College Football Week Seven: What Games To Watch

Bryan FlynnAnalyst IJanuary 14, 2017

On Wednesday, Boise State kept its BCS hopes alive with a seven-point victory on the road against Tulsa. The game got close late and set up a nice start to the midpoint of the season.

Week seven of the college football season features some big matchups. There are five top 25 matchups this week and each one will have major implications in conference and nationally.

There are several games to keep an eye on but should not keep your attention unless you're a fan of the teams playing.

Here are the games you should watch and plan your college football weekend around:


Thursday Night

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. South Florida Bulls

The Bulls and the Bearcats are coming off a bye week to get ready for this game. South Florida has a big win over Florida State. Cincinnati has a big win over Oregon State.

The Bulls are still winning, despite the fact Matt Grothe is out for the season. B.J. Daniels has kept this team on course as true freshman.

The defense has done a lot to help out Daniels and will have to keep on playing well if this team wants to keep winning.

Cincinnati has a dark horse Heisman contender in quarterback Tony Pike. In five games this season Pike has been impressive. The Bearcats offense will meet its toughest test in the South Florida defense.


Who Needs the Win More: Both

Both teams could use a win in this game. While a loss does not end hopes of a Big East title, the loser would need some help to win the conference.

The winner of this game keeps a chance at a national championship alive. If an undefeated Big East team cannot get into the title game then the Big East should not have an automatic BCS berth.

Cincinnati leads the series 4-2, but this is the time both teams are ranked in the top 25. This game is big for both teams and the winner is in the catbird's seat in the Big East race.


Friday Night

Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers has bounced back from a week one blowout by Cincinnati to win four straight games. The Knights beat up on Texas Southern last week to get ready for this game.

Pittsburgh needed a late touchdown drive to beat Connecticut last week. The Panthers are 2-0 in the Big East, and their only loss was on the road to North Carolina State.


Who Needs the Win More: Pittsburgh

Rutgers could use a win in this game, but Pittsburgh needs it more. This is supposed to be the year Dave Wannstedt and the Panthers win the Big East.

A loss here would leave Pittsburgh needing to sweep against South Florida and Cincinnati to win the Big East. Rutgers already has a loss to Cincinnati and would need a lot of help to win the Big East.


Saturday and Saturday Night

Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners (at the Cotton Bowl during the Texas State Fair)

Texas started slowly last week but finished off Colorado without many problems. The running game for the Longhorns is the only major concern heading into this week’s matchup.

Oklahoma got their Heisman-winning quarterback Sam Bradford last week in a win over Baylor. Bradford threw for nearly 400 yards in his first game back. The offensive line has to play its best game of the season.


Who Needs the Win More: Texas

Even with two losses, the Sooners still have a chance to win the Big-12 and play in a BCS bowl. The only real goal gone from the start of the season is playing for a national championship.

The Longhorns can still win a Big-12 title and play for a national championship. Colt McCoy’s Heisman campaign also will be won or lost with this game. Texas has to win this game if they want a chance to accomplish any of their preseason goals.

A win would be big for either team but a loss by Texas could end their hopes of playing for a title this season. Oklahoma can use a win here to make a run at a Big-12 South title.


Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Clemson Tigers

Wake Forest has bounced back from a loss to Boston College to win two straight ACC games. Wins over NC State and Maryland have the Demon Deacons atop the Atlantic division standings.

Clemson has been up and down in Dabo Swinney’s first year as head coach. Even with the return of star C.J. Spiller, the Tigers have only been a .500 football team and questions have started to surface about the hire of Swinney.


Who Needs the Win More: Wake Forest

Clemson could use a win to make the home supporters feel better. They have had two weeks to prepare for this game.

The Demon Deacons have a chance to put the Atlantic division squarely in their hands. Wake Forest could play for an ACC title this year.

Wake Forest has the offensive talent, and senior quarterback Riley Skinner leads the way. Defensively is where the Demon Deacons are weakest. After this game, Wake will only have two major hurdles left against Miami and Georgia Tech.


Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Florida Gators

Last week, Arkansas took Auburn to the woodshed and gave them their first loss of the season. The Razorbacks finally got a defensive effort to match their offensive effort in SEC play.

Ryan Mallett could be a Heisman contender if he keeps putting up big numbers against SEC defenses. The weakness of the Razorbacks is stopping opposing offensives.

Tim Tebow returned from a concussion he suffered against Kentucky to lead the Gators to victory over LSU. The Gators' offense did not look overwhelming against the Tigers but did enough to win.


Who Needs the Win More: Florida

The Gators are looking to repeat as national champions for the first time in school history. Urban Meyer and Tebow have grown into nearly mythic figures in Gainesville.

Florida knows it will play for a national title if they keep on winning. They cannot afford to stumble and hope other teams do as well if they want their shot to repeat.

