Had you told me before the season that Northwestern at Michigan would be the biggest game of Week 6, I would have laughed at you.
Hard. Like that kind of laughter that induces a coughing fit that you can’t get yourself out of and you have to excuse yourself from the room.
Then again, it’s been proven through the first five weeks of the season that I didn’t know much coming into the year. Either way, this is weird.
I saw Michigan at 4-1 to this point, but didn’t see BYU coming into the Big House ranked and leaving with its tail between its legs. I also didn’t see the Wolverines looking as good as they have. And I definitely didn’t see Northwestern making its way into the top 15.
But, here we are.
Central Michigan at Western Michigan, noon, ESPN3: The state’s biggest rivalry … will be played next week. But, for any Chippewa or Bronco – current or former – this is the biggest week of every year. I don’t know if either of these teams can win the MAC West, as Toledo looks to be the class of the division, but CMU is ahead of schedule in Year 1 under John Bonamego, and Western has recruited incredibly well in recent years. This is a game worth watching. Pick: CMU 24-21
Indiana at Penn State, noon, ESPN: Is Indiana good now? The Hoosiers do have just one loss and that was a close one against Ohio State. I know we write that off as Ohio State scuffling, but maybe Indiana is just good? I do not think Penn State is good, although the defense can be sturdy enough, and this one will be played in front of 100,000 Nittany Lions fans. Basically, this game could tell us quite a bit about the middle of the Big Ten. Pick: Indiana 27-21
No. 13 Northwestern at No. 18 Michigan, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network: The rule of college football is that when the top two scoring defenses in the country meet – as is the case here – both teams will somehow score 40 points. OK, that’s not a real rule, and it’s probably not going to happen. As I wrote earlier, both teams have surprised me to this point, but I would be real surprised if Northwestern walked out of this still unbeaten. Pick: Michigan 17-13
No. 19 Georgia at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m., CBS: Both of these teams enter this game with a sour taste in their mouth, as Georgia was recently beat down by Alabama, and Tennessee has made a habit of blowing leads. So this could get weird. Pick: Georgia 27-24
No. 21 Oklahoma State at West Virginia, 7 p.m., ESPN2: The Cowboys are unbeaten, but it’s been interesting. Included in the five wins are near-losses against Central Michigan, Texas and Kansas State. West Virginia, meanwhile, is dangerous despite its loss a week ago at Oklahoma. Pick: West Virginia 31-20
No. 4 Michigan State at Rutgers, 8 p.m., Big Ten Network: Rutgers is a mess, so MSU will get up by three scores and hold on to win by 10 this week instead of just seven. Pick: MSU 34-24
No. 23 California at No. 5 Utah, 10 p.m., ESPN: Cal has played some good defense this season, and Jared Goff is a stud, but this team isn’t good enough to go into Utah and win a game. Pick: Utah 31-21
Last week: 4-3 (57%)
Overall: 25-12 (68%)
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.