What to watch: Week 6 college football viewing guide, picks against the spread
Throughout the season, every week we give you a guide to viewing college football by highlighting the five best games of the coming weekend. We're going to pick these five games against the spread and highlight some other matchups that caught our eye from a betting perspective.
Week 5 was further proof that we should expect the unexpected during the 2020 college football season. Six ranked teams lost to unranked opponents, including Oklahoma and Texas, the two perceived favorites for the Big 12 title.
The Sooners and Longhorns will meet this weekend in the Red River Rivalry, with Oklahoma out of the ranking for the first time since September 2016 and Texas dropping 13 places to 22nd in the last AP Top 25. Saturday is the first time since 1999. No team is in the top 20 to take part in this game.
Regardless of what weekend it is played, Red River has typically received the highest payroll in recent years, but four ranked games will take a back seat this Saturday - two in the ACC and two in the SEC .
Oklahoma have won four of their last five games against Texas, including last year's 34:27 decision. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez / Getty Images)
(Note: all times ET, point spreads / sums from BetMGM)
No. 4 Florida at No. 21 Texas A & M.
Time: noon | TV: ESPN | Line: Florida -6.5 | Total: 57.5
Saturday's lunchtime slot is filled with three of the day's biggest games, including this SEC showdown in College Station. This is the third time Florida and Texas have played A&M since A&M joined the SEC in 2012 and the Gators have visited Kyle Field for the second time. UF got off to a great start and won 2-0 against Ole Miss and South Carolina. The offense was the story, specifically the connection between Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts. Trask has thrown 684 yards and 10 touchdowns, with six of those TDs going to Pitts, UF's star quick finish.
Dealing with Pitts and the other Florida offensive talent will be a major challenge for the defense of Texas A&M, which was set on fire by Alabama last week with a loss of 52:24 for 435 yards. A&M allowed four touchdown passes for the loss, three of which were more than 60 yards. The A&M Offensive was able to move the ball at times against Alabama and found some creative ways to get the ball to its two main playmakers: Ainias Smith and Jalen Wydermyer. However, to anger Florida, A&M needs to ramp up production of its broad recipients.
Sam Cooper: Florida -6.5, Nick Bromberg: Florida -6.5
No. 19 Virginia Tech in No. 8 North Carolina
Time: noon | TV: ABC | Line: North Carolina -5 | Total: 59.5
North Carolina returned to the field last week after a three-week absence (UNC non-conference opponent Charlotte was unable to play due to COVID-19 issues on Sept. 19) and it looked at a 26:22 win pretty sloppy on the street from over boston college. The game also got on the wire. BC had a chance to end the game on a two-point conversion in the last minute, but UNC's Trey Morrison hit Phil Jurkovec on the goal line and returned it 100 yards for two points. UNC will need a more disciplined performance against Virginia Tech.
The Hokies had significant absences in their first two games due to their own COVID-19 issues. Hendon Hooker, the scheduled starter at quarterback has yet to play, so the Hokies have relied largely on the game in progress for wins against NC State and Duke. VT rushed in the 38:31 win against Duke for 324 yards, with Kansas transfer Khalil Herbert taking the lead with 208 yards and two TDs. Hooker is expected to start this week with Braxton Burmeister who may also see some action. The Hokies ran 638 yards in two games, so the ground attack is likely to be more of a focus for UNC defense.
Sam: Virginia Tech +5, Nick: UNC -5
No. 22 Texas versus Oklahoma
Time: noon | TV: ABC | Line: Oklahoma -2.5 | Total: 72.5
Oklahoma is wavering after losing two consecutive regular season games for the first time since 1999. The Sooners took their first 28-7 lead when they lost 38:35 to Kansas State before losing 37:30 to Iowa State last week. Now Lincoln Riley's group must collect the pieces before facing their top rival. While the permeable OU defense gets a lot of attention, the team's normally strong offense also has problems. The current game was up and down and put a lot on the shoulders of Redshirt newcomer QB Spencer Rattler. OU is also inexperienced with the recipient, so it was a difficult task for Rattler at the beginning.
Texas now had significant problems of its own. The Longhorns were lucky enough to escape Texas Tech with a 63:56 win in extra time two weeks ago. UT needed two TDs in the last three minutes of regulation to force OT into this one. Last week against the TCU, the Longhorns imposed 12 penalties, allowed the TCU to gain 458 yards on the offensive, and had two pivotal turns on a 33-31 loss. Texas seemed poised to take the lead in the final minutes, only Keontay Ingram fumbled at the 1-yard line.
Despite the early losses, OU and UT are still two of the Big 12's most talented teams. That game could have a huge impact on who makes the conference title game later in the year.
Sam: Oklahoma -2.5, Nick: Texas +2.5
Other Notable Midday Games: No. 17 LSU in Missouri (ESPN2), NC State in Virginia (ACCN)
No. 14 Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia
Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: CBS | Line: Georgia -12 | Total: 42.5
The biggest SEC game of the day is a huge opportunity for Tennessee. Since their terrible 4-1 start to the 2019 season, the Vols have steadily improved. In fact, Tennessee has won nine of its last 10 games. Aside from the Alabama loss, most of these games were against a mediocre, at best against the competition. A trip to Athens to face Georgia No. 3 will be a way to measure how much the Vols have grown under Jeremy Pruitt.