This game will be the first real test of the Florida defense against a very good offense. It will show the country how good Brandon Spikes and company really are.


Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers

Last week, Iowa put away the team that never says die in Michigan. The Hawkeyes could be a dark horse for the national championship if they keep winning.

Wisconsin went from Big Ten contender to pretender in one afternoon in Columbus, OH. The Badgers dominated the game statistically against Ohio State, but turnovers and special teams doomed them.


Who Needs the Win More: Iowa

Wisconsin could use a win to get back in to the Big Ten race. The Badgers only have a Big Ten title to play for, but Iowa has much more.

The Hawkeyes have to keep winning for a spot in a BCS game and a possible national championship game. A loss will not end their Big Ten hopes or BCS hopes, but it could end any possible title hopes.

Iowa will only have two possible major contests to go with a win this week. Michigan State and Ohio State, both on the road, will be the Hawkeyes' final tests.


USC Trojans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Trojans and the Irish have had two weeks to get ready for this game. USC and Notre Dame won their last game before the off week. Both teams enter this game in the top 25.

USC still has Pac-10 title hopes and national title hopes. Notre Dame can get into the BCS picture with a win.


Who Needs the Win More: Notre Dame

USC could use a win to keep their title hopes alive. The Trojans got an emotional visit from injured running back Stafon Johnson before this game. USC would love to win this game for Johnson.

The Irish are fighting for their coach. They know they need a win over USC, a team that has dominated them lately.

Notre Dame comes into this game looking for a signature win for Charlie Weis. Jimmy Clausen could take the lead in the Heisman race with a standout performance in a win over the Trojans.

A loss could spell the beginning of the end for Weis in South Bend. A win would move Weis off the hot seat for a while. The Irish need this one if they truly want to say they are a national power.


Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

Minnesota has only one Big Ten loss, courtesy of Wisconsin. The Gophers righted the ship against Purdue last week.

Penn State dropped their biggest game of the year so far against Iowa. Since their loss to the Hawkeyes, the Nittany Lions have not lost.


Who Needs the Win More: Both

Both teams would be out of the conference race with a loss this week. A win gives the winner a fighting chance at the conference title.

The Gophers still have big games against Ohio State and Iowa to left to play. A win over Penn State would let Minnesota just about control their own destiny.

Penn State still has to deal with Michigan and Ohio State after this game. The Nittany Lions would need help like Iowa but would have a chance at the conference crown.

The winner of this game will still have a chance at a Big Ten title and a BCS game.


Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Texas Tech has righted the ship after two straight losses. The Red Raiders need some help, but a Big 12 South title is not impossible.

Nebraska took a big step toward proving they are a national contender once more with a win last week on the road against Missouri. The Cornhuskers have a chance at a Big 12 North title.


Who Needs the Win More: Nebraska

The Cornhuskers need to keep on winning to keep pace with an undefeated Kansas team. Nebraska also has to keep winning to prove they are for real.

A loss to Texas Tech would put Nebraska in a hole against the Jayhawks. The Cornhuskers still have a date with Oklahoma looming as well.


Colorado State Rams vs. TCU Horned Frogs

Colorado State enters this game on a three-game losing streak. A once promising season for the Rams looks to be going down the tubes.

TCU is still in the hunt to be a BCS buster. The Horned Frogs have to keep winning if they want to a shot at a BCS game.


Who Needs the Win More: TCU

Colorado would love to break a three game losing streak, but TCU is looking for big things. The Horned Frogs have BCS hopes and an outside shot at a national championship if they keep winning.

TCU still has big games against Utah and BYU to go. Both the Utes and the Cougars are ranked at this moment and a win against both could boost TCU in the eyes of the voters.


Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

The Hokies have not lost since a neutral site game against Alabama in week one of the season. Virginia Tech has been the only team to beat a very good Miami team.

Georgia Tech has been living on the edge all season long and has not had a killer instinct to put teams away. The only blemish on the Yellow Jackets' record was a road loss to Miami, who had two weeks to prepare.


Who Needs the Win More: Both

A win would all but wrap up an ACC Coastal title. The Hokies would be favored the rest of the season. A loss would drop them into a three-way tie with Miami and the Yellow Jackets.

A loss would also end any chance of a spot in the national championship game. If the Hokies want to play for a title, they have to win out.

Georgia Tech needs a win or they are out of the national picture and the ACC title picture. A win would keep their slim hopes alive of playing in the national championship. Just like Virginia Tech, the Yellow Jackets will be favored the rest of the way with a win.

The Hokies' defense will have to stop the Yellow Jackets' triple offense attack. Georgia Tech needs to find a way to keep its defense fresh against the Virginia Tech offense.


Kentucky Wildcats vs. Auburn Tigers

Kentucky not only lost a heart breaker to South Carolina last week but starting quarterback Mike Hartline as well. The Wildcats have yet to win an SEC game this season, and their bowl hopes could be in jeopardy.

