Week 6 college football games to watch:
No. 18 Central Florida (4-1) at Cincinnati (3-1), Friday, ESPN, 5 p.m. PDT
After its loss to Pittsburgh on Sept. 21, Central Florida won’t be able to make claim to a national championship as it did following its undefeated 2017 season. But the Knights still have plenty to play for, like being the “Group of Five” representative in the New Year’s Six bowls for the third straight year. Losing another game would put that in real jeopardy with undefeated Boise State already leading UCF in the polls and Memphis also unbeaten. Cincinnati is certainly capable of pulling the upset and inserting itself into the NY6 race.
No. 14 Iowa (4-0) at No. 19 Michigan (3-1), Saturday, Fox, 9 a.m. PDT
The first of three matchups between top 25 teams kicks off early at the Big House, where Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa group will try to elevate itself into the national conversation by dealing another gut punch to Jim Harbaugh’s underwhelming Year 5 Michigan squad.
Harbaugh needs this one way more than Ferentz, who is entrenched as his program’s consistent leader for as long as he wants the job. Despite a 52-0 win over Rutgers last week, the Wolverines are trending toward another frustrating fall after starting the season ranked No. 7. This game is likely to come down to Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson playing up to his billing and limiting big mistakes.
No. 11 Texas (3-1) at West Virginia (3-1), Saturday, ABC, 12:30 p.m. PDT
Things can get wild real quick in Morgantown, and Texas will be playing its first real road game of the season — sorry, Longhorns, visiting Rice in Houston doesn’t really count. If Texas is a legitimate threat to unseat Oklahoma in the Big 12 and contend for the College Football Playoff, it should be able to make it out of West Virginia with its pride intact. The Mountaineers are in their first season under head coach Neal Brown, the former Troy coach. This doesn’t look like a scary West Virginia team yet, with Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall under center, and Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger should keep putting up big numbers.
No. 7 Auburn (5-0) at No. 10 Florida (5-0), Saturday, CBS, 12:30 p.m. PDT
One of the biggest scheduling casualties of the realignment era of college football is the Auburn-Florida rivalry, staged annually from 1945 to 2002. Somehow, with the SEC’s move to seven-team divisions, the last time the schools played was in 2011. That’s downright criminal to fans, and we can only hope that the Tigers and Gators make up for it with a classic in Gainesville. Both teams are in the top 10 and carry CFP hopes, but Auburn has been much more impressive with wins over Oregon and Texas A&M. The Tigers feature a dominant defensive front and a young offense that is getting its legs under it with freshman quarterback Bo Nix. Florda quarterback Kyle Trask, who replaced injured starter Feleipe Franks, will have to play the game of his life in this one.
No. 25 Michigan State (4-1) at No. 4 Ohio State (5-0), Saturday, ABC, 4:30 p.m. PDT
This looks like an Ohio State team capable of winning the big prize, which should make Buckeyes fans plenty nervous considering the opponent Saturday. Michigan State is nowhere near as good as Ohio State this season, but that hasn’t stopped the Spartans from ruining the Buckeyes’ national title hopes before. In 2013 and 2015, Michigan State knocked off unbeaten Ohio State squads late in the season. The Buckeyes have looked more dominant this season than any team not named Alabama, but they also haven’t played against a defense as tough and disciplined as Michigan State’s. The Spartans will aim to make Justin Fields uncomfortable for the first time this year. They may succeed, but Michigan State’s offense will still be asked to do too much for its talent.