College football picks, Week 6: Miami's best shot at beating FSU has come

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FSU and Miami face off on Saturday in what could be a season-defining game for both teams. Here are the keys to victory and matchups to watch.

FSU vs. Miami: Matchups, keys to victory in potential season-defining game

FSU and Miami face off on Saturday in what could be a season-defining game for both teams. Here are the keys to victory and matchups to watch.

We're nearing the halfway mark for most teams in college football, and Week 6 offers a couple top-25 games to watch.

The top-25 action starts on Thursday when Lamar Jackson and No. 17 Louisville travel to take on No. 24 N.C. State in Raleigh. The biggest matchup of the week takes place on Saturday when No. 23 West Virginia travels to Fort Worth to take on No. 8 TCU; can the Horned Frogs pass their second big hurdle in their Big 12 slate?

MORE: Week 6 College Football Playoff picture

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Other action includes Stanford at No. 20 Utah, LSU at No. 21 Florida (for homecoming) and top-ranked Alabama at Texas A&M. We've got picks for all of them.

Sporting News is 30-10 this season after going 6-2 in its Week 5 picks. Now, here's what we've got for Week 6 (point spreads provided courtesy of VegasInsider.com as of Oct. 2):

No. 17 Louisville (-3) at No. 24 N.C. State

When: Thursday, 8 p.m.
TV: ESPN

The Wolfpack come into this game trending upward in the ACC, while Louisville has rebounded from its loss to Clemson by outscoring its next two opponents 97-13. Lamar Jackson continues proving himself one of the nation’s most dangerous quarterbacks, but don’t sleep on his counterpart in Ryan Finley, who has completed 71.9 percent of his throws for 1,409 yards and nine touchdowns to no interceptions. Regardless, stick with the defending Heisman-winner.

Pick: Louisville 38, N.C. State 27

No. 23 West Virginia at No. 8 TCU (-12.5)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports 1

We found out this week whether TCU is for real after beating Oklahoma State. They face off against a Mountaineers team that has responded to its season-opening loss by scoring an average of 57 points per game. Quarterback Will Grier and running back Justin Crawford have this offense rolling. But how will they play against a TCU defense that stymied Oklahoma State, which boasts perhaps one of the most dynamic offensive personnel in the country? Look for running back Darius Anderson to be featured heavily against a WVU defense that gives up 226 yards a game on the ground.

Pick: TCU 42, West Virginia 35

MORE: Week 6 bowl projections

No. 13 Miami (Fla.) vs. FSU (-1)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
TV: ESPN

If Miami wants to beat Florida State for the first time since 2009, now is the time to do it. The 1-2 Seminoles are still reeling from their season-opening loss to Alabama and the loss of quarterback Deondre Francois. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are a little ahead of schedule in the Mark Richt era thanks in large part to the offense. Quarterback Malik Rosier (820 yards, eight touchdowns) and running back Mark Walton (403 yards, three touchdowns) have made Miami a viable threat to win the Coastal Division.

Pick: Miami 31, FSU 17

LSU at No. 21 Florida (-5)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
TV: CBS

Neither of these teams is playing particularly well, but Florida at least has only one loss to show for it. LSU, meanwhile, is finding life after Les Miles to be more difficult than it had hoped. Danny Etling hasn’t taken control of the offense, which has suffered from the absence of running back Derrius Guice. The Tigers will need him if they want a shot at beating the Gators in The Swamp. As for Florida, it appears their quarterback battle is over after Luke Del Rio got injured against Kentucky. Feleipe Franks will need to play his best game of the season to pull off a win.

Pick: Florida 30, LSU 24

MORE: Week 6 Heisman watch: How does Sam Darnold loss affect race?

Michigan State at No. 7 Michigan (-13.5)

Michigan State showed improvement against a good Iowa team, but Michigan is a much tougher opponent. Still, don’t expect Michigan to run away with this one. The Wolverines’ offense has struggled all season, and will break in John O’Korn at quarterback now that Wilton Speight is seemingly finished for the season. Both defenses rank among the top fivenationally, so this one could turn into a defensive struggle. But Michigan will have had two weeks to prepare — and two years' worth of angst built up after the last time the Spartans visited the Big House.

Pick: Michigan 24, Michigan State 14

When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: ABC

No. 9 Wisconsin (-13) at Nebraska

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
TV: Big Ten Network

Wisconsin’s shine wore off a little in the Badgers’ 33-24 win over Northwestern, and Nebraska has shown improvement over the last two weeks since getting stunned by NIU at home. Tanner Lee had his best game of the season against Illinois, throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions, but he’ll have a tough test against a team that has a top-25 pass defense that ranks in the top 10 of every other major defensive category. But if Nebraska’s D can get a few takeaways from Alex Hornibrook like Northwestern did, this game could be closer than expected.

Pick: Wisconsin 30, Nebraska 17

MORE: Week 6 AP, Coaches polls

No. 1 Alabama (-25.5) at Texas A&M

When: Saturday, 7:15 p.m.
TV: ESPN

Alabama has outscored its past two SEC opponents by a combined score of 125-3. Texas A&M, 4-1, has beaten Arkansas and South Carolina by seven points apiece in back to back weeks. The Aggies have done a good job stopping the run this year (giving up 95.8 yards a game), so Jalen Hurts will have to continue making strides in the passing game. His counterpart, Kellen Mond, is the type of quarterback who has historically given the Tide trouble — but will it be enough to pull off a potential career-saving upset for Kevin Sumlin? The Tide are simply too talented for A&M to keep up.

Pick: Alabama 42, Texas A&M 21

Stanford (-3) at No. 20 Utah

When: Saturday, 10:15 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports 1

Stanford running back Bryce Love is potentially the best at his position in the country, but he’ll face his biggest hurdle of the season on Saturday against Utah, which ranks 10th nationally by allowing a paltry 87 rushing yards per game. If Utah sells out to stop Love from breaking the game open, quarterback Keller Chryst will have to find ways to hit him in open space. Utah would feel a lot better about this one if they can get quarterback Tyler Huntley back from injury.

Pick: Utah 31, Stanford 27

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