In two games in 2020 (wins against South Carolina and Missouri), Tennessee's strengths lay in the trenches - especially on the offensive line. Georgia, after a thorough 27-6 win against then No. 7 Auburn, has arguably the best defense in the country. Will Tennessee be able to play the ball against the Bulldogs? If not, can Jarrett Guarantano make the throws necessary to keep the Vols in play? Conversely, Georgia QB Stetson Bennett is just starting his second career. Will the defense of Tennessee make it harder for him than Auburn? These are all things to look for on Saturday.
Sam: Georgia -12, Nick: Georgia -12
Other notable afternoon games: Arkansas at No. 13 Auburn (SECN), Texas Tech at No. 24 Iowa State (ABC), Pittsburgh at Boston College (ACCN), Kansas State at TCU (FOX)
No. 7 Miami at No. 1 Clemson
Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: Clemson -14 | Total: 63.5
On Saturday night we will find out how big the leap Miami has made from year 1 to year 2 of the Manny Diaz era. The Hurricanes took the lead 6-7 last year but got off to a 3-0 start in 2020, aided by the addition of Houston Transfer D'Eriq King to QB and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. Miami has averaged nearly 500 yards per game in its wins against UAB, Louisville and Florida State and can now head to head against the country's number one, Clemson. Can the hurricanes cause a stir?
It's been a while since Clemson faced such a challenge during the regular season. In fact, Saturday night's game marks the first time the Tigers have faced another top 10 team in the regular season since a # 3 group led by Deshaun Watson defeated Louisville - with Lamar Jackson at QB - 42-36 at home Oct. 1, 2016. Clemson lost only one game during Trevor Lawrence's time on the program. That was the loss of the national title game against LSU last year. Starting 3-0 this year, Tigers have won 33 regular season games in a row.
Sam: Clemson -14, Nick: Clemson -14
Other notable night games: No. 2 Alabama at Ole Miss (ESPN), Florida State at No. 5 Notre Dame (NBC), Mississippi State at Kentucky (SECN)
Head-to-head ATS: Sam: 9-10, Nick: 10-9
Mad Bets: Will Clemson cover -14.5 against Miami?
Minty Bets is joined by former Miami Hurricane Jared Quay & Matt Gothard for a preview of the No. 7 Miami at the No. 1 Clemson matchup on Saturday night.
The best bets of the sixth week
Nick Bromberg (Last week: 2-1, total: 6-5)
Missouri vs. # 17 LSU: With this game, relocated from Baton Rouge to Columbia, the line dropped accordingly. And I have no reason to believe Missouri will maintain competitiveness. Mizzou has made a move at QB with Connor taking over Bazelak as a starter, but he hasn't been great in his season so far. The LSU wins with three points. Selection: LSU -14
NC State in Virginia: Devin Leary has played well for the Wolfpack this season. He looked handsome to Bailey Hockman's relief in the loss to Virginia Tech and dumped 336 yards and four points in NC State's angry win over Pitt last week. NC State gets a lot of points in Virginia. I'm not sure the wolf pack will cause a stir for a second straight week. You should keep it close. Selection: NC status +9.5
Texas Tech, Iowa State # 24: Tech QB Alan Bowman suffers from an ankle injury daily against Kansas State. If he isn't playing or is constrained by this injury, the Texas Tech offense can falter. Iowa State has recovered from its opening loss to Louisiana and has a four-game winning streak against Tech. Two of those last three games had less than 60 points. I'm running out. Selection: Under 64.5
Sam Cooper (Last week: 2-1, total: 11-6)
# 4 Florida at # 21 Texas A&M: I would be surprised if this was a blowout like the game in Alabama, but I don't think Texas A&M has enough playmakers to step over 60 minutes with Florida's offense to keep. Florida stood out against the spread under Dan Mullen, including an 8-1 mark on the road. Let's do it 9-1. Range: Florida -6.5
Kansas State at TCU: The TCU got a big win over Texas, but I think that's too many points for a team with a defense that gives up seven yards per rush. The TCU has been miserable against the spread as a favorite in recent years - especially at home. Since 2016, TCU has been 4-17 against the number as a home favorite. Conversely, K-State is 4-1 ATS as an outsider and 8-3 ATS in the conference game under Chris Klieman. Selection: Kansas State +9
Florida State Ranked # 5 Notre Dame: Jordan Travis sparked the lifeless FSU offensive against Jacksonville State last week, but it won't be nearly as successful at Notre Dame. The Irish haven't played since September 19 due to COVID issues but shouldn't have major issues with the FSU. I'm expecting at least some rust though, so the Under feels better than doing nearly three TDs. Selection: Under 52
For more week six picks from Sam Cooper click here.
For week six podcasts by Dan Wetzel, Pete Thamel, and Pat Forde, subscribe to the Yahoo Sports College podcast.
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