Here are the top five games to watch during Week 6 of the 2013 college football season:
5. No. 24 Ole Miss at Auburn
Both Ole Miss and Auburn surprised the nation by starting 3-0, but then both teams lost their fourth game against national powerhouses (Alabama and LSU, respectively). Now they will each try to avoid going on a two-game losing streak, which is especially painful when you play in the SEC. Although they were playing against Alabama, Ole Miss disappointed by not being able to score any points. Bo Wallace was uncomfortable all game, and running game was held to under two yards per carry. Auburn actually hung in the game at LSU, but in the end they couldn’t pull off the upset. Nick Marshall will have to cut down on the interceptions if he wants to beat Ole Miss. These two teams are very evenly matched, so it’s anyone’s guess who will win on Saturday.
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Ole Miss was one of the Cinderella stories of the young 2013 season, but it’s time for them to face reality. They remain a good team, but that won’t be enough to pull out a win at Auburn. Nick Marshall and the running game should rebound in this game, and the Auburn defense should force some turnovers against a rattled Bo Wallace. This game could potentially be close, but Auburn will win it in the end.
4. No. 22 Arizona State at Notre Dame
For the second straight week, Notre Dame is hosting a ranked team. The Fighting Irish are hoping the second time is the charm, as last week they were crushed at home against Oklahoma. Arizona State isn’t as good as Oklahoma, but they are definitely deserving of their rank. Behind Taylor Kelly, their offense is one of the best in the country. While they won’t score 62 points like they did last week against USC, they will put up some serious points. If Notre Dame wants to win this game, then Tommy Rees needs to step it up big time.
Edge: Arizona State
Notre Dame is only a few months removed from their appearance in the BCS National Championship Game, but after this game they will fall to .500. Tommy Rees simply isn’t cutting it at quarterback, and even at home the defense will not be able to slow down Arizona State. The Notre Dame defense might be able to keep it close, but the Sun Devils will be too much in the end.
The first of this week’s matchups between ranked opponents to appear on the list is this showdown between two undefeated ACC teams. It’s no surprise that Florida State is 4-0, but Maryland was absolutely not supposed to be 4-0. But after a 37-0 drubbing of West Virginia, the Terps have proved that they’re for real. With dual threat quarterback C.J. Brown running the offense and a defense that hasn’t given up more than 21 points in a game, Maryland can hang with the best of the best. However, they’ll have their hands full against Florida State. Freshman phenom Jameis Winston is one of the nation’s most exciting players, and his talents will be on full display in this one. The winner of this game gets a huge edge in the ACC standings, so both teams are going to leave it all on the field.
Edge: Florida State
Maryland has to feel great about their season so far, but they shouldn’t feel great about their chances in this one. They have not faced a good team all season, and now they’re playing against a great one on the road. Jameis Winston and the Seminoles offense averages over 50 points per game, and there is no reason to believe that they won’t do it again on Saturday. This one could get ugly quickly.
2. No. 15 Washington at No. 5 Stanford
This matchup between two undefeated Pac-12 is one of the best non-SEC regular season games we’ll see all year. Washington has won all four of its games decisively, and they are dominating on both sides of the ball. Keith Price is playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, and the Huskies running game is the 11th best in all of college football. Oh yeah, they have the fourth ranked defense too. However, Stanford is still the better team. Their defense might be the most talented in all of college football, and Kevin Hogan methodically leads the offense. This Saturday night showdown will surely be cant-miss television.
Washington is a great team, but Stanford is a championship-contending team. They are as smart and well prepared as any team in the nation, so being upset at home doesn’t seem like an option. Washington will hang around, but the Stanford defense will shut them down and then Kevin Hogan will put them away. Cardinal roll in this one.
1. No. 4 Ohio State and No. 16 Northwestern
The week’s best matchup is between two undefeated Big 10 teams, one likely and one unlikely. Ohio State was supposed to be 5-0, but not many picked Northwestern to be 4-0. Braxton Miller returned from injury last week and threw four touchdown passes against Wisconsin, so Urban Meyer shouldn’t have to worry about his health anymore. However, he should be worried about going on the road to play Northwestern. The Wildcats have already collected some quality wins this season, but they’ll want to win this game more than any other one on the schedule. Beating Ohio State would put their program on the map and would catapult them in the rankings. This Saturday night game will either be an Ohio State blowout, or will be shown on ESPN Classic in the future.
I just have a feeling it’s going to happen. I know, Urban Meyer has never lost as Ohio State head coach and Braxton Miller is one of the nation’s best quarterbacks. But we are going to see a different Northwestern team on Saturday night. If you don’t think Pat Fitzgerald will have his team fired up for this game, then you’re dead wrong. This is one of the most important games in the program’s history, and a win would mean everything to them. Northwestern also has the talent to meet the desire, and that combination will be enough for them to pull off the shocking upset.