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October 6, 2011

Week 6 primer: Huguenin picks them all

This week marks the midpoint of the season for a number of teams, and in terms of truly important games, it also looks to be the worst weekend of the season thus far.

One of the earliest games of the day Saturday might be the most important with the renewal of the "Red River Shootout" ... oops, "Red River Rivalry" with Oklahoma and Texas, complete with the Texas State Fair as a backdrop.

[Game tickets: Watch your favorite team in action]

Another intriguing game is Thursday night's California-Oregon game. Yes, the Ducks will be breaking out yet another new uniform combination, but worth remembering is that Cal held Oregon to its lowest point total last season (15) - and that Cal players reportedly faked injuries in an attempt to slow down Oregon's tempo.

Here's a look at every game involving a FBS team this weekend.

THURSDAY

Western Kentucky (0-4) at Middle Tennessee (1-3), 7:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: This is the first true road game of the season for Western Kentucky, and it comes just about 90 miles from its campus. MTSU has won 11 of the past 14 in the series.
THE LINE: MTSU by 11.5 THE PICK: MTSU 34-27

California (3-1) at Oregon (3-1), 9 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Cal also plays on Thursday night next week, when it plays host to USC. Oregon has won 13 Pac-12 games in a row overall and 18 league games in a row at home. The Ducks are averaging 49.6 points per game during that 18-game home winning streak. Cal held the Ducks to a season-low 15 points last season.
THE LINE: Oregon by 24 THE PICK: Oregon 48-28

FRIDAY

Boise State (4-0) at Fresno State (2-3), 9 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: This is the second WAC opponent in a row for Boise State. The Broncos have won nine of their past 10 games against Fresno State.
THE LINE: Boise State by 21 THE PICK: Boise State 42-17

SATURDAY

Oklahoma (4-0) vs. Texas (4-0) in Dallas, noon, ABC
THE BUZZ: Texas has won four of the past six in the fierce rivalry. This is the 32nd time both have been unbeaten going into the game, and Texas is 17-13-1 in that scenario. This is the 17th time they have met with both in the top 10, and OU has an 8-7-1 lead in that scenario.
THE LINE: Oklahoma by 9.5 THE PICK: Oklahoma 28-17

Louisville (2-2) at North Carolina (4-1), noon, ESPN2
THE BUZZ: These teams haven't met since 2005, when Louisville won 69-14. This is one of six ACC-Big East regular-season meetings this season; the Big East leads 3-1, and the ACC's only win is UNC's squeaker over Rutgers.
THE LINE: UNC by 14.5 THE PICK: UNC 34-17

Minnesota (1-4) at Purdue (2-2), noon, ESPN
THE BUZZ: Two of the worst FBS teams in the nation get it on - and it's on ESPN! This is the dog of the week. Let's hope the hounds have time to go to Harry's Chocolate Shoppe for a few pops.
THE LINE: Purdue by 10.5 THE PICK: Purdue 30-17

Mississippi State (2-3) at UAB (0-4), noon, Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: SEC teams play just two games at C-USA stadiums this season - and Mississippi State is involved in both (the Bulldogs routed Memphis in the opener). Mississippi State beat UAB by five last season in Starkville.
THE LINE: Mississippi State by 17.5 THE PICK: Mississippi State 38-23

Maryland (2-2) at Georgia Tech (5-0), noon, ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Maryland ranks 90th in rush defense; Tech leads the nation in rush offense. Yellow Jackets RB Orwin Smith has 34 touches this season - 28 rushes and six receptions - and has scored on eight of them.
THE LINE: Georgia Tech by 14 THE PICK: Georgia Tech 42-30

Connecticut (2-3) at West Virginia (4-1), noon, Big East syndication/Sportsnet New York/MASN/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: WVU leads the series 6-1, with UConn's victory coming last season. UConn's secondary was picked apart by Western Michigan QB Alex Carder last week; what will WVU QB Geno Smith do to the Huskies this week?
THE LINE: WVU by 20 THE PICK: WVU 49-20