Auburn got abused by Arkansas last week. The loss handed the Tigers and Gene Chizik their first loss of the season. As long as Alabama keeps winning, the Auburn faithful will expect big things from Chizik and this team.


Who Needs the Win More: Auburn

The Wildcats would love to win in SEC play but in no way would Rich Brooks’s job be in trouble with a losing season. The Tigers have let some of the heat off of Chizik, who was not a popular hire at first.

Another loss could turn that fire right back up, and hotter than before. Auburn still has to face LSU, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia in the SEC. A promising season could turn into a nightmare quickly.

The Tigers have to keep winning if they want their game against Alabama to mean anything at the end of the season.


South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

South Carolina was able to hang on for a two-point win over Kentucky last week. The Gamecocks are led by their defense and resurgent quarterback Steven Garcia.

Alabama finished putting the nails in the Ole Miss Rebels SEC title hopes in a dominating win over former Heisman candidate Jevan Sneed. The Crimson Tide has been surprised by the quarterback play of Greg McElroy and a stingy defense.


Who Needs the Win More: Both

A win would prove that Steve Spurrier has finally built the South Carolina program into a contender in the SEC. The Gamecocks' defense is led by Eric Norwood at linebacker, who will have to slow down the Tide running game.

A win would give South Carolina proof they are on the right track. The Tide will need a big running day from Mark Ingram. Alabama’s defense features a great linebacker in Rolando McClain.

Alabama is on a collision course to face Florida for the SEC championship. A loss here would not end the Tide's SEC championship hopes but would put a dent in their goals for the season.


Missouri Tigers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

The Tigers went down in a monsoon to Nebraska last week as the Cornhuskers scored four fourth quarter touchdowns. Missouri struggled after Blaine Gabber suffered an ankle injury.

Oklahoma State escaped Texas A&M last week with a win. The Cowboys are winning even without star wide receiver Dez Bryant.


Who Needs the Win More: Both

Missouri cannot afford another conference loss if they hope to battle Nebraska and Kansas for the Big 12 North title. A loss ends any hope of winning the North.

Oklahoma State still has big games against Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. A loss against the Tigers could end any Big 12 title hopes the Cowboys still have. A Missouri win could also kill the very slim national championship hopes Oklahoma State has.


Other Games To Keep an Eye On

North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. Boston College Eagles

The Wolfpack need a win in conference play as they are winless so far. NC State was taken to the woodshed last week by Duke as well.

Boston College cannot afford to lose conference games if the Eagles want to win the ACC Atlantic title. A win over the Wolfpack and a loss by Wake Forest would put the Eagles back in the conference race.


Virginia Cavaliers vs. Maryland Terrapins

The Cavaliers are playing hard to help Al Groh keep his job, and a win would bring them back to .500 on the season. The seasonal job of saving Groh’s job is in full swing again.

Maryland needs to start winning games if they hope to make it to a bowl game. The Terrapins still have games against Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. A loss here could end any bowl hopes.


Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Purdue Boilermakers

The Buckeyes are trying to get back into the national title race. Any loss by Ohio State ends any chance for a title.

Purdue has to go on a run for any chance at a bowl at this point in the season. A loss ends any bowl hopes for the Boilermakers.


Georgia Bulldogs vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

Mark Richt and the Georgia faithful could be getting tired of each other. A few more losses and the Bulldogs could make a bad knee-jerk reaction about Richt’s future with the team.

Vanderbilt needs a win to keep hopes alive of a second straight bowl game. A loss puts the Commodores needing to win out to go to a bowl.


Hawaii Warriors vs. Idaho Vandals

Hawaii needs to start winning if they want to go bowling. This game is nearly make or break for the Warriors.

Idaho wants to win and keep pace with in-state rival Boise State. Every win by the Vandals sets up a big game at the end of the season against the Broncos.


Kansas Jayhawks vs. Colorado Buffaloes

The Jayhawks just have to keep winning and they will be in the national title talk. A loss does not end any conference title hopes but does make the game against Nebraska huge later in the season.

Colorado gave Texas a game and was leading at the half. The Buffaloes need a big win if Dan Hawkins hopes to keep his job.


Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Indiana Hoosiers

Illinois has yet to win a Big Ten game this season. A loss by the Illini could send Ron Zook to the unemployment line.

Indiana started the season hot, winning their first three games. The Hoosiers have lost three straight since then. A win would give this team back its confidence.


Also See

Miami also looks to keep up its winning ways against C-USA foe Central Florida. Stanford looks to bounce back against Arizona.

Washington can get above .500 with a win over Arizona State. California and UCLA both look to break losing streaks against each other.

Kansas State takes on Texas A&M and the winner gets a leg up on the loser in terms of bowl hopes.


The college football season heads into the halfway point and this weekend could provide upsets and shake up in the national picture. So sit back, and enjoy.


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