College Football Picks: Week 7 Predictions for Every Game

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2019

College Football Picks: Week 7 Predictions for Every Game

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    The week has finally arrived. Let's repeat that with arrogant Ohio State flavor: The week has finally arrived.

    What happens in Week 7 will have a substantial effect on the remainder of the 2019 season. Call it Separation Saturday, if you'd like; this is the most pivotal slate of the campaign.

    Oklahoma and Texas. Florida and LSU. Alabama and Texas A&M. Michigan State and Wisconsin. Penn State and Iowa. USC and Notre Dame.

    Rivalries. Huge conference games. Chaos!

    Clear your Saturday schedule and get ready for 12-plus hours of important results. We've offered a prediction for every Week 7 contest. Games with an AP Top 25 team are listed in ascending order, and the remaining are listed chronologically after a preview of the five best matchups between unranked teams.

AP Nos. 25-21

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    No. 25 Cincinnati at Houston (3:30 p.m. ET, Cincinnati -7)

    Houston boasts the fourth-most efficient rushing attack in the country, but the passing game has no explosiveness. The Cougars rank 106th nationally with only 12 gains of 20-plus yards. As long as Cincinnati's pesky run defense travels, Luke Fickell's team will be in control of this one.

    Prediction: Cincinnati 27, Houston 20

               

    No. 1 Alabama at No. 24 Texas A&M (3:30 p.m. ET, Alabama -17)

    For prediction, see No. 1 Alabama.

             

    No. 23 Memphis at Temple (Noon ET, Memphis -4)

    In three home games, Temple has allowed just 31 total points. Memphis has a balanced offense but will probably struggle on the road. So, can the Owls score enough? Though the Tigers had played well defensively until Week 6, Louisiana-Monroe just racked up 575 yards against them. Temple isn't built for a high-scoring game but should be able to navigate a close finish.

    Prediction: Temple 28, Memphis 27

            

    Texas Tech at No. 22 Baylor (4 p.m. ET, Baylor -11)

    Matt Rhule has reshaped the style of Baylor football. This season, the Bears have allowed only 15.4 points per game and 4.5 yards per snap. The much-improved defense will be key to overpowering an inconsistent yet dangerous Texas Tech offense.

    Prediction: Baylor 38, Texas Tech 26

               

    No. 21 SMU (idle)

    Thanks to a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback, SMU forced overtime and eventually clipped Tulsa last week. The Mustangs hold a 6-0 record for the first time in 37 years.

AP Nos. 20-16

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    Louisville at No. 19 Wake Forest (7:30 p.m. ET, Wake Forest -7)

    Wake Forest is 5-0 but has three one-possession wins. At some point, the late-game fortune will run out. However, a matchup with a defense that has ceded 500-plus yards in both ACC contests and allowed 12 touchdowns in 15 total red-zone trips doesn't feel like the moment for Wake Forest to fold.

    Prediction: Wake Forest 38, Louisville 31

                   

    Washington State at No. 18 Arizona State (3:30 p.m. ET, ASU -3)

    Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys resigned after WSU allowed 105 points in two Pac-12 games. Perhaps the defense will receive the "post-firing boost" that sometimes shows up, and quarterback Anthony Gordon should bounce back from an ineffective loss at Utah. Still, expecting the Cougs to stop anyone seems unwise.

    Prediction: Arizona State 34, Washington State 32

                 

    No. 10 Penn State at No. 17 Iowa (7:30 p.m. ET, PSU -3.5)

    For prediction, see No. 10 Penn State.

                    

    No. 16 Michigan at Illinois (Noon ET, No Line)

    This could be the Brandon Peters Revenge Game, but the Michigan transfer exited Illinois' recent game with an upper-body injury. No matter who is under center, though, the greater concern is a defense that has surrendered 678 rushing yards in two Big Ten contests. Even a middling Michigan offense can run on that.

    Prediction: Michigan 34, Illinois 10

AP Nos. 15-11

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    Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

    No. 15 Utah at Oregon State (8 p.m. ET, Utah -13)

    Oregon State! Has a Pac-12 win! For the second straight year! This is an exciting time in Corvallis, even though the "celebrations" will be short-lived. Utah is simply the better team on both sides of the ball, but the defense especially has a big edge.

    Prediction: Utah 37, Oregon State 21

                     

    Hawaii at No. 14 Boise State (10:15 p.m. ET, Boise State -12.5)

    Turnovers are a massive issue for Hawaii, which has 15 giveaways in five games. Maybe the zero-turnover win at Nevada is a sign of a changed offense, but the season-long trend isn't encouraging. Boise State has surrendered only 6.2 yards per pass anyway. This isn't a good matchup for the Rainbow Warriors.

