My picks in Week 5 were pretty bad. If Army had not blown a lead, if North Texas had not had an extra point blocked, if only … Sigh. The tally came out to 5-5, an embarrassing day to be sure. With a 33-21 overall record, I am ready for Week 6. I think.
On to the picks!
No. 10 Utah 31, Iowa State 28. This will be the biggest test of the season for the Utes, who played three of the worst teams in college football after struggling to beat Pittsburgh. They should be prepared for Austen Arnaud after getting a bye week. Utah has a powerful run game with Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata, and the Cyclones have one of the worst run defenses in the country. That will make the difference.
Northern Illinois 34, Temple 30. Both teams are evenly matched going into what many believe to be the MAC championship game preview. But the edge goes to the Huskies because they have been able to run the ball more consistently with Chad Spann and Chandler Harnish.
New Mexico State 21, New Mexico 17. Bowl of Disenchantment, Take 1. Where do we begin? There are issues everywhere for both teams, which rank near the bottom of nearly every NCAA statistical category. They can’t score, but they can’t stop anyone from scoring, either. Both also have issues at quarterback, with injuries to their starters. Neither team knows who will start. Good luck to anyone attempting to watch. The Aggies get the nod because they are at home. Not because they are good.
FIU 28, Western Kentucky 10. FIU has been able to hang with its nonconference opponents, at least in the first two games anyway. The Golden Panthers need to find some consistency from their offense, and they should be able to against Western Kentucky. But the key could be how the FIU defense handles RB Bobby Rainey, one of the top-ranked rushers in the country.
San Diego State 30, BYU 17. I have wanted to believe in a BYU turnaround, hence all my upset picks the last few weeks. But the Cougars have let me down, big time. They have given nobody any reason to believe they can turn things around in a matter of a week. The Aztecs have a balanced offense, and a great runner in Ronnie Hillman. The defense is vastly improved, too, and already has nine sacks. BYU, meanwhile, has struggled everywhere. Not sure more involvement from Bronco Mendenhall is the answer.
Southern Miss 35, East Carolina 20. The Golden Eagles are on a roll, having won four straight, including a blowout win over Marshall. The Pirates, meanwhile, suffered a big blow when they lost defensive end Justin Dixon for the season. That leaves them very thin along the line. If last week is any indication, expect Southern Miss to run. A lot. The Golden Eagles had 205 yards on the ground against Marshall. East Carolina gave up 263 yards rushing in a loss to North Carolina.
Navy 17, Wake Forest 13. The Midshipmen are facing a must-win game on the road after their loss to Air Force last week. They have struggled to get their triple option going, partly because quarterback Ricky Dobbs has struggled through injuries, and partly because defenses are keying in on him. Dobbs says the injuries are not a problem headed into the Wake Forest game. Maybe he will be rejuvenated going against a defense that is giving up 182 yards a game on the ground.
Mississippi State 30, Houston 20. Houston won this game last season behind Case Keenum. But Keenum is out and coach Kevin Sumlin has yet to announce whether Terrance Broadway or David Piland will start the game. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have been impressive so far this season behind Chris Relf and Tyler Russell, and Vick Ballard in the run game.
UPSET SPECIAL: Hawaii 48, Fresno State 41. The Warriors are hot on offense right now behind Bryant Moniz, who threw for 532 yards last week against Louisiana Tech. They have won three of the last four games in Fresno. The Bulldogs are so banged up, injuries start to take a toll in this one despite a good game from Ryan Colburn.
Cincinnati 24, Miami (Ohio) 20. This one is going to be closer than expected. The RedHawks are much improved on offense and defense, while the Bearcats are struggling for any momentum. Good matchup here between Zach Collaros and Zac Dysert in the “Battle for the Victory Bell.”