25 Bold and off the Wall Predictions for Week 7
With several fascinating matchups in tow, Week 7 boasts the possibility of delivering some pretty unexpected and wacky results.
Sure, we could have taken the easy way out and predicted what should happen. However, why not go the extra mile and try to lay a finger on what could happen?
The results are quite interesting.
Inside you will find: Four Top 10 teams falling, with several others receiving a scare. One embattled head coach is shown the door while another loosens up his vocal chords. Several players increase their Heisman stock while another’s takes a major hit.
That’s just a taste of what’s to come.
Without further ado, here are 25 bold and off the wall predictions for Week 7.
Pac-12 Refs Add Yet Another Blown Call to Resume
The Game: Any Pac-12 contest
The Pac-12 referees came under fire following the bizarre conclusion to the Wisconsin-Arizona State game.
After Badgers quarterback Joel Stave appeared to give himself up to set up a field goal—although rather sloppily, I might add—the officials failed to recognize what had happened. Instead, they allowed the clock to tick off and Wisconsin suffered its first loss in a game it should have won.
The conference has since reprimanded and “taken additional sanctions against” the referees involved in that game.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time.
Back in 2006, Pac-12 officials butchered the call of an onside kick during an Oklahoma-Oregon game. The referees awarded the ball to the Ducks even though a Sooners player is seen clearly coming up with possession.
Old habits die slow.
With a key showdown in Seattle looming between No. 2 Oregon and No. 16 Washington, it looks like a perfect opportunity for the officials to go screw up a game.
Trio of Running Backs Make Heisman Claim
The Game: Various
In what could easily be dubbed “The Year of the Quarterback,” a trio of running backs will look to change popular opinion.
Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk (53 CAR, 589 YDs, 8 TDs), Washington’s Bishop Sankey (131 CAR, 732 YDs, 7 TDs) and Boston College’s Andre Williams (133 CAR, 768 YDs, 7 TDs) have all made names for themselves through the first six weeks. However, in Week 7, expect all three to establish their cases for being considered for college football’s most-coveted hardware: The Heisman Trophy.
Seastrunk and Williams both face favorable matchups against weak run defenses against Kansas State and No. 3 Clemson respectively. Sankey, on the other hand, has a tougher matchup against No. 2 Oregon.
Regardless, all three will top 200 yards and score multiple touchdowns—three or four by Williams.
Currently, ESPN’s Heisman Watch strongly favors quarterbacks. The entire top six and nine of 11 on the expert poll all play under center.
After this weekend, expect that to change.
UMASS, Miami (OH) Need Multiple OTs in Battle for First Win of '13
The Game: Miami-OH (0-5) at Massachusetts (0-5), Oct. 12, 3 p.m. ET
Call it the futility bowl if you must. Either way, one of these teams will leave Gillette Stadium with its first win of the season.
Needless to say, it won’t be pretty.
Both the RedHawks and Minutemen haven’t scored more than 14 points in a game. Furthermore, both have conceded over 30 points per game.
This will be a back-and-forth contest that will take multiple overtimes to decide. But don’t mistake that for meaning it will be exciting. Because it won’t.
You’d have a lot more fun watching paint dry, listening to the sound of nails on a chalkboard on repeat, attending a snail-racing tournament, etc.
South Florida Cruises, HC Willie Taggart Breaks out into Song and Dance...Again
The Game: South Florida (1-4) at Connecticut (0-4), Oct. 12, 12 p.m. ET
It’s been a tough season for the Bulls.
The team ranks near the bottom in pretty much every statistical category. Both offensively and defensively.
So you can imagine the joy head coach Willie Taggart felt immediately following South Florida’s 26-20 win over Cincinnati.
It all accumulated in a less than stellar rendition of Sam Cooke’s 1963-hit “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
On Saturday, against a winless Huskies squad, the Bulls should cruise again.
With a full week of preparation, there will be no excuses when Taggart takes the podium this time around. Except to hear the head coach hit the high notes more like Kelly Clarkson and less like William Hung.
As far as song choices go, I suggest a classic: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye.
