College Football: Power Ranking Top 10 Showdowns for Week 7

T.J. Mcaloon@@tjmcaloonContributorOctober 7, 2012

College Football: Power Ranking Top 10 Showdowns for Week 7

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    As we head to the middle of college football season, teams are starting to stand out from the rest at the conference level, and, in some cases, at the national level.

    Week 7 has a number of great games that will not only help shape how conferences will pan out for the rest of the season, but will also help to form the BCS picture.

    Some games will have you glued to your television, while other games may have you just checking to see what the score is. 

    But, either way, these 10 games are the best for this coming weekend. 

No. 10: Wisconsin Badgers at Purdue Boilermakers

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    Time: Saturday, October 13, noon ET on Big Ten Network

    This may not have you captivated at your television, but this game has a ton of Big Ten championship game implications. 

    Both teams have one conference loss in the 2012 season, while Wisconsin has the half-game lead on Purdue in the overall record.

    A win for the Boilermakers would set them up to take control of the Leaders division.

    Wisconsin needs this win to help it make a trip back to Indianapolis to contend for another Rose Bowl appearance. 

    Predicted Score: Wisconsin 27, Purdue 17

No. 9: Arizona State Sun Devils at Colorado Buffaloes

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    Time: Thursday, October 11, 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

    This game, like No. 10 on this list, isn't one that will grab the national audience's attention. However, this game has a mountain of Pac-12 South Division implications on the line. 

    Arizona State has yet to lose a conference game, while Colorado sits behind the Sun Devils with a chance to insert itself in the race for the division crown. Now, both teams still have to play conference champion favorites USC Trojans.

    But for now, this game can make either team's fan bases' dream of a Pac-12 championship game. 

    Predicted Score: Arizona State 45, Colorado 31

No. 8: Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Tech Hokies

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    Time: Saturday, October 13, 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3

    This game is a tale of two teams on different swings in the season.

    Duke has won four straight games and is one win away from qualifying for a bowl game for the first time since 1995.

    However, Virginia Tech has lost its last two games and three of its last four. The Hokies look as if they are having a down year, where they struggle to win seven games. 

    If Duke can win, it will be a huge upset for the program, while Virginia Tech needs a win to stay alive in its division. 

    Predicted Score: Duke 20, Virginia Tech 19

No. 7: Alabama Crimson Tide at Missouri Tigers

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    Time: Saturday, October 13, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS

    Any time the No. 1 team in the country is on television—this game will be on CBS—you have to stop and pay attention. Alabama travels to Missouri, and for at least the first half, it should be a tightly contended game. 

    Plus, Alabama is coming off of a bye week and has a tough game against the Tennessee Volunteers on the road in Week 8. So those two factors may have Alabama playing rusty and looking ahead to the next game.

    However, this team is the best in the country and should be able to have this game out of reach by the end of the third quarter.

    Predicted Score: Alabama 41, Missouri 17

No. 6: Kansas State Wildcats at Iowa State Cyclones

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    Time: Saturday, October 13, noon ET on FX

    Before the season started, this game would not have made the Top 10 of any power rankings list. However, after the way these two teams started their seasons, with No. 6 Kansas State 5-0 and Iowa State 4-1, this will be a great game between two great Big 12 teams.

    Kansas State has a high-powered offense that has scored 50 points or more in three of its five wins.

    Iowa State has a stout defense that has allowed 15.8 points per game to opposing offenses. 

    The Cyclones will be the toughest defense that Kansas State has played this year. This could be a big upset that shakes up the Top 10 and the Big 12. 

    Predicted Score: Kansas State 27, Iowa State 23

No. 5: West Virginia Mountaineers at Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Time: Saturday, October 13, 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN/ABC

    There are three reasons as to why you should find a way to watch No. 5 WVU at Texas Tech on ABC or ESPN (depending on your local listings): 

    1. WVU is coming off of a huge road victory over the Texas Longhorns. So, this has all of the makings of a let-down game where they come out flat. 
    2. Geno Smith is the best player in the country. He has an insane 24 touchdowns-to-zero interception stat line and is a threat to throw for 500 yards against a bad Red Raiders secondary. 
    3. Texas Tech can keep up with WVU's offense. With the Mountaineers coming into the game allowing 35 points per game, this will be a high-scoring entertaining game. 

    Predicted Score: West Virginia 55, Texas Tech 38

No. 4: USC Trojans at Washington Huskies

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    Time: Saturday, October 13, 7:00 p.m. ET on FOX

    No. 11 USC is a team that has enough talent to be a BCS title contender but seems to lack motivation until it is down in a game. We saw that against the Utah Utes in Week 6, when they were down 14-0. They did rally to win 38-28.

    Washington, on the other hand, has already upset a Top 10 team in the Pac-12 when it beat the Stanford Cardinal 17-13 at home.

    However, Washington is coming into this game after getting destroyed on the road by the Oregon Ducks 52-21.

    So, there are a number of things that could happen in this game. USC could show up flat on the road, again. Washington could continue its free-fall down the Pac-12 standings. Or, quarterbacks Matt Barkley and Keith Price could treat us to a great offensive show.  

    Predicted Score: USC 28, Washington 20

No. 3: Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Time: Saturday, October 13, 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC

    Break out the shamrocks and golden domes as the No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are a legit BCS title game threat. 

    The Irish have displayed a punishing defense that can carry this team if not to the title game, at least back to a BCS bowl game. They are coming into this game after putting on a defensive clinic against the Miami (FL) Hurricanes. In Week 5 against the North Carolina Wolfpack, Miami's quarterback Stephen Morris threw for 566 yards. However, against Notre Dame, Morris had an abysmal 201 yards. 

    The Irish defense will have its hands full against Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes. 

    Last week against the Arizona Wildcats, Nunes threw for 380 yards and two touchdowns with another three rushing scores. 

    Will the irish defense put on another great performance, or will Nunes and the Cardinal offense overwhelm the Irish defense leading to the upset? 

    Predicted Score: Stanford 31, Notre Dame 28

No. 2: Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners

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    Time: Saturday, October 13, noon ET on ABC

    Any other week this game would be the "Must-See" game of the week. However, our No. 1 game is so big and has so many BCS title game implications that I had to put the Red River Rivalry at No. 2.

    Not only does this game have its venue (The Cotton Bowl) split down the middle, it also goes on right in the middle of the Texas State Fair. 

    In previous years, the winner of this game would go onto to control its fate in the Big 12 conference. Also in previous years, the winner would then go onto play in the BCS championship game. However, this year's contest may not have the same stakes. It still will determine which team may sneak into a BCS bowl game. 

    Predicted Score: No. 15 Texas 41, No. 13 Oklahoma 31

No. 1: South Carolina Gamecocks at LSU Tigers

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    Time: Saturday, October 13, 8:00 p.m. ET On ESPN

    The game of the week is once again between two SEC teams jockeying for position in the Top 10 of the Top 25 polls. 

    In Week 6 it was the Florida Gators upsetting No. 9 LSU when the Tigers traveled to "The Swamp."

    This week, we could see another huge victory for an SEC East division member, as No. 3 South Carolina is hell-bent on coming into "Death Valley" and leaving with a victory.

    However, if the Tigers can hold off the Gamecocks, then they will reinsert themselves into the BCS title picture. But, if South Carolina can leave with a road victory, it will emerge as the favorite to win the SEC East division.

    Predicted Score: South Carolina 21, LSU 13