[Y! Sports Shop: Show your school colors with college football team gear]

Kentucky (2-3) at South Carolina (4-1), 12:20 p.m., SEC syndication/Altitude/Comcast Sports Net California/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier finally has benched QB Stephen Garcia. Perhaps Spurrier's reasoning was that if Garcia couldn't have a productive day against Auburn's "defense," he wouldn't be able to have a productive one against Kentucky's "defense," either.
THE LINE: South Carolina by 21 THE PICK: South Carolina 27-10

Florida State (2-2) at Wake Forest (3-1), 12:30 p.m., ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: FSU is looking to snap its two-game losing streak. Wake, meanwhile, is riding its first three-game winning streak since 2008. FSU is looking to gets its rushing attack on track.
THE LINE: FSU by 13 THE PICK: FSU 34-17

Memphis (1-4) at Rice (1-3), 12:30 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: Memphis plays five games in October and this is one of four that's away from home. This is just the third meeting of these C-USA teams.
THE LINE: Rice by 21 THE PICK: Rice 49-24

Army (2-2) at Miami of Ohio (0-4), 1 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Army rushed for 353 yards and five TDs in blasting Tulane 45-6 last week. Miami has rushed for 196 yards total this season. Miami also has scored just 52 points this season.
THE LINE: Army by 2 THE PICK: Army 27-21

Bowling Green (3-2) at Western Michigan (3-2), 2 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The teams are in different divisions, but this still is a key game in the MAC. If either wants to truly be a contender in its division, this is a game it wants to win. Western is coming off a win at Connecticut. BG QB Matt Schilz leads the MAC with 15 TD passes, while WMU's Alex Carder is tied for second with 12.
THE LINE: Western Michigan by 10 THE PICK: Western Michigan 35-27

Florida International (3-2) at Akron (1-4), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: One of the best teams in the Sun Belt (FIU) takes on the worst team in the MAC (Akron). This is the second of two MAC-Sun Belt meetings this season, and the Sun Belt won the first one.
THE LINE: FIU by 20 THE PICK: FIU 34-10

Temple (3-2) at Ball State (3-2), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Temple lost a MAC game last week and can't afford another league loss in its quest to win the East Division. Ball State wasn't considered a West Division contender before the season, but the Cardinals can get into that mix with a win.
THE LINE: Temple by 9 THE PICK: Temple 30-24

Illinois (5-0) at Indiana (1-4), 2:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Illinois is off to its best start in 60 seasons and looks as if it could be one of the three best teams in the Big Ten. There's no way the Illini lose to the hapless Hoosiers, is there?
THE LINE: Illinois by 14 THE PICK: Illinois 33-14

[Orange&BlueNews: WR Jenkins assaults Illinois record book]

Boston College (1-4) at Clemson (5-0), 3 p.m., Sun Sports/Fox Sports South/NESB/Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: These teams have met six times in ACC play - BC leads 4-2 - and five of the games have been decided by six or fewer points. Clemson is No. 8 in The Associated Press poll this week; the past two teams ranked eighth in the AP poll have lost, Nebraska to Wisconsin last week and Texas A&M to Oklahoma State the week before.
THE LINE: Clemson by 20.5 THE PICK: Clemson 27-10

Eastern Michigan (3-2) at Toledo (2-3), 3 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Eastern hasn't won four games in a season since 2007 - and hasn't won more than four in a season since 1995. Toledo has designs on the MAC West title and can't afford a loss to EMU.
THE LINE: Toledo by 20.5 THE PICK: Toledo 44-21

Air Force (3-1) at Notre Dame (3-2), 3:30 p.m., NBC
THE BUZZ: The Irish lead the series 22-6, but Air Force won the most recent meeting, in 2007. Before that, though, Notre Dame had won 11 of 12. The Irish have allowed just one rushing TD this season; Air Force has 15 of those.
THE LINE: Notre Dame by 15 THE PICK: Notre Dame 34-21

