A Pac-12 showdown between a pair of ranked, unbeaten teams tops the Week 6 slate in college football, and neither No. 5-ranked Stanford nor No. 15-ranked Washington should have trouble getting up for this one.
The Cardinal will try to avenge a disappointing loss in Seattle last season, when a late go-ahead touchdown gave Stanford its only conference loss in 2012. The Huskies get their first of two litmus tests Saturday as they attempt to prove they belong in the national discussion; No. 2 Oregon waits in the wings next week.
Two more matchups between top 25 teams are also on tap in Week 6.
These are our top 10 college football games of Week 6:
10. Georgia Tech at Miami, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
The skinny: Miami junior LB Denzel Perryman (6-0, 240) has impressed most onlookers with his play this season, and this is another chance for Perryman to rack up double-digit tackles, which he did in a win over Florida earlier this season. Miami DTs Curtis Porter (6-1, 325) and Olsen Pierre (6-4, 3-5) can show off their run-stuffing skills, too. How those two hold up against Tech center Jay Finch (6-3, 285) and guards Will Jackson (6-3, 295) and Shaquille Mason (6-1, 305) will go a long way toward determining who wins. Tech senior CBs Jemea Thomas (5-11, 195) and Louis Young (6-1, 196) are pro prospects who did a nice job against North Carolina's receiving corps two weeks ago; now they have to face Miami's talented receivers, headed by underrated senior Allen Hurns (6-3, 195). Miami sophomore TB Duke Johnson (5-9, 195) will be going against a good group of Tech linebackers led by sophomore middle man Jabari Hunt-Days (6-3, 247). Tech already has one loss in the Coastal Division race and can't afford another.
9. Georgia at Tennessee, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
The skinny: It will be interesting to see how Tennessee's brawn on the offensive line translates against some of Georgia's smaller but quicker defenders in the front seven. The Vols might be wise to run straight at the likes of outside linebackers Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd, a budding young star who is just 220 pounds. In pass protection, the Vols could have trouble holding their blocks against them. UT linebacker A.J. Johnson working against the UGA rushing attack, which could be without Todd Gurley, will be a matchup to watch as well.
8. UCLA at Utah, Thursday, at 10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
The skinny: NFL scouts will be waiting to see how UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr fares in containing Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota at the end of the month, but Barr's battle with Utah signal-caller Travis Wilson could give a pretty good indication of how that might play out. Wilson is 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds but has rare mobility, as evidenced by his 251 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 7.8 yards per carry. Barr will have to be a sound tackler to bring down the lanky sophomore. If Wilson and the Utes have success early running the ball, it could freeze Barr and the Bruin linebackers to create play-action opportunities.
7. West Virginia at Baylor, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
The skinny: The Bears took care of business against a soft non-conference schedule, averaging a staggering 69.7 points per game. Now quarterback Bryce Petty gets his first taste of Big 12 action against a WVU secondary allowing 188 yards per game through the air and keyed the win over Oklahoma State with two critical interceptions. Whether safeties Karl Joseph and Darwin Cook can help contain receivers Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley while also keeping an eye out for running back Lache Seastrunk (Big 12-best 417 rushing yards, 11.0 yards per carry, six touchdown) is another matter entirely.
6. Michigan State at Iowa, Saturday, noon ET, ESPN2
The skinny: Don't expect a lot of points. Both defenses are stout -- Michigan State leads the nation in total defense, Iowa is seventh -- and neither offense is that proficient. There are a lot of linebackers to watch in this one. There are five senior starters between the two teams, and each has the potential and production to be drafted: Iowa's Anthony Hitchens (6-1, 233), Christian Kirksey (6-2, 235) and James Morris (6-2, 240) and Michigan State's Denicos Allen (5-11, 218) and Max Bullough (6-3, 245). Iowa junior DT Carl Davis (6-5, 315), Michigan State senior CB Darqueze Dennard (5-11, 197) and Michigan State senior SS Isaiah Lewis (5-10, 208) are others to watch. Iowa junior OT Brandon Scherff (6-5, 315) vs. Michigan State sophomore DE Shilique Calhoun (6-4, 250) should be a good individual matchup. Looking for explosive offensive players? This game has none.