Army Gashes Eastern Michigan for 500 Yards
The Game: Eastern Michigan (1-4) at Army (2-4), Oct. 12, 12 p.m. ET
The Black Knights run the ball almost as good as anyone else.
Through six games, the team boasts the No. 4-ranked rushing attack in the nation. The trio of Terry Baggett (59 CAR, 440 YDs, 2 TDs), Larry Dixon (59 CAR, 437 YDs, 5 TDs) and Angel Santiago (90 CAR, 366 YDs, 4 TDs) has led the way in the backfield.
Fortunately, the team’s opponent this weekend has quite some difficulty stopping the run.
Aside from ranking No. 114 in scoring defense (38.0 PPGA), the Eagles also rank No. 108 against the run (212.6 YPGA). Furthermore, the unit has conceded a whopping 19 touchdowns and 5.7 yards per carry average on the ground.
The Army backfield must be licking their chops ahead of this one.
Boise State Lose, Records First 3-Loss Season Since '07
The Game: Boise State (3-2) at Utah State (3-2), Oct. 12, 8 p.m. ET
The tides are turning.
Much like Gonzaga in the early 2000s, the Broncos were a favorite to play America’s underdog every year after toppling Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. In fact, from 2008-12, the team suffered just five losses.
This year, the Broncos have already dropped two games. It marks the first time since 2005 that the team has lost two games before October.
Unfortunately, a tough matchup against Utah State on the road drops Boise State to 3-3.
It’ll be even more surprising since the Aggies will pull off the victory without starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton (knee), via USA Today’s Scott Gleeson. Instead, the team will rely on its ground game to surprise the Broncos.
Talk about a let down.
TCU Defense Holds Kansas Under 25 Yards of Rushing
The Game: Kansas (2-2) at TCU (2-3), Oct. 12, 12 p.m. ET
Over the years, the Horned Frogs have been known to have a stout defense. Unfortunately, that hadn’t been the case for much of 2013.
Then the defense put on a magnificent showing against Oklahoma in Norman last weekend.
Although they ultimately came up short, TCU limited the Sooners to just 248 yards of total offense before Brennan Clay’s 76-yard dash into the end zone with 4:37 remaining. Furthermore, Blake Bell was held to just 20-of-31 passing for 152 yards and no touchdowns.
Against a Jayhawks offense that barely averages over 300 yards of total offense and 137 rushing yards of per game, the Horned Frogs defense will shine.
Over the last three weeks, Kansas has averaged just 88.6 yards per game on the ground. That includes just 53 yards on 37 carries (1.4 YPC) against Texas Tech last Saturday.
The game will be out of hand by the end of the period, with TCU’s offense coming alive and forcing the Jayhawks to abandon the run.
USC Fans Bid Kiffin Farewell, Give Trojans Standing O
The Game: Arizona (3-1) at USC (3-2), Oct. 10, 10:30 p.m. ET
Only a couple hours later, Trojans fans awoke to the news as if it were Christmas morning.
After weeks of enduring countless “Fire Kiffin” chants, the USC football team can finally go out and focus purely on football. But that might not be all that awaits them.
Fans will pack the Coliseum and display their satisfaction and support by way of a standing ovation. Some may even break out to a chorus of "Goodbye."
It will be a nice gesture by the Trojan faithful that will be enough to help the team take down a solid Wildcats team.
Notre Dame Announces Use of Green Cleats for Remainder of Season
The Game: N/A
Last season, Notre Dame had one of the most dominant defenses in the entire nation. This year, that hasn’t really been the case.
However, in their 37-34 victory over Arizona State last weekend, the Irish showed glimpses of a dominant defensive unit.
Through three quarters, the Sun Devils’ potent offense was limited to just 13 points. Notre Dame managed to sack quarterback Taylor Kelly five times and the defense brought back a pivotal pick-six in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.
Could it be the green cleats the Irish wore to go along with their Shamrock series uniforms?
Given time to think during the bye week, head coach Brian Kelly decides to take no chances. He will announce that Notre Dame will wear the cleats for the remainder of the season.
