By Brad Carroll
There are plenty of playoff scenarios in play during the early slate of the college football Week 6 schedule, highlighted by a Big 12 showdown featuring No. 23 West Virginia visiting No. 8 TCU.
There are a host of other big-name programs in action as well, with No. 2 Clemson, No. 4 Penn State and No. 5 Georgia all in action. And that’s not to mention the rivalry matchups between Miami and Florida State and LSU and Florida. If should be a great afternoon of college football.
As always, our four college football experts have you covered with previews, breakdowns and picks against the point spread for the biggest games of the afternoon below. Check out our Saturday night game previews and picks here and our Thursday night game preview and picks here. Make sure to follow us on Twitter as well.
Wake Forest at No. 2 Clemson, 12, ESPN2
The Spread: Clemson -21.5
Matt’s Breakdown: Hopefully Wake Forest’s bandwagon had time to come to a complete stop so people could get off it safely after the Demon Deacons lost to a depleted Florida State last week. The defense held the Seminoles below 300 total yards but couldn’t get big stops late. This week, Wake Forest plays Clemson, which has rolled through a remarkably tough schedule early. The Tigers are the first team in the poll era to win three games against Top 15 teams in the first month of the year, and Wake showed itself to be far less than that. The Tigers roll.
Brad’s Final: Clemson 45, Wake Forest 14 (Clemson)
Craig’s Final: Clemson 34, Wake Forest 10 (Clemson)
Glenn’s Final: Clemson 51, Wake Forest 20 (Clemson)
Matt’s Final: Clemson 42, Wake Forest 14 (Clemson)
No. 4 Penn State at Northwestern, 12, ABC
The Spread: Penn State -14
Matt’s Breakdown: Saquon Barkley is averaging nearly seven yards per carry and almost 15 yards per catch. Penn State already had its road scare by beating Iowa on the final play, and the Nittany Lions are too good on special teams to make key mistakes which can flip the field. If their defense can keep up with the rest of the team, Penn State has what it takes to compete for a championship this season. At the very least, it has more than enough to handle a Northwestern team which never seems to get as far as it thinks it will.
Brad’s Final: Penn State 35, Northwestern 10 (Penn State)
Craig’s Final: Penn State 38, Northwestern 21 (Penn State)
Glenn’s Final: Penn State 31, Northwestern 13 (Penn State)
Matt’s Final: Penn State 35, Northwestern 20 (Penn State)
No. 5 Georgia at Vanderbilt, 12, ESPN
The Spread: Georgia -17.5
Matt’s Breakdown: If anyone is going to make a run at Alabama for the top spot in the SEC, it’s likely the Georgia Bulldogs, who get more and more impressive as the year goes along. Georgia will want to make up for last year’s loss to Vanderbilt, which started the year looking like a potential surprise team but has fallen apart in the last two weeks. The Commodores haven’t stopped anyone over that span, and no one has stopped the Bulldogs this year. Nick Chubb has an easy day against Vandy’s defense as the Bulldogs roll.
Brad’s Final: Georgia 45, Vanderbilt 20 (Georgia)
Craig’s Final: Georgia 41, Vanderbilt 20 (Georgia)
Glenn’s Final: Georgia 42, Vanderbilt 20 (Georgia)
Matt’s Final: Georgia 35, Vanderbilt 10 (Georgia)
No. 13 Miami at Florida State, 3:30, ESPN
The Spread: Miami -3.5
Matt’s Breakdown: This game used to be the highlight of the season. It has lost its importance, but not its unpredictability. Miami looked phenomenal in a win over a solid Duke squad last week, but the Hurricanes nearly lost to Toledo the week before in a game which was closer than the score indicated. Miami’s defense should be able to handle the Seminoles, whose problems go way beyond the loss of a solid quarterback, but the Hurricanes haven’t been trustworthy in these spots in years. Florida State’s pride and the rivalry’s history keep this close.
Brad’s Final: Miami 35, Florida State 28 (Miami)
Craig’s Final: Miami 27, Florida State 20 (Miami)
Glenn’s Final: Miami 24, Florida State 23 (Florida State)
Matt’s Final: Miami 34, Florida State 30 (Miami)
No. 21 Notre Dame at North Carolina, 3:30, ABC
The Spread: Notre Dame -17
Matt’s Breakdown: This would be an exciting basketball game. On the football field, it’s a mismatch. Notre Dame is averaging more than 41 points a game, while the Tar Heels allow 33 per contest. North Carolina can’t stop the run; Notre Dame gets 300 rushing yards every time out. The Fighting Irish aren’t at a championship level this year, as evidenced by the loss to Georgia, but they will run right over and through North Carolina. Call me when this game happens in March.
Brad’s Final: Notre Dame 35, North Carolina 21 (North Carolina)
Craig’s Final: Notre Dame 34, North Carolina 21 (North Carolina)
Glenn’s Final: Notre Dame 27, North Carolina 13 (North Carolina)
Matt’s Final: Notre Dame 42, North Carolina 20 (Notre Dame)
LSU at No. 21 Florida, 3:30, CBS
The Spread: Florida -3.5
Glenn’s Breakdown: The best way to come back from a complete embarrassment during your homecoming is to take on Florida the next week. I actually believe it will be a good thing for LSU. The Tigers will stay competitive enough in this one. As for the Gators, they just lost quarterback Jake Del Rio for the season, which means Feleipe Franks doesn't have to worry about QB by committee. The injury is a shame but it might be beneficial for the offense and their flow. Florida wins by a field goal.
Brad’s Final: Florida 27, LSU 20 (Florida)
Craig’s Final: Florida 27, LSU 21 (Florida)
Glenn’s Final: Florida 24, LSU 21 (LSU)
Matt’s Final: Florida 27, LSU 17 (Florida)
No. 23 West Virginia at No. 8 TCU, 3:30, FS1
The Spread: TCU -14
Matt’s Breakdown: TCU deserved a week off after a stunningly easy win over Oklahoma State two weeks ago, but the Horned Frogs won’t have a bye this week against pesky West Virginia. The Mountaineers lost their only test of the season, but they are too good offensively to be ignored. Quarterback Will Grier is accurate and efficient, and can carry a West Virginia offense which averages nearly 600 yards a game. TCU’s defense should be up to the test, however. The Horned Frogs don’t even allow 100 yards a game rushing and won’t let Grier pick them apart through the air. This won’t be a low-scoring affair, but TCU will get it done.
Brad’s Final: TCU 45, West Virginia 35 (West Virginia)
Craig’s Final: TCU 38 West Virginia 23 (TCU)
Glenn’s Final: TCU 38, West Virginia 35 (West Virginia)
Matt’s Final: TCU 42, West Virginia 27 (TCU)