Week 6 of the college football season features four matchups between teams ranked in the latest AP Top 25.
The Red River showdown between No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 21 Texas begins at 12 pm on FOX.
An SEC showdown between No. 13 Arkansas and No. 17 Ole Miss is in the same window. No. 2 Georgia travels to No. 18 Auburn in another classic SEC rivalry at 3:30 p.m.
BENDER: The playoffs picture is murky after the first two | Week 5 winners and losers
That leaves the top-five showdown between No. 3 Iowa and Penn State’s No. 4 at 4 pm That Big Ten showdown will have huge implications in the college football playoffs.
Every week, Sporting News, picks all AP Top 25 matchups by the margin. It has been an uphill battle with surprises this season.
- Directly up: 74-22 (13-8 at week 5)
- Against the spread: 45-51 (13-8 at week 5)
- Inconvenience: 5-3 (1-2 in week 5)
With that in mind, a look at this week’s picks:
Week 6 Picks Against Spread
Thursday, Oct. Seventh
No. 15 Coastal Carolina (-16.5) in Arkansas (7:30 pm, ESPNU)
This line dropped one point from the opening. The Chanticleers are 4-1 ATS this season, and all those spreads have been in the double digits. Arkansas State is ranked 129th on the FBS in scoring defense with 45.6 points per game. It’s a road game, but Coastal Carolina covers it again.
Choose: Coastal Carolina wins 49-28 and COVERS the spread.
Friday, Oct. Eighth
Temple at No. 5 Cincinnati (-28.5) (7 p.m., ESPN)
The Bearcats are high after beating Notre Dame, and it’s a short week to prepare for Temple, who beat Memphis 34-31 last week. The last two matches have been one-score matches. Cincinnati wins, but the Owls get a backdoor cap.
Choose: Cincinnati wins 38-13 but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
Stanford at No. 22 Arizona State (-10.5) (10:30 pm, ESPN)
Stanford has a chance to play spoiler for the second week in a row, and the Cardinal is 2-2 ATS as an underdog this season. The teams haven’t met since 2018. The Sun Devils have the best offense and defense statistics in the Pac-12, but Stanford will stick around here too.
Choose: The state of Arizona wins 28-20 but DOES NOT COVER the difference.
No. 6 Oklahoma (-5.5) vs. Texas (12 p.m., ABC)
The Red River showdown comes into focus. Oklahoma is 0-4 ATS against FBS competition this season, but all of those spreads were in the double digits. Texas also ranks sixth on the FBS with 43.8 points per game. The Sooners are four in a row in another win by a score.
Choose: Oklahoma wins 38-31 and COVERS the spread.
Maryland at No. 7 Ohio State (-20.5) (12:00 PM, FOX)
The Buckeyes are finding a groove on both sides of the ball, and Maryland is coming off a landslide loss to Iowa. Ohio State has won the last two home games by an average of 53.5 points per game. It won’t be that long, but the Buckeyes win again comfortably.
Choose: Ohio State wins 48-24 and COVERS the spread.
No. 11 Michigan State (-6.5) at Rutgers (12pm, BTN)
The Scarlet Knights stunned the Spartans last year in a turnaround-filled showdown. The Spartans are more in control this year with running back Kenneth Walker III, and Rutgers is coming off back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Michigan.
Choose: Michigan State wins 31-21 and COVERS the spread.
Vanderbilt at No. 20 Florida (-38.5) (12 p.m., SEC network)
The Commodores are 1-4 ATS this season and needed a field goal to beat UConn. That’s still a monstrous stretch for the Gators to cover, especially after the loss at Kentucky in Week 5. This is one we’d rather stay away from.
Choose: Florida wins 45-10 but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
No. 13 Arkansas at No. 17 Ole Miss (-6.5) (12 p.m., ESPN)
It’s a two-team battle that got a reality check from SEC heavyweights Alabama and Arkansas. The Razorbacks beat the Rebels 33-21 last season when Matt Corral threw six interceptions. This one could easily turn into a shootout as well. Ole Miss wins a thriller.
