College Football Picks: Week 7 Predictions for Every Game

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2016

College Football Picks: Week 7 Predictions for Every Game

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    Alabama and Tennessee meet in what could be a preview of the SEC Championship Game in December.
    Alabama and Tennessee meet in what could be a preview of the SEC Championship Game in December.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Conference championship games aren't on tap until the first week of December. But thanks to a series of key interdivisional matchups this weekend, we could be seeing a few league title-game previews.

    Alabama and Tennessee, fighting to win their sides of the SEC, tussle in Knoxville in a game that could determine if one or both makes the conference final in Atlanta. The same scenario exists in Madison, where Ohio State visits Wisconsin in a rematch of the 2014 Big Ten Championship that might play out again in two months in Indianapolis.

    And a potential Mid-American final preview is set for Akron, where the co-East Division-leading Zips host unbeaten Western Michigan in the Broncos' first-ever contest as a ranked team.

    These are just three of the 53 matchups set for this weekend, and we've made predictions for all of them. As games go final we'll update the results so you can see if our picks came through, and we encourage you to make guesses in the comments section.

    Last week: 34-20 (.630)

    Season: 310-94 (.767)

Friday Night Games

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    Louisville QB Lamar Jackson is second nationally in total offense and has accounted for 28 touchdowns.
    Louisville QB Lamar Jackson is second nationally in total offense and has accounted for 28 touchdowns.Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Duke (3-3, 0-2 ACC) at No. 7 Louisville (4-1, 2-1), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Louisville won 40-3 at Duke in September 2002.

    The closest Duke has come to facing someone like Louisville QB Lamar Jackson is Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, and he put up 441 yards of total offense against the Blue Devils. A week off should have the Cardinals refreshed and ready to show they still deserve playoff consideration despite the Clemson loss.

    Prediction: Louisville 55, Duke 14

    FINAL: Louisville 24, Duke 14


    Memphis (4-1, 1-0 AAC) at Tulane (3-2, 0-1), 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Memphis beat Tulane 41-13 last October.

    Four of Tulane's games have been decided by one score, its burgeoning run game helping to keep things close. Memphis' lone loss came when it couldn't contain Ole Miss' rushing attack, but otherwise it's been strong defending the run.

    Prediction: Memphis 27, Tulane 23

    FINAL: Memphis 24, Tulane 14


    San Diego State (4-1, 1-0 MWC) at Fresno State (1-5, 0-2), 10 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: San Diego State beat Fresno State 21-7 last October.

    National rushing leader Donnel Pumphrey, now 14th in FBS history with 5,163 yards, should have a field day with Fresno's No. 126 run defense. Fresno coach Tim DeRuyter, 11-24 since a 10-0 start in 2013 with Derek Carr at quarterback, isn't long for his job.

    Prediction: San Diego State 30, Fresno State 16

    FINAL: San Diego State 17, Fresno State 3


    Mississippi State (2-3) at BYU (3-3), 10:15 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: BYU won 41-38 at Mississippi State in December 2001.

    The last of BYU's six power opponents figures to be its easiest. Mississippi State has failed to top 27 points in four of five games, while the Cougars have hit that mark in three straight since Jamaal Williams (618 rushing yards, nine touchdowns in that span) took over.

    Prediction: BYU 34, Mississippi State 21

    FINAL: BYU 28, Mississippi State 21 (2 OT)

Notable Early Saturday Games

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    Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has won four times in Norman, including in 2012 and 2014.
    Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has won four times in Norman, including in 2012 and 2014.Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

    North Carolina State (4-1, 1-0 ACC) at No. 3 Clemson (6-0, 3-0), noon ET

    Last meeting: Clemson won 56-41 at North Carolina State last October.

    NC State can't count on the weather to help it like it did against Notre Dame. Wolfpack QB Ryan Finley has yet to throw a pick in 128 attempts, but he's facing a Clemson defense that's intercepted 5 percent of opponents' passes.

    Prediction: Clemson 37, North Carolina State 20

    FINAL: Clemson 24, North Carolina State 17 (OT)


    Kansas State (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) at No. 19 Oklahoma (3-2, 2-0), noon ET

    Last meeting: Oklahoma won 55-0 at Kansas State last October.

