Saturday CF Picks
College football enters its sixth week of action and Saturday is chockfull of games. Our writers and handicappers hand out six college football picks for Week 6.
Texas at Colorado, 7:00 PM ET
Texas was undefeated and ranked in the top 10 as it entered conference play last year before back-to-back Big 12 losses derailed its national title hopes. This year's Longhorns appear determined to avoid a similar letdown.
The fifth-ranked Longhorns look to remain undefeated and continue their early dominance as they visit Colorado on Saturday night in both teams' Big 12 opener.
Texas was ranked seventh after opening 4-0 last season, but lost its first conference opener in nine years when it was upset at home by unranked Kansas State. The Longhorns followed that up with a 28-21 loss to Oklahoma, opening 0-2 in conference play for the first time since 1956.
Coach Mack Brown isn't concerned about similar struggles from this year's Longhorns.
The Longhorns put their undefeated record on the line against a Colorado team coming off its first loss. The Buffaloes were held to a season-low 278 total yards in a 39-21 defeat at Florida State. Quarterback Cody Hawkins, son of coach Dan Hawkins, threw three touchdowns, but took responsibility for the loss after completing only 17 of his 36 passes with an interception.
Colorado has lost five of its last six meetings with Texas, including the last two in Boulder. The teams haven't met since the Longhorns embarrassed the Buffaloes 70-3 in the Big 12 championship game Dec. 3, 2005, en route to the national championship.
Auburn at Vanderbilt, 6:00 PM ET
Auburn, struggling to score, is trying to be patient with first-year offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. Building an offense that contributes to a successful team often takes a few games, or in Vanderbilt's case, seven years.
Coming off another poor game on offense, the 13th-ranked Tigers face the surprising 19th-ranked Commodores in a Southeastern Conference matchup Saturday night.
Auburn's hired Franklin - the former offensive coordinator at Troy - in the offseason to install his successful spread offense, but the Tigers (4-1, 2-1 SEC) rank in the bottom half of the conference in all the major statistical categories.
Vanderbilt (4-0, 2-0), meanwhile, has had Ted Cain running its offense for the past seven years under coach Bobby Johnson, posting a few productive seasons. But now that offense has led the Commodores to their first national ranking since 1984.
Averaging 29.8 points and 202.0 rushing yards, Vanderbilt has a chance to go 5-0 for the first time since 1943, when it played only five games due to World War II.
Those are the kind of numbers that the Tigers would love to be producing right now. They're averaging 19.8 points, but have been held under 15 twice.
Auburn was held to a season-low 226 yards in a 14-12 win over Tennessee last Saturday.
Auburn has won 13 straight games against Vanderbilt, dating back to the 1955 Gator Bowl that the Commodores won 25-13. This will be the first time the Tigers have played Vanderbilt with the Commodores ranked.
Missouri at Nebraska, 9:00 PM ET
Missouri has had little trouble racking up points en route to an undefeated nonconference record, but scoring expects to get tougher as the Big 12 season opens against a Nebraska team that has its sights set on shutting out the Tigers' high-powered offense.
Fourth-ranked Missouri begins the defense of its North Division title as it tries to win its first game at Nebraska in 30 years on Saturday night.
The Tigers (4-0) had a bye last week, but still managed to move up two spots in the AP poll after top-ranked Southern California, third-ranked Georgia and fourth-ranked Florida were all upset.
Missouri, which is aiming for a chance to play in the BCS championship game, is using those losses as motivation.
The Huskers hopes things go better at home, where they've won 15 straight over the Tigers since Missouri's 35-31 victory over then-No. 2 Nebraska on Nov. 18, 1978.
Nebraska also looks to take advantage of facing a Missouri pass defense that ranks 112th in the nation, giving up 279.5 passing yards a game. Huskers quarterback Joe Ganz passed for 278 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in Saturday's loss to the Hokies, and is averaging 249.3 passing yards a game.
Missouri's rush defense, meanwhile, is ranked fourth in the Big 12 (99.0 ypg), and limited Buffalo to just 49 yards on 35 attempts in its latest win.
Nebraska went just 2-2 in conference games at Memorial Stadium last season, but has had no trouble in its conference home openers, winning 30 consecutive since a 24-21 loss to Iowa State in 1978.
Florida at Arkansas, 12:30 PM ET
Florida's Tim Tebow is coming off a performance unbecoming of a player that won the Heisman Trophy last year. Arkansas, meanwhile, is sorely missing the runner-up to that award.