Hey, whatever works.
OSU, WSU Break Scoreboard, Combine for 130 Points
The Game: Oregon State (4-1) at Washington State (4-2), Oct. 12, 10:30 p.m. ET
It’s no secret that the two quarterbacks in this one, Sean Mannion (Beavers) and Connor Halliday (Cougars) can put up yards.
Mannion has thrown for 2,018 yards and 21 touchdowns. Halliday has thrown for 1,993 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Not to mention, but both teams have struggled defensively.
Oregon State ranks No. 92 in the nation, allowing 31.6 points per game while Washington State was recently picked apart for 55 points and 560 yards by a usually pedestrian Stanford offense.
With that said, who would be foolish enough to expect anything else but a good old-fashioned shootout from these two?
One thing’s for sure: Martin Field may need a new scoreboard after this one is through.
Iowa State Upsets Texas Tech, Paul Rhoads Breaks Down in Presser
The Game: Iowa State (1-3) at No. 20 Texas Tech (5-0), Oct. 12, 12 p.m. ET
When the Cyclones lost to Texas 31-30 last weekend, we learned two things.
One, Big 12 referees seem to be doing whatever they can to stop the Longhorns slide. And two, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads really loves his team.
Following the controversial loss, Rhoads erupted in an epic rant, letting his frustration out over the performance by the officials.
However, the biggest takeaway seemed to be that he couldn’t bear the thought of his team not being rewarded for a valiant effort. It was pretty touching.
Against an undefeated Red Raiders team—who may be without starting quarterback Baker Mayfield, via The Globe Gazette’s Jim Nelson—the Cyclones will repay Rhoads for his support.
Overwhelmed by the victory and jubilation in the locker room, Rhoads has to fight back a tear or two during his press conference.
Melvin Gordon Rushes for 250 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
The Game: No. 19 Northwestern (4-1) at Wisconsin (3-2), Oct. 12, 3:30 p.m. ET
Melvin Gordon got off to one of the best starts of any running back in the nation. The sophomore rushed for 140 yards or more in each of his first four games before being limited to 74 against Ohio State.
With the Wildcats coming off a letdown against those same Buckeyes, it makes them the perfect victim for Gordon’s first 200-plus yard game of the year.
Last weekend, Carlos Hyde tore up Northwestern’s defense, rushing for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller added another 68.
Coming off a bye week, Gordon will be well-rested and should dominate the Wildcats, finding the end zone four times.
Michigan Shutouts PSU, Puts in Most Dominant Performance of Season
The Game: No. 18 Michigan (5-0) at Penn State (3-2)
The Wolverines were once ranked as high as No. 11 in the nation. However, since then, the team struggled to beat Akron and Connecticut—teams with a combined 1-9 record.
That caused Michigan to drop as low as No. 19 in the polls.
On Saturday, the team faces a Nittany Lions squad that is fresh off dropping its first ever game to Indiana. Penn State was held to just 70 yards of rushing while Indiana racked up 486 yards of total offense.
Backed by strong play from quarterback Devin Gardner who’ll record his first three-touchdown game since beating Notre Dame on Sept. 7, and dominant running from Fitzgerald Toussaint, the Wolverines will roll.
Expect a score a line of something around 38-0.
Baylor Offense Slowed Down, Only Scores 50
The Game: No. 15 Baylor (4-0) at Kansas State (2-3), Oct. 12, 3:30 p.m. ET
The Bears offense has been scary good lately. So much so that they’ve made scoring look easy.
But just how good has Baylor been?
Put it this way: The team’s 70.5 points per game would have ranked No. 94 in all of college basketball last year—better than 253 other Division I schools.
Even worse for future opponents, the Bears have only increased their output of points and yards in every week.
However, the Wildcats will put together one of the better defensive efforts we’ve seen all season and limit Baylor to just 50 points and a little over 500 yards of total offense. In fact, if Kansas State really comes out to play, even 40 points is in the realm of possibility.
I know, I know…it sounds crazy. But hear me out.
