I'm calling Week 6 of the 2017 college football season "Who Are You?" week, especially in the Big Ten. We have before us a very interesting slate of matchups this weekend, and those matchups open the door wide for some outrageous outcomes.
We're going to learn a lot about a number of contenders across the country this week. Which teams are legit, and which are merely a product of their schedule — for better or worse. Additionally, is it possible that a couple of Power 5 coaches are in danger of losing their jobs this weekend?
I've got a feeling we're about to get some answers to those questions, and that's where this week's OUTRAGEOUS* predictions come in.
Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 6
Air Force upsets Navy
We'll start with this key matchup in the round-robin battle for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. The Midshipmen are favored by more than a touchdown, but I feel like that's a product of their unblemished record and little else. Navy has played four relatively competitive games against some average Group of 5 teams. Air Force, on the other hand, lost two competitive games to a couple Top 25 teams and a third to a very good New Mexico squad. Navy and Air Force are on similar levels in terms of talent, but look for the Falcons to win the field position battle and make a couple of big plays on special teams to tilt this one in their favor.
One Power 5 coach will be out of a job after this weekend
I'm going to keep this very vague, but there are three coaches at some very high-profile Power 5 schools who are on the edge of some very hot seats. One has this week off. The other two are in action against some ranked teams and projected by the oddsmakers to come out on the short end of the stick in those games. If either one suffers a blowout, I'm predicting that coach will be handed his walking papers by Monday. As for the coach with the week off, I'm not sure he'll have a reserved parking spot come Monday either.
Stanford wins at Utah by two scores
We've all seen this movie before. The Cardinal start slow, then gain momentum as the season rolls on and become one of the stronger teams in the nation by the end of the season. This year's Stanford team has that look, and they are led by a running back and offensive line that look like they can move the ball against anyone. That's just what they do Saturday night against a Utah team that hasn't been tested yet.
Michigan State upsets Michigan at the Big House
The Spartans enter the game as double-digit underdogs, but we all know spreads mean very little when these two teams hook up. Michigan has had a week off after a win over Purdue that was closer than the score would indicate. Now the Wolverines host a Michigan State team that is just figuring out its identity and how good it can be. The Spartans won ugly over Iowa by taking care of the football — something they didn't do in their loss to Notre Dame — and playing some classic Spartan defense. Look for Mark Dantonio's squad to use the same formula to keep this one close throughout and eventually pull off the upset in Ann Arbor.
Nebraska stuns Wisconsin
The Cornhuskers have not looked great to start the year, but a couple of "get right" games against Rutgers and Illinois have renewed the confidence of Mike Riley's team. Running back Devine Ozigbo has emerged – both due to his play and injuries – as the go-to ball carrier who sets the tone for the Nebraska offense. Look for Riley to establish the running game early with his powerful back and turn this game into a slugfest. When Wisconsin has the ball, the Badgers will be facing defensive coordinator Bob Diaco's newly installed 3-4 scheme, specifically designed to minimize the giant lanes the Badgers use to gash teams in the running game. There are few places tougher to get a win in recent years than Lincoln at night, and I'm not sure it's in the cards for Wisconsin this weekend. Look for a big punt return from Nebraska's DeMornay Pierson-El to ultimately decide matters in this old-school, low-scoring Big Ten battle.
*Remember, "outrageous" can be defined as “wildly exaggerated or improbable,” and “very bold, unusual, and startling.” These are "outrageous" predictions and should be treated as such.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also covers the Big Ten for Black Heart Gold Pants, Iowa's SB Nation blog. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.