    Bill Snyder has been coaching long enough to remember when Oklahoma's stadium didn't have permanent lights, and he's beaten the Sooners there four times, including in 2012 and 2014. Oklahoma was blown out by Ohio State in its last home game, but since then it has looked strong in wins over TCU and Texas.

    Prediction: Oklahoma 37, Kansas State 27

    FINAL: Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 17


    No. 20 West Virginia (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) at Texas Tech (3-2, 1-1), noon ET

    Last meeting: West Virginia beat Texas Tech 31-26 last November.

    West Virginia has already had two byes, including last week, and hasn't been able to build any momentum despite a perfect start. The Mountaineers are eighth in pass defense but haven't shown the pass rush needed to deal with Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes. His 454.8 yards per game puts him on pace to set the FBS single-season passing record.

    Prediction: Texas Tech 42, West Virginia 35

    FINAL: Wear Virginia 48, Texas Tech 17


    Minnesota (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) at Maryland (4-1, 1-1), noon ET

    Last meeting: Maryland beat Minnesota 17-7 in the 1977 Hall of Fame Classic.

    QB Mitch Leidner, who has accounted for 56.6 percent of Minnesota's offense, is out with a concussion. He was the Golden Gophers' best hope to avoid their first 0-3 league start since 2012.

    Prediction: Maryland 27, Minnesota 19

    FINAL: Minnesota 31, Maryland 10


    Iowa (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) at Purdue (3-2, 1-1), noon ET

    Last meeting: Iowa beat Purdue 40-20 last November.

    Iowa's last four games have been decided by seven or fewer points, including a pair of 14-7 road wins. Purdue is brimming with confidence after notching its first road win since 2014, and coach Darrell Hazell has a chance at the first win streak of his four-year tenure.

    Prediction: Purdue 23, Iowa 20

    FINAL:  Iowa 49, Purdue 35


    Illinois (1-4, 0-2 Big Ten) at Rutgers (2-4, 0-3), noon ET

    Last meeting: Rutgers beat Illinois 33-0 in September 2006.

    The shine has come off Illinois' surprise hiring of Lovie Smith, courtesy of four straight losses—three of which were at home. Rutgers has been outscored 150-7 in league play and faced three of the AP's Top Five teams so far. If the Scarlet Knights have any pride left, they'll rise up to grab their best (and maybe last) shot to win this season.

    Prediction: Rutgers 30, Illinois 28

    FINAL:  Illinois 24, Rutgers 7


    Vanderbilt (2-4, 0-3 SEC) at Georgia (4-2, 2-2), noon ET

    Last meeting: Georgia won 31-14 at Vanderbilt in September 2015.

    Vandy leads the SEC in total defense against league opponents, which would be great if it could score more than 13 points. Georgia's passing attack has all but disappeared, but having a healthy Nick Chubb is all that's needed in this one.

    Prediction: Georgia 27, Vanderbilt 14

    FINAL: Vanderbilt 17, Georgia 16


    Pittsburgh (4-2, 1-1 ACC) at Virginia (2-3, 1-0), 12:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Pittsburgh beat Virginia 26-19 last October.

    Pitt's last five games have had 70 or more points, compared to just four last season. The Panthers are winning despite giving up a ton of long plays from scrimmage. Virginia's improvement against the run has keyed its turnaround from a 0-3 start, but the Pitt thunder/lightning combo of James Conner and Quadree Henderson isn't easy to contain.

    Prediction: Pittsburgh 46, Virginia 28

    FINAL: Pittsburgh 45, Virginia 31

Other Early Saturday Games

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    Army is second in FBS in rushing offense, gaining 332.8 yards per game.
    Army is second in FBS in rushing offense, gaining 332.8 yards per game.Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

    Lafayette (1-5) at Army (3-2), noon ET

    Last meeting: Army beat Lafayette 41-14 in September 1997.

    Army has dropped its last two games but is still looking good for its first bowl bid since 2010 thanks to two remaining contests against FCS schools. Improving their third-down efficiency (8-of-30 last two weeks) would help the Black Knights' cause.