It’s unrealistic to expect the Bears to keep up this blistering pace. But not only that, the Wildcats also happen to be the best defense that Baylor has faced all season. In fact, it’ll be first opposing unit ranked No. 80 or better.
Although Bears quarterback Bryce Petty and running back Lache Seastrunk are real threats to explode, the duo will have to settle for three touchdowns a piece.
Jadeveon Clowney Plays, Matches Season Output in First Half
The Game: No. 14 South Carolina (4-1) at Arkansas (3-3), Oct. 12, 12:21 p.m. ET
All week long, Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been criticized for his decision to sit out last weekend’s contest against Kentucky. Many believe he’s being too cautious and trying to save himself for the NFL. Others cited a lack of passion for the game.
The junior’s play thus far seems to back up that notion.
After compiling 23.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks in 2012—highlighted by a helmet-popping hit against Michigan—Clowney has recorded just three tackles for a loss and two sacks in four games this season. Furthermore, seven other South Carolina defenders have recorded more tackles than him.
With the possibility that Clowney could miss his second consecutive game this weekend, via The Sporting News' Kami Mattioli the accusations only grew.
Well, guess what?
He hears them all loud and clear, decides to suit up this weekend and shows us all just why he deserves to be in the NFL. Clowney picks up four tackles for a loss and two sacks in the first half alone against a reeling Razorbacks squad who has lost three straight.
With that performance, all the criticism ceases.
Texas Loses by 70, Mack Brown Fired Postgame
The Game: No. 12 Oklahoma (5-0) vs. Texas (3-2), Oct. 12, 12 p.m. ET
Prior to the season, hopes were high for the Longhorns. So high that SI.com even predicted the team would wind up with a berth in a BCS bowl.
Six weeks in, Texas would be lucky to make a bowl…period.
Nobody saw this coming.
Nobody expected the Longhorns to already have two losses before the annual showdown at the Cotton Bowl. Nobody expected the team to lose to BYU, let alone give up 550 yards on the ground.
Even with all things considered, nobody expects Texas to lose by 70 against the rival Sooners.
However, given the potency the Oklahoma offense has shown under Blake Bell and the resurgence of a defensive unit that ranks in the Top 10, the Longhorns simply have no chance. This one will get ugly fast. Real fast.
With such an embarrassing loss, it leaves Texas officials no choice but to fire embattled head coach Mack Brown. In fact, he might not even make it to his post-game presser before receiving the word.
UCLA Intercepts Jared Goff 8 Times
The Game: California (1-4) at No. 11 UCLA (4-0), Oct. 12, 10:30 p.m. ET
Only a handful of teams have turned the ball over more than the Bears. The team ranks No. 118 in the category, coughing the ball up 16 times on the year.
That’s music to the Bruins ears.
UCLA is fresh off a 34-27 win over Utah where the defense dominated Travis Wilson. In fact, the sophomore threw a career-high six interceptions.
It’s impressive, given that Wilson had thrown multiple picks just once in 16 career games coming in.
Although, Cal quarterback Jared Goff is one of the nation’s top passers, he’s not immune from making mistakes. The freshman has thrown an interception in three of five games—including three against Northwestern.
On the road, Goff struggles and the Bruins capitalize big time.
Tyler Murphy Has Game of Life, Stuns LSU
The Game: No. 17 Florida (4-1) at No. 10 LSU (5-1), Oct. 12, 3:30 p.m. ET
Tim Tebow went down in Gator history for his speech in 2008 that propelled the team to the BCS title. On Saturday, quarterback Tyler Murphy will etch a spot of his own with a stellar performance in just his third-career start against the Tigers on the road.
In most years, a top-ranked LSU squad will boast a stifling defense. However, that hasn’t been the case in 2013.
Instead, all the talk is focused on how Cam Cameron has revitalized a Tigers offense that is finally putting up points.
Even the defense seems to be amused so much that they’ve forgotten how to play SEC defense.
Against a unit that has allowed 367 yards per game while conceding 17 touchdowns to opposing offenses, the dual-threat Murphy will be just fine.
