College Football Predictions Week 7: Projecting Weekend's Biggest Winners

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2013

STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 05:  Jeremy Hill #33 of the LSU Tigers celebrates a touchdown against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during a game at Davis Wade Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Starkville, Mississippi.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

There are a handful of intriguing top-25 clashes on the college football slate this weekend, including a pair of pivotal showdowns in SEC land.

Top-10 programs Georgia and LSU will play host to quality teams in Missouri and Florida, respectively. And though each will be favored, that hasn't stopped some experts from sounding the upset-alert alarm, per Kirk Herbstreit on Twitter:

We'll see about that. 

Below, I'll predict a trio of teams set to earn pivotal wins this weekend.  


No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia needed overtime to beat Tennessee on the road in Week 6, but a win is a win and the Bulldogs have now won four straight games.

On Saturday, Mark Richt's team will play host to the undefeated Missouri Tigers, who are now ranked 25th in the land following their 5-0 start in 2013. Unfortunately, Mizzou will find itself on the outside looking in at the top 25 after this weekend. 

The Bulldogs are a flawless 3-0 in Athens this season and boast one of the most productive passing attacks, ranking 17th in the nation in passing yards per game. It won't help that the Tigers are ranked 115th in the country in pass defense, surrendering nearly 300 yards per game through the air.

With early-season victories over South Carolina and LSU, Georgia is battle tested and has simply too much at stake to slip up against an over-matched Missouri team.

Don't read into Missouri's No. 25 ranking, either. Maryland held that spot down last week but wound up losing by 63 points at Florida State.


No. 10 LSU Tigers

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 15:  Jarvis Landry #80 of the LSU Tigers celebrates with fans after their 38-7 win over Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Home-field advantage is mighty in college football, especially in the SEC. 

On Saturday afternoon, the LSU Tigers will host the No. 17 Florida Gators in one of the weekend's marquee matchups. Each team enters with just one loss, but the odds of Florida escaping Death Valley with a win appear very slim.

After all, LSU has lost just once in Baton Rouge (last year vs. Alabama) since the Tim Tebow-led Gators won 13-3 in October 2009 to end the Tigers' bid for a perfect season. Florida was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time of that victory, which means LSU has lost at home just twice over the past four-and-a-half seasons, both times falling to the No. 1-ranked team in the country.

Florida's defense ranks among the best in the nation this year, but LSU's offense is averaging nearly 100 more yards per game than the Gators' and should outshine Will Muschamp's conservative unit.

Look for LSU to take advantage of its wild crowd this weekend.


Wisconsin Badgers

Aug 31, 2013; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon (25) rushes for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Shifting gears from the SEC to the Big Ten, unranked Wisconsin is another high-profile team poised to pick up a big win in Week 7.

The Badgers may be 3-2 through six weeks, but they'll have a shot to knock off No. 19 Northwestern in Madison on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats are just one week removed from a demoralizing home loss to Ohio State and have yet to truly be tested on the road. 

Northwestern won at California to begin the year, but the Golden Bears are 1-4 and winless in the Pac-12 this season.

Look for Wisconsin's sixth-ranked rushing attack and 10th-ranked scoring defense to give Northwestern tons of problems this weekend. The Badgers have had a week off to recover following their narrow loss at Ohio State last month and boast two brilliant runners in Melvin Gordon and James White, who have combined to rush for 1,171 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

Watch for that duo to run all over a Northwestern defense that gave up 248 rushing yards to the Buckeyes at home last week, including 168 to Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde.


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