5. LSU at Mississippi State, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
The skinny: Mississippi State senior guard Gabe Jackson has first-round potential for the Bulldogs, and so does LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson. LSU's other defensive tackle, Ego Ferguson, could be a nice test for Jackson as well. No doubt, the excitement here will be in the trenches no matter which team has the ball. Elsewhere, standout MSU defensive back Nickoe Whitley will have his hands full with LSU WRs Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr., both of whom rank among the SEC's top receivers.
4. Arizona State vs. Notre Dame (at Arlington, Texas), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC
The skinny: The Fighting Irish defense ranks in the middle of the pack nationally in points and passing yards allowed, with the run defense only marginally better. If they don't make significant strides this week against a balanced Arizona State attack, Notre Dame's BCS bowl hopes will be extinguished halfway through the season. Defensive linemen Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt will need to recapture the dominant form that set the stage for an undefeated regular season in 2012, or else Sun Devils running back Marion Grice (161.2 all-purpose yards per game, 12 total touchdowns) and wide receiver Jaelen Strong (108.2 receiving yards per game) will shred a suspect group of Notre Dame linebackers and defensive backs.
3. Maryland at Florida State, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
The skinny: Maryland has been more productive than expected offensively even though sophomore WR Stefon Diggs (6-0, 195) hasn't had a big game yet. His battles with FSU senior CB Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 195) should be some of the best of the weekend. Terps QB C.J. Brown can hurt foes with his arms and legs; when he gets out of the pocket, it'll be up to mobile FSU MLB Christian Jones (6-4, 235) to make sure he doesn't do much damage. Maryland is tied for the national lead in sacks with 17, and FSU already has allowed eight. Terps senior OLB Marcus Whitfield (6-3, 250) has emerged as a dangerous pass rusher and will test FSU junior OTs Cam Erving (6-6, 320), projected by some as a first-round pick, and Bobby Hart (6-4, 315). It's a lot easier to get past Hart, who lines up on the right side, than Erving. Terps junior NT Darius Kilgo (6-3, 310) is a load in the middle, but FSU's interior of senior center Bryan Stork (6-4, 300) and junior guards Tre Jackson (6-4, 330) and Josue Matias (6-6, 322) is one of the best in the nation. Is Maryland (4-0) for real? It is if it wins this.
2. Ohio State at Northwestern, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
The skinny: Ohio State is coming off a physical victory over Wisconsin, whereas Northwestern was off last week and gets explosive starting TB Venric Mark (5-8, 175) back from injury. Northwestern senior DE Tyler Scott (6-4, 265) is one of the best pass rushers in the Big Ten; he plays left end, meaning Ohio State RT Taylor Decker (6-7, 315) -- the only new starter on the line -- will be in the spotlight. Northwestern junior S Ibraheim Campbell (5-11, 215) has all-league talent (he has three interceptions this season) and will be tasked with making sure Ohio State receivers such as junior Devin Smith (6-1, 198) and senior Corey "Philly" Brown (6-0, 190) don't make big plays. Ohio State junior Ryan Shazier (6-2, 230) might be the best linebacker in the nation, so look for Northwestern to try to take advantage of sophomore Joshua Perry (6-4, 246), the Buckeyes' other starting outside 'backer. Northwestern's best wide receiver is junior Tony Jones (6-0, 200), and Ohio State junior CB Bradley Roby (5-11, 192) will be trying to make amends for last week's performance, when he was burned repeatedly by Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis. Jones isn't as savvy as Abbrederis, but he is faster.
1. Washington at Stanford, Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The skinny: Are the Huskies really back? This two-week stretch against the Cardinal and Ducks will provide the answer, posing big tests for the Washington offensive and defensive lines. Running back Bishop Sankey leads the FBS with 151.8 rushing yards per game but can't get going if Stanford defensive linemen Ben Gardner, David Parry and Josh Mauro aren't blocked effectively. On defense, UW defensive tackle Danny Shelton faces a difficult assignment against Stanford guard David Yankey, who returns after missing last week's game to attend to a family emergency.