    Prediction: Boise State 41, Hawaii 24

               

    No. 12 Auburn (idle)

    Following a 24-13 loss at Florida, the Tigers are 5-1. Their second-half schedule begins with a favorable trip to Arkansas, but LSU, Georgia and Alabama still remain on Auburn's regular-season slate.

               

    No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 Texas (Noon ET, Oklahoma -10.5)

    For prediction, see No. 6 Oklahoma.

AP Nos. 10-6

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    No. 10 Penn State at No. 17 Iowa (7:30 p.m. ET, PSU -3.5)

    Two years ago, Penn State survived a night game at Kinnick Stadium thanks to a last-second touchdown. This showdown might not be as dramatic. Iowa's tremendous defense can limit quarterback Sean Clifford and Co., but the Hawkeyes have an unimpressive offenseand Penn State hasn't allowed more than 13 points in any game this season.

    Prediction: Penn State 20, Iowa 10

             

    USC at No. 9 Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. ET, Notre Dame -11)

    New season, same problems for USC. The Trojans are committing way too many penalties, haven't really improved defensively and deal with extended cold stretches on offense. That's a recipe for disaster any week, let alone on the road at Notre Dame.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 38, USC 17

                  

    Michigan State at No. 8 Wisconsin (3:30 p.m. ET, Wisconsin -10)

    Michigan State could not stop Ohio State's rushing attack, giving up 323 yards in a 34-10 loss. Was it simply one bad game? Jonathan Taylor is averaging 149 yards per game for the Badgers, so that concern is obvious. However, you might feel the bigger concern is MSU's offense against Wisconsin, which has allowed 29 points all year. Either way, the outlook isn't promising for the Spartans.

    Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Michigan State 17

             

    No. 7 Florida at No. 5 LSU (8 p.m. ET, LSU -13.5)

    For prediction, see No. 5 LSU.

                       

    No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 Texas (Noon ET, Oklahoma -10.5)

    Texas' top three opponentsLSU, Oklahoma State and West Virginiahave all scored at least 30 points. We're comfortable erring on the side of "the nation's most efficient offense will do that too." However, the Longhorns are also the first significant test for Oklahoma's defense. This should be a thrilling finish with the Sooners' explosiveness winning out over Texas' more methodical attack.

    Prediction: Oklahoma 41, Texas 36

AP Nos. 5-1

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    No. 7 Florida at No. 5 LSU (8 p.m. ET, LSU -13.5)

    This SEC clash will arguably be the biggest "perception game" of 2019 so far. Both offenses have outplayed expectations in a dramatic way, but they're about to face an elite defenseand shape the narrative for the rest of 2019. Given the surrounding talent and home-field edge, we'll trust Tigers QB Joe Burrow over counterpart Kyle Trask.

    Prediction: LSU 31, Florida 20

              

    No. 3 Ohio State (idle)

    The Buckeyes cruised through their first six games, but the second-half schedule will be challenging. They open the stretch at Northwestern and later play Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan.

               

    South Carolina at No. 3 Georgia (Noon ET, Georgia -24.5)

    South Carolina picked up a nice victory over Kentucky while holding Sawyer Smith to 90 yards passing on 32 attempts. That performance should be praised. It is also exceptionally unlikely the Wildcats will stop Jake Fromm and a highly efficient Georgia offense.

    Prediction: Georgia 42, South Carolina 17

             

    Florida State at No. 2 Clemson (3:30 p.m. ET, Clemson -26)

    After a miserable start to the campaign, Florida State has turned in a couple of encouraging games. The plan to play both James Blackman and Alex Hornibrook at quarterback is cause for concern, though. Clemson ranks seventh nationally with 5.6 yards allowed per pass and will have a raucous environment. The 'Noles need to find a quarterback and stick with him.

    Prediction: Clemson 43, Florida State 16

                    

    No. 1 Alabama at No. 24 Texas A&M (3:30 p.m. ET, Alabama -17)

    Texas A&M allowed season-worst totals of 297 passing and 395 total yards to a bad Arkansas team. How could we not be concerned about the unit, with Tua Tagovailoa and Alabama's star-studded receiving corps up next? If A&M manages to slow that prolific offenseand that's a huge ifthen an offense with just 340 yards per game against Clemson and Auburn still needs to score 30 points or so. Don't count on it.

    Prediction: Alabama 41, Texas A&M 17

The 5 Best Unranked Battles

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    Iowa State at West Virginia (4 p.m. ET, Iowa State -9.5)

    West Virginia ranks 97th in third-down defense, and Iowa State boasts the nation's 30th-best offensive mark in that category. The Mountaineers won't be a serious upset threat unless they capitalize on the opportunities to get off the field.