Tebow and the 12th-ranked Gators look to put an upset loss behind them Saturday when they face a Razorbacks team clearly in rebuilding mode after losing Darren McFadden to the NFL.
Florida (3-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) dropped from fourth in the latest Associated Press Top 25 after a 31-30 loss to Mississippi last Saturday. The Gators will have a chance to bounce back quickly in a conference matchup with the Razorbacks (2-2, 0-1), who have been blown out in each of their last two games and have had trouble mustering much production on offense with McFadden gone.
Tebow, who finished ahead of McFadden in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 2007 to become the first sophomore to win the award, will be looking to take advantage of Arkansas' struggles. Against the Rebels, Tebow lost a fumble, was sacked three times, finished with seven yards rushing on 15 attempts and was stuffed on a crucial 4th-and-1 run.
Florida had three turnovers overall, allowed four big plays and suffered several special teams breakdowns.
Arkansas' offense has scored two TDs in the last two weeks, while giving up three. Alabama scored on two interception returns and Texas on one.
Razorbacks quarterbacks Casey Dick and Tyler Wilson have combined to throw six TDs against six interceptions, and have been sacked 17 times.
Florida has won six straight games against Arkansas to take a 6-1 lead in the series.
Texas A&M at Oklahoma State, 7:00 PM ET
Oklahoma State broke into the Top 25 for the first time in four years thanks to one of the nation's most prolific offenses. It's hoping to be just as successful in Big 12 play despite a frustrating recent history against its next opponent.
The 21st-ranked Cowboys look to avoid a fifth straight loss to Texas A&M when the teams meet on Saturday in Stillwater.
The Cowboys (4-0) come in having outscored their opponents by an average of 30 points, and have scored more than 50 in each of the past three games for the first time since the first three games of Barry Sanders' Heisman Trophy season in 1988.
Oklahoma State ranks third in the nation in points per game (51.8) and fourth in total yards per game (562.5).
A 55-24 win over Troy last Saturday moved Oklahoma State into the Top 25 for the first time since 2004. Zac Robinson was 16-of-21 for 254 yards and three touchdowns to Dez Bryant, while Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston each rushed for two scores.
The Cowboys had 612 yards of offense, the eighth-highest total in school history, including 358 on the ground. Hunter, who ranks third in the nation in rushing yards per game (154.5), had 169 on 24 carries while Toston had 114 on 17.
Texas A&M won its last game against a ranked opponent, beating then-No. 13 Texas 38-30 on Nov. 23. Sherman replaced coach Dennis Franchione, who resigned after that victory to end five disappointing seasons in College Station.
Ohio State at Wisconsin, 8:00 PM ET
Ohio State hasn't been to Madison in nearly five years, but a nationally televised road game at night in front a sea of hostile fans clad in red shouldn't be anything new to the Buckeyes. They're just hoping for a much different result.
Looking to put its mid-September loss at Southern California in the rear view mirror, 14th-ranked Ohio State returns to the road Saturday night against No. 18 Wisconsin, which is also looking to erase the bitter memory of a road defeat.
The Buckeyes (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) expected to contend for the national championship behind a veteran defensive unit and a balanced offense, but their first major test of the season - like many of their high-profile non-conference games in recent years - was a major disappointment. Ohio State was blown out 35-3 in Los Angeles against the then-top ranked Trojans on Sept. 13, severely damaging its hopes for a third consecutive trip to the BCS championship game in January.
The Badgers (3-1, 0-1) had similar goals, especially after their non-conference trip to California went far better than Ohio State's. Wisconsin beat then-No. 21 Fresno State 13-10 the same night the Buckeyes were trounced by USC, but their Big Ten road opener last Saturday ended in devastating fashion.
After the Badgers forced five turnovers while racing to a 19-0 halftime lead in Ann Arbor, they fell apart in the second half, giving up four touchdowns in just over 12 minutes and losing 27-25 to Michigan.
Wisconsin will likely need a better performance from quarterback Allan Evridge to beat the Buckeyes. The senior threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles against the Wolverines, and now will face an Ohio State unit that ranks 12th in the country in total defense (251.8 yards per game).
The Badgers have won 27 of their last 28 games at Camp Randall, including 16 straight since a loss to Iowa on Nov. 12, 2005.
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