Week 6 Most Meaningful Matchups
Reaching the midway point of the 2021 College Football Season
I’m both happy and sad about this - we’re arriving at, basically, the halfway point of the 2021 College Football Regular Season. We’re starting to get some really good data points and permanent-ish storylines have emerged. Week 6 is also another one of those fantastic college football weekends with really good games up and down the dial from noon until late. Another solid slate – can’t wait to talk about them and watch them! Here are Week 6’s Top 10 Most Meaningful Matchups (and why)->>>
(All games EST)
10. Wyoming @ Air Force 7:00 PM on CBS Sports Network: This is sneakily the best G5 game of the week in my view – undefeated Wyoming (4-0) taking on 4-1 Air Force. Wyoming has yet to play a Mountain West Conference game however, while the Falcons have played two. This is a fun Mountain rivalry and a beautiful location.
9. Maryland @ #7 Ohio State – Noon on FOX: This game looked like it might be a decent one until Maryland got destroyed last week against Iowa and lost possibly their best wide receiver. Still, Ohio State has been vulnerable defensively and while I would expect the Buckeyes to win, the Terps do have the horses offensively (we think) to keep things close well into the second half. That is, of course, if they can avoid having a spate of turnovers like they had against Iowa.
8. #9 Michigan @ Nebraska – 7:30 PM on ABC: This would NOT have been on this list two weeks ago but Nebraska has looked a lot better evening their record to 3-3. Meanwhile, Michigan has looked very good to start the year but they’ve yet to go on the road to a hostile environment or have to get out of the comfort zone of ball control. Can the Huskers make them do that? It’s entirely possible and, if the game is close into the 3rd Quarter, the fans will start to believe and make a lot of noise. Michigan is favored but this has the makings of a pretty fun game. If Nebraska gets blown out, however, it will negate the positive vibes that last week’s win created for Scott Frost and the team.
7. #1 Alabama @ Texas A&M – 8:00 PM on CBS: This matchup looked at the start of the season like it could be the biggest game on Alabama’s schedule and possible stumbling block. Unfortunately for the Aggies, all the talk of the offseason about competing with the Tide went by the wayside with injuries to their starting QB, underwhelming offensive line play and losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State. Now it may be a battle to stay out of the SEC West basement. Can A&M get something consistent going on offense? Their defense should be good enough to slow Alabama down some. What I’m most interested to see if how Alabama does against the deafening crowd noise at Kyle Field. They didn’t handle the Swamp at Florida well at all and we’ve seen a lot of teams struggle with crowd noise even moreso than usual this year. I’d expect a pretty handy Alabama win. Still – a big game at Kyle Field at night is always a spectacle.
6. LSU @ #16 Kentucky – 7:30 PM on SEC Network: Suddenly 5-0 Kentucky is now facing an LSU team who’s coach is under fire and team has lost their best defensive player DB Daryl Stingley. Still – LSU has more overall talent and…arguably…a better QB. The Wildcats history is one that features a number of seasons where hope springs up only to be crushed unexpectedly – still Mark Stoops has this program really maximized. Despite the Tigers’ wounded state this is still a game that would be a huge signature win for Kentucky – or could be the bounceback game that LSU needs. Should be a close and low-scoring affair. If Kentucky gets through here it sets up a likely undefeated (or maybe one loss Kentucky) show down with Georgia later in season.
5. Stanford @ #22 Arizona State – 10:30 PM on ESPN (Friday): Really important matchup in the PAC 12 for the team that has suddenly become one of only two teams with any real shot at the College Football Playoff – the Sun Devils. Stanford is coming off a huge upset of Oregon and seems to be finding their footing…but Arizona State has more talent. I would expect a close game here – PAC 12 After Dark…on a Friday.
4. #13 Arkansas @ #17 Ole Miss – Noon on ESPN: Two really good teams – I believe – coming off disappointing blowout losses that received national attention last week. Both teams really want to get back on the winning track and try to grab the #2 position in the SEC West. Can Ole Miss consistently stop or slow Arkansas on the ground and be patient through the air on offense against the Hogs drop 8 zone schemes? Going to be really interesting.
3. #2 Georgia @ #18 Auburn – 3:30 PM on CBS: I ranked this third because I don’t actually think Auburn is particularly good – and should have lost to LSU last week without some real squandering of opportunities by those Tigers…and some amazing plays by QB Bo Nix (that could have easily been disasters). Georgia – in my view – is not going to allow some of the things that went on in Baton Rouge to occur and should dominate the line of scrimmage. I don’t think the Bulldogs will blow Auburn out completely but a thorough 31-10 type performance is what I’d expect.
2. #6 Oklahoma vs. Texas – Noon on FOX (Neutral Site – Dallas, TX): The Red River Rivalry (Shootout) is almost always a really good and high scoring game. This year, the Sooners come in still feeling a little struggle-y on offense despite 37 points last week against Kansas State. Meanwhile, Texas seems to have rebounded well from their blowout loss to Arkansas and have found some footing on offense riding elite RB Bijan Robinson. This would be a huge statement win for Steve Sarkisian…but the Sooners have more often than not had the Horns number in recent years. One thing is for certain, there will be some wackiness and it will likely be close.
1.#4 Penn State @ #3 Iowa – 4:00 on FOX: This is the game of the day. Every time highly ranked teams come to Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City when Iowa is even just above average it’s a war and usually a close low-scoring game. I think it will be no exception this time. Penn State has the edge on offense, while Iowa is better on defense – but not so much better that Penn State can’t overcome it. As has been the case all year with Iowa, turnovers and field position will tell the tale. The Nittany Lions win if every possession ends with a kick (punt, FG or extra point). It’s a great scene for college football!
#19 Wake Forest @ Syracuse – 3:30 PM on ESPN2: The Demon Deacons are fast becoming the ACC’s best hope to…get into the playoff…? They are the only undefeated team in the league but Syracuse at home has been much better than expected and could be a tough out. If Wake gets past the Orangemen, the schedule continues to set up well for them to be right there for shot at ACC Championship Game. Dave Clawson has done an unbelievable job with their program. Meanwhile, a tough loss last week for Syracuse against previously winless Florida State has Dino Babers edging back onto the hot seat.
#14 Notre Dame @ Virginia Tech – 7:30 PM on ACC Network: Notre Dame is coming off a disappointing (but not surprising) loss and now has to travel to Blacksburg which is always jumping at night. Even though the Hokies have been up and down this year – and their coach Justin Fuente is on the hot seat – I expect this will be a dog fight for a banged up Irish squad. It’s the kind of letdown game they could lose. For Tech, it’s a chance to get a big-name win and try to get the season back into “fully successful” territory.
Boise State @ #10 BYU – 3:30 PM on ABC: Another good G5 matchup, although Boise has been less than great to open the year. BYU needs to win this game convincingly and then hope Boise goes on a run the rest of the way to strengthen the Cougars’ case for a NY6 Bowl and even an outside (but really unlikely) shot at the Playoff. Another visually appealing setting for this G5 non-conference tilt.
UConn @ UMass – 3:30 PM on FLO Network: Some are calling this the “Sickos” Game of the Week. This is a matchup of possibly the two worst teams in the country – so it’s on here for sheer, morbid curiousity…and I have no idea how to access “Flo” to watch.
It’s another fantastic weekend of matchups – so buckle up! This Saturday, be sure to follow along with me on Twitter @ReadyCFB for witty remarks, live tweeting and questioning stupid things announcers say and/or coaches do!