I am pumped up for this weekend's college football schedule. There will be top-25 battles taking place in three different conferences: Ohio State-Northwestern (Big Ten), Florida State-Maryland (ACC) and Washington-Stanford (Pac 12). Three of my five players to watch will be participants in those crucial contests while the other two will square off against upset-minded conference foes.
Here are my five players to watch for week 6:
1. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan vs. Washington
Last week, Hogan had his best performance of the season. The sophomore quarterback threw for a season-high 286 yards and three touchdowns in the Cardinal win over Washington State. Hogan faces a much stiffer test this week, as Stanford plays host to Washington. Last year, the Huskies upset Stanford, and Washington is a much better football team (ranked No. 15) this season. Washington will load up the box to slow down Stanford's rushing attack and that should provide Hogan with plenty of opportunities to connect on vertical routes with his underrated wide receivers.
2. Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk vs. West Virginia
Seastrunk is one of the most dynamic players in college football. The senior ball carrier has rushed for over 100 yards in all three of Baylor's games this season. He is averaging a ridiculous 11 yards per carry and he has already collected six rushing touchdowns. He doesn't have outstanding elusiveness but he is incredibly sudden and he has sneaky power to break tackles. He will need to be at his best Saturday, as Baylor takes on a West Virginia team that is fresh off a big upset win over Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers limited the explosive Cowboys offense to only 21 points in that contest.
3. Washington RB Bishop Sankey at Stanford
Sankey has been the Huskies' best offensive player through the first four games of the season. He has rushed for more than 160 yards in three of Washington's four games (he played sparingly in the 59-0 blowout over Idaho State) and he's averaging an impressive 5.8 yards per carry. He will need to stay hot this weekend in order for the Huskies to pull off another upset over Stanford. Last year, Sankey was the key factor in the Huskies' victory, rushing for 144 yards and a score against the vaunted Stanford defense. I love his style as a runner. He runs very hard and he has excellent balance and vision.
4. Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu at Colorado
Ekpre-Olomu is one of the top cover cornerbacks in the country. Last season, he ranked seventh in the nation in passes defended (20) and had four interceptions. I love his physicality in coverage as well as in run support. He is currently Oregon's second leading tackler (21 tackles) and he has one interception. This week, he should have plenty of opportunities to get his hands on the football against Colorado. The Buffaloes love to put the ball in the air (25th-ranked passing offense in the nation), and they will likely fall behind and early in the game.
5. Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier at Northwestern
Shazier is an enjoyable player to study on tape. He has a narrow frame for a linebacker, but he has outstanding range and he's an explosive tackler. He leads the Buckeyes with 37 tackles, seven tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Ohio State has a very tough task this weekend as they head to Evanston, Ill., to take on Northwestern (the No. 16 team in the country). The Wildcats have a very balanced offensive attack, which should provide Shazier an opportunity to display his versatility and athleticism.