[IrishIllustrated: Brian Kelly Q-and-A]

Miami (2-2) at Virginia Tech (4-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Hokies looked horrible in getting smacked around by Clemson last week and need to rebound quickly. They have held Miami to 17 or fewer points in each of their past five meetings. In last week's 45-14 rout of Bethune-Cookman, UM was outgained 422-335 by Bethune, which ran 84 plays to Miami's 44.
THE LINE: Virginia Tech by 7.5 THE PICK: Virginia Tech 21-17

Missouri (2-2) at Kansas State (4-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: K-State is aiming for its first 5-0 start since 2000. Mizzou has won five in a row in the series, and those five wins have come by an average of 18 points.
THE LINE: Missouri by 3 THE PICK: Missouri 27-21

Iowa (3-1) at Penn State (4-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: You know what they say about two-quarterback systems: When you play two quarterbacks, it means you don't have one. And, man, ain't that the truth in Penn State's case. Iowa has won eight of the past nine against the Nittany Lions.
THE LINE: Penn State by 4 THE PICK: Iowa 20-17

Arizona State (4-1) at Utah (2-2), 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: This is the toughest remaining Pac-12 South foe for Arizona State. Utah, meanwhile, is trying to avoid a 0-3 start in league play. The Utes will be without starting QB Jordan Wynn (shoulder). Arizona State has forced nine turnovers in the past two games.
THE LINE: Arizona State by 4 THE PICK: Arizona State 20-14

Southern Miss (4-1) at Navy (2-2), 3:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
THE BUZZ: This is the first meeting between the schools; Southern Miss is 3-0 all-time against Army, though. A win would give Navy a 3-2 start for the fifth consecutive season and for the sixth time in seven seasons.
THE LINE: Navy by 2.5 THE PICK: Southern Miss 30-27

Florida (4-1) at LSU (5-0), 3:30 p.m., CBS
THE BUZZ: This one has lost a ton of luster with the news that Florida will be without starting QB John Brantley. It's likely that true freshman Jeff Driskel makes his first career start in Brantley's stead. Florida's rushing attack better re-emerge, or the Gators could get shut out for the first time since 1988.
THE LINE: LSU by 14 THE PICK: LSU 27-10

[TigerBait: Two QBs, no problems at LSU]

Pittsburgh (3-2) at Rutgers (3-1), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Is Rutgers a legit contender in the Big East? The answer is "yes" if the Scarlet Knights win this. Rutgers assistants Frank Cignetti, Brian Angelichio and Jeff Hafley were assistants at Pitt under Dave Wannstedt last season.
THE LINE: Pitt by 6.5 THE PICK: Pitt 23-14

Arizona (1-4) at Oregon State (0-4), 3:30 p.m., Fox College Sports
THE BUZZ: We know it's just the second weekend of October, but we're willing to make this prediction: The loser of this one won't be going to a bowl. Arizona has lost seven in a row in Pac-12 play. Oregon State hasn't started 0-5 since 1996.
THE LINE: Arizona by 1.5 THE PICK: Arizona 34-30

Ohio (4-1) at Buffalo (1-4), 3:30 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Ohio's potent passing attack has been a huge surprise. Sophomore QB Tyler Tettleton has thrown for 1,186 yards and 12 TDs to lead the Bobcats to their first 4-1 start since 1997, when Jim Grobe was their coach.
THE LINE: Ohio by 8.5 THE PICK: Ohio 34-20

Kansas (2-2) at Oklahoma State (4-0), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Oklahoma State has won six of the past seven in the series. This is Oklahoma State's only home game in seven-week stretch from Sept. 8 until Oct. 29.
THE LINE: Oklahoma State by 31 THE PICK: Oklahoma State 54-21

