The Red River Rivalry highlights Week 6 in college football. The Oklahoma Sooners (5-0) and the Texas Longhorns (5-0) meet Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. These two schools may also meet in the Big 12 Championship but the winner Saturday certainly has an inside track to claiming a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Steve Sarkisian’s Longhorns ripped Brent Venables and the Sooners a season ago to the tune of 49-0. Quinn Ewers is back under center for the undefeated Longhorns who have already knocked off a pair of Top 25 opponents (Alabama and Kansas) in laying claim to a Top 5 spot in the polls. For their part, Oklahoma is rising in the polls as well. Their formula seems similar to that of their rival in Austin: strong play at quarterback and a stingy defense. Sooner nation is counting on a healthy Dillon Gabriel at quarterback and that suffocating defense (54 points allowed through 5 games) to make this year’s edition of the rivalry more competitive.
Elsewhere, the Georgia Bulldogs welcome the Kentucky Wildcats to Athens. Brock Bowers was too much for Auburn this past weekend as the Bulldogs remained less than impressive but at the same time undefeated while Kentucky also remained unbeaten following their trouncing of the Florida Gators on Saturday.
In the Big Ten, the Maryland Terrapins are in Columbus to take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State. Taulia Tagovailoa and co. have yet to do anything but impress on offense but they have yet to face anything resembling the defense of Ohio State.
Here is NBC Sports’ College Football Top 25 for Week 6 with analysis from NBC Sports’ Vaughn Dalzell, Brad Thomas, and Eric Froton:
1 Georgia | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 0-4-1 | Last Week: 1
Next up: Saturday vs. #20 Kentucky (5-0)
2 Michigan | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 1-3-1 | Last Week: 2
Next up: Saturday @ Minnesota (3-2)
3 Texas | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 3-2 | Last Week: 3
Next up: Saturday vs. #11 Oklahoma (5-0)
4 Ohio State | Record: 4-0 | ATS: 1-2-1 | Last Week: 4
Next up: Saturday vs. #22 Maryland (5-0)
5 Florida State | Record: 4-0 | ATS: 3-1 | Last Week: 5
Next up: Saturday vs. Virginia Tech (2-3)
Dalzell (@VmoneySports): Nothing changed in the top 5, but Georgia survived a near-death experience at Auburn (27-20), which should give confidence to the rest of the country that the Bulldogs are beatable. Michigan and Texas took care of business, while Ohio State and Florida State had bye weeks.
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Thomas (@MrBradThomas): Despite Jalon Daniels not playing this week, Texas’ 40-14 win over Kansas might be the most impressive win from a Top 5 team. It was hard to change the order of the Top 5, though. Everyone is where they belong, for now.
Froton (@CFFroton): The Top 5 remains unchanged, with Ohio State and Florida State both on bye and the other three walking away with victories. Georgia managed to outlast Auburn 27-20 with a 98% win expectancy, while Texas throttled #24 Kansas 40-14 which solidified their status as a bonafide contender heading into the Red River Showdown this weekend. Despite Texas beating a ranked opponent, I can’t bump them ahead of Michigan after they handled their business by thumping Nebraska 45-7.
6 Penn State | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 5-0 | Last Week: 6
Next up: October 14th vs. UMASS (1-5)
7 USC | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 2-3 | Last Week: 7
Next up: Saturday vs. Arizona (3-2)
8 Washington | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 3-2 | Last Week: 8
Next up: October 14th vs. #9 Oregon (5-0)
9 Oregon | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 5-0 | Last Week: 9
Next up: October 14th @ #8 Washington (5-0)
10 Notre Dame | Record: 5-1 | ATS: 4-1-1 | Last Week: 11
Next up: Saturday @ #24 Louisville (5-0)
11 Oklahoma | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 5-0 | Last Week: 14
Next up: Saturday vs. #3 Texas (5-0)
12 Alabama | Record: 4-1 | ATS: 3-2 | Last Week: 12
Next up: Saturday @ Texas A&M (4-1)
13 Washington State | Record: 4-0 | ATS: 3-1 | Last Week: 15
Next up: Saturday @ UCLA (3-1)
14 North Carolina | Record: 4-0 | ATS: 3-1 | Last Week: 16
Next up: Saturday vs. Syracuse (4-1)
15 Miami | Record: 4-0 | ATS: 3-1 | Last Week: 17
Next up: Saturday vs. Georgia Tech (2-3)
Dalzell: Even though Notre Dame won on the road at Duke Saturday, I ranked Oklahoma and Alabama over the Fighting Irish. I like what I have seen out of Alabama over the last two games, holding Ole Miss and Texas A&M to 27 total points, while Oklahoma scored 50 points vs. Iowa State, the third time the Sooners have scored 50-plus in five games.
