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Week 6 College Football Open Thread

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Set your phasers...to kill.

Tom Pennington

We made it. We made it to the promise land. This is where the 2015 NFL Draft takes shape.

Six of the top ten play ranked opponents. Every single other one plays a threatening opponent...save for #2 Oregon who, by order of verb tense, played a threatening opponent in unranked Arizona. They lost.

Draft stock is on the grill today and every week moving forward.

That being the case, the watchlist this week is here to support the second runs. You want the premier games? Me too. We've covered those teams, some of them twice already. Clicking over to the backups? I got you.

First Group

Prime Game: #6 Texas A&M at #12 Mississippi St. (ESPN, 12:00pm ET)

Jeebus, this is at noon? When am I going to get things done for the weekend? Oh well. I can subsist on carpet and my own sweat for 44 hours.

I've had Texas A&M on the watchlist twice already, but no appearances for MSU. The key draft prospect for the Bulldogs is MLB Bernardrick McKinney. The redshirt junior is just a terror in the middle of that defense. Ask LSU.

As for A&M, they've got the offense. It's just a lack of experience holding them back. Rams fans will want to get a look at the offensive line, especially center Mike Matthews, he of the footballing Matthews clan. If you're complaining about Scott Wells, you should be looking for a replacement. Matthews would seemingly make a fine one.

Backup: #20 Ohio St. at Maryland (ABC, 12:00pm ET)

Michael Bennett DT Sr. Ohio St. 1st
Noah Spence OLB Jr. Ohio St. 1st-2nd
Doran Grant CB Sr. Ohio St. 1st-2nd
Adolphus Washington DT Jr. Ohio St. 2nd-5th
Joshua Perry OLB Jr. Ohio St. 3rd-5th (↑)
Tyvis Powell FS RS Soph. Ohio St. 4th-6th (↓)
Curtis Grant LB Sr. Ohio St. 4th-6th
Braxton Miller (i) QB RS Sr. Ohio St. 4th-6th
Taylor Decker OT Jr. Ohio St. 4th-6th (↑)
Jeff Heuerman TE Sr. Ohio St. 5th-7th (↓)
Devin Smith WR Sr. Ohio St. 6th-UD
Pat Elflein G RS Soph. Ohio St. 6th-UD
Stefon Diggs WR Jr. Maryland 1st-2nd
Darius Kilgo DT RS Sr. Maryland 4th-5th
Deon Long WR RS Sr. Maryland 4th-5th
Matt Robinson OLB RS Sr. Maryland 5th-7th
Sean Davis FS RS Sr. Maryland 5th-7th
Andrew Zeller G RS Jr. Maryland 5th-7th
Jeremiah Johnson CB RS Sr. Maryland 7th-UD
Quinton Jefferson (i) DE RS Sr. Maryland 7th-UD

Northeast Washington D.C. is the setting. The B1G heavyweight versus the newcomer. This could be really fun.

For tOSU, it's about winning all the way to that November 8 matchup against Michigan St. Had they avoided the early upset against Virginia Tech, this game would have been much, much bigger. As it is, it's the first of the challenges in the Big Ten slate to get to that early championship that's not a championship. Rams fans, do yourselves well to get a look at the Buckeyes' defense. There's tons there...too much for one NFL team, so pick your favorites early.

Maryland is just trying to get settled in their new conference. Get a look at Stefon Diggs, though. He's a Tavon Austin-esque option. He's not necessarily a Rams target, but I think the way he's perceived is a referendum on Austin's pro career to this point. Worth keeping a tab on.

Second Group

Prime Game Part I: #3 Alabama at #11 Ole Miss (CBS, 3:30pm ET)

This game is so Southern I might just pass out at kickoff. I had Bama in the watchlist in weeks 1 & 4, so get schooled up. I've avoided Ole Miss because they're not 2015 NFL Draft sexy. After next spring's draft? They're top tier material. Check out how the Mississippi senior defensive trio of FS Cody Prewitt, OLB C.J. Johnson and CB Senquez Golson deal with Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin's revamped Alabama offense with standout WR Amari Cooper.

Prime Game Part II: #14 Stanford at #9 Notre Dame (NBC, 3:30pm ET)

This one might have been the top option had Stanford not dropped a game against USC a month ago. Still, Stanford has the best defense in the country in points allowed right now. It's a stiff challenge for a Notre Dame team that has impressed against inferior competition to this point in the season. The Irish have Stanford today and Florida State in two weeks, so we'll have a more realistic picture of who this team is by then.

