25 Things We Learned from Week 7 in College Football
Week 7 of college football was full of upsets and dominating performances, and it set the stage for what is sure to be a huge Week 8.
Oregon proved its worth with a dominating 45-24 win over the Washington Huskies. The Missouri Tigers also showed they're worthy of national attention after upsetting the Georgia Bulldogs.
The South Carolina Gamecocks quietly put the controversy surrounding Jadeveon Clowney to bed with a blowout win over the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Check out more of what we learned from college football's Week 7.
All rankings are according to the AP poll unless otherwise noted.
The Oregon Ducks Are Legit
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
The Oregon Ducks had yet to face a ranked opponent before Saturday, so questions surrounding whether that high-flying offense would hold up against a premier defense dominated headlines leading into the game.
But behind the stellar play of quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Ducks proved themselves as a national title contender with a 45-24 drubbing of the Washington Huskies.
Mariota looked like a superstar, as he completed 24 of 31 pass attempts for 366 yards, threw three touchdowns and also ran for one.
And the Ducks offense as a whole looked dominant. Despite facing a great Huskies defense, the Ducks still racked up 631 total yards of offense.
The tough tests will continue in the coming weeks for Oregon, as its faces Washington State, UCLA and Stanford in the next three Saturdays. If the Ducks can get through those three games with wins, it's hard to see them not going undefeated.
So Are the Missouri Tigers
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Last year, the Missouri Tigers finished 5-7 overall and looked overmatched in their inaugural year in the SEC.
But with Saturday's 41-26 win over the Georgia Bulldogs, the Tigers emphatically proclaimed that they deserve SEC title contention in 2013.
Following the win, the Tigers are now the fifth-highest-ranked SEC team in the polls, trailing Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
But more importantly, the Tigers are one of just two undefeated teams left in the SEC. The Crimson Tide, the nation's top-ranked team, is the only other team with that claim.
The gauntlet doesn't stop for Missouri, as it faces No. 22 Florida and No. 11 South Carolina in its next two games. Those matchups will be particularly difficult without starting quarterback James Franklin, who separated his shoulder against the Bulldogs and will miss an extended period of time, according to ESPN.
Backup quarterback Maty Mauk will take the reins in Columbia as he looks to keep this magical season going.
And the Baylor Bears
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
With Saturday's 35-25 win over the Kansas State Wildcats, quarterback Bryce Petty and the Baylor Bears proved they are the real deal in the Big 12.
Petty had a huge game, throwing for 332 yards and three touchdowns as the Bears advanced to 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in the Big 12.
What was even more impressive about Baylor's win, though, is that they survived a tough test from a feisty Kansas State team.
The Bears had yet to go on the road in 2013 before Saturday, so it was fair to wonder if Baylor's prolific offense could stand the test of a rowdy crowd in a hostile environment. And while the Bears had their pains in the game, converting just four of 13 third downs, Baylor still proved that it can win tough games.
The Bears face Iowa State and Kansas, two of the Big 12's worst teams, in the next two weeks before facing Oklahoma on Nov. 7.
But the Georgia Bulldogs Aren't
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Aaron Murray's Heisman Trophy chances and the Georgia Bulldogs national title chances were whisked away on Saturday after the loss to the Missouri Tigers.
Murray was limited to just 25-of-45 passing with 290 yards and two interceptions. And at times, he simply looked overmatched.
And now Georgia is 4-2 overall and just 3-1 in the SEC, with Florida and Auburn still on the schedule.
The Bulldogs looked like they were going to put the Week 1 loss to Clemson behind them, especially with their win over LSU.
But with the Bulldogs having to take Tennessee to overtime last week, then this week's loss to the Tigers, Georgia is clearly not among the nation's elite.
Tyler Murphy Needs More Time to Fit into the SEC
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy had sparked the Gators offense in his first two starts. But against the LSU Tigers, he looked overmatched and unprepared in Florida's 17-6 loss.
His stat line against LSU was atrocious: 15-of-27 passing for 115 yards and no touchdowns. He also rushed for minus-13 yards.
The Gators as a whole only gained 240 yards of total offense and also committed eight penalties.
Murphy has plenty of talent, and his development is definitely ongoing as he gets acclimated to the SEC. But against LSU, his youth showed, and it cost the Gators the game.
Johnny Manziel Can Single-Handedly Win Games
In Texas A&M's 41-38 win over the Ole Miss Rebels, the Aggies defense was awful, the running backs were uninspired and the offensive line struggled to protect Johnny Manziel.
