College Football Week 7: Previews and Predictions for the Top 10 Games
What a Saturday it figures to be. Week 7 is filled with big rivalry matchups, such as Oklahoma-Texas, Oregon-Washington and Florida-LSU, as well as other intriguing conference matchups.
Mack Brown needs his ‘Horns to knock off Oklahoma, otherwise the drama in Austin will arise again. Washington will also try upset hated rival No. 2 Oregon at home.
Florida and LSU is always a close and physical game. Both teams desperately need this game to keep themselves in the national title race.
Missouri will be looking to get in the SEC East mix with an upset win at Georgia.
Northwestern travels to Wisconsin, where one team could be in danger of losing its opportunity to contend for a Big Ten Conference title.
With much anticipation heading into Saturday, here are the top 10 games to watch.
No. 25 Missouri at No. 7 Georgia
No. 25 Missouri @ No. 7 Georgia 12:00 p.m. ET ESPN
The Georgia Bulldogs survived yet again this past week against Tennessee. In their last two games, they have won by a combined total of six points.
The Missouri Tigers are off to a surprising 5-0 start and No. 25 AP ranking. A 51-28 route over Vanderbilt last week could be proof that this team has improved since last season’s disappointing 5-7 record.
The Tigers offense has looked solid thus far. Senior quarterback James Franklin has already passed for 1,407 yards and 13 touchdowns. The rushing attack led by Russell Hansbrough, Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy is averaging 258.8 yards per game this season (15th in the country).
The Bulldog offense is completely beat up but still manages to get the job done. Running back Keith Marshall and wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley are out for the season with knee injuries.
Wide receiver Michael Bennett injured his knee against Tennessee, and star running back Todd Gurley is unlikely to play this week too after missing last week's game with a sprained left ankle. At least quarterback Aaron Murray is still in the starting mix.
This is a chance for Missouri to not only make a statement in the SEC but become bowl-eligible. They also have the chance to take advantage of a Georgia squad that has been living on the edge and are injury-plagued. The Dawgs will barely escape again this Saturday.
Prediction: Georgia 41, Missouri 36
No. 12 Oklahoma vs Texas (Dallas)
No. 12 Oklahoma vs Texas (Dallas) 12:00 p.m. ET ABC
It’s one of the biggest rivalries in college football, but it hasn't been much of a rivalry as of late with Oklahoma winning the last three matchups by a combined total of 146-58.
Texas managed to escape at Iowa State with a few questionable calls going their way, and Oklahoma held on to defeat TCU to stay undefeated.
The Sooner offense led by running back Brennan Clay, who rushed for 111 yards and one touchdown against TCU last week, will be key in knocking off the Longhorns for a fourth straight year.
Quarterback Blake Bell had a big game last season against Texas when he bulldozed his way into the end zone four times. He'll be looking to give the defense problems again.
The Sooner defense continues to come up big and held TCU to an impressive 44 rushing yards.
The Longhorns will again start Case McCoy under center, as David Ash continues to recover from a head injury. A running game needs to be established with Johnathan Gray because the Sooner defense is solid in the secondary and will make teams pay if they rely too much on the passing game.
The biggest focus in this game will be Greg Robinson’s defense. The Longhorns have to be able to contain the run, otherwise it’s going to turn into another Red River nightmare.
Texas might be able to keep it close in the first half, but Oklahoma will eventually put the game out of reach.
Prediction: Oklahoma 42, Texas 20
No. 17 Florida at No. 10 LSU
No. 17 Florida @ No. 10 LSU 3:30 p.m. ET CBS
Florida is 2-3 in their last five meetings in the always hostile Death Valley.
The Gator defense has given up no more than 17 points this year and are holding opponents to just 65.0 rushing yards per game.
LSU comes in off a convincing 59-26 win over Mississippi State. The Tigers outscored the Bulldogs 28-0 in the fourth quarter. With the Gators being dominate against the run, look for Zach Mettenberger to make a lot of plays with his arm, something he’s been successful doing this season.
If running back Jeremy Hill can cause some disruption to the defense, it will open up Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, if he's healthy enough to play, in the passing game. The LSU offense is averaging 45.5 points per game. If their defense can contain a subpar Florida offense, the Tigers will keep themselves in the national title race.
It would be surprising if it was as low as last year’s 14-6 score. The Tigers are good offensively and have the home-field advantage, meaning they should be able to avenge last season's loss to the Gators.
Prediction: LSU 28, Florida 23
No. 19 Northwestern at Wisconsin
No. 19 Northwestern @ Wisconsin 3:30 p.m. ET ABC/ESPN2
Northwestern was held under 100 rushing yards against Ohio State, but on the other hand, the Wildcats passed for 343 yards. Quarterback Trevor Siemian may be forced again to make plays through the air because of Wisconsin’s talented run defense.
It doesn’t mean that other starting quarterback Kain Colter and running backs Venric Mark and Treyvon Green won’t need to make an impact in the running game, though. Speaking of running game, the Northwestern defense must try to shut down one of the most explosive rushing attacks in the country.
