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The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Week 6 delivered in a big way for college football fans. Games in Evanston and Palo Alto lived up to expectations. Baylor and Oregon continued record-setting paces on offense. Aaron Murray led yet another fourth-quarter, game-deciding drive. Texas and UCLA both got seriously lucky on Thursday night. And the Ol' Ball Coach was in rare form. I can only hope that Week 7 can match last weekend.
Note: The point of this column is to have some fun and make some outlandish predictions. Please react accordingly.
Texas will trail by four touchdowns at halftime against Oklahoma
The Sooners have won the last three Red River Shootouts but the last two, in particular, have been ugly. The Sooners have jumped out to huge early leads in both games, leading 36-2 at halftime in 2011 and 34-10 at the break last year. The Sooners have scored 118 points in the last two Shootouts and there is nothing about this Texas defense that would indicate anything new will happen this year. The Longhorns rank last in the Big 12 in total defense (465.4 ypg), rushing defense (248.4 ypg) and second-to-last in scoring defense (28.4 ppg). Oklahoma, on the other hand, leads the Big 12 in scoring (13.0 ppg) and total defense (281.6 ypg).
Baylor will not score 70 points
Normally, this would not be an outlandish statement to make. But the Bears have scored at least 70 points in three straight games and have scored at least 69 points in every game of the year. Needless to say, the trip to Manhattan to face Kansas State will be the toughest test to date for Art Briles' bunch. In fact, Baylor has never won in The Little Apple in four trips and there will be an added air of revenge on the minds of the Wildcats. Last year, the roles were reversed as an unbeaten KSU traveled to Waco as a heavy favorite and was beaten. I’m not suggesting anything that outrageous will happen, but this should be the closest game the Bears have played all season.
Bonus Prediction: Gus Johnson's head will explode at some point during the third quarter. The game will be carried on FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET, marrying the game's fastest offense with TV's most excitable play-by-play man.
Jadeveon Clowney will make a play
A sack or forced fumble or tipped pass... anything. The star defensive end’s (presumed) final season in Columbia is turning into a bona fide soap opera. One game a stomach virus slowed him while a foot issue hampered him another game. Last week, he told the South Carolina coaches just hours before kickoff that he couldn’t play because his ribs were hurting, sparking a public tongue-lashing from head coach Steve Spurrier. Widely regarded as the nation’s best player entering the season, Clowney is facing a legacy defining stretch of road games over the next few weeks. The end had 23.5 TFL and 13.0 sacks last year and has 3.0 TFL and 2.0 sacks this season. The competitor in Clowney has to come out this weekend, right?
Tyler Murphy has more total offense than Zach Mettenberger
Mettenberger is the far superior and experienced passer in the major Florida-LSU showdown this weekend. One is a senior former five-star recruit in his second full season as an SEC starter — and playing extremely well, at that. The other is a two-star recruit from Connecticut who is making his third career start in Death Valley. Yet, it is the Tigers (367.0 ypg, 24.7 ppg) who have defensive weaknesses not the Gators (217.0 ypg, 12.2 ppg), who boast the nation’s best secondary. Murphy is the third-rated passer in the SEC, ahead of Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron, Connor Shaw, James Franklin and Bo Wallace, and he will out-gain Mettenberger because of his legs (24 att., 135 yards, 2 TD in three games rushing). The Gators' chance at victory lies in Murphy’s ability to make plays and not turn the ball over.
Johnny Manziel will double his 2012 passing output against Ole Miss
The closest win the Aggies had in 2012 wasn’t on the road against Alabama (five points). It was a 30-27 home win over Ole Miss. A big reason was Johnny Manziel’s below average passing performance: 191 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs. And since the Rebels should play well at home against a porous Aggies defense, it falls to Manziel to post big numbers in the passing game. The Rebels haven’t allowed anyone to throw for more than 196 yards since Week 1 so Manziel will have to be his old Heisman self in Oxford.
Aaron Murray will lead the Bulldogs in rushing
Georgia’s longest run since Todd Gurley bolted 75 yards against Clemson in Week 1 was Murray’s 57-yard parting of the orange sea last weekend against the Vols. It was by far the longest run of his career and with the decimated Bulldogs backfield, don’t be surprised if Mark Richt calls on No. 11 to use his legs more this weekend. Murray rushed for 167 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman and has the ability to move the sticks on the ground — as his 12 career rushing touchdowns will attest. He simply hasn’t been asked to run, but without Todd Gurley or Keith Marshall against Mizzou, don’t be surprised if Murray is the top rusher on the team.
Nebraska won’t fail on third down
The Cornhuskers are second in the Big Ten to Michigan and 23rd nationally by converting 49.2 percent of third down chances on offense. This week’s opponent, Purdue, is the last-ranked power conference team in the nation in getting stops on third down. The Boilermakers are allowing an absurd 46.4 percent conversion rate, which ranks 109th nationally. With or without star quarterback Taylor Martinez, Nebraska should have no trouble picking up first downs this weekend in West Lafayette.