But behind Manziel's electrifying performance against one of the most athletic SEC defenses, the Aggies still pulled out the win.
Manziel had a whopping 470 total yards, including 124 on the ground with two rushing touchdowns. He also kept drives alive with his legs whenever receivers couldn't get open.
And he was the sole reason the Aggies avoided a huge upset on the road and kept their SEC title dreams alive.
Despite all the attention and controversy, Manziel is having a brilliant sophomore season. And on Saturday, he proved once and for all that he can be the difference between a win and a loss.
The 2 Heisman Trophy Favorites Are from the Pac-12
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport
While Manziel is certainly worthy of Heisman consideration, the fact of the matter is that Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley are are the forefront of the race for the country's top honor.
Mariota proved his worth with his great showing against the Washington Huskies, while Hundley is second in the Pac-12 in completion percentage and has put UCLA in contention for a Pac-12 title.
On Saturday, Hundley torched California to the tune of 410 passing yards and three touchdowns while only being sacked twice.
Hundley faces his two toughest tests of the season in the next two games as UCLA hits the road to face Stanford on Oct. 19, then Mariota and the Ducks on Oct. 26.
The Big 12 Is Wide Open
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
There are only two teams left in the Big 12 with undefeated records: Baylor and Texas Tech.
Add in the Texas Longhorns, and there's only three teams undefeated in Big 12 play.
On in Week 7, the race for the Big 12 title was proven to be wide open. Only one game out of four Big 12 matchups was decided by more than 10 points, and that was Texas' 36-20 upset win in the Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma.
TCU was on the ropes against Kansas in its 27-17 win, Texas Tech squeaked by Iowa State 42-35 and the Baylor Bears overcame a tough road test at Kansas State 35-25.
The Big 12 may not have a top-10 team in either poll, but it's sure to be a fun race to a conference title in the nation's most competitive conference.
Wisconsin Is Better Than Advertised
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Before Saturday's 35-6 thrashing of the Northwestern Wildcats, the Wisconsin Badgers had been on the receiving end of some bad breaks.
Most notably, the Badgers lost a game at Arizona State following a controversial kneel down in which the ball never got set properly as the clock expired.
But on Saturday, the Badgers proved that they are one of the best teams in the Big Ten by dominating the Wildcats.
Running back Melvin Gordon leads the conference in rushing yards with 870 and yards per carry at 9.7.
As the Badgers don't have any remaining ranked opponents left on their slate, there's a good possibility Wisconsin could finish the regular season with just two losses: one to Ohio State and one to Arizona State.
If that happens, the Badgers could be in line for a BCS bowl berth.
So Is Virginia Tech
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies haven't loss a game since their Week 1 defeat to the Alabama Crimson Tide.
But after Week 7's 19-9 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers, the Hokies are 6-1 overall, 3-0 in the ACC and looking like a dark horse for a conference championship.
Much of Virginia Tech's success has been on the defensive side of the ball, where it's allowing the seventh-fewest points per game at 15, according to ESPN.
Nov. 9 will be a huge test for the Hokies as they face No. 10 Miami, the only ranked team left on Virginia Tech's schedule. If they can get through the Hurricanes, the Hokies should be able to make the ACC Championship Game and have a chance at a BCS bowl.
But Michigan Is Not
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
The Penn State Nittany Lions finally exposed the Michigan Wolverines as one of the most overrated teams in the country.
After shaky performances against Akron and UConn, the Wolverines finally dropped a game on Saturday, a four-overtime 43-40 loss to the Nittany Lions.
Special teams struggled in particular against Penn State, as kicker Brendan Gibbons went just 4-of-7 on field-goal tries.
Quarterback Devin Gardner threw two interceptions in the game as well, continuing to struggle in replacing Denard Robinson at signal-caller.
The Wolverines still have Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State left on their schedule. So their implosion could be just starting.
Any QB at Texas Tech Can Win Under Kliff Kingsbury
John Weast/Getty Images
Before Week 7, the Texas Tech Red Raiders relied on walk-on freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield to be their signal-caller. And he led them to a perfect 5-0 record.
But against the Iowa State Cyclones, the Red Raiders turned to Davis Webb, as Mayfield missed the game with a knee injury, per ESPN.
But that didn't matter, as the Red Raiders bested a feisty Iowa State team 42-35 to advance to 6-0 on the season.