    Prediction: Army 31, Lafayette 20

    FINAL: Army 62, Lafayette 7


    Georgia Southern (3-2) at Georgia Tech (3-3), 12:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Georgia Tech beat Georgia Southern 42-38 in September 2014.

    Two triple-option stalwarts have gone winless since Sept. 17 because poor defense has forced each to abandon the run. This is Georgia Southern's third straight road game, and despite a bye, the Eagles can't defend the pass well enough to handle Georgia Tech's occasional deep shots.

    Prediction: Georgia Tech 30, Georgia Southern 24

    FINAL: Georgia Tech 35, Georgia Southern 24


    Eastern Michigan (4-2, 1-1 MAC) at Ohio (4-2, 2-0), 2 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Ohio won 56-28 at Eastern Michigan in October 2013.

    Ohio's wins over East Division bottom-feeders Bowling Green and Miami (Ohio) weren't impressive, making the Bobcats' most notable victory their win at Kansas. Eastern Michigan has won its last two road games and is playing its best ball in decades.

    Prediction: Eastern Michigan 27, Ohio 26

    FINAL: Eastern Michigan 27, Ohio 20


    Western Kentucky (3-3, 1-1 C-USA) at Middle Tennessee (4-1, 2-0), 2:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Western Kentucky beat Middle Tennessee 58-28 last October.

    Middle Tennessee owns a four-point win over the Louisiana Tech team Western Kentucky lost to by three last Thursday. MTSU sophomore Brent Stockstill, who has thrown 45 touchdown passes in his 18 starts, will tear up the Hilltoppers' soft pass defense.

    Prediction: Middle Tennessee 40, Western Kentucky 31

    FINAL: Western Kentucky 44, Middle Tennessee 43 (2 OT)


    Kent State (2-4, 1-1 MAC) at Miami, Ohio (0-6, 0-2), 2:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Kent State beat Miami 20-14 last October.

    Miami doesn't have many winnable games left on its schedule, and third-year coach Chuck Martin's time might be running out. The RedHawks have four losses by 10 or fewer points and could capitalize on a Kent State team due for a letdown after it scored its most points (44 vs. Buffalo) against an FBS school since November 2013.

    Prediction: Miami 23, Kent State 17

    FINAL: Miami 18, Kent State 14

Notable Saturday Midafternoon Games

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    Defending national champion Alabama has won 18 in a row overall and nine straight against Tennessee.
    Defending national champion Alabama has won 18 in a row overall and nine straight against Tennessee.Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) at No. 9 Tennessee (5-1, 2-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Alabama beat Tennessee 19-14 last October.

    How will Tennessee respond now that Texas A&M (as well as seven turnovers) has thwarted its undefeated record? Now would be the perfect time for one of those feel-good games SEC teams love to spread through their schedule, not the defending champs with their 18-game win streak and seven defensive touchdowns.

    Prediction: Alabama 33, Tennessee 21

    FINAL: Alabama 49, Tennessee 10


    No. 10 Nebraska (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at Indiana (3-2, 1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Nebraska won 69-17 at Indiana in September 1978.

    Nebraska's three-man run attack that includes QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. is like an ode to the Cornhuskers' old option days, but with the ability to still throw downfield. Indiana has gotten as many touchdowns from the ground game (two) as from its defense, and quarterback Richard Lagow's interceptions are starting to pile up (seven).

    Prediction: Nebraska 30, Indiana 24

    FINAL: Nebraska 27, Indiana 22


    Kansas (1-4, 0-2 Big 12) at No. 11 Baylor (5-0, 2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Baylor won 66-7 at Kansas last October.

    Why the Big 12 schedule-makers decided to give Baylor two byes in a three-week span is one of life's great mysteries. Why they chose to make Kansas the sacrificial lamb for the Bears to feast on in between should be the subject of a criminal investigation.

    Prediction: Baylor 62, Kansas 14

    FINAL: Baylor 49, Kansas 7


    Wake Forest (5-1, 2-1 ACC) at No. 14 Florida State (4-2, 1-2), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Florida State won 24-16 at Wake Forest last October.

    Wake's best start since its ACC Championship Game appearance in 2006 has been great to see, but it's come against teams outside the top 40 in offensive yards per play. Florida State has faced five teams in the top 20 of that category, and its defense has managed 15 sacks in those games.

