Projecting the biggest CFB games of 2023: Week 6

This is Part 6 of a series where I go week by week ranking what I expect to be the biggest games in college football. For a longer description of what this series is, start with part 1 here!

Sorry SEC, I just don’t see it this week. You may have the best players, but at least for this week, you don’t have the best games.

3rd – Michigan at Minnesota

A B1G trophy game. One of many, but also the original B1G trophy game:

The Little Brown Jug.

Minnesota is a program that has turned its fortunes around after the arrival of eccentric head coach PJ Fleck. They have consistently kept up with Wisconsin and even beaten a top-10 Penn State squad. But Fleck has yet to beat Ohio State, Michigan, and Iowa. Minnesota thinks they can win the West with new starting QB Athan Kaliakmanis and returning #1 WR Chris Autman-Bell. Winning this one might be required to achieve that goal because this year their schedule is a gauntlet. 

Back-to-back road games for Michigan make this a tricky early part of the schedule. This will be the most formidable defense Michigan has to face so far. Can Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards win this one on the ground? Or will McCarthy need to step up and win a close low-scoring affair in the 2nd half?

2nd – Texas Tech at Baylor

This game has been played every year since 1956 before Texas Tech was even a member of the Southwest Conference.

In the new look Big 12, this will be one of the more important games year in and year out. This game will say a lot more about the loser than the winner, as they will probably be out of the race to make the championship game in a crowded Big 12 field. 

Baylor is a good team with a great coach, but they have a lot of questions on the offensive line. Four players that had 85% of the OL snaps last year are gone, and the replacements are mostly unproven. 

Texas Tech is a team I’m higher on than most. I think the Vegas odds have them lower than the quality of their team. But Vegas’s job isn’t to predict the winner, it’s to make money. So a major brand like Oklahoma will be higher in the odds, simply because Vegas thinks more money will come in for Oklahoma.

1st – Oklahoma vs Texas at the Cotton Bowl

The Red River Shootout; a neutral site game that I can actually get behind. 

It features the two favorites to win the Big 12. The biggest rivalry in the Big 12 isn’t played during rivalry week, it’s played at the Texas State Fair. The Cotton Bowl is a testament to old-school football stadiums, steel bleachers, and minimal amenities. 

Texas will be good. They will probably be great. Oklahoma? I’m not sure. Vegas thinks so, but they didn’t hold up their end of the “shootout” last year, getting blown out 49-0. Oof.

Brent Venables was brought in to replace Lincoln Riley with the assumption that he would fix the defense. Well, last year Oklahoma ranked 122nd in total defense. At least he has room for improvement. Oklahoma bashing aside, I do think this team will be much improved. They have hit the transfer portal well and focused on recruiting defense better in the off-season. At this point in the season, I expect incoming 5-star freshman safety Peyton Bowen and edge rusher PJ Adebawore to be getting significant snaps, if not starting. Oklahoma has a fringe Heisman candidate at QB with Dillon Gabriel, and the offense should be good. So, business as usual for the Oklahoma offense.

Honorable Mentions: Kentucky at Georgia and Alabama at Texas A&M

Is Georgia ending a 3rd undefeated start in a row a big game, or just a foregone conclusion? 

I don’t care how much talent they have, I expect A&M to be somewhere between mid and bad until proven otherwise. 

Want more Walk On Fan? 

Check out part 5 of this series here.

Check out part 4 of this series here.

Check out part 3 of this series here.

Check out part 2 of this series here.

This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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