Pretty electric week 7 in the SEC and some key national games as college football moves on into October and several teams start hitting their stride, while others aim to regain momentum. The Auburn Tigers travel to Death Valley to face the LSU Tigers in an extremely hostile venue. Auburn has not won at LSU since 1999, so the Plainsmen are hungry for a victory and a shot at keeping a resurgent season going. The Crimson Tide hosts Arkansas after surviving somewhat of a scare in College Station last week. Jalen Hurts and the offense tries to get back on track, while the defense aims to re-assert itself as a dominating SEC and national defense. A&M travels to the Swamp to face the Gators. A&M homes in on building from last week's promising performance against Alabama, while Florida tries to stay in the SEC East race after a heartbreaker at the hands of LSU last Saturday and the loss of some key players to injuries and earlier suspensions. An improving South Carolina travels to Knoxvegas to take on the Tennessee Vols, which are desperate for a victory. Butch Jones needs it more than ever. The Red River Rivalry commences in Dallas on Saturday as Oklahoma squares off with Texas. Here's a look at this week's action.
All games Saturday unless otherwise noted under matchups. All times are Central.
Last week: 11-7
Overall: 103-27, 79%
No. 10 Auburn (5-1 overall, 3-0 SEC) @ LSU (4-2, 1-1)
Brad, Gary, Allie
AU by 7
Kerryon Johnson has been on a tear running the football the last 3 weeks. Against Missouri, 3 weeks ago, Johnson ran for 5 TDs. Two weeks ago, against Mississippi State, Johnson ran for 116 yards and 3 TDs. And last week he plowed through Ole Miss for 204 yards and 3 more scores. That's some impressive stuff. Jarrett Stidham seems to be figuring out SEC defenses a little better though he's not been tested by a top flight defense since Clemson. The offense is clicking though. The defense has been playing at an elite level all season. The game's at Death Valley with 102,000+ passionate fans, most of them LSU fans, so it's going to be a very tough test for the Auburn Tigers. It's going to be 91 at kickoff, so really will be a test of perseverance in this one when it gets into the fourth quarter. But I'm starting to get pretty bullish on these Auburn Tigers. It'll be great to be one on Saturday.
Auburn 21, LSU 13
Arkansas (2-3, 0-2) @ No.1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0)
Chris, Kirk, Maria
Tide by 30
The Crimson Tide got a scare at A&M last week. They didn't play poorly, but they didn't play up to their standards after they pummeled Vandy and Ole Miss in consecutive weeks. S was not happy about it, and much of it can be attributed to some nagging injuries on defense. But also, the offense has been erratic at times. Missing Calvin Ridley for most of the 2nd half last week hurt, but Jalen Hurts seems to do enough to get the job done. The offense needs to have a bounce back week, and the defense needs to get healthier to play at the exceptional level they're used to in Tuscaloosa. Arkansas starting quarterback Austin Allen is banged up, so they very well could turn to backup Cole Kelley, who is 6'7", 268. He's pretty athletic, so he would give the Razorbacks a different dimension. But Allen still could start. Arkansas is struggling though. I see the Tide bouncing back this week.
Alabama 42, Arkansas 7
Missouri (1-4, 0-3) @ No.4 Georgia (6-0, 3-0)
Tom Hart, JRodg, Cole
Dawgs by 30
Georgia is clicking. They are on fire in the running game, freshman quarterback Jake Fromm is a playing at a high level, and the defense is superb. The Dawgs keep it cookin between the Hedges on Saturday.
Georgia 45, Missouri 14
Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1) @ Florida (3-2, 3-1)
Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman
Gators by 2 1/2
Kellen Mond showed, as the great Larry Culpepper said to Steve Smith, Sr in the Dr. Pepper commercial, "amazing potential," last week against Bama. He made some electric plays against a tough defense to make explosive plays against. I like Mond and the Aggies to pull off the upset against a beaten up Gators team.
Texas A&M 24, Florida 23
South Carolina (4-2, 2-2) @ Tennessee (3-2, 0-2)
Mike Patrick, Tommy Tuberville, Paul Carcaterra
Tennessee by 3
I like how Will Muschamp and his Gamecocks are trending. Butch Jones is starting a different quarterback this week, Jarrett Guarantano, who's got a big arm, but he's not very accurate. The Vols will struggle on offense, and the Gamecocks and quarterback Jake Bentley pull off the upset.
South Carolina 31, Tennessee 27
Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3) @ Ole Miss (2-3, 0-2)
2:30 PM CT
Taylor Zarzour, Andre, Olivia Harlan
Ole Miss by 3 1/2
Should be a good, competitive game in Oxford. I like QB Shea Patterson, running back Jordan Wilkins and the Ole Miss wide receivers to be a little better than the Dores, which are coming off a brutal 3 game stretch of Alabama, at Florida and Georgia.