    Prediction: Florida State 43, Wake Forest 17

    FINAL: Florida State 17, Wake Forest 6


    North Carolina (4-2, 2-1 ACC) at No. 16 Miami, Florida (4-1, 1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: North Carolina beat Miami 59-21 last November.

    Two of the country's better offenses come in limping from season-worst performances, but for different reasons. A hurricane aided Virginia Tech in stifling UNC, while Miami averaged 2.2 yards per rush against Florida State. The Tar Heels are the only team not to intercept a pass, a streak Miami QB Brad Kaaya will keep alive.

    Prediction: Miami 33, North Carolina 23

    FINAL: North Carolina 20, Miami 13


    No. 24 Western Michigan (6-0, 2-0 MAC) at Akron (4-2, 2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Western Michigan beat Akron 68-19 in November 2011.

    Ranked for the first time in school history, Western Michigan is starting to think even bigger now—read: New Year's Six bowls—that Houston has lost. But first the Broncos have to win the conference, and Akron might be the team they face in the league title game.

    Prediction: Western Michigan 34, Akron 29

    FINAL: Western Michigan 41, Akron 0


    Northwestern (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) at Michigan State (2-3, 0-2), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Michigan State won 30-6 at Northwestern in November 2013.

    Michigan State has been down this road before—a backslide year after a superb senior class departed. But at least in 2012 the Spartans had Le'Veon Bell to hand off to, while this version has yet to discover an offensive identity. Good thing Northwestern doesn't have one, either.

    Prediction: Michigan State 27, Northwestern 14

    FINAL: Northwestern 54, Michigan State 40


    USC (3-3, 2-2 Pac-12) at Arizona (2-4, 0-3), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: USC beat Arizona 38-30 last November.

    Injuries have been a huge part of Arizona's worst start under fifth-year coach Rich Rodriguez, particularly on offense. USC is getting stronger by the game, and its only lingering flaw is turnovers. A day game in the desert with 90 degree temperatures might be the Wildcats' best weapon.

    Prediction: Arizona 26, USC 23

    FINAL: USC 48, Arizona 14


    No. 17 Virginia Tech (4-1, 2-0 ACC) at Syracuse (2-4, 0-2), 3:45 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Virginia Tech beat Syracuse 51-7 in October 2003.

    The combination of head coach Justin Fuente's offensive system and Bud Foster's defensive acumen has been tremendous so far for Virginia Tech, and both sides of the ball can show off against Syracuse's work-in-progress team. The Orange don't make the most of their uptempo style, and their defense has given up 12 plays of 40-plus yards.

    Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, Syracuse 20

    FINAL: Syracuse 31, Virginia Tech 17

    Missouri (2-3, 0-2 SEC) at No. 18 Florida (4-1, 2-1), 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Florida won 21-3 at Missouri in October 2015.

    Missouri QB Drew Lock has looked incredible in nonleague play and only so-so in the SEC. Florida has the conference's top passing defense, picking off eight passes and allowing only a 39 percent completion rate.

    Prediction: Florida 29, Missouri 13

    FINAL: Florida 40, Missouri 14


    No. 21 Utah (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) at Oregon State (2-3, 1-1), 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Utah beat Oregon State 27-12 last October.

    Utah might be without its top two running backs if Zack Moss can't go, which would make it hard to take advantage of Oregon State's shoddy run defense. The Beavers just won their first league game since November 2014 and have the momentum, as well as the confidence, to stop the pass after holding California's Davis Webb to 2.6 yards per attempt.

    Prediction: Oregon State 25, Utah 21

    FINAL: Utah 19, Oregon State 14

Other Saturday Midafternoon Games

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    Toledo has the country's No. 12 scoring offense.
    Toledo has the country's No. 12 scoring offense.Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

    Bowling Green (1-5, 0-2 MAC) at Toledo (4-1, 1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Toledo won 44-28 at Bowling Green last November.

    No team has fallen harder and faster than Bowling Green—a 10-win league champion last season. The Falcons' league losses were close but weren't against opponents as dominant as Toledo, which is scoring 43.2 points per game.