    Prediction: Iowa State 33, West Virginia 23

                   

    Ole Miss at Missouri (7 p.m. ET, No Line)

    Kelly Bryant has a sprained left knee but is expected to play. He should be able to pick apart an Ole Miss defense that has allowed 7.5 yards per pass attempt and 13 touchdowns this season. If the Rebels get close to pulling an upset, it probably means they've created running lanes in an ordinarily excellent Missouri defense.

    Prediction: Missouri 34, Ole Miss 27

                  

    Nebraska at Minnesota (7:30 p.m. ET, No Line)

    Minnesota is the most under-the-radar 5-0 team in the country, but a triumph over Nebraska would draw some attention. The tricky part of an early prediction is Nebraska's uncertainty at quarterback; Noah Vedral may start over an injured Adrian Martinez (knee). The Gophers should be able to lean on their defense at home, though.

    Prediction: Minnesota 28, Nebraska 23

              

    Wyoming at San Diego State (10:30 p.m. ET, SDSU -3.5)

    This is an intriguing battle of strengths. Wyoming is most effective when running the ball productively, while San Diego State has allowed just 227 rushing yards all season. That dominance should help the Aztecs jump to 5-1.

    Prediction: San Diego State 24, Wyoming 17

The Rest of the Slate (1/2)

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    Mississippi State at Tennessee (Noon ET, MSU -6.5)

    Prediction: Mississippi State 30, Tennessee 24

    Maryland at Purdue (Noon ET, No Line)
    Prediction: Maryland 34, Purdue 14

    Rutgers at Indiana (Noon ET, No Line)
    Prediction: Indiana 33, Rutgers 10

    Miami, Ohio, at Western Michigan (Noon ET, No Line)
    Prediction: Western Michigan 36, Miami 24

    Toledo at Bowling Green (Noon ET, Toledo -24.5)
    Prediction: Toledo 37, Bowling Green 14

    Georgia Tech at Duke (12:30 p.m. ET, Duke -17)
    Prediction: Duke 35, Georgia Tech 17

    Ball State at Eastern Michigan (2 p.m. ET, Ball State -2)
    Prediction: Eastern Michigan 23, Ball State 20

    Old Dominion at Marshall (2:30 p.m. ET, Marshall -15.5)
    Prediction: Marshall 29, Old Dominion 17

    New Mexico State at Central Michigan (3 p.m. ET, CMU -11.5)
    Prediction: Central Michigan 31, New Mexico State 21

    Kent State at Akron (3:30 p.m. ET, No Line)
    Prediction: Kent State 34, Akron 24

    Northern Illinois at Ohio (3:30 p.m. ET, Ohio -7)
    Prediction: Northern Illinois 24, Ohio 20

    BYU at South Florida (3:30 p.m. ET, BYU -5.5)
    Prediction: BYU 26, South Florida 23

    UConn at Tulane (3:45 p.m. ET, Tulane -34)
    Prediction: Tulane 42, UConn 17

    San Jose State at Nevada (4 p.m. ET, Nevada -1.5)
    Prediction: San Jose State 33, Nevada 28

    UNLV at Vanderbilt (4 p.m. ET, Vanderbilt -15)
    Prediction: Vanderbilt 38, UNLV 20

    Rhode Island at Virginia Tech (4 p.m. ET, No Line)
    Prediction: Virginia Tech 42, Rhode Island 14

    Middle Tennessee at Florida Atlantic (4 p.m. ET, FAU -11)
    Prediction: FAU 41, Middle Tennessee 28

The Rest of the Slate (2/2)

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    Georgia State at Coastal Carolina (5 p.m. ET, CCU -6.5)
    Prediction: Coastal Carolina 45, Georgia State 38

    UAB at UTSA (6 p.m. ET, UAB -10.5)
    Prediction: UAB 33, UTSA 17

    Army at Western Kentucky (7 p.m. ET, Army -4.5)
    Prediction: Army 23, Western Kentucky 17

    UMass at Louisiana Tech (7 p.m. ET, Louisiana Tech -31)
    Prediction: Louisiana Tech 45, UMass 13

    North Texas at Southern Miss (7 p.m. ET, Southern Miss -4)
    Prediction: Southern Miss 34, North Texas 20

    Fresno State at Air Force (7 p.m. ET, Air Force -4)
    Prediction: Fresno State 27, Air Force 24

    Charlotte at Florida International (7 p.m. ET, FIU -5)
    Prediction: Charlotte 30, FIU 28

    Arkansas at Kentucky (7:30 p.m. ET, No Line)
    Prediction: Arkansas 28, Kentucky 25

    Navy at Tulsa (7:30 p.m. ET, Pick'em)
    Prediction: Navy 31, Tulsa 20

    Washington at Arizona (11 p.m. ET, No Line)
    Prediction: Washington 27, Arizona 23

             

    Odds from Caesars and accurate as of Monday.