College Football Week 7 Preview, Viewing Guide, and Picks: Notre Dame-Stanford, Texas-Oklahoma, South Carolina-LSU
It’s a dark bye week for the Oregon Ducks but this week is filled with star power. We have the Red River Shootout, the Beavers going to BYU, and Stanford at Notre Dame at the site of College Gameday. There are many other games
Louisville (-3) at Pittsburgh
This one really sticks with me because of the loss of Beano Cook. As I wrote in my article this morning on Beano, he is one of the most beloved members of the college football community.
Louisville was my pick to win the Big East with their defense that is surrendering 18.6 points per game. They are a team of destiny, winning their last three games by a touchdown or less. They play at an early time at Pitt, with an 11 AM kickoff, but I think Louisville pulls off another close one against a Pitt team that has only one win against an FBS opponent, a faltering Virginia Tech team.
Texas (+3.5) at Oklahoma (Neutral Site)
I will almost always pick against Oklahoma, the biggest bunch of pouters in college football. Oklahoma has been most notable this year for not being spectacular. Landry Jones has been underwhelming so far at quarterback. The Sooners also don’t have a win over a stellar team, Texas Tech is only good, and thus this is their first real test of the season.
David Ash has been a surprise this year, operating with efficiency. In the three-point loss to West Virginia, Ash threw only 7 incompletions on 29 attempts for 269 yards and a touchdown. What I think will be the key in this matchup is that Texas has beaten a good Oklahoma State team in a close game and beaten Ole Miss. It has been a few years since the Longhorns beat the Sooners and this year the Longhorns get the game back in a close one with the winner only scoring in the 20’s.
Oregon State (+5.5) at BYU
Sure, Sean Mannion is out for the upcoming game at BYU, but the reappearing act brought on by Storm Woods and the offensive line is what will keep this game close. Mannion threw 3 picks last week and the Beavers still won. That is because the defense is what is the most amazing part of the Beaver’s comeback this season.
BYU is very one-dimensional this year. They lost to Utah and Boise State after trouncing a Washington State team that was all out of sorts in the season opener. Their wins are against Weber state, Hawaii, and a three point win over Utah State at home. I like the Beavers to win outright with a “Nobody believed in us!” performance.
Alabama (-21) at Missouri
You could put Alabama at almost any point spread against almost any team and I’ll take Alabama and lay the points.
Missouri, the offensive dynamo led by James Franklin coming from the Big-12, has been incredibly lackluster so far this season in the SEC. They just lost to Vanderbilt at home by four. They are in the bottom half of the country in both rushing and passing and rank 81st in points scored. Alabama’s defense is going to force a lot of three and outs. The Crimson Tide have speed on defense to match up with Missouri and probably the discipline to not give up any big plays.
Stanford (+8) at Notre Dame
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish appear to be the team every expert should have said is for real this year, instead of picking Florida State who big time dropped the ball against North Carolina State.
Surprisingly, the Fighting Irish have made their bread on defense rather than offense. Manti Te’o may be the most outstanding player in the country this year despite the fact that he plays on defense.
The strategy for both teams is going to be to stop the run. Stanford is going to force Tommy Rees, once he comes in to relieve Everett to throw a lot and Notre Dame wants to take the ball out of Stepfan Taylor’s hands.
The real tiebreaker comes down to the secondary options. I like Josh Nunes more than I like Everett Golson/Tommy Rees and think that Stanford is just a better matchup in this situation. I like Stanford to at least cover this game and most likely win.
USC at Washington (+14)
I don’t think Washington looked as bad against Oregon as they are in real life. I think Oregon is just that good. Washington and Steve Sarkisian get USC at home and Sarkisian has had some luck against the Trojans in recent memory.
USC just can’t seem to put a whole game together. The defense for Washington is a lot better and could stop the run, which is what takes the USC to the next level in terms of effectiveness. The defensive line for the Trojans may also struggle to stop the Washington run and get pressure on Keith Price.
Washington is just good enough to cover when they are at home. I think their defense will make enough stops and the special teams may make one extra play to make this game close.
South Carolina (+3) at LSU
LSU can’t seem to stop vomiting all over each other. Zach Mettenberger seems to be Benjamin Button’ing the season, getting worse as time goes on as opposed to get better. The quarterback play for the Tigers since Matt Flynn left has been awful. LSU is best at moving the ball through rushing, but they aren’t set up to pass even when the other team stacks the box to the point that they are daring LSU to throw the football.
The Gamecocks will get plenty of pressure on Mettenberger with the help of Jadeveon Clowney, who is maybe the other best player in the country on defense along with Manti Te’o. South Carolina looked so good last week that their game against Florida next week is really what I’m salivating over. With Connor Shaw at quarterback and Marcus Lattimore at running back this is an offense that is very balanced and tough to focus in on as a defense.
I see South Carolina stripping Zach Mettenberger at least once that will result in a touchdown on a short drive by the offense. I see LSU playing well for twenty minutes before they fall apart and try to open the offense by passing. South Carolina wins this game by two scores.
Tennessee (+3) at Mississippi State
Mississippi State is still undefeated with SEC wins over Auburn and Kentucky. Both those teams are awful though and the other wins are over Jackson State, Troy, and South Alabama. Mississippi State is five games in to this season and we still don’t have a real idea at how good this team is. My initial reaction is to go with the team that we know more about and take the points since this game seems like a tossup.
The Volunteers are two weeks removed from giving up 51 to Georgia on the road while scoring 44 themselves. Tyler Bray has been solid at quarterback with 118/193 passing for 1582 and 14 touchdowns. The defense though has allowed 29.6 points a game and the frat system on campus advocating for butt chugging beers is really helping nobody at this point. But with a bye week to regroup and the scoring capabilities I like Tennessee to win a close one.
Wisconsin at Purdue (-1)
I really thought Purdue would play better last week against Michigan and I’m going to chalk it up to a mismatch or bad game. The play was not indicative of what we’ve seen out of the Boilermakers this season. Caleb TerBush has been super this year, with a 63.8% completion rate with 636 yards and 8 touchdowns. The lone downside is the five interceptions he’s also thrown.
Wisconsin though is in quarterback limbo. They recently replaced Danny O’Brien, the transfer from Maryland, but they also fired the offensive coordinator who single-handedly broke down Montee Ball’s Heisman run. I believe in the Boilermakers and this is a must win for them to make the conference championship game.
Duke (+10) at Virginia Tech
What an ultimate troll this game would be. Virginia Tech doesn’t have the amazing defense or special teams that they’ve benefited from for years and the offense can’t seem to get going.
The Blue Devils are 5-1 this season and one win away from bowl eligibility. The fact that Duke players know they can go bowling with one win to go is too amazing of a prospect for these smart kids to pass up. The season gets worse for the Hokies and I like Duke to cover.
West Virginia (-4.5) at Texas Tech
The Red Raiders were the darlings on paper so far this season. Before getting blown out by Oklahoma. They are now 22nd in points for and 23rd in points against. The offense is 7th in the nation in passing and is something to be wary of.
While the Raiders are probably better on defense, the Mountaineers are better on offense. They are 2nd in the nation in passing and Geno Smith can do no wrong, still not having thrown a pick this season. This will be a shootout, but I think that West Virginia has played a tougher schedule, resulting in a misleading points against.
This is a real weirdo game though. Lubbock might as well be a foreign planet and West Virginia has done a ton of traveling the last few weeks. There’s a 10% chance the Raiders win this one straight up.