Choose: Ole Miss wins 37-34 but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
Boise State at No. 10 BYU (-2.5) (3:30 p.m., ABC)
BYU defeated the Broncos 51-17 last season, and the Cougars are 2-1 ATS at home this season. Jaren Hall (ribs) could return this week, and BYU can rely on running back Tyler Allgeier for another win.
Choose: BYU wins 31-26 and COVERS the spread.
No. 24 SMU (-14.5) in the Navy (3:30 pm, CBSSN)
The home team has won the last four games, and none of those meetings have been decided by more than 14 points. This is the classic contrast pairing of styles, and it should be closer than extension.
Choose: SMU wins 34-28 but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
No. 19 Wake Forest (-6.5) at Syracuse (3:30 pm, ESPN2)
The Demon Deacons are second in the ACC to score offenses with 38.4 points per game, but Syracuse is 3-1 ATS as an underdog. The Orange are at home, where they have won four of the last five games against the deacons.
Choose: Wake Forest wins 33-24 and COVERS the spread.
No. 2 Georgia (-14.5) at No. 18 Auburn (3:30 p.m., ESPN)
The Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS and have outscored their last two opponents 99-0. JT Daniels (lat) missed last week, and Auburn has been shuffling between Bo Nix and TJ Finley at quarterback. Tigers are big dogs at home, but this Bulldogs team is on a different level right now.
Choose: Georgia wins 31-12 and COVERS the spread.
No. 4 Penn State at No. 3 Iowa (-2.5) (4 p. M., FOX)
This Big Ten exhibition showdown should be fun. The Hawkeyes have a top-10 defense that’s a turnover machine. The Nittany Lions have built a solid resume with their well-balanced team. Penn State won the last three at Kinnick Stadium, and two were dramatic. This will be an instant classic.
Choose: Penn State wins 22-21 at UPSET.
No. 9 Michigan (-3.5) at Nebraska (7:30 p.m., ABC)
This is a cheat game for the Wolverines. Michigan hasn’t visited Memorial Stadium since a loss in 2012, and the Huskers have dominated their home games. These are also the top two running offenses in the Big Ten. There will be some anxious moments for Michigan, but they will materialize in the second half.
Choose: Michigan wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.
No. 14 Notre Dame at Virginia Tech (-0.5) (7:30 pm, ACC Network)
This line shifted in Virginia Tech’s favor. The Irish embarrassed the Hokies 45-23 on their last visit in 2018. Notre Dame continues to fight up front, and Virginia Tech will be aggressive knowing that. This is the third week in a row that the Irish have been a loser, and this time they escape with a win.
Choose: Notre Dame wins 27-24 at UPSET.
LSU at No. 16 Kentucky (-3.5) (7:30 pm, SEC network)
We were tempted to take a surprise here, but LSU’s inability to run the ball is surprising. That will resurface against Kentucky, which ranks third in the SEC in total defense. The Wildcats need more of Will Levis in the SEC game to maintain this streak, but they are 4-0 ATS against FBS teams this season.
Choose: Kentucky wins 27-24 but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
No. 1 Alabama (-17.5) at Texas A&M (8 p.m., CBS)
This was supposed to be the biggest game on the calendar. Now, the Aggies are trying to avoid a three-game losing streak for the first time with Jimbo Fisher. Texas A&M is 2-1 ATS as a local underdog under Fisher, and it’s valuable to know that the line increased by three points.
Choose: Alabama wins 42-20 and COVERS the spread.
New Mexico at No. 25 San Diego State (-19.5) (9 pm, FS1)
The Lobos are 0-5 ATS this season, and the Aztecs have won seven in a row in the series. The San Diego State backfield, led by Greg Bell, adds big numbers in a home blowout.
Choose: San Diego State wins 38-14 and COVERS the spread.