College GameDay is in Gainesville on Saturday for Florida’s Top 10 showdown vs. Auburn, the first game of the season in the SEC pitting unbeatens in the national title picture.
The Swamp is a special play in the fall when the Gators are good, and Dan Mullen has Florida believing it can be a threat in the league title race this season. But this afternoon’s game vs. the Tigers won’t be easy — Gus Malzahn’s team is the only program nationally to take out two nationally-ranked teams thus far.
Herbstreit has his eye on another potential poll-changing result later in the day.
“They’ve got to play with a chip on their shoulder to challenge Ohio State and try to get Justin Fields off balance,” Herbstreit said on Saturday. “Right now, Fields is playing on his terms. The offensive line has been dominant. Brian Lewerke I think is the key in that game. If they’re going to compete, he’s got to play his best game of the year.”
How many unbeatens will go down Saturday in college football? During a season free of major upsets, Week 6 is historically a weekend where at least one Top 15 goes down to unranked competition.
Here are the picks from the College GameDay crew from Gainesville previewing Week 6’s best games:
“It’s beyond 2019 for me,” Herbstreit said. “When Justin Fuente left Memphis for Virginia Tech, I don’t know if watching him for three years if it’s the right fit. I don’t know if it’s going to work right now in Blacksburg. The culture is not Virginia Tech.”
“Coaches always change the culture and at this point, it does not appear what Justin Fuente and his staff is selling,” Howard said. “I thought the defense would be dominant all-season long. But they’re not responding and not playing with much confidence.”
“Be careful if you’re Miami,” Rece Davis said. “You can’t lose this one to Virginia Tech.”
“Charlie Brewer is played magnificently with an offense that’s humming,” Howard said. “Wyatt Herbert is a playmaker in the middle for Kansas State.”
This Kansas State team has made their living running the ball,” Rece Davis said. “They’re going to try and run it if they’re going to get it down.
“Think about what Matt Rhule inherited and where Baylor is right now,” Herbstreit said. “Can they win on the road? His first two years they are 2-8 on the road. Big spot today.
“Oregon’s defense is balling, haven’t allowed a touchdown since the opener vs. Auburn,” Herbstreit said. “Cal’s only chance at competing in this game, their defense has to play well. The best team in the Pac-12 right now is between Oregon and Washington.”
“You want to talk about a 1-loss team people are down on? Look at Oregon,” Howard said. “They were picked to be the team to go to the College Football Playoff from the Pac-12 and I think they can still re-direct this ship,” Howard said. “Potentially, they can still make the College Football Playoff.”
“This Oregon defense has been really good lately,” Chris Fallica said. “I like Oregon.”
“I’m going with Mack Brown and Carolina in a close one in Atlanta,” Howard said.
“The fighting Browns win another one,” Corso said.
“This might be a superdog later,” Herbstreit said. “I think I’m getting 10 or 10.5. We’ll see.”
“I like Duke,” Howard said.
Duke, if they beat Virginia Tech that way, they can blitz Pitt,” Corso said.
“I’m going with Duke as well,” Herbstreit said.
“The Longhorns’ secondary is a little banged up, can the Mountaineers take advantage of a weak secondary? Keep an eye on Sam James, he’s having a tremendous season for West Virginia,” Howard said. “I don’t think West Virginia will dial up enough big plays to beat Texas.”
“I understand looking into the future at Oklahoma so you might overlook West Virginia, but I go back to your leader Sam Ehlinger,” Pollack said. “If Sam Ehlinger’s there, they’re going to win the ball game.”
“There’s leadership and maturity, I don’t think they’re going to peek ahead,” Herbstreit said. “Devin Duvernay man, that dude is getting after it in the slot.”
Oklahoma at Kansas
“They will roll Kansas,” Howard said.
“I just want to see their defense play,” Pollack said. “I want to see consistent effort. They should dominated Kansas’ offense.”
“I think it’s really about both teams getting out of this week healthy,” Herbstreit said. “Big day for OU and their offense.”
“The best chance Tennessee has is finding Josh Dobbs to throw a Hail Mary,” Herbstreit said. Georiga is humming. Jake Fromm is doing a great job leading and (D’Andre) Swift gives them balance. I know Tennessee is at home and most SEC teams are tough at home, but this is all Georgia from start to finish.”
“Saturday is Michigan’s homecoming and Iowa has played well during Michigan’s homecoming,” Corso said. “They play well on defense, allowing eight points per game. This is a big game for Michigan. I’d like to see Michigan play a sound game with a sense of urgency and pride. I’m picking Iowa.”
“The Iowa Hawkeyes are a great challenge. If Michigan wins today, think about how different we’re going to feel? It’s like a fork in the road right now for Jim Harbaugh,” Herbstreit said.
“Need to see a clean game from Michigan,” Howard said. “They have to do much better stopping the run, a Don Brown type of defense today.”
“I think Ohio State wins big — too much talent, too much depth,” Howard said. “It’ll be a dogfight at the beginning, but they’ll run away from it.”
“They’re offensively balanced and their defense is rock solid,” Corso said. “Michigan State is the only Big Ten team in the last eight yeas to beat the Buckeyes twice. Uh-oh. Possible upset.”
“It’s not just Fields, it’s JK Dobbins and the balance of that attack,” Herbstreit said. “It’ll take a great effort from the Michigan State defense. Michigan State is not controlling the ball at the line of scrimmage (offensively). Brian Lewerke at quarterback is the key.”
“I was in the football facility yesterday,” Howard said. “Players were excited. Dan Mullen was loose in the weight room.I’m excited about this matchup.”
“I absolutely believe our defense will get on the quarterback’s behind,” Emmitt Smith said. “We’re going to beat Auburn.”
“The Gators got Auburn exactly where Florida wants them,” Corso said. “In the Swamp, Florida has won 7 of the last 9 games against Top 10 teams. Go Gators.”
“This is kind of a throwback SEC game,” Herbstreit said. “Defense may dominate the game. I want to see which quarterback executes better. Quarterback play will be the difference. I’m going with the Gators.”