Florida will roll, crack the Top 15 in the polls and look like a true threat to win the SEC.
Bo Wallace Praises Texas A&M D, Lights Up Scoreboard
The Game: No. 9 Texas A&M (4-1) at Ole Miss (3-2), Oct. 8:30 p.m. ET
Prior to the Rebels’ showdown with No. 1 Alabama on Sept. 28, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace was high on his team’s 3-0 start. So high that the junior proclaimed that, “we can score on anybody.”
Apparently, that wasn’t the case, as the Rebels offense was shutout 25-0. Wallace went 17-of-31 for 159 yards while rushing for just five yards on 12 carries.
Following the game, several Tide defenders claimed they used the smack talk as motivation.
Way to poke the bear, Bo.
Fortunately, this weekend Ole Miss faces a struggling Aggies defensive unit. One that ranks No. 112 in total defense (476.8 YPGA) and has been giving up 30.8 points per game.
However, When asked whether the Rebels can stop their two-game slide against such a weak unit, Wallace should say something like this: “You know, they’re a lot better than the numbers might show. I think it’s going to be a challenge out there for us.”
The reverse psychology will work, as Wallace will follow up his 336-yard, two-touchdown performance against Auburn by throwing for at least 400 yards and three scores.
Unfortunately, it won’t be enough to outduel Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M offense.
Teddy Bridgewater Uses National Stage to Deliver Heisman Moment
The Game: Rutgers (4-1) at No. 8 Louisville (5-0)
Teddy Bridgewater entered the season as a Heisman contender. Thus far, he’s put up the numbers—71.7 CMP%, 1,562 YDs, 16 TDs, 1 INT, 197.2 QBR.
However, the junior is yet to have that Heisman moment.
Sure, the Cardinals schedule doesn’t help matters. But it’s not like Bridgewater is putting up eye-popping numbers either.
Against an SEC opponent, Kentucky, he had a chance to do something against a somewhat-respectable foe.
Instead, he faltered going 16-of-28 for 250 yards and just one touchdown. It can only be summed up as a missed opportunity.
On Thursday, Bridgewater will get the chance to make up for his past shortcomings. Louisville will host a very solid Scarlet Knights team in front of a national audience.
With the Cardinals defense receiving its first test, Bridgewater will do more than enough with his arm to keep the team from ever feeling threatened. He will finally get his moment by dominating a respectable opponent.
Injuries Catch Up to Georgia, Missouri Squeaks out Win
The Game: No. 25 Missouri (5-0) at No. 7 Georgia (4-1), Oct. 12, 12 p.m. ET
The injury bug has hit the Bulldogs hard this season.
After losing top-receiver Malcolm Mitchell for the remainder of the season in Week 1, the team’s leading rusher, Todd Gurley, suffered an ankle sprain in Week 5. However, it was nothing compared to what went down during last weekend’s matchup with Tennessee.
Running back Keith Marshall, along with wide receivers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley, sustained injuries during the game. Even punter Collin Barber suffered a concussion on a blocked punt.
According to ESPN’s David Ching, both Marshall and Scott-Wesley will miss the rest of the season while Bennett’s timetable is unknown. Barber is day-to-day.
With the injury list piling up, now isn’t the best time for Georgia to host the unbeaten Tigers.
Entering the weekend, the Bulldogs have been giving out points like they’re club flyers. The team allows an average of 32.2 points per game.
Sure, the argument is that the numbers are skewed due to playing a lot of good offenses, including three Top 10 teams. Well, newsflash, Missouri is one of those offenses—the team ranks No. 8 in scoring and No. 7 in total offense.
The Tigers will come into Athens and expose Georgia's vulnerabilities, ending the Bulldogs' BCS title hopes in the process.
Utah Shocks Stanford, Capitalizes on Questionable Secondary
The Game: No. 5 Stanford (5-0) at Utah (3-2), Oct. 12, 6 p.m. ET
During the 31-28 loss to Washington, the Cardinal’s secondary was somewhat exposed.