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Thomas: This order looks correct. With USC’s horrible defense, I’m not sure they will survive Notre Dame, Utah, Washington, AND Oregon. For headline reasons, I will say I wish Oklahoma was a Top 10 team. Either way, we should be in store for a strong edition of the Red River Rivalry this weekend.
Froton: I strongly considered moving Washington ahead of USC after their DC Alex Grinch nearly squandered a 27-point lead to Colorado. However, Washington managed just a seven-point victory over an Arizona team that was without their starting QB Jayden de Laura. Alabama has regrouped following their loss to the Longhorns, running roughshod over the state of Mississippi the last two games. The Tide have a big tilt this week against SEC West foe and occasional nemesis Texas A&M who just dropped double-digit wins over Arkansas and Auburn.
16 Mississippi | Record: 4-1 | ATS: 4-1 | Last Week: 24
Next up: Saturday vs. Arkansas (2-3)
17 Oregon State | Record: 4-1 | ATS: 3-2 | Last Week: 22
Next up: Saturday @ California (3-2)
T18 Missouri | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 3-2 | Last Week: 19
Next up: Saturday vs. #25 LSU (3-2)
T18 Tennessee | Record: 4-1 | ATS: 3-2 | Last Week: 21
Next up: October 14th vs. Texas A&M (4-1)
20 Kentucky | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 4-1 | Last Week: NR
Next up: Saturday @ #1 Georgia (5-0)
21 Duke | Record: 4-1 | ATS: 3-2 | Last Week: 18
Next up: October 14th vs. North Carolina State (3-2)
T22 Maryland | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 3-2 | Last Week: NR
Next up: Saturday @ #4 Ohio State (5-0)
T22 Utah | Record: 4-1 | ATS: 2-2-1 | Last Week: 10
Next up: October 14th vs. California (3-2)
24 Louisville | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 2-3 | Last Week: NR
Next up: Saturday vs. #10 Notre Dame (5-1)
25 Fresno State | Record: 5-0 | ATS: 3-2 | Last Week: NR
Next up: Saturday @ Wyoming (4-1)
Fell out of the Top 25: LSU (13), Florida (20), Kansas (23), Kansas State (25)
Dalzell: I know Brad is happy that Maryland finally made our Top 25. I hope the Terps enjoy the week because I expect their stay along with that of Tennessee, Missouri, and a few others to be extremely short-lived. The Bulldogs have gone practically a calendar year without losing as they have won 14 straight dating back to October 15, 2022. With two road games at Wyoming and Utah State on deck, it would not surprise me to see them climb in NBC’s Top 25 in the coming weeks. In fact, this Bulldogs’ team could roll through the rest of their regular season schedule.
Thomas: Glad we put some stock into the undefeated teams in our rankings no matter how long they remain undefeated. Maryland deserves to be in the Top 25, as does Louisville. LSU has had some tough games, but at 3-2 I could not vote for them to remain in our Top 25.
Froton: I tried to explain to Vaughn that Tennessee deserves to be ranked over a flawed Florida team despite outlasting the Vols a couple of weeks back, but he wasn’t hearing any of that. Now reality has arrived on Vaughn’s doorstep with the punchless Gators experiencing a 33-14 evisceration at the hands of Kentucky on Saturday. LSU’s defense is appalling, and I don’t believe they deserve to be a Top 25 team after Ole Miss’ offense did anything they wanted to them last week. LSU is in must-win territory but takes the field this week against a surging 17th-ranked Missouri team that is hungry for a signature SEC conference victory this week.
No question, this weekend’s games will bring more than a couple changes to the Top 25. College football never disappoints.
Enjoy the games and enjoy the sweat.