The Badger offense is averaging 300.6 rushing yards per game with Melvin Gordon and James White. Quarterback Joel Stave, who has passed for 1,056 yards this season, will continue to get the ball to his main target Jared Abbrederis, who had a big game against Ohio State by recording 207 receiving yards and one touchdown reception.
As mentioned earlier, the Badger defense needs to play a big role in shutting down Northwestern’s balanced attack.
This is going to be an even game, but the Badgers have home-field advantage and have been able to regroup for two weeks since losing to Ohio State.
Prediction: Wisconsin 38, Northwestern 31
No. 2 Oregon at No. 16 Washington
No. 2 Oregon @ No. 16 Washington 4:00 p.m. ET Fox Sports 1
The Ducks have the tendency to start games off slow offensively but hit their stride by the second quarter and put the game out of reach by halftime.
The Oregon offense led by talented sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is coming off a seven touchdown outing against Colorado. It’s unknown whether De’Anthony Thomas will return this Saturday, but the Ducks will need Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner to make plays out of the backfield again.
The receiving game led by Josh Huff has been critical to the success of the Oregon offense as well.
The Ducks are second in the country with 630.4 yards per game and have outscored opponents 108-20 in the second half. This is in large part to the defense converting turnovers.
The Huskies came into Eugene last season 3-1 and were blown out 52-21. This team, though, has improved drastically on offense, but will it be enough to keep up with Oregon's offense?
Bishop Sankey can’t afford to be shutdown in the backfield, Keith Price must make big plays outside the pocket, and wide receivers Kasen Williams and Kevin Smith, along with tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, need to present problems for the Oregon secondary.
The Husky defense is 11th in the country in points against with 14.8, but the chances of holding one of the most prolific offenses in college football off the scoreboard will be difficult to accomplish.
Washington will hang around most of the first half, but a few key plays for the Oregon offense at the end of the first half will ruin the Huskies' hopes of ending its nine-game losing streak to the Ducks.
Prediction: Oregon 49, Washington 31
The Other Five
No. 15 Baylor @ Kansas State 3:30 p.m. ET FOX
Art Briles' Bears ruined the Wildcats' chances of advancing to their first BCS National Title game in school history last season by pulling off a 52-24 upset down in Waco.
Kansas State will be seeking revenge, but without Collin Klein under center the offense hasn't been as productive. Baylor, on the other hand, has been unstoppable when they've had the ball this year. Quarterback Bryce Petty and running back Lache Seastrunk are currently leading the most dangerous offense in the country.
Baylor is the first team to score 70 points or more in three consecutive games since 1930, but can Kansas State find a way to slow the game down and pull off the upset?
Prediction: Baylor 45, Kansas State 27
No. 18 Michigan @ Penn State 5:00 p.m. ET ESPN
The Nittany Lions are proving they aren't the team they were from last season, but will home-field advantage give them a boost to knock off the unbeaten Wolverines? The Penn State defense will have to put pressure on quarterback Devin Gardner and cause turnovers if they want to rebound from last week’s disaster.
Prediction: Michigan 31, Penn State 23
No. 5 Stanford @ Utah 6:00 p.m. ET Pac-12 Network
Stanford held off Washington last week 31-28 to keep their undefeated season intact. Utah continues to fall just short, as they lost another close game to UCLA. The Utes have lost their last three games by a seven points or less.
If Kevin Hogan and the Stanford offense continue to play well, and the Stanford defense causes Utah quarterback Travis Wilson to throw interceptions, as he did last week against UCLA when he threw six of them, the Cardinals will come away with their 14th consecutive win. Expect Utah to make it interesting as usual, though.
Prediction: Stanford 35, Utah 24
Georgia Tech @ BYU 7:00 p.m. ET ESPNU
Both teams have dropped two games already, but there is excitement surrounding this non-conference matchup because of each team’s rushing attack.
Georgia Tech is currently seventh in the nation with 300.0 rushing yards per game, and BYU is behind them at 11 with 277.8 rushing yards per game. The Cougars blew out Georgia Tech last season in Atlanta 41-17, and they held the Yellow Jacket offense to just 157 yards on offense. It should be a tighter game this time around, though.
There won’t be as much scoring as one might anticipate, but their won’t be a lack of it when these two teams square off Saturday night in Provo.
Prediction: BYU 35, Georgia Tech 28
No. 9 Texas A&M @ Ole Miss 8:30 p.m. ET ESPN
After an impressive 3-0 start to the season, Hugh Freeze’s squad has dropped its past two games and is in danger of losing a third. Last year, the Rebels led until the Aggies scored 13 unanswered points, which included a Johnny Manziel 20-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Swope with 1:46 remaining, to pull off the 30-27 comeback win.
Manziel and the offense is going to give the Ole Miss defense problems both through the air and on the ground, but the Aggie defense hasn't necessarily been playing lights out.
Prediction: Texas A&M 41, Ole Miss 32