In the game, Webb threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns. And much of his success has to do with the uptempo offense that first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury runs in Lubbock.
Remember, Kingsbury was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M last season, where Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy.
Kingsbury has a system where virtually any quarterback can be put in and succeed, so long as he is accurate and doesn't throw interceptions. And that will keep Texas Tech competitive throughout the season as it continues its run at a Big 12 title.
Louisville Is Vulnerable
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
The Louisville Cardinals may still be undefeated at 6-0 and ranked No. 8 in the AP poll. But if last week's 24-10 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights proved anything, it's that the Cardinals are extremely vulnerable.
They struggled to put away the Scarlet Knights all game, ultimately burying Rutgers on a late touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater to Eli Rogers with just two minutes, 27 seconds left in the game.
And this isn't the first time Louisville has struggled to pull away.
Against the Kentucky Wildcats earlier this season, the Cardinals led just 10-3 at halftime and only won by a 14-point margin.
The Cardinals have an easy schedule in the AAC, so it's likely they'll be able to roll through the conference without much trouble. But last week proved that the Cardinals can and will struggle at times. And all it takes is one team, like UCF or even undefeated Houston, with the right mind-set and game plan to beat the Cardinals.
Utah Deserves More Love
George Frey/Getty Images
The Utah Utes finally got a signature win in Week 7 with their upset of the Stanford Cardinal.
But the Utes have been much better than their 1-2 Pac-12 record indicates. Their only two losses were in overtime to Oregon State and a seven-point loss to the UCLA Bruins, who are at the moment in serious contention for a Pac-12 title.
This team puts up 37 points a game, according to ESPN, and with only one ranked team left on the Utes' schedule (No. 2 Oregon on Nov. 16), Utah is poised to make a run at finishing in the upper echelon of the Pac-12.
Northwestern Can't Handle Pressure Well
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The Northwestern Wildcats were 4-0 and ranked No. 16 in the AP poll just two weeks ago.
But since then, the Wildcats have dropped two games, and Saturday's 35-6 beatdown at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers proves that Northwestern can't handle the pressure of being an elite Big Ten team.
The Wildcats went into Saturday reeling from a tough loss at the hands of the Buckeyes. But a win over Wisconsin would've kept the Wildcats on track to make a run at the Big Ten title. Instead, they faltered big time against the Badgers.
Northwestern was limited to just 241 yards of total offense while it gave up 527 to the Badgers.
Ultimately, the Wildcats are still better under Pat Fitzgerald than they almost ever have been. But these last two weeks have shown that they aren't quite the elite team the country thought they were two weeks ago.
Les Miles Is Still Les Miles
Warning: NSFW video
The LSU Tigers scored a big win over the Florida Gators on Saturday, but the big story came after the game when Les Miles ripped into a reporter over a "hammer and nail" analogy.
Miles is known as one of the most fiery, eccentric coaches out there. And Saturday proved that yet again.
Oklahoma State Scored Big Despite Having a Bye Week
Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports
For two straight weeks, the Oklahoma State Cowboys fell in the polls after losing to West Virginia in Week 5 then squeaking by Kansas State at home in Week 6.
But for the first time in nearly a month, the Cowboys finally moved up the AP poll from No. 22 to No. 21. And they didn't even play a game on Saturday.
The Cowboys were clearly losing control of their season despite being picked to win the conference in the Big 12 preseason poll. So this bye week came at a huge time.
With Texas upsetting Oklahoma, the Big 12 is wide open. And the Cowboys now have a week of rest under their belts as they gear up for a run at the league title.
The biggest question, though, has been quarterback play. J.W. Walsh has been inconsistent, with his quarterback rating going down every week since Week 2, according to ESPN. Fans even cheered as he left the game because of his helmet coming off, forcing Clint Chelf to take over briefly against Kansas State.
If the Cowboys can fix their issues at quarterback, they'll be poised for a deep run as the season enters its second half.
Undefeated Teams Are Getting More Respect
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Last week, the AP poll had six teams with undefeated records ranked No. 15 or lower, while four teams with losses were ranked in the top 15.
This week, only three undefeated teams are ranked No. 15 or lower, which shows a shift in the mind-set of voters.
Simply put, if you're a team that hasn't lost, you're finally getting the respect you deserve. Teams like Baylor, Texas Tech and Fresno State have hovered in the middle to lower side of the rankings all season despite playing a similar schedule to most upper-echelon teams.