Central Michigan (2-3) at N.C. State (2-2), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: NCSU still is looking for its first win this season against a FBS opponent. Central Michigan is 0-5 all-time against ACC schools.
THE LINE: NC State by 11 THE PICK: NC State 35-20

Kent State (1-4) at Northern Illinois (2-3), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: NIU leads the MAC in total offense (467.6 ypg), but it also is last in the league in total defense (499.8 ypg). Luckily for the Huskies, Kent State's offense is horrible (191.2 ypg, last in the nation).
THE LINE: NIU by 17 THE PICK: NIU 41-21

Louisiana Tech (1-4) at Idaho (1-4), 5 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Both teams have lost three in a row. Idaho is 114th nationally in total offense and 107th in total defense.
THE LINE: Louisiana Tech by 4 THE PICK: Louisiana Tech 34-21

Auburn (4-1) at Arkansas (4-1), 7 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Auburn is coming off, by far, its best defensive performance of the season in an upset of South Carolina. This week, though, the Tigers will be facing an actual SEC quarterback. If Arkansas has any designs on finishing third in the SEC West, it needs to win this.
THE LINE: Arkansas by 10 THE PICK: Arkansas 42-37

[AuburnSports: Tigers hit the road]

Georgia (3-2) at Tennessee (3-1), 7 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Because of losses last week by Florida and South Carolina, the winner of this one is in good shape in the SEC East race. Georgia coach Mark Richt is going for his 100th career victory; he is 35-10 in his career in opponents' stadiums. The Bulldogs have won seven of the past 11 meetings.
THE LINE: Georgia by 1 THE PICK: Georgia 27-23

Texas A&M (2-2) at Texas Tech (4-0), 7 p.m., FX
THE BUZZ: A&M has lost two in a row, thanks to two second-half collapses. This is the 70th meeting in the series and the 57th consecutive season the teams will have played. But future games are in doubt because of A&M's move to the SEC. A&M has lost in seven of its past eight trips to Lubbock.
THE LINE: Texas A&M by 8.5 THE PICK: Texas A&M 37-31

Michigan (5-0) at Northwestern (2-2), 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Michigan leads this "rivalry" 52-15-2. Northwestern had an 18-point second-half lead on Illinois last week, but let it slip away and fell by four.
THE LINE: Michigan by 7.5 THE PICK: Northwestern 33-31

Vanderbilt (3-1) at Alabama (5-0), 7 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Vandy hasn't won in Tuscaloosa since 1984. It's hard to see Vandy, which averages just 258.0 yards per game, being able to move the ball - unless the Tide is uninterested.
THE LINE: Alabama by 29 THE PICK: Alabama 35-3

[TideSports: Alabama continues fourth-quarter dominance]

Iowa State (3-1) at Baylor (3-1), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: An interesting game between what look to be two middle-of-the-pack teams in the Big 12. The loser is going to have a tough time gaining bowl eligibility. Baylor has been outscored 42-3 in the fourth quarter this season.
THE LINE: Baylor by 15 THE PICK: Baylor 42-31

East Carolina (1-3) at Houston (5-0), 7 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: This will be the fourth game against ECU for Houston QB Case Keenum. In the previous three, he has gone 99-of-131 (75.6 percent) for 1,023 yards and nine TDs. Houston - which is averaging 610.0 yards per game - is 5-0 for just the fourth time in school history and the first time since 1990.
THE LINE: Houston by 9.5 THE PICK: Houston 45-34

UNLV (1-3) at Nevada (1-3), 7 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Nevada has won six in a row in the series and now leads it 21-15. The six-game winning streak is the longest by either team in the rivalry. The teams play for the "Fremont Cannon," at 545 pounds, the heaviest rivalry trophy in college sports. The cannon is a replica of one that explorer John C. Fremont brought with him before abandoning it in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1844.
THE LINE: Nevada by 20.5 THE PICK: Nevada 44-21

