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College football ’18: Week 6 Top 25 previews

Top 25

Each week, The Game Haus will preview every college football game featuring teams in The Associated Press Top 25. We’ll also give an expanded look at three Top 25 matchups especially worth watching.

Here we go with those Top 25 games for Week 6 (all times Eastern):

Key Games

No. 19 Texas (4-1) vs. No. 7 Oklahoma (5-0), Noon, Saturday

Scouting the Longhorns: They will face Oklahoma in the Red River Showdown as a Top 25 team for the first time since 2012. Texas has won four in a row and allowed an average of 14.7 points in the last three games.

Scouting the Sooners: Lincoln Riley’s group has won two straight against Texas, but each game was decided by five points. Oklahoma probably has the better talent, but it hasn’t faced a Longhorns team this competitive in a long time.

Winner: Texas

No. 5 LSU (5-0) at No. 22 Florida (4-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

Scouting the Tigers: LSU has won six of eight against Florida, including last year in Gainesville. The Tigers are bound to slip up at some point, right? Maybe, but Ed Orgeron has his squad extremely focused on every task that awaits.

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Scouting the Gators: Their defense might not be getting the credit it deserves thus far in the season. Florida is allowing 14 points per game, has forced 14 turnovers and recorded 15 sacks.

Winner: LSU

No. 6 Notre Dame (5-0) at No. 24 Virginia Tech (3-1), 8 p.m., Saturday

Scouting the Fighting Irish: This will be the third Top 25 team they’ve faced already this season. With Ian Book at quarterback, Notre Dame is a more confident team. The Irish have always been that way on defense, where they’ve allowed 17 or fewer points four times.

Scouting the Hokies: It’s hard to figure these guys out. Pummel Florida State, lose at winless Old Dominion, then beat then-No. 22 Duke on its home field. Who knows what will happen Saturday night.

Winner: Notre Dame

The Rest

No. 1 Alabama (5-0) at Arkansas (1-4), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: The Tide will be trying to crack the 50-point mark for the fifth time in six games. Arkansas has yielded at least 40 points six times during an 11-game losing streak to Alabama.

Winner: Alabama

Maryland (3-1) at No. 15 Michigan (4-1), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: The comeback victory at Northwestern last weekend was Michigan’s fourth win in a row. Maryland is no pushover, but the belief and confidence Michigan is playing with right now should be enough to get it done in this one.

Winner: Michigan

Northwestern (1-3) at (20) Michigan State (3-1), Saturday

The Skinny: The Spartans have won two in a row while the Wildcats have dropped three straight games. Though Michigan State appears to be the better team at the moment, Northwestern has won the last two meetings between the teams.

Winner: Northwestern

Kansas (2-3) at No. 9 West Virginia (4-0), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen indirectly gave Kansas some bulletin board material. Whether that motivates the Jayhawks enough to stun the Mountaineers seems unlikely. West Virginia should have little trouble improving to 5-0 for the second time in three years.

Winner: West Virginia

Boston College (4-1) at No. 23 North Carolina State (4-0), 12:30 p.m., Saturday
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The Skinny: The Wolfpack have made it into the Top 25 while off to their second 4-0 start in four years. Quarterback Ryan Finley might be the best NFL quarterback prospect out there. N.C. State, however, has dropped its last two home games versus BC.

Winner: North Carolina State

Florida State (3-2) at No. 17 Miami, FL (4-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: A series dominated by the Seminoles most of this decade might be shifting in favor of the Hurricanes. Miami snapped a seven-game losing streak versus Florida State in memorable fashion last season, and is the better team at the moment.

Winner: Miami

No. 4 Clemson (5-0) at Wake Forest (3-2), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Trevor Lawrence seems ready to go after being injured last week in Clemson’s comeback win over Syracuse. Having running back Travis Etienne (203 yards, three touchdowns vs. Syracuse) isn’t a bad option, too.

Winner: Clemson

Iowa State (1-3) at No. 25 Oklahoma State (4-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: The Cowboys return to the Top 25 after bouncing back from a home loss to Texas Tech two weeks ago. They’ve won six consecutive games against the Cyclones, and scored at least 31 points in each of those contests.

Winner: Oklahoma State

Arizona State (3-2) at No. 21 Colorado (4-0), 4 p.m., Saturday
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The Skinny: Back in the Top 25, the Buffaloes are trying to reach 5-0 for the first time in two decades. Even though Colorado needed a late rally to win at Nebraska, the Sun Devils will be the best team it’s faced thus far. We should know if Colorado should be taken seriously after this one.

Winner: Colorado

Indiana (4-1) at No. 3 Ohio State (5-0), 4 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Last weekend’s victory at Penn State helped the Buckeyes’ cause in terms of the College Football Playoff. Now, they begin an extremely favorable four-game stretch that also features dates with Minnesota, Purdue and Nebraska. Have fun.

Winner: Ohio State

No. 13 Kentucky (5-0) at Texas A&M (3-2), 7 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: This might be the week the Wildcats finally take a step back. They certainly have the defense (12.6 points allowed per game) to win at Kyle Field, but handling the atmosphere and dealing with Jimbo Fisher on the other sideline are huge potential x-factors.

Winner: Texas A&M

SMU (2-3) at No. 12 UCF (4-0), 7 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: An 18th consecutive victory is waiting for the Golden Knights, who continue to be the best among the Group of Five. While McKenzie Milton and the offense get much of the attention, UCF’s defense has held three of its four opponents to 17 or fewer points.

Winner: UCF

Vanderbilt (3-2) at No. 2 Georgia (5-0), 7:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Georgia has not lost a home game dating to the start of last season. Though the Commodores have played well early, it doesn’t seem like that will change considering how much confidence the Bulldogs have built.

Winner: Georgia

No. 8 Auburn (4-1) at Mississippi State (3-2), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
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The Skinny: This is the first true road game for Auburn, which over its last nine SEC games away from home, has lost only to Georgia, Alabama and LSU. Facing one of the best defenses in the country, Mississippi State must find a way to improve after it totaled 13 points in the last two games.

Winner: Mississippi State

No. 10 Washington (4-1) at UCLA (0-4), 7:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: The Huskies have one of the best defenses in the nation (281 yards allowed per game) while the Bruins have been held to 17 or fewer points three times. Washington has lost eight straight road games in the series, but that won’t matter this year.

Winner: Washington

Nebraska (0-4) at No. 16 Wisconsin (3-1), 7:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: The Badgers have some renewed confidence after following up the BYU loss with a gritty victory at Iowa. Confidence alone might get them by Nebraska, which is in a race with UCLA to see which one of those storied programs gets a win first.

Winner: Wisconsin

Utah (2-2) at No. 14 Stanford (4-1), 10:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: A rough fourth quarter did the Cardinal in at Notre Dame last weekend. But, they are back home to welcome a Utah squad that’s dropped two straight and is averaging 16 points in its last three games.

Winner: Stanford


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