But with so many upsets this week, voters finally gave some respect to the teams who have yet to put a blemish on their record.
The Sooners Are in Trouble
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Let's face it; Oklahoma's blowout loss in the Red River Rivalry game this week exposed the Sooners as an overrated team that was just able to get by an easy schedule so far this season.
The Sooners' best win, which came on the road against Notre Dame, has lost its luster as Notre Dame has fallen from the rankings altogether.
Oklahoma also barely squeaked by TCU, one of the Big 12's worst teams this season, just a week ago.
The Sooners have struggled to replace quarterback Landry Jones, using both Trevor Knight and Blake Bell this season. The two starters have produced the 98th-ranked pass offense in the country, according to ESPN.
Oklahoma faces Kansas next week in what should be a win, but then faces Baylor and Texas Tech, the only two undefeated teams left in the conference, in back-to-back games. So its struggles could be just beginning.
UCLA Has Quietly Become the 2nd-Best Pac-12 Team
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Don't look now, but the UCLA Bruins are Oregon's biggest threat in the Pac-12.
The Bruins, led by Heisman candidate Brett Hundley, are undefeated at 5-0 and ranked seventh in the nation in scoring with 45.8 points per game, according to ESPN.
UCLA is coming off a 37-10 thrashing of the Cal Bears last week in a game where Hundley threw for over 400 yards.
But the Bruins are about to enter their toughest part of the schedule, with back-to-back games against Stanford and Oregon.
If UCLA wins those games, though, you have to think the Bruins are not only the favorites for the Pac-12 title, but legitimate national title contenders as well.
South Carolina Doesn't Need Jadeveon Clowney
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Who needs Jadeveon Clowney?
Because South Carolina hasn't all year, and it was particularly apparent against Arkansas this weekend.
The Gamecocks thrashed the Razorbacks 52-7 in a game where Clowney registered just one tackle after sitting out against Kentucky. Clowney has just 13 tackles and two sacks on the season.
But South Carolina is still 5-1 overall, with its only loss coming to a No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs team in Week 2.
It seems like Clowney has set his sights on the NFL, but that's apparently just fine as the Gamecocks are proving they can win without him.
Bo Wallace Is a Good QB
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Bo Wallace proved on Saturday in Ole Miss' near upset of the Texas A&M Aggies that he is a force to be reckoned with in the SEC.
Against the Aggies, he threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns and nearly pulled off one of the season's biggest shockers.
That was his third game against an SEC team this year where he threw for over 280 yards. The only team he didn't hit that mark against was top-ranked Alabama.
Wallace may not get the job done in the most aesthetically pleasing way, but he's kept Ole Miss competitive in games it should've been blown out in.
Penn State Is Still Great
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Bill O'Brien reaffirmed his status as a top-five coach in all of college football with Penn State's upset win over Michigan on Saturday.
In the four-overtime win, the Nittany Lions improved to 4-2 overall and got a huge boost in morale before facing Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus in two weeks.
Penn State is still dealing with the Jerry Sandusky-related sanctions, which were recently reduced by the NCAA. But despite all that, the Nittany Lions are still one of the best teams in the Big Ten and are proving that they will be just fine once the sanction period ends.
Nobody Is Safe in CFB
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Here's a brief recap of Week 7:
- No. 3 Clemson beat Boston College by just 10 points
- No. 5 Stanford lost to Utah
- No. 7 Georgia got manhandled by No. 25 Missouri
- No. 9 Texas A&M needed a game-winning field goal to beat Ole Miss
- No. 12 Oklahoma lost to Texas
- No. 15 Baylor trailed Kansas State in the fourth quarter
- No. 18 Michigan fell to Penn State
- No. 19 Northwestern got blown out by Wisconsin
- No. 20 Texas Tech beat Iowa State by just seven points
There isn't much parity in college football this season, and last week proved that nobody is safe from the upset bug.
Clemson vs. Florida State Will Be Epic
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
It doesn't get much better than a No. 3 vs. No. 5 matchup.
But that's exactly what is set to happen next week as the Clemson Tigers square off against the Florida State Seminoles.
Week 7's upsets have set the stage for the winner of this game to potentially determine who will be the No. 2 team in the country.
And with both teams being led by a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback—Jameis Winston at Florida State and Tajh Boyd at Clemson—this game is sure to come down to the wire.