College Football Rankings 2013: Predictions for Week 7's Top 25 Matchups

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 7, 2013

EUGENE, OR. - SEPTEMBER 28: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates with the teammates including offensive linesman Jake Fisher #75 and offensive linesman Tyler Johnstone #64 of the Oregon Ducks after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter of the game against the California Golden Bears at Autzen Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

There hasn't been much change at the top of the college football rankings, but Week 7 could provide a shakeup to the national championship picture.

No. 2 Oregon hits the road to take on the Washington Huskies in one of the schedule's most notable Top 25 matchups on Saturday. The other of those is an SEC clash between the 17th-ranked Florida Gators and hosting No. 10 LSU Tigers.

Although the Missouri Tigers will be viewed as massive underdogs in traveling to Athens to battle with Georgia, the Bulldogs narrowly evaded disaster by edging out Tennessee in overtime in their last game.

Here is a look at the complete AP rankings entering this week's action—along with B/R's own Top 25—followed by analysis and predictions for the ranked showdowns on tap.

 

No. 25 Missouri Tigers vs. No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs

COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 28:  Running back Henry Josey #20 of the Missouri Tigers carries the ball during the game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

What a turnaround it's been for Mizzou.

Just a season ago, the Tigers looked to be overwhelmed in the SEC and finished with a record of just 5-7, but now they are in the midst of a resurgent 2013 campaign. The Tigers have matched that win total in starting off 5-0, led by a balanced, explosive offense.

Senior quarterback James Franklin threw four touchdowns last week in a 51-28 road win at Vanderbilt, getting the team's conference schedule off to an ideal start.

That positive movement will be halted on Saturday, though, because Georgia is a class above Mizzou on the gridiron.

David Ching of ESPN.com reports that Bulldogs running back Keith Marshall is out for the season, but that will only be a rallying point for QB Aaron Murray and the rest of his team.

Murray has been clutch as can be when the Bulldogs have looked down and out, which could happen again in this contest:

In Ching's report is also news that Justin Scott-Wesley is done for the year with a torn ACL, just like Marshall.

A letdown had to be expected for Georgia in Tennessee after a stirring win over LSU the previous week, but Murray refused to let it result in a second 2013 loss.

The Bulldogs will get back on track, driven by Murray outdueling Franklin when it matters and winning in spite of a leaky Georgia defense and numerous injuries on offense.

Prediction: Georgia 34, Missouri 24

 

No. 17 Florida Gators vs. No. 10 LSU Tigers

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 06:  Tharold Simon #24 of the LSU Tigers tackles Jeff Driskel #6 of the Florida Gators during the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Gators junior quarterback Tyler Murphy has taken command of the offense since incumbent starter Jeff Driskel went down with a broken fibula.

Although some might argue that Murphy is a game manager who makes safe throws and leans on his running game and stout defense, he isn't fazed by that criticism. Murphy even tries to emulate Alabama QB AJ McCarron, who's often slapped with the "game manager" label:

In a hostile environment in Baton Rouge, Murphy would do well to stick to that plan that has gotten him two starting wins.

LSU signal-caller Zach Mettenberger has made huge strides this season under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, already eclipsing his touchdown passing total of 2012 by a count of 15-12.

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 06:  Loucheiz Purifoy #15 of the Florida Gators acknowledges the crowd during the game against the LSU Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Mettenberger faces a stiff test, though, in matching up with a stout Florida secondary featuring top-flight cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson.

Then there's true freshman Vernon Hargreaves, another excellent corner who has actually been named a starter because of the immediate impact he's made.

This game should come down to who runs the ball better, but both teams have top-10 rushing defenses in the country, per NCAA.com.

As improved as Mettenberger is, his more aggressive style should lend to more mistakes and allow the Gators to get out of Tiger Stadium with an upset victory.

Prediction: Florida 20, LSU 17

 

No. 2 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 16 Washington Huskies

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 28: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks warms up before the game against the California Golden Bears at Autzen Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

It's been a schedule filled with pushover games for the Ducks, but this Huskies team is a force to be reckoned with.

Washington went on the road to Stanford last week and just missed pulling off the upset and a probable vault into the top 10 in the rankings, losing 31-28.

Revenge could be exacted on an Oregon team, but SI.com's Stewart Mandel brings up a great point: The Huskies defense has to transition from a physical, grueling Stanford front seven to the lightning-quick, up-tempo Oregon offensive attack.

Even with the home Husky Stadium crowd's support, that's a tall order. Ducks QB Marcus Mariota is the Heisman Trophy front-runner, per ESPN.com's list, and is as dangerous on the ground as he is with his arm.

But Washington's own Keith Price proved his worth against a stout Cardinal defense, throwing for 350 yards and two touchdowns last week.

This could be yet another upset based on Oregon's weak schedule to date and the Huskies' performance against Stanford in holding Cardinal QB Kevin Hogan to 100 yards passing.

Price will make a statement in carving up the Ducks' defense and put himself more in the discussion as one of the top-tier NFL prospects at his position in a loaded prospective 2014 draft class.

Prediction: Washington 38, Oregon 31