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College football Anxiety Games for Week 6

Week 6 has many of Anxiety Games to dive into, including the Red River Anxiety Bowl and Bryan Harsin heading into Sanford Stadium

Oklahoma v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Week 6 of the 2022 college football season has arrived and so has our weekly look at Anxiety Games across the country. For those new here, we’re keeping tabs on games where the fans and/or coaching staffs of specific programs may feel a bit uneasy about the possibility of things going downhill with a bad outing.

Once again, there’s plenty of these games to jump into for this week. Let’s dive in.

Oklahoma vs. Texas, 12 p.m. ET, ABC (Dallas)

The Red River Shootout is always a crippling anxiety fest for both fan bases at the Cotton Bowl and this year’s edition has interesting circumstances.

Starting on the Oklahoma side, uh, what the hell was that last week? The Sooners were blasted by TCU in a 55-24 blowout last week, a game where the Horned Frogs did basically whatever they wanted on offense. OU’s ghastly defense was a shocking sight to behold until you realize that Ted Roof is the defensive coordinator. Woof. Having lost two straight heading into Dallas, a loss at Red River would mark the program’s first three-game losing streak since John Blake’s final season in 1998. The honeymoon is already over for first-year head coach Brent Venables and he absolutely needs this game.

As for Texas, the team handled its business in a 38-20 victory over West Virginia last Saturday to get back above .500. Starting quarterback Quinn Ewers will return after a month long absence and head coach Steve Sarkisian can finally stop playing games about who will start. A win here could be a positive boots for the Longhorns heading into the second half of the season while a loss to a vulnerable OU team will be deflating.

Louisville at Virginia, 12 p.m. ET, ACC Network

Louisville has been a regular addition to the Anxiety Game series this year and that’s once again the case at UVA on Saturday. The Cardinals suffered a 34-33 loss to Boston College last week, a game where starting quarterback Malik Cunningham sustained an undisclosed injury in the fourth quarter. He is listed as day-to-day and backup Brock Domann would step in if Cunningham is unable to go. A loss here would drop the Cards to 2-4 and suddenly, the prospect of getting bowl eligible would become tougher for head coach Scott Satterfield and his team.

On the other side is another 2-3 in Virginia, who is experiencing some growing pains under first-year head coach Tony Elliott. The Cavaliers have dropped two straight heading into Saturday and their offense is struggling even with veteran quarterback Brennan Armstrong under center. They could use a pick-me-up against another middling ACC team in Louisville.

USF at Cincinnati, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Things are starting to crumble for head coach Jeff Scott at USF. His Bulls were blown out by ECU 48-28 last Saturday, a game where the Pirates entered halftime with a 41-7 lead. The vultures are starting to circle in Tampa as the lack of competitiveness in FBS games has fans calling for his job. Another embarrassing outing against the Bearcats this weekend and those calls will grow even louder.

Auburn at Georgia, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Here is your weekly Bryan Harsin entry into this list as Auburn crosses the state line to Athens, GA, to face Georgia. The Tigers squandered a 17-0 lead against LSU last week, ultimately falling 21-17. Auburn now stares down the barrel of facing the No. 2 Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium, a place where they haven’t won in this series since 2005. This year’s edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry could serve as the funeral service for Harsin’s tenure on the Plains.

North Carolina at Miami, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2

We go back to ACC for another pair of teams in really weird spots. On the Miami side, they’ve had a full bye week to stew on its embarrassing 45-31 loss to Middle Tennessee State two weeks ago. Despite getting benched for Jake Garcia midway through that contest, starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke will get the start against the Tar Heels on Saturday. The Hurricanes still have a chance to turn some things around but a third straight loss would effectively make year one of the Mario Cristobal era a wash.

Meanwhile, North Carolina is 4-1 after obliterating Virginia Tech in a 41-10 victory last Saturday. The offense has done its best to paper over Gene Chizik’s porous defense, which is ranked 99th in defensive SP+ rankings. The Heels have a chance to stay afloat new the top of the conference and a loss would suck them right back into the abyss that is the ACC’s middle class.