Week 7 of the 2019 college football season is here.
While previous gameweeks have supplied bits and pieces of landscape-shifting drama, Week 7 should supply significance in all-you-care-to-enjoy size servings.
Choosing a marquee matchup is like picking a favorite child; the entire slate is full of goodies.
Oklahoma and Texas battle for Big 12 supremacy. The SEC sees Alabama and Texas A&M waging an afternoon war before Florida and LSU fight under the bright lights. In the Big Ten, Michigan State and Wisconsin serve as the appetizer ahead of Penn State vs. Iowa.
Oh, and that USC-Notre Dame battle is kind of a big deal too.
While you clear your schedule of all non-football duties, we'll examine the full schedule of games involving Top 25 teams, laying out the latest lines—courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook, as of 9 p.m. ET on Oct. 9—and providing our score predictions.
Week 7 Schedule and Odds
Friday, October 11
No. 20 Virginia at Miami (-2.0), 8 p.m. ET
Colorado at No. 13 Oregon (-21.0), 10 p.m. ET
Saturday, October 12
South Carolina at No. 3 Georgia (-24.5), 12 p.m. ET
No. 6 Oklahoma (-10.5) at No. 11 Texas, 12 p.m. ET
No. 16 Michigan (-22.0) at Illinois, 12 p.m. ET
No. 23 Memphis (-5.5) at Temple, 12 p.m. ET
No. 1 Alabama (-16.0) at No. 24 Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m. ET
Florida State at No. 2 Clemson (-27.0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Michigan State at No. 8 Wisconsin (-10.5), 3:30 p.m. ET
Washington State at No. 18 Arizona State (-1.0), 3:30 p.m. ET
No. 25 Cincinnati (-7.5) at Houston, 3:30 p.m. ET
Texas Tech at No. 22 Baylor (-11.0), 4 p.m. ET
USC at No. 9 Notre Dame (-10.5), 7:30 p.m. ET
No. 10 Penn State (-3.0) at No. 17 Iowa, 7:30 p.m. ET
Louisville at No. 19 Wake Forest (-6.5), 7:30 p.m. ET
No. 7 Florida at No. 5 LSU (-13.0), 8 p.m. ET
No. 15 Utah (-14.0) at Oregon State, 8 p.m. ET
Hawaii at No. 14 Boise State (-12.5), 10:15 p.m. ET
No. 6 Oklahoma 42, No. 11 Texas 38
A 10.5-point spread for a game between teams only five spots apart in the rankings? What gives?
Two things. First, Texas' defense can be generous against good competition. The Longhorns surrendered an average of 35.3 points against LSU, Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Only one of those teams has an offense comparable to Oklahoma's.
That's the other part: The Sooners are absurdly explosive. Their 53.4 points per game are the second-most in the FBS. They have yet to finish with fewer than 45 points, and graduate transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts has been everything they hoped and then some. He already has 2,043 scrimmage yards, 21 touchdowns and a 75.2 completion percentage.
The Longhorns rank 126th out of 130 FBS teams in allowing 325 passing yards per game. If you want a reason to think this game could get ugly (and maybe shoot past that double-digit spread), there it is.
But this is a rivalry game. It's being played at Texas. And the Longhorns have their own potent quarterback in Sam Ehlinger, who has thrown for 1,448 yards, rushed for another 236 and accounted for 20 scores.
Oddsmakers set that spread for a reason, but our crystal ball shows a back-and-forth thriller in this installment of the Red River Rivalry.
No. 17 Iowa 17, No. 10 Penn State 13
As our projected point total suggests, this contest won't be pretty.
The Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes rank second and third, respectively, in points allowed per game. If each defense surrendered its average, the two teams wouldn't even combine for 17 points.
So which offense shows up? Penn State's looks much better on paper, as the team is tied for fifth in points per game and sits 12th in yards per contest. But it hasn't faced an opponent like Iowa, and when it matched up against the best team it has seen this year, Pittsburgh, it grinded out a 17-10 win.
The Hawkeyes, who have home-field advantage, are motivated for multiple reasons. They are eager to rid themselves of the bad taste in their mouths left over from Week 6's 10-3 dud defeat at Michigan. They want revenge for last year's crushing 30-24 defeat in Happy Valley. And if they take care of business Saturday, they could still make this a special season.
"The only goal that we don't have team-wise on the table is an undefeated season," senior quarterback Nate Stanley told reporters. "All of our goals are still on the table, whether it be winning the Big Ten or...a New Year's Six bowl game."
The debacle in Ann Arbor notwithstanding, Iowa rarely beats itself. What the offense lacks in explosiveness, it typically compensates for by playing nearly mistake-free football. The defense, meanwhile, features the best player on the field in defensive end A.J. Epenesa, a J.J. Watt clone. That combination should be just enough to help the Hawks eke out a win on their home field.
No. 5 LSU 30, No. 7 Florida 20
Offense is often at a premium in this SEC rivalry, but this year could be different.
The Tigers are a defense-first team no more. In fact, senior quarterback Joe Burrow has steered this team to the top overall spot with a whopping 54.6 points per game. LSU has yet to score fewer than 42 points. Burrow's absurd stat line features 1,864 passing yards with a 78.4 completion percentage and 22 touchdowns against only three interceptions.
"It's the vision that I always had when we took over," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "And we finally got there. It took a couple of miscues to get there, but we're finally there, and we have the coaches to do it, we have the receivers to do it, we have the quarterback to do it and we're gonna get better."
Can they keep it rolling against the Gators? No one has yet. Florida has the fifth-best scoring defense, and only two of its first six opponents reached 14 points.
But if the Gators can limit the LSU attack, do they have enough offense of their own to pull off the upset? Given this team's inconsistency, particularly in the turnover and protection departments, we can't see it.
Remaining Score Predictions
Virginia 28, Miami 20
Oregon 41, Colorado 27
Georgia 40, South Carolina 13
Michigan 38, Illinois 17
Memphis 24, Temple 20
Alabama 45, Texas A&M 24
Clemson 38, Florida State 13
Wisconsin 30, Michigan State 17
Washington State 34, Arizona State 31
Cincinnati 27, Houston 21
Baylor 35, Texas Tech 27
Notre Dame 42, USC 21
Louisville 38, Wake Forest 35
Utah 31, Oregon State 13
Boise State 41, Hawaii 23