    Prediction: Toledo 48, Bowling Green 20

    FINAL: Toledo 42, Bowling Green 35


    Ball State (3-3, 0-2 MAC) at Buffalo (1-4, 0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Ball State beat Buffalo 28-25 in September 2011.

    Buffalo's eight touchdowns scored are the fewest in the FBS, and three of those came in the Bulls' only win (Army). Sixty-seven percent of Ball State's TDs have come on the ground, where Buffalo has allowed 271.2 yards per game with 14 rushing scores.

    Prediction: Ball State 27, Buffalo 23

    FINAL: Ball State 31, Buffalo 21


    Central Michigan (4-2, 1-1 MAC) at Northern Illinois (1-5, 1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Central Michigan beat Northern Illinois 29-19 last October.

    Northern Illinois has turned since Anthony Maddie took over as quarterback, with the senior gaining 793 yards of total offense with five total touchdowns the last two weeks. Central Michigan's record has been padded with wins aided by a Hail Mary on a play that shouldn't have been allowed and a pick-six.

    Prediction: Northern Illinois 39, Central Michigan 21

    FINAL: Central Michigan 34, Northern Illinois 28 (3 OT)


    New Mexico (2-3, 1-1 MWC) at Air Force (4-1, 1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: New Mexico beat Air Force 47-35 last November.

    The nation's No. 1 (New Mexico) and No. 7 (Air Force) run offenses meet in a clash of option attacks, but it's in the passing game where the host team has a major edge. The Falcons average 12.3 yards per pass attempt, and NM's last two opponents have thrown for 705 yards and eight touchdowns.

    Prediction: Air Force 41, New Mexico 23

    FINAL: New Mexico 45, Air Force 40


    Georgia State (1-4, 1-1 Sun Belt) at Troy (4-1, 2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Georgia State beat Troy 31-21 last November.

    Even with 41 points scored in beating Texas State, Georgia State is still in the bottom 10 in scoring at 19.2 points per game. Troy has matched last year's win total while allowing just 19 points in its two league victories combined.

    Prediction: Troy 41, Georgia State 17

    FINAL: Troy 31, Georgia State 21


    Louisiana Tech (3-3) at Massachusetts (1-5), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    Louisiana Tech has gained 500 or more yards four times this season. Massachusetts' best offensive output was 411 yards in a 47-35 loss to Mississippi State at the start of its three-game losing streak.

    Prediction: Louisiana Tech 38, Massachusetts 23

    FINAL: Louisiana Tech 56, Massachusetts 28

Notable Saturday Early-Evening Games

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    Last year's Arkansas-Ole Miss game featured 105 points and 1,195 yards of offense.
    Last year's Arkansas-Ole Miss game featured 105 points and 1,195 yards of offense.Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    No. 12 Ole Miss (3-2, 1-1 SEC) at No. 22 Arkansas (4-2, 0-2), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Arkansas won 53-52 at Ole Miss last November.

    Arkansas has yielded 44 points per game and 8.4 yards per play against power-conference teams that are among the top 25 nationally in offense, and Ole Miss is the fourth such foe. The Razorbacks managed 30 points against Alabama, and if they can avoid turnovers (eight in losses, four in wins), they're potent enough to survive another shootout.

    Prediction: Arkansas 43, Ole Miss 37

    FINAL: Arkansas 34, Ole Miss 30


    Tulsa (4-1, 1-0 AAC) at No. 13 Houston (5-1, 2-1), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Houston won 38-24 at Tulsa last October.

    Houston's playoff dreams have been dashed, but another major bowl bid isn't out of reach as long as the Cougars make sure the horrible effort against Navy's run game was a fluke. Tulsa's only loss was a blowout to Ohio State, whose offense is a mirror image of Houston's.

    Prediction: Houston 49, Tulsa 23

    FINAL: Houston 38, Tulsa 31


    Iowa State (1-5, 0-3 Big 12) at Texas (2-3, 0-2), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Iowa State beat Texas 24-0 last October.

    Iowa State has held double-digit leads on Baylor and Oklahoma State the last two weeks and is starting to get momentum, while Texas is in desperation mode. The Longhorns have allowed 144 points during a three-game skid that's overshadowed great improvement on offense. Expect Texas' best performance of the season or heads might roll.

