An early glance at Week 6

Five weeks of the college football season are in the books, and the first Saturday in October proved to be a statement day for a couple of powers across the land.

There are plenty of intriguing games on the slate this week, including a Pac-12 contest on Thursday, so let's take an early look at what to expect in the sixth week of the season.

Thursday, October 6

California at Oregon: The Golden Bears nearly derailed the Ducks' march to the BCS national championship game last season, as coordinator Clancy Pendergast's defense really shut down the high-octane offensive attack of Oregon before Chip Kelly's squad eventually held on for the victory in Berkeley. LaMichael James is on fire, and he can add to his Heisman resume on a national stage.

Friday, October 7

Boise State at Fresno State: The Bulldogs do have a history of playing Top 25 opponents tough, but Pat Hill's squad has lost 12 straight games to ranked teams dating back to the near-victory over top-ranked USC in 2005. Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore has played with a knee brace two weeks in a row, and he struggled with his accuracy last week. Meanwhile, quarterback Derek Carr paces the Bulldogs offense, which will need to be balanced in order to have any chance against the Broncos.

Saturday, October 8

Case McCoyICONHow much will Case McCoy play against OU?

Oklahoma vs. Texas (Dallas): The Red River Rivalry once again has big implications after the Longhorns suffered a down year in 2010. We will see how Longhorn quarterbacks Case McCoy and David Ash fare against an OU defense that has been good but not yet great. Meanwhile, what will Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz dial up against Landry Jones and the productive OU offense?

Florida at LSU: We wish this game was a prime time showdown, but we'll have to settle for late afternoon in Baton Rouge. How will the Gators respond after their dismantling at the hands of Alabama with true freshman signal-caller Jeff Driskel stepping in for the injured John Brantley? It's not going to be pretty for Driskel going up against the best defensive line in the country. For the Tigers, how much will Jordan Jefferson see the field?

Missouri at Kansas State: Will Bill Snyder's squad remain unbeaten after its tilt with Missouri? The Tigers have a couple of tough losses on their record (Arizona State and Oklahoma) but could be primed to use those setbacks as motivation in Manhattan.

Miami at Virginia Tech: The Hokies need to get better play from dual-threat signal-caller Logan Thomas to help out running back David Wilson and Bud Foster's stout defense. Meanwhile, the 'Canes have personnel issues on defense and quarterback Jacory Harris will see some unique looks from Foster's unit.

Arizona State at Utah: This Pac-12 South battle is sure to be one of the better matchups on the weekend slate. The Utes can ill afford another loss as they sit at 0-2 in the Pac-12 while Arizona State could be in the divisional driver's seat with a victory. The Utes will have to pull the upset without quarterback Jordan Wynn, however, as backup Jon Hays fills in while Wynn battles a shoulder injury.

Iowa at Penn State: The Hawkeyes have been a scoring machine recently on offense, but they'll face a tough environment Saturday afternoon in Happy Valley. Can the Nittany Lions make enough plays on offense against a defense that will only continue to mature as the season progresses?

Auburn at Arkansas: The Tigers are never out of a football game -- no matter how sloppy they may play at times. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks have new life after their comeback win over Texas A&M in Dallas last weekend.

Michigan at Northwestern: The Wolverines take their act on the road for a night game at Ryan Field against a Northwestern squad that could not put in-state rival Illinois away last week in Champaign. You'll be seeing two of the more athletically gifted quarterbacks in the nation when Denard Robinson and Dan Persa go head to head.

Texas A&M at Texas Tech: Can the Aggies bounce back from back-to-back disastrous losses in which they blew big leads? It's a big game for Mike Sherman's squad as his team is unquestionably licking its wounds.

Georgia at Tennessee: An incredibly huge SEC East divisional contest as neither team will want to be sitting with two losses in league play. Georgia is one of the hotter teams in the SEC, but going down to Knoxville will be a tough test. Can Todd Grantham's defense continue its solid play?

Ohio State at Nebraska: The Blackshirts have an opportunity to bounce back following their disastrous showing at Wisconsin against an Ohio State offense that is lifeless. But will Taylor Martinez be able to make some plays through the air?

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