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College football preview: The resumption of the Red River rivalry highlights Saturday’s schedule

No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 21 Texas will go at it again at the Cotton Bowl in one of several games Saturday that involve ranked teams.

Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) looks to throw during last week's game against Kansas St.
Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) looks to throw during last week's game against Kansas St.Read moreOrlin Wagner / AP

The Red River rivalry game returns to the venerable Cotton Bowl for a matchup between two ranked teams, and the SEC features three important games in Week 6 of the college football season.

No. 6 Oklahoma (minus-3.5) vs. No. 21 Texas at Dallas, noon, 6ABC

The Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) are riding a 13-game winning streak that began with their four-overtime victory over the Longhorns (4-1, 2-0) in last year’s Red River rivalry game.

A major matchup will be Texas’ Bijan Robinson, the nation’s No. 2 rusher at 130.4 yards per game, against an Oklahoma defense that averages 79.4 yards allowed. Robinson rushed for a career-high 216 yards last week against TCU. The Sooners allowed just one running back (Iowa State’s Breece Hall) to rush for 100 yards in their last 18 games.

Spencer Rattler has thrown for 1,260 yards with 10 TD throws and four interceptions for Oklahoma, and will try to target sophomore Marvin Mims, who averages 18.8 yards per catch. Casey Thompson, named the starting quarterback in the Longhorns’ third game this season, is the son of Charles Thompson, who played quarterback for the Sooners in 1988-89.

The Cotton Bowl will welcome a sellout crowd of about 92,000 after attendance was limited to 24,000 last year because of the pandemic.

Prediction: Texas 34, Oklahoma 31

No. 13 Arkansas (plus-5.5) at No. 17 Mississippi, noon, ESPN

Both teams are licking their wounds after being crushed last week by the SEC’s two elite teams. The Razorbacks (4-1, 1-1) were shut out, 37-0, at No. 2 Georgia and the Rebels (3-1, 0-1) fell behind, 35-0, at top-ranked Alabama before losing, 42-21.

Led by quarterback Matt Corral (1,210 passing yards, 10 TDs, 0 interceptions), Mississippi enters the game ranked third nationally in total offense at 549.2 yards per game, and its 44.8-point average is fifth. Corral, who was intercepted six times in last year’s game against Arkansas, has thrown a TD pass in 16 consecutive games.

Although Arkansas had trouble stopping the run last week, its defense is ninth in the nation, allowing 280.9 yards per game, including 129.9 through the air (second in FBS).

Prediction: Mississippi 34, Arkansas 28

» READ MORE: Hostile Iowa fans await Penn State in Big Ten showdown with playoff implications

Maryland (plus-21) at No. 7 Ohio State, noon, Fox29

The Terrapins (4-1, 1-1) turned the ball over seven times last week, six on interceptions by Taulia Tagovailoa, in their loss to Iowa. The Buckeyes (4-1, 2-0) haven’t been all that solid defensively but they do lead the nation with four defensive touchdowns.

Led by quarterback C.J. Stroud, Ohio State continues to maintain lofty offensive numbers – 556.2 yards per game of total offense (first in FBS), 8.58 yards per play (first), and 45.0 points per game (fourth). Freshman TreVeyon Henderson is averaging 9.4 yards per carry.

Maryland suffered a major loss last week, losing leading receiver Dontay Demus to a knee injury.

Prediction: Ohio State 45, Maryland 17

No. 2 Georgia (minus-15.5) at No. 18 Auburn, 3:30 p.m., CBS3

Quarterback Bo Nix made some big plays for the Tigers (4-1, 1-0) in their win last week at LSU but now must face the Bulldogs (5-0, 3-0), who lead the nation allowing 4.6 points and 177.8 yards per game.

Auburn’s Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter have combined for 877 rushing yards and will test a Georgia defensive front led by Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt. Stetson Bennett, who filled in last week for injured starter J.T. Daniels, will likely start again at quarterback for the Bulldogs.

Prediction: Georgia 27, Auburn 10

No. 9 Michigan (minus-3.5) at Nebraska, 7:30 p.m., 6ABC

The Wolverines (5-0, 2-0) were highly successful in their first road trip last week, rocking Wisconsin, 38-17, and knocking quarterback Graham Mertz out of the game. They rank in FBS in average points scored (39.8, 11th) and points allowed (12.8, sixth), the only team to achieve in the top 15 in both categories.

However, the Cornhuskers (3-3, 1-2) put up 56 points last week on Northwestern and have moved into 11th place in FBS total offense at 504 yards per game. Adrian Martinez leads all Big Ten quarterbacks with 412 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground, and is second in total offense at 312.5 yards per game.

Prediction: Nebraska 21, Michigan 20

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No. 1 Alabama (minus-18) at Texas A&M, 8 p.m., CBS3

In the preseason, this looked like a major matchup that had playoff implications, with the Crimson Tide ranked first and the Aggies sixth. But A&M (3-2, 0-2 SEC) hasn’t lived up to the hype, losing its first two conference games to Arkansas and Mississippi State.

Alabama (5-0, 2-0), which leads the nation with a 19-game winning streak, has gotten 17 touchdown passes from quarterback Bryce Young. A sobering note for Aggie fans: The Tide has won 100 consecutive games against unranked opponents, and coach Nick Saban is 24-0 against former assistants. A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher worked on Saban’s staff while at LSU.

Prediction: Alabama 34, Texas A&M 16