Florida squad last year at Baton Rouge. Florida 24-19

* Georgia Tech at Clemson (-10), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Clemson came back from its loss at Florida State by winning at Boston College last week (45-31). Georgia Tech slumps in at 2-3 after back-to-back losses to Miami (Fla.) and Middle Tennessee at home. Clemson RB Sammy Watkins returns to action after missing last week’s game due to injury. Tech won this match-up at home 31-17 last year. Clemson 31-17 (again, I could not resist)

* Iowa State at TCU (-11), 3:30 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) -- TCU’s offense has struggled but the Horned Frogs are 4-0. They can ill afford to look past a competitive ISU team. TCU 27-20

* Michigan (-3) at Purdue, 4 p.m. (Big Ten Network) -- Michigan leads the all-time series here 43-14. That includes a 36-14 win at home last year. Michigan was idle last week after its listless loss at Notre Dame (13-6). Purdue also has a Notre Dame loss on its card (20-17). The Boilers are tuning up their offense after winning a 51-41 shootout against Marshall last week. Look for big numbers this week, too. Michigan 44-37

* Washington State at Oregon State (-15 ½), 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks) -- Oregon State is 3-0 with wins over Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona. Washington State gave Oregon a tussle for a half last week before falling 51-26. Wazzu took a 44-21 win over Oregon State last year in Seattle. Oregon State 35-24

* West Virginia at Texas (-7), 7 p.m. (Fox) -- West Virginia scores 70 points against Baylor and they are ready to ship the Heisman to Geno Smith in Morgantown. But it says here there are still eight more games left to play. Can Texas put the clamps on that high powered WVU offense? UT is just 63rd in total defense and have allowed 30 or more to Oklahoma State and Mississippi the last two games. For some reason, I like the Longhorns. This should be one heck of a game. WVU won the schools’ only previous meeting in 1956 (7-6 in Austin). Texas 45-35

* Georgia at South Carolina (-1), 7 p.m. (ESPN) -- The winner can get a leg up in the SEC East race. South Carolina is gunning for its third straight win over Georgia, something that has never happened. The Gamecocks won 45-42 at Georgia last year. Georgia will be without top receiver Michael Bennett, lost for the year with a knee injury. There will be star power on both sides in this one. Georgia held on for a 51-44 win over Tennessee last year, while South Carolina rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to take a 38-17 win over Kentucky. ESPN College Game Day will be in Columbia. South Carolina has matched a school-record nine straight wins, a mark first set in 1984. South Carolina 27-24

* Miami (Ohio) at Cincinnati (-19 ½), 7 p.m. (Fox Sports Ohio) -- These schools, located just 25 miles apart, battle for the Victory Bell. This marks the 117th time the two schools will meet in the second-oldest NCAA FBS rivalry. Miami leads the all-time series 59-50-7 but UC has won six-straight games in the rivalry, including a 27-0 win in Oxford a year ago. UC comes in at 3-0 after a thrilling come-from-behind win over Virginia Tech at Landover, Md. (27-24). Miami is 3-2 with road losses at Ohio State and Boise State. Miami walloped Akron 56-49 last week. Cincinnati 31-14

* Miami (Fla.) vs. Notre Dame (-12 ½), at Chicago, 7:30 p.m. (NBC) -- Notre Dame continues its string of playing neutral site games at national locations, this one coming against resurgent Miami at Soldier Field. The ‘Canes have pulled out tight wins over Georgia Tech (42-36, OT) and N.C. State (44-37) the last two weeks to resurrect their year after a lopsided loss at Kansas State (52-13). ND was idle last week after completing its three-game sweep of Big Ten opponents (Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan). ND should own the trenches, but maybe Miami’s skill guys can make some plays. ND leads the all-time series 16-7-1 with a win in the most recent match-up (2010 Sun Bowl, 33-17 win). Notre Dame 34-17

* Nebraska at Ohio State (-3 ½), 8 p.m. (ABC) -- Perhaps the top two teams in the Big Ten – at least as of today’s national rankings – will collide under the lights in Columbus. Nebraska rallied from down 21 to defeat OSU 34-27 last year in Lincoln. That set a school record for both teams (Nebraska’s biggest comeback to win and OSU’s largest lead blown in a loss). This will be Nebraska’s first visit to the Horseshoe since 1956. You have two dynamic quarterbacks who can run and throw in Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez and OSU’s Braxton Miller. The question is which team’s defense will come to play after some uneven showings so far this season. OSU is 7-3 all-time in night games at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State 31-23

* Florida State (-14 ½) at N.C. State, 8 p.m. (ESPN2) -- FSU goes on the road for the first time in ACC play. N.C. State gift-wrapped last week’s loss at Miami, where the Wolfpack committed six turnovers and 14 penalties. FSU has won four of the last five in this series, including a 34-0 home win last year. FSU continues its march toward something that could be pretty big. Florida State 37-14

* UCLA (-2 ½) at California, 10 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks) -- Cal, at 1-4, is off to the worst start of the Jeff Tedford era and there is already speculation this will be it for him. After a home loss to Oregon State, UCLA moved to 4-1 with a 42-14 win at Colorado. Cal has won three of the last four meetings, although UCLA won 31-14 last year at home. UCLA 33-27

* Washington at Oregon (-24 ½), 10:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Oregon, sitting at No. 2, has outscored its five opponents by an average of 52-20. Washington will come into Autzen Stadium after its upset of then-No. 8 Stanford 17-13 on Sept. 27. Oregon has won eight straight over Washington – each by 17 or more points. Maybe U-Dub can keep this one interesting after holding Stanford without an offensive touchdown. Oregon 33-17

And in case you missed it, our Big Ten Blast with notes on each team:

Big Ten Blast: Showdown At The Shoe

Quickie Bowl Projections

We will try and update these each week. Here goes absolutely nothing:

* BCS National Title Game – Alabama vs. Oregon (still the top two right now)

* Rose Bowl – USC vs. Michigan State (they each have one loss but are from out of their respective races)

* Sugar Bowl – LSU vs. Texas (this would be a tailor-made double play ball sellout for the Sugar)

* Orange Bowl – Florida State vs. Louisville (Cardinals seem to be the class of the Big East; FSU rolling in ACC)

* Fiesta Bowl – West Virginia vs. Notre Dame (WVU leads way in Big 12 for now; Notre Dame on collision course with BCS bid, it seems)

* Capital One Bowl – South Carolina vs. Nebraska

* Outback Bowl – Georgia vs. Michigan

* Cotton Bowl – Florida vs. Kansas State

Enjoy this big weekend of college football and best of luck to your team!

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