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 kicks off at 12 p.m. 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 SEC classic rivalry at 3:30 p.m.
BENDER: Playoff picture murky after top two | Winners and losers from Week 5
That leaves the top-five showdown between No. 3 Iowa and No. 4 Penn State at 4 p.m. That Big Ten matchup will have huge College Football Playoff implications.
Each week Sporting News, picks every AP Top 25 matchup by the spread. It’s been an uphill battle with the upsets this season.
With that in mind, a look at this week’s picks:
Week 6 picks against the spread
Thursday, Oct. 7
No. 15 Coastal Carolina (-16.5) at Arkansas State (7:30 p.m., ESPNU)
This line dropped a point from the opening. The Chanticleers are 4-1 ATS this season, and all of those spreads have been double digits. Arkansas State ranks 129th in the FBS in scoring defense at 45.6 points per game. It’s a road game, but Coastal Carolina covers again.
Pick: Coastal Carolina wins 49-28 and COVERS the spread.
Friday, Oct. 8
Temple at No. 5 Cincinnati (-28.5) (7 p.m., ESPN)
The Bearcats are riding high after beating Notre Dame, and it’s a short week to prepare for Temple, which beat Memphis 34-31 last week. The last two meetings have been one-score games. Cincinnati wins, but the Owls get a back-door cover.
Pick: Cincinnati wins 38-13 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Stanford at No. 22 Arizona State (-10.5) (10:30 p.m., ESPN)
Stanford has a chance to play spoiler for the second straight week, and the Cardinal are 2-2 ATS as an underdog this season. The teams haven’t met since 2018. The Sun Devils have the best statistical offense and defense in the Pac-12, but Stanford will hang around here, too.
Pick: Arizona State wins 28-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
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 double digits. Texas ranks sixth in the FBS with 43.8 points per game, too. The Sooners make it four in a row in another one-score victory.
Pick: Oklahoma wins 38-31 and COVERS the spread.
Maryland at No. 7 Ohio State (-20.5) (12 p.m., FOX)
The Buckeyes are finding a groove on both sides of the ball, and Maryland is coming off a blowout loss against Iowa. Ohio State has won the last two home meetings by an average of 53.5 points per game. It won’t be that much, but the Buckeyes win comfortably again.
Pick: Ohio State wins 48-24 and COVERS the spread.
No. 11 Michigan State (-6.5) at Rutgers (12 p.m., BTN)
The Scarlet Knights upset the Spartans last year in a turnover-filled matchup. The Spartans are more controlled this year with running back Kenneth Walker III, and Rutgers is coming off back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Michigan.
Pick: 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 monster spread for the Gators to cover, especially coming off the loss at Kentucky in Week 5. This is one we would prefer to stay away from.
Pick: Florida wins 45-10 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 13 Arkansas at No. 17 Ole Miss (-6.5) (12 p.m., ESPN)
It’s a battle of two teams that received 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, too. Ole Miss wins a thriller.
Pick: Ole Miss wins 37-34 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Boise State at No. 10 BYU (-2.5) (3:30 p.m., ABC)
BYU routed 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 to grind out another victory.
Pick: BYU wins 31-26 and COVERS the spread.
No. 24 SMU (-14.5) at Navy (3:30 p.m., CBSSN)
The home team has won the last four games, and none of those matchups have been decided by more than 14 points. This is the classic contrast-of-styles matchup, and it should be closer than the spread.
Pick: SMU wins 34-28 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 19 Wake Forest (-6.5) at Syracuse (3:30 p.m., ESPN2)
The Demon Deacons are second in the ACC in scoring offense at 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 meetings against the Deacons.
Pick: 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 they have outscored their last two opponents 99-0. JT Daniels (lat) missed last week, and Auburn has been shuffling between Bo Nix and T.J. Finley at quarterback. The Tigers are big dogs at home, but this Bulldogs’ team is at a different level right now.
Pick: 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 showcase showdown should be fun. The Hawkeyes have a top-10 defense that is a turnover machine. The Nittany Lions have built a solid resume with its well-balanced team. Penn State won the last three at Kinnick Stadium, and two were in dramatic fashion. This will be an instant classic.
Pick: Penn State wins 22-21 in an UPSET.
No. 9 Michigan (-3.5) at Nebraska (7:30 p.m., ABC)
This is a trap game for the Wolverines. Michigan hasn’t visited Memorial Stadium since a loss in 2012, and the Huskers have dominated in their home games. These are the two best rushing offenses in the Big Ten, too. There will be some anxious moments for Michigan, but they come through in the second half.
Pick: Michigan wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.
No. 14 Notre Dame at Virginia Tech (-0.5) (7:30 p.m., ACC Network)
This line shifted in favor of Virginia Tech. The Irish embarrassed the Hokies 45-23 in their last visit in 2018. Notre Dame continues to struggle up front, and Virginia Tech will be aggressive knowing that. This is the third straight week the Irish have been an underdog, and this time they escape with a victory.
Pick: Notre Dame wins 27-24 in an UPSET.
LSU at No. 16 Kentucky (-3.5) (7:30 p.m., SEC Network)
We were tempted to take the upset here, but LSU’s inability to run the ball is startling. That will resurface against Kentucky, which ranks third in the SEC in total defense. The Wildcats need more from Will Levis in SEC play to keep this run going, but they are 4-0 ATS against FBS teams this season.
Pick: Kentucky wins 27-24 but FAILS TO 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 schedule. Now, the Aggies are trying to avoid a three-game losing streak for the first time under Jimbo Fisher. Texas A&M is 2-1 ATS as a home underdog under Fisher, and there is some value knowing the line increased by three points.
Pick: Alabama wins 42-20 and COVERS the spread.
New Mexico at No. 25 San Diego State (-19.5) (9 p.m., FS1)
The Lobos are 0-5 ATS this season, and the Aztecs have won seven in a row in the series. San Diego State’s backfield, led by Greg Bell, puts up big numbers in a home-cooked blowout.
Pick: San Diego State wins 38-14 and COVERS the spread.
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