Marshall (2-3) at UCF (2-2), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: UCF, which has won six in a row in the series, is the final Conference USA team to play a league game. The Knights need to hold serve at home because their toughest league games are on the road. Marshall already beat Southern Miss and would become the East Division favorite if it can upset UCF.
THE LINE: UCF by 18 THE PICK: UCF 38-21

Troy (2-2) at Louisiana-Lafayette (4-1), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: ULL won at FIU, and all of a sudden, the Ragin' Cajuns can assume the mantle of "Sun Belt favorite" if they can beat the Trojans. ULL is 4-1 for the first time since 1986, but Troy has won five in a row in this series and has averaged 43 points in those games.
THE LINE: Troy by 6.5 THE PICK: Troy 38-28

Arkansas State (3-2) at Louisiana-Monroe (1-3), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: ULM is the final Sun Belt team to play a conference game. ULM's losses have come to Florida State, Iowa and TCU. The home team has won six in a row in this series.
THE LINE: Arkansas State by 2 THE PICK: ULM 27-24

Colorado (1-4) at Stanford (4-0), 7:30 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: Colorado is having all sorts of injury issues at cornerback. ... That laugh you just heard? That was Stanford QB Andrew Luck. In four games, Stanford has committed just one turnover and is 22-of-22 in the red zone.
THE LINE: Stanford by 29.5 THE PICK: Stanford 49-17

Florida Atlantic (0-4) at North Texas (1-4), 7:30 p.m., Sun Belt syndication/Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: FAU took Louisiana-Lafayette to the wire last week in Lafayette. North Texas beat FAU last season, and that snapped FAU's six-game winning streak in the series.
THE LINE: North Texas by 4.5 THE PICK: North Texas 27-24

Ohio State (3-2) at Nebraska (4-1), 8 p.m., ABC
THE BUZZ: Huskers coach Bo Pelini coaches against his alma mater for the first time. Both are coming off embarrassing losses, Ohio State to Michigan State in a game in which its offense did nothing and Nebraska to Wisconsin in a game in which its defense did nothing.
THE LINE: Nebraska by 11 THE PICK: Nebraska 28-13

Wyoming (3-1) at Utah State (1-3), 8 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is the second road game for Wyoming, which is looking to start a season 2-0 in road contests for the first time since 1996. Utah State TB Robert Turbin has three 100-yard games in a row.
THE LINE: Utah State by 11 THE PICK: Utah State 38-31

Syracuse (3-2) at Tulane (2-3), 8 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the eighth meeting in the series, but the first since 1999. Syracuse has won five of its past seven road games.
THE LINE: Syracuse by 10 THE PICK: Syracuse 30-17

San Jose State (2-3) at BYU (2-2), 10:15 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: This is one of five games against WAC opponents for BYU, which - as Boise State can tell you - isn't necessarily a way to gain national respect. San Jose State snapped a 16-game road losing streak last week, which also was its first road victory against a non-conference opponent since 2002. Good news for BYU: San Jose State has not won back-to-back non-conference road games since 1982.
THE LINE: BYU by 12: THE PICK: BYU 31-17

Washington State (3-1) at UCLA (2-3), 10:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: All of a sudden, this has become an important game in terms of the Pac-12 bowl picture. Washington State is looking for its first 4-1 start since 2003.
THE LINE: UCLA by 3.5 THE PICK: UCLA 30-24

TCU (3-2) at San Diego State (3-1), 10:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: TCU is 6-0 all-time against San Diego State. In their past three visits to San Diego, the Horned Frogs have won each game by an average margin of 19.3 points. TCU's pass defense has been rancid - but so has San Diego State's run defense.
THE LINE: TCU by 4 THE PICK: TCU 33-24

LAST WEEK

37-18 straight up, 24-28-1 against the spread.

YEAR TO DATE

256-66 straight up, 107-124-1 against the spread (no spread on games involving FCS schools).

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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