Week 6 of the College Football season brings several intriguing matchups following last week’s jam-packed schedule. As expected, the three top-ten matchups in Week 5 completely reshuffled the AP rankings. Washington moved up to the No. 5 spot after a commanding 42-10 win against Stanford, while Louisville slid to No. 7 after falling short to Clemson, 36-42. Miami (FL) received their first top-10 ranking since 2009. Here’s a list of the best matchups, with some players to watch. All times are Eastern.
(8) Texas A&M hosts (9) Tennessee at 3:30 PM on ESPN. Both teams come into Week 6 with an undefeated record and a chance to claim a top-5 ranking. A Week 1 upset win against (16) UCLA helped propel the Aggies towards their 6th consecutive season with a top-10 ranking. Led by Coach Kevin Sumlin, the Aggies are 10th in the country with 1293 rushing yards. This is Tennessee’s first 5-0 start since their national title run in 1998, but star RB Jalen Hurd will reportedly be sitting out with an upper-body injury. Last season, Hurd rushed for 1,285 yards with 14 TD’s, but the Volunteers feel comfortable relying on Junior RB Alvin Kamara. While Tennessee has won 11 straight games dating back to last season, the Aggies are a 7 point favorite. The player to watch for this game is Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett. Ranked No.1 on Mel Kiper Jr.’s most recent Big Board, Garrett has extraordinary pass-rushing abilities, which allowed him to rack up 22 sacks in his first 2 seasons. Although he has only compiled 3 sacks this season, Kiper predicts Garrett will be a top-5 pick if he stays healthy.
(17) North Carolina hosts (25) Virginia Tech at 3:30 PM on ABC/ESPN2. In an ACC top-25 matchup, both teams look to prove their mettle after suffering tough losses earlier this season. UNC won a thrilling contest last week against (12) Florida State on a game-winning 54-yard field goal. The unranked Tar Heels shot up to the No. 17 ranking in this week’s AP Poll. After Virginia Tech’s loss to Tennessee in Week 2, the Hokies bounced back with blowout wins against Boston College and Eastern Carolina University. The Tar Heels are a modest 1.5 point favorite over the Hokies. The player to watch in this game is UNC junior QB Mitch Trubisky. This season, Trubisky leads the country with a 76 % completion percentage, and has thrown for 13 TD’s and 0 INT. Another impressive outing will force Trubisky into the Heisman conversation.
(16) Arkansas hosts (1) Alabama at 7:00 PM on ESPN. The Crimson Tide are well on their way towards another College Football Playoff and have won eight straight games against Arkansas. Alabama has had a relatively easy schedule thus far, but Saturday’s matchup begins a three-game stretch against ranked opponents. With an undefeated (9) Tennessee on Alabama’s mind for next week, Arkansas may be able to sneak out a surprise win if they are able to protect their QB Austin Allen and avoid big plays on defense. The Razorbacks suffered a deflating loss against Texas A&M in Week 4, but regained some momentum with a 52-10 win against Alcorn State. Even on the road against a ranked opponent, Alabama is a 14 point favorite. The players to watch for this game are Alabama DE Jonathan Allen and LB Ryan Anderson. Allen and Anderson and have combined for 7.5 sacks this season, and if they are able to break down Arkansas’ tough offensive line, the Crimson Tide will remain undefeated for another week.
(10) Miami FL hosts (23) Florida State at 8 PM on ABC. While the Hurricanes look to continue their undefeated start to the season, FSU hopes to reclaim some confidence after suffering loses to UNC and Louisville. Under newly appointed head coach Mark Richt, Miami has rediscovered some of the swagger that helped them claim five national championships. Following a big win against Georgia Tech last week, Miami faces their first ranked opponent this season. While FSU has won their last 6 matchups against Miami, this Seminoles squad bears little resemblance to previous Jimbo Fisher teams. Their defense has given up an average of 35 points and 438 yards per game. On the offensive side of the ball, redshirt freshman QB Deondre Francois and junior RB Dalvin Cook have proven to be tremendous assets. The player to watch in this game is Miami QB Brad Kaaya. Rated by Todd McShay as the No. 30 prospect in next years draft, Kaaya excels in attempting passes of 10 yards or less downfield, but would ultimately benefit from forgoing the draft. At 6’4, 215, Kaaya will need to gain at least 10 pounds and improve his deep ball before his NFL debut. Kaaya’s precision and pocket presence are sure to give FSU’s defense some major headaches.