Notre Dame QB Everett Golson gets his biggest test of the season against the #14 Stanford Cardinals.
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This week college football features 5 games featuring matchups with teams in the top 25. These are the most important games for the lower ranked team because it is one of the only surefire ways to virtually guarantee a rise in the ranks – if only temporarily. The same goes for the higher ranked team because it is one of the few games where they can prove they can stand up to a high-caliber opponent instead of conference cellar dwellers and FCS opponents.
Here are the 5 college football teams with the most to prove in Week 6:
Notre Dame – By not playing in a power conference the Fighting Irish are at the disadvantage of not getting the same number of cellar-dweller teams that some of the more dominant teams get. A win over Stanford would set up a matchup later this month with FSU that could determine if the Fighting Irish play in the FBS playoffs this year.
Maryland – After beating Indiana and seeing Penn State fall to Northwestern, the Big 10 newcomers are in the lead for the Big 10 East title. With a game against #22 Ohio State this week, the Terps can take a big lead in the race and knock one of their strongest competitors down a peg at the same time, a loss would likely make Ohio State the frontrunner again as they compete with Michigan State.
Mississippi – This is the game against #3 Alabama that will determine if this team is for real or not. A win would make them the frontrunners not only for the SEC East title, but for a spot in the FBS playoffs. A competitive loss would still put them in line for a major bowl game if they can recover quickly. A blowout loss would very likely see them knocked down a lot in the rankings.
East Carolina – With its only loss a competitive one to the bi-polar South Carolina Gamecocks, the East Carolina Pirates have quietly been rising in the ranks of the FBS. They play their first game against an AAC opponent in the 0-4 SMU Mustangs. While the Pirates are certainly expected to win – and probably win big – the degree to which they dominate their AAC foe will determine not only if they win or get a part of the AAC conference title, but also if they have the firepower to rise in the top 25 rankings.
Mississippi State – No team in the FBS, let alone the SEC, has been able to completely solve QB Kenny Hill, but if the Mississippi State Bulldogs want to prove that their win over LSU makes them a contender and not just a pretender, they need to get the win over #6 Texas A&M by whatever means necessary.