Three games to watch: Week 6


Max Schneider, Associate Sports Editor

Week 5 in college football knocked a ton of teams out of playoff contention, but still football fans are left wondering which remaining teams are for real. Those questions will likely be answered in our three games to watch this week.

No. 9 Tennessee at No. 8 Texas A&M:

Are there really any top teams in the SEC besides Alabama? We’ll hope to find out this weekend as the other two undefeated teams in the conference take on one another in College Station, Texas. The Aggies come into this game atop the SEC West after three consecutive conference wins, and they look to cement their claim with a Top 10 victory at home this week.  A&M is led by quarterback Trevor Knight, who has done his best Johnny Manziel impression this year, getting it done in the air and on the ground with 1,653 total yards and 13 scores.  Between Knight and this 12th-ranked scoring defense, the Aggies are heavy favorites coming into this week’s matchup.

The first five games of UT’s 2016 campaign are an enigma. Their season is reminiscent of Auburn’s 2013 season, where they seemed to pull off one miracle after another to win games.  Tennessee hasn’t exactly impressed, but it’s gotten the job done with two big wins over Florida and Georgia the past two weeks. Combining the largest deficit from each of their games, the Vols have been down a total of 65 points this season. If you’re wondering how they’ve overcome those deficits, look no further than quarterback Josh Dobbs, who’s been their spectacular dual threat thus far, coming off a week in which he tossed a 43-yard Hail Mary in Athens. Despite missing some key pieces on defense, the Volunteers look to steal one from Texas A&M.

Texas vs. No. 20 Oklahoma:

“Texas is back, folks!” was the call from ESPN’s Joe Tessitore when the Longhorns stunned Notre Dame at home to open the season, and from then on it really did look like Texas was ready to make a splash in the rankings this year. That is, until two weeks later when it suffered a loss to Cal, and then followed it up the next week with a worse loss to Oklahoma State. Now the Longhorns see themselves outside the Top 25, but they can easily win fans back with a win in the Red River Rivalry showdown against Oklahoma. If Texas is going to pull this one out, it’ll have to improve against the pass. They have allowed 788 passing yards and seven touchdowns over the past two games, and it won’t get any easier against Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield and the Sooners have also disappointed this season, with early losses to Houston and Ohio State, but a win last week in a shootout vs. TCU might be reassuring. The combination of Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine shouldered the load last week, along with two touchdown grabs from wide receiver Dede Westbrook, as this offense looks to keep it going at home this week.  Oklahoma’s title hopes are all but dashed, but a win against Texas never hurts, and who doesn’t love watching a game that could easily exceed 100 points in this rivalry?

No. 23 Florida State at No. 10 Miami:

After a convincing comeback victory over Ole Miss in Week 1, the Seminoles suffered their worst loss in program history against Louisville and then lost a crushing game at the hands of North Carolina last week on a 54-yard field goal by Nick Weiler. Florida State has no chance at the playoff, but don’t tell running back Dalvin Cook, who has torn up opposing defenses en route to 635 yards and seven touchdowns. It won’t be long before we see Cook running on Sundays, and the Hurricanes will have to slow him down in order to win this week.

The Hurricanes faced their first real test of the season last week at Georgia Tech and came out with the victory. They may not be battle-tested yet, but this Hurricanes team looks like the real deal on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they’re led by quarterback Brad Kaaya, a guy who finally looks to have a strong hold on this offense, and a player who has drawn a lot of NFL attention. It’s no coincidence that this offense ranks fourth in the country, scoring an average of 47 points a game. With an offense that potent, it’s hard to imagine that their defense could perform at an equally high level, but this Miami defense ranks second in the country, allowing only 11 points per game, as they’re starting to look like the Miami of the early 2000s.  Miami will look to to beat the ‘Noles for the first time since 2009, and I think it’s safe to say that head coach Mark Richt has found his new home.