    Prediction: Texas 51, Iowa State 31

    FINAL: Texas 27, Iowa State 6


    Connecticut (3-3, 1-2 AAC) at South Florida (5-1, 2-0), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: South Florida beat Connecticut 28-20 last October.

    Connecticut's best strategy has been to keep the scoring to a minimum and make key big plays in clutch moments, resulting in five games decided by 11 or fewer points. South Florida employs the big-play approach, its 13 gains of 40 or more yards fourth-most in the FBS. No one has slowed the Bulls' offense yet, and UConn doesn't have the offense to keep up.

    Prediction: South Florida 36, Connecticut 21

    FINAL: South Florida 42, Connecticut 20


    Stanford (3-2) at Notre Dame (2-4), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Stanford beat Notre Dame 38-36 last November.

    Their 2015 meeting had playoff implications, while this go-around might determine if either will be bowling this winter. Christian McCaffrey has become mortal, with 84 rushing yards the last two games, while Notre Dame's defense has been almost nonexistent much of the season. Who will head coach Brian Kelly blame this loss on?

    Prediction: Stanford 30, Notre Dame 23

    FINAL: Stanford 17, Notre 10


    Southern Mississippi (4-2) at LSU (3-2), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Southern Mississippi won 20-18 at LSU in November 1994.

    Southern Miss allowed 11.3 yards per play and 55 points at UTSA, numbers it might be happy to yield this time around. LSU, fresh off an unplanned bye due to Hurricane Matthew, put up a school record for an SEC game (634 yards) two weeks ago and could get Leonard Fournette back, per Jim Kleinpeter of

    Prediction: LSU 50, Southern Mississippi 20

    FINAL: LSU 45, Southern Mississippi 10

Other Saturday Early-Evening Games

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    Idaho has averaged only 16.5 points in home games this season.
    Idaho has averaged only 16.5 points in home games this season.Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

    New Mexico State (2-3, 1-1 Sun Belt) at Idaho (3-3, 1-1), 5 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: New Mexico State beat Idaho 55-48 last October.

    These teams are getting booted from the conference after the 2017 season, and Idaho is dropping to FCS. But before the Vandals go, they'd like to make their first bowl since 2009 and only their third in history—a quest that starts with picking on NMSU's No. 126 scoring defense.

    Prediction: Idaho 40, New Mexico State 34

    FINAL: Idaho 55, New Mexico State 23


    Florida International (2-4, 2-0 C-USA) at Charlotte (2-4, 1-1), 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Florida International beat Charlotte 48-31 last November.

    Charlotte can go for a sweep of the league's Florida schools after ending a 14-game skid against FBS schools in a win over Florida Atlantic on Sunday. But FIU has been reborn since firing coach Ron Turner, scoring 68 points combined in two straight victories after managing 54 during a 0-4 start.

    Prediction: Florida International 34, Charlotte 24

    FINAL: Florida International 27, Charlotte 26


    Florida Atlantic (1-5, 0-2 C-USA) at Marshall (1-4, 0-1), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Marshall won 33-17 at Florida Atlantic last October.

    The winner here will earn its first victory against an FBS school since its 2015 finale. Marshall's defense is bad, giving up 41 points per game, but Florida Atlantic's offense (4.53 yards per play during a five-game skid) is even worse.

    Prediction: Marshall 36, Florida Atlantic 16

    FINAL: Marshall 27, Florida Atlantic 21


    UTSA (2-3, 1-1 C-USA) at Rice (0-5, 0-3), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: UTSA beat Rice 34-24 last November.

    UTSA scored its most points ever against an FBS school in a 55-32 win over defending West Division champ Southern Mississippi; now it gets to face the country's worst defense. Rice looks headed for its worst season since going 2-10 in 2009.

    Prediction: UTSA 30, Rice 24

    FINAL: UTSA 14, Rice 13


    Texas State (2-3, 0-1 Sun Belt) at Louisiana-Monroe (1-4, 0-2), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Texas State beat Louisiana-Monroe 16-3 last November.

    Texas State scored 56 in its season opener and only 27 in three games against FBS teams since then. Louisiana-Monroe has dropped four straight, but two of the last three have been by three or fewer points.

