Week 6 Viewing Guide: Ranking the best games to watch by time slot
1. No. 10 Oklahoma vs. Texas, Noon ET, ABC
Texas coach Charlie Strong called last week’s 50-7 loss to TCU his worst day as a head coach. Strong couldn’t have been happy when the Longhorns responded this week by sniping at each other on Twitter. Locker-room dynamics notwithstanding, Texas now must face a dangerous Oklahoma offense (42 points per game) in the Red River Shootout. Baker Mayfield and the Sooners could make this season even worse for the reeling Longhorns, who have allowed 507 yards per game (6.17 per play).
2. Maryland at No. 1 Ohio State, Noon ET, BTN
Randy Edsall’s seat got a lot hotter on Thursday when a 247Sports report revealed Maryland intends to fire the coach after Saturday’s game against Ohio State. The school released a muted statement in defense of Edsall, but his days now appear numbered. So how will the underwhelming Terps respond in Columbus? Ohio State hasn’t looked like a No. 1 team this season. It barely escaped Indiana last week, 34-27, and can’t take care of the ball (101st nationally in turnover margin). If Edsall has seen the writing on the wall, a Maryland squad with nothing to lose might pull out some tricks.
3. Indiana at Penn State, Noon ET, BTN
The Hoosiers are one batted pass away from a potential 5-0 record with a win over Ohio State. Buckeyes corner Eli Apples swatted a pass from backup quarterback Zander Diamont in the end zone to preserve a 34-27 Ohio State win. Indiana managed a close game despite ankle injuries to both starting passer Nate Sudfeld and rusher Jordan Howard. Both are slated to travel to Penn State, but their playing status is uncertain. It might not matter if the Nittany Lions can’t improve an offense that ranks last in the Big Ten (329.2 yards per game).
1. No. 13 Northwestern at No. 18 Michigan, 3:30 p.m. BTN
Few outside of Ann Arbor and Evanston had this game circled on the calendar during the off-season. But thanks to a couple of stellar defenses, this matchup could impact the Big Ten race. Michigan and Northwestern boast the top two scoring defenses in the country, allowing a combined 14.6 points per game. The Wildcats will shoot for the record books in the Big House: the Wolverines have won 31 of the last 35 games in the series.
2. Georgia Tech at No. 6 Clemson, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
Georgia Tech has looked little like the 11-win team that won the Orange Bowl last year. No one knows that better than coach Paul Johnson. “There is very little margin for error,” Johnson said this week. “You have to get some breaks, and right now we are not getting any.” The Yellow Jackets’ defense hasn’t done its job in a current three-game losing streak, giving up at least 30 points in each loss. A trip to Death Valley probably isn’t the solution, either. Clemson looks like the ACC’s most viable College Football Playoff contender after holding off Notre Dame last week, 24-22.
3. Navy at No. 15 Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m. NBC
Notre Dame can’t mope about its tight loss to Clemson for long. This week Navy makes its way to South Bend riding its best start (4-0) since 2004. The Midshipmen have piled up 339.8 rushing yards per game, third nationally, and rank 14th in yards-per-carry (5.81). Quarterback Keenan Reynolds is a special talent, but Navy also hasn’t proved anything quite yet; its four wins have come against teams with a combined 8-10 record. Notre Dame is a completely different challenge on the road.
1. No. 23 Cal at No. 5 Utah, 10 p.m. ESPN
Who’d have guessed Utah would emerge as the Pac-12’s most complete team through five weeks? The 4-0 Utes have snagged their highest spot in the AP poll (No. 5) since 2010 and earned the most first-place votes (seven) in a regular-season poll in program history. But while Utah has two strong wins over Oregon and Michigan, its defense might be tested again Cal’s passing game. The Bears rank third in the Pac-12 in yards per attempt (9.6) and attempts per game (39.4). Can the Utes’ keep up with Jared Goff and company?
2. Miami at No. 12 Florida State, 8 p.m. ABC
Put simply, Jimbo Fisher owns Miami. Florida State’s coach has won every meeting against his in-state foe since taking over in Tallahassee in 2010. The ‘Noles even rallied from 16 points down in last year’s 30-26 win on the road. However, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring) might not play, and if he does he’s unlikely to be 100 percent healthy. Does that put more pressure on quarterback Everett Golson? Miami has allowed opposing passers to complete just 54 percent of their throws, and the ‘Canes have snagged eight interceptions while giving up just seven passing scores.
3. No. 21 Oklahoma State at West Virginia, 7 p.m. ET ESPN2
A West Virginia defense that’d been stingy through four weeks got exposed last Saturday against Oklahoma. The Sooners scored 44 points in a win, but the Mountaineers’ own offense didn’t help by coughing up five turnovers. Now Dana Holgrosen’s squad faces quarterback Mason Rudolph and Oklahoma State having lost All-Big 12 safety Karl Joseph—who’d already snagged five interceptions this year—for the season to a knee injury. Can the ‘Eers rally at home?