Huskies quarterback Keith Price did his best Peyton Manning impression during the fourth quarter, moving the ball down the field on three consecutive drives. Price finished 33-of-48 for 350 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
On the season, Stanford ranks No. 94 in the nation against the pass (260.8 YPGA). Furthermore, the unit has given up nine passing touchdowns.
The team’s opponent this weekend, the Utes, are coming off a close 34-27 loss to No. 12 UCLA.
Unlike Price, Utah quarterback Travis Wilson provides a threat both with his arm and his legs. He’s totaled 1,654 yards of offense while accounting for 16 touchdowns.
Wilson will keep the Cardinal defense off balance and make up for his six-interception performance last weekend.
It all leads to the Utes pull off the biggest upset of the weekend, outscoring Stanford in a shootout.
Clemson Nearly Caught Looking Ahead, Escape in OT
The Game: Boston College (3-2) at No. 3 Clemson (5-0), Oct. 12, 3:30 p.m. ET
Everyone in college football is looking forward to the Oct. 19 showdown between the Tigers and No. 6 Florida State.
It’ll pit two Top 10 teams up against one another, likely decide the Atlantic Division of the ACC and match up Heisman contenders Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston head to head. Not to mention, ESPN’s College GameDay is likely to be in attendance as well.
However, many—including Clemson—will expect this weekend’s matchup with Eagles to be a foregone conclusion.
If you recall, Boston College recently gave the Seminoles a scare during a 48-34 loss. In fact, the team actually led 17-3 at one point in the second quarter.
Coming off back-to-back big games against Florida State (146 YDs) and Army (263 YDs, 5 TDs), running back Andre Williams will continue his dominance against a Tigers defensive unit that ranks No. 79 in stopping the run.
Ultimately, in what turns out to be a high-scoring shootout, Clemson pulls through in OT behind a big game from Boyd.
Marcus Mariota Exposed as Human, Throws 3 Picks in Loss
The Game: No. 2 Oregon (5-0) at No. 16 Washington (4-1), Oct. 12, 4 p.m. ET
From his performance thus far in 2013, Marcus Mariota has looked more Skynet cyborg than college football quarterback.
Through five games, the sophomore has led the Ducks to a 5-0 record while landing himself in the front of the Heisman race. His numbers—1,696 TOT YDs, 21 TDs, 0 INT—certainly make him deserving of such praise.
However, Mariota will show signs of mortality in a tough road matchup against the Huskies this week.
Washington will bring in a defensive unit that ranks Top 10 in several major categories, along with allowing just 14.8 points per game. Although falling short in its effort to upset No. 5 Stanford last weekend, the team showed a lot of grit, limiting Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan to just 100 yards.
Completing just 56.7 percent of his throws, and going up against a Huskies pass rush that averages three sacks a game, Mariota will struggle immensely, ultimately costing Oregon the game.
Alabama Mistakes Kentucky for Cupcake, Survives Scare
The Game: No. 1 Alabama (5-0) at Kentucky (1-4), Oct. 12, 7 p.m. ET
The Crimson Tide have been criticized for its weak schedule. In fact, only Ohio State arguably has an easier regular season schedule among Top-10 teams.
This year’s schedule includes one FCS opponent, one first-year FBS school and will likely only feature two teams—Texas A&M and LSU—that will end the season in the Top 25.
Against the Wildcats this weekend, expect Alabama to mistake them for one of its other cupcake games on the schedule. And it will almost cost the Tide dearly.
Although Kentucky may be 1-4, the team is a lot tougher than it appears.
You’ve got to keep in mind that the Wildcats have already played three consecutive ranked opponents. That includes holding Louisville’s offense to 27 points and losing to South Carolina by just a touchdown.
On the other hand, Alabama has struggled in some winnable games already this season. The team failed to put away Colorado State until the fourth quarter and only put up nine points against a weak Ole Miss defense in the first half.
This should be a sloppy first half, with a better-than-advertised Kentucky defense holding the Tide to single digits by halftime. The Wildcats may even hold a field-goal lead.
However, Alabama head coach Nick Saban needs to remind his guys that this isn’t Georgia State in the locker room before cruising in the second half.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.