    Prediction: Louisiana-Monroe 27, Texas State 20

    FINAL: Louisiana-Monroe 40, Texas State 34

    South Alabama (3-2, 0-2 Sun Belt) at Arkansas State (1-4, 1-0), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Arkansas State won 49-31 at South Alabama last October.

    South Alabama has wins this season over Mississippi State and San Diego State but has dropped five straight league games. Arkansas State is on a 10-game Sun Belt win streak while going 1-8 outside the conference in that span.

    Prediction: Arkansas State 36, South Alabama 27

    FINAL: Arkansas State 17, South Alabama 7


    Temple (3-3, 1-1 AAC) at UCF (3-2, 1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Temple beat UCF 30-16 last October.

    First-year UCF coach Scott Frost has his team averaging 1.2 more yards per play and 21.3 more points per game than the winless Knights of a season ago. Temple has regressed defensively after leaning on that unit en route to 10 wins and a division title in 2015.

    Prediction: UCF 37, Temple 21

    FINAL: Temple 26, UCF 25

Saturday Night Games

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    Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett has accounted for 19 touchdowns this season.
    Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett has accounted for 19 touchdowns this season.Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    No. 2 Ohio State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 8 Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1), 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Ohio State beat Wisconsin 59-0 in the 2014 Big Ten championship game.

    Wisconsin's defense has been tremendous in allowing 12.2 points per game, and if it could put together some semblance of a consistent offense, the Badgers would be unbeaten. A week off wasn't long enough to find a magic fix or construct a game plan to slow down Ohio State's steamrolling offense.

    Prediction: Ohio State 27, Wisconsin 13

    FINAL: Ohio State 30, Wisconsin 23 (OT)


    Arizona State (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) at Colorado (4-2, 2-1), 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Arizona State beat Colorado 48-23 last October.

    Colorado came close to beating USC for the first time last week and now can claim its first win over ASU in eight tries. The formula to do that is capitalizing on the Sun Devils' penchant for blitzing, which leads to an FBS-worst 404.3 passing yards per game.

    Prediction: Colorado 44, Arizona State 27

    FINAL: Colorado 40, Arizona State 16


    Colorado State (3-3, 1-1 MWC) at No. 15 Boise State (5-0, 2-0), 10:15 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Boise State won 41-10 at Colorado State last October.

    Boise still trails Houston in the polls with a few weeks until the first playoff standings come out. The Broncos will pad their resume with another blowout win in the hope that impresses voters and the selection committee.

    Prediction: Boise State 45, Colorado State 24

    FINAL: Boise State 28, Colorado State 23


    UCLA (3-3, 1-2 Pac-12) at Washington State (3-2, 2-0), 10:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Washington State won 31-27 at UCLA last November.

    UCLA coach Jim Mora is "hopeful" quarterback Josh Rosen can play after getting hurt twice in Saturday's loss at Arizona State, per Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. The bigger issue is trying to defeat a WSU offense that has suddenly become balanced, with Luke Falk's 74.1 percent passing now complemented by a run game that's produced 11 touchdowns during a three-game win streak.

    Prediction: Washington State 38, UCLA 26

    FINAL: Washington State 27, UCLA 21


    Nevada (3-3, 1-1 MWC) at San Jose State (1-5, 0-2), 10:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Nevada beat San Jose State 37-34 last November.

    Nevada's James Butler is fifth in the FBS with 728 rushing yards. San Jose, which allows 247.5 yards per game on the ground, is off to its worst start under fourth-year coach Ron Caragher.

    Prediction: Nevada 29, San Jose State 20

    FINAL: San Jose State 14, Nevada 10


    UNLV (2-4, 1-1 MWC) at Hawaii (3-3, 2-0), 11:59 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: UNLV beat Hawaii 41-21 last November.

    Tony Sanchez used to take his Las Vegas high school team all over the country to win, but with UNLV he's yet to claim victory outside of the state. Hawaii's home-island advantage will come through again.

    Prediction: Hawaii 37, UNLV 21

    FINAL: UNLV 41, Hawaii 38


    All statistics courtesy of, unless otherwise noted. All series history information courtesy of, unless otherwise noted. All team rankings are from the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

    Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter @realBJP.


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