Ole Miss 34, Vanderbilt 31
BYU (1-5) @ Mississippi State (3-2, 1-2)
Dave Neal, Matt Stinchomb, Dawn Davenport
State by 24
Like Dan Mullen, quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and the State offense to return to explosive form against a reeling BYU team.
Mississippi State 45, BYU 20
Middle Tennessee (3-3, 1-1, C-USA) @ UAB (3-2, 1-1)
Blazers pulled off a stunner last Saturday beating favored La Tech last week, 23-22, on a last second blocked field goal attempt. It was pretty awesome with over 27,000 fans in attendance. I watched it and it got loud in Legion Field. It was pretty electric. Like the Blazers to pull off another upset. Bill Clark is doing some amazing things on the Southside.
Blazers 34, MTSU 31
No. 12 Oklahoma (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) vs. Texas (3-2, 2-0)
Like the resurgent Longhorns to pull off the upset in Big D.
Texas 35, Oklahoma 34
No.7 Clemson @ Syracuse
Kelly Bryant is healthy from an injured ankle, and, according to Dabo, ready to go tomorrow night. The Tigers should not have a problem.
Clemson 45, Syracuse 21
No.5 TCU 45, Kansas State 35
11 AM CT
Fox Sports 1
Horned Frogs keep cookin and win on the road in the Little Apple, Manhattan, Kansas.
No. 11 Miami 42, Georgia Tech 38
This will be a tough test for the Canes at home at Hard Rock after a sensational last seconds game winning TD at FSU last week. The Canes lost star tailback Mark Walton for the season last Saturday and one of their top wide receivers is out, but quarterback Malik Rosier is an absolute stud and he gets it done barely over Ga Tech phenom QB TaQuon Marshall.
No. 8 Washington State 38, California 28
Leach keeps it going, but gets challenged on the road.
No.5 Washington 48, Arizona State 28
Chris Peterson's Huskies looking stronger and stronger as the season progresses.
No.7 Wisconsin 34, Purdue 21
Big Ten Network
Wisconsin is starting to impress me more and more. They've got a heckuva running game led by freshman Jonathan Taylor.
No. 14 Oklahoma State 48, Baylor 35
Fox Sports 1
Baylor gives the Cowboys more trouble than they expect.
Memphis 48, No. 25 Navy 45
Should be an explosive game offensively with the Tigers just edging out a really good Midshipmen team.
No. 21 Michigan State 24, Minnesota 21
Big Ten Network
Coming off an epic upset of Michigan at the BIg House last Saturday, the Spartans survive P.J, Fleck and Minnesota on the road. Fleck will get Minnesota back in the hunt in the Big Ten soon though. He's a good coach.
No.9 Ohio State 49, Nebraska 30
6:30 PM CT
The Buckeyes get a scare from the Cornhuskers but pull away in the end.
No. 13 USC 31, Utah 17
7 PM CT
The Trojans start to get a little momentum back for the latter half of the season.
West Virginia 49, No. 24 Texas Tech 45
This should be a massive shootout with the Mountaineers surviving.
Virginia 38, North Carolina 28
Like the way UVA manhandled Boise State on the road a couple of weeks ago. I like where this football program is heading.
No.23 Stanford 31, Oregon 30
Fox Sports 1
This should be a major tussle with the Cardinal and running back Bryce Love outdueling the Ducks.
No. 19 San Diego State 38, Boise State 30
CBS Sports Network
The Aztecs are a really good football team that is now on the national radar. Their running back, Rashaad Penny, is a fantastic football player. This is a team to watch in the group of Five for a New Year's Six bowl. They could very well be the best team in those 5 conferences. The group of 5 schools are composed of the American, the MAC, C-USA, the Mountain West and the Sun Belt. The top ranked team in the college football playoff rankings at the end of the season that is not in a power 5 conference, but in a group of 5 conference, qualifies for a New Year's Six major bowl. This year it's either the Cotton Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl or the Peach Bowl. The Goodyear Cotton Bowl is in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. on Friday, December 29th, at 7:30 PM CT on ESPN. The Playstation Fiesta Bowl is at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, Saturday, Dec. 30th, at 3 PM, and the Chick-fil-A Peach is at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Monday, Jan. 1st at 11:30 AM CT. The Capital One Orange Bowl which takes place Saturday, Dec. 30th, at 7 PM at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, will pit the best team from the ACC not in the playoff, versus the best team from the Big Ten not in the playoff, if they have a team, or Notre Dame.
The College Football Playoff semifinals are Monday, 1-1-18, with the Rose Bowl first at 4 PM CT, followed by the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 7:30 PM CT. Both games will be televised by ESPN. The National Championship game will be played Monday, January 8th, 2018 at 7 PM CT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and will be televised by ESPN. Getting closer and closer to starting to think about it. The first College Football Playoff rankings will be announced Tuesday, October 31st, on ESPN and I'm pretty sure at 6 PM CT. The final rankings will be released Sunday, December 3rd at 11 AM or 11:30 AM CT on ESPN.