Backup: #4 Oklahoma at #25 TCU (FOX, 3:30pm ET)

Dorial Green-Beckham (t) WR RS Jr. Oklahoma 1st-2nd
Eric Striker OLB Jr. Oklahoma 1st-2nd (↑)
Frank Shannon (s) LB RS Jr. Oklahoma 2nd-3rd
Geneo Grissom OLB RS Sr. Oklahoma 3rd-4th
Zack Sanchez CB RS Soph. Oklahoma 3rd-4th
Tyrus Thompson OT RS Sr. Oklahoma 3rd-5th
Daryl Williams RT RS Sr. Oklahoma 4th-6th
Adam Shead G RS Sr. Oklahoma 5th-7th
Sterling Shepard WR Jr. Oklahoma 5th-7th
Jordan Phillips DT RS Soph. Oklahoma 5th-7th (↑)
Julian Wilson CB RS Sr. Oklahoma 6th-UD
Blake Bell TE RS Sr. Oklahoma 6th-UD
Trevor Knight QB RS Soph. Oklahoma 6th-UD
Chuka Ndulue DT RS Sr. Oklahoma 6th-UD (↑)
Charles Tapper DE Jr. Oklahoma 6th-UD (↑)
Devonte Fields (s) DE RS Soph. TCU 2nd-4th
Chucky Hunter DT Sr. TCU 3rd-5th
Kevin White CB RS Sr. TCU 3rd-5th
Davion Pierson DT RS Jr. TCU 4th-6th
Chris Hackett FS RS Jr. TCU 4th-6th
Kenny Iloka SS Jr. TCU 5th-7th
Paul Dawson OLB Sr. TCU 6th-UD
Terrell Lathan DL Jr. TCU 6th-UD
Jaden Oberkrom K Jr. TCU 6th-UD
Aviante Collins OT Jr. TCU 6th-UD
Ethan Perry P Jr. TCU 6th-UD
Sam Carter SS RS Sr. TCU 7th-UD

I mentioned November 8 above as the date for that Ohio St.-Michigan St. battle. That's not even the biggest game on the day. The SEC offers #3 Alabama-#15 LSU and #6 Texas A&M-#5 Auburn. Perhaps most interesting? #7 Baylor against these #4 Oklahoma Sooner. It's about survival until then, and this is the Sooners' biggest challenge to date.

TCU's much stronger defensively, but they've impressed with a less talented offense to date. The challenge here is to compete with an Oklahoma defense that has looked strong, aside from the Dana Holgorsen-fueled West Virginia team. This could be a battle.

Third Group

Prime Game: #15 LSU at #5 Auburn (ESPN, 7:00pm ET)

This is probably the weirdest of the big three SEC matchups. LSU dropped a disappointing home loss to Mississippi State two weeks back, so they've got to claw back into the SEC race. Auburn on the other hand is still running through success, but of the eight games remaining on their schedule, six are against teams currently ranked 15th or higher. It's a recipe for chaos today and beyond.

Backup: #19 Nebraska at #10 Michigan St. (ABC, 8:00pm ET)

Randy Gregory DE RS Jr. Nebraska 1st
Ameer Abdullah RB Sr. Nebraska 2nd-3rd
Vincent Valentine DT RS Soph. Nebraska 3rd-5th
Kenny Bell WR RS Sr. Nebraska 3rd-5th
Greg McMullen DE RS Soph. Nebraska 4th-5th
David Santos OLB RS Jr. Nebraska 5th-7th
Corey Cooper SS RS Sr. Nebraska 6th-UD
Ryne Reevese OL RS Jr. Nebraska 6th-UD
Alex Lewis OT RS Jr. Nebraska 6th-UD
Zaire Anderson OLB RS Sr. Nebraska 7th-UD
Shilique Calhoun DE RS Jr. Michigan St. 1st
Kurtis Drummond FS RS Sr. Michigan St. 1st-2nd
Trae Waynes CB RS Jr. Michigan St. 1st-2nd
Connor Cook QB RS Jr. Michigan St. 2nd-3rd
Taiwan Jones ILB Sr. Michigan St. 3rd-5th
Jack Conklin OT RS Soph. Michigan St. 3rd-5th (↑)
Jeremy Langford RB RS Sr. Michigan St. 4th-5th
Josiah Price TE RS Soph. Michigan St. 5th-7th (↓)
Tony Lippett WR RS Sr. Michigan St. 5th-7th
RJ Williamson SS RS Jr. Michigan St. 5th-7th (↑)
Mike Sadler P RS Sr. Michigan St. 6th-UD
Jack Allen C RS Jr. Michigan St. 7th-UD

You could argue this is the most important game from a college standpoint. If Michigan State gets through today, they've only got Ohio State as a legitimate threat the rest of the year. Meanwhile, Nebraska is the last undefeated team in the B1G, so getting past the Spartans today give them a direct line to the college playoff that runs through Wisconsin in mid-November. The key is what happens after today.

The other major conferences are likely hoping for a MSU win, having already lost handily (although the final score doesn't belie how close the game was) to Oregon. If they end up growing into the best option of the Big Ten...and drop another game, there's an argument to keep the Big Ten out of the playoff. On the other hand, if Nebraska wins here and drops later, it could be an SEC-like situation of chaos around the conference and all bets are off. And I love chaos, so I've got my rooting interests firmly with the Cornhuskers.

What a wonderful damn day. Let's get it.