Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
One day, college football fans will be treated to a loaded college football slate that features plenty of matchups between ranked teams. This Saturday will not be that day.
The Week 7 slate leaves a lot to be desired in terms of big time games. All of the Top 25 teams in action will be taking on unranked foes, but that’s been close to the case every week since Week 1 this season, and yet there are still entertaining games across the national landscape.
Oklahoma and Michigan came down with the upset bug last week as Iowa State and Michigan State came alive to pull off upsets. Which teams will rise to the occasion as the underdog this week is a storyline to keep an eye on.
Here’s a look at the schedule for the AP Top 25 teams along with the latest odds and previews for some of the more intriguing games on this week’s schedule. Picks against the spread are in bold.
Week 7 Schedule (Odds via OddsShark)
Friday, October 13
7 p.m. ET: No. 2 Clemson (-22.5) at Syracuse
10:30 p.m. ET: No. 8 Washington State (-14) at California
Saturday, October 14
12 p.m. ET: No. 6 TCU (-5.5) at Kansas State
12 p.m. ET: No. 17 Michigan (-7) at Indiana
12 p.m. ET: No. 20 NC State (-12) at Pittsburgh
12 p.m. ET: No. 24 Texas Tech at West Virginia (-3.5)
3:30 p.m. ET: Purdue at No. 7 Wisconsin (-16.5)
3:30 p.m. ET: No. 10 Auburn (-7) at LSU
3:30 p.m. ET: Georgia Tech at No. 11 Miami (FL) (-6)
3:30 p.m. ET: No. 12 Oklahoma (-7.5) at Texas
3:30 p.m. ET: Baylor at No. 14 Oklahoma State (-25.5)
3:45 p.m. ET: No. 25 Navy at Memphis (-3.5)
7 p.m. ET: East Carolina at No. 22 UCF (-35)
7:15 p.m. ET: Arkansas at No. 1 Alabama (-30.5)
7:30 p.m. ET: Missouri at No. 4 Georgia (-30.5)
7:30 p.m. ET: No. 9 Ohio State (-24) at Nebraska
7:30 p.m. ET: Cincinnati at No. 18 South Florida (-24.5)
8 p.m. ET: Utah at No. 13 USC (-13)
8 p.m. ET: No. 21 Michigan State (-4) at Minnesota
10:30 p.m. ET: Boise State at No. 19 San Diego State (-7)
11 p.m. ET: Oregon at No. 23 Stanford (-10.5)
No. 6 TCU at Kansas State
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press
If there’s a top-10 team that’s in danger of being upset this week it’s TCU.
Kansas State isn’t sexy with what they do. They’re going to line up and try to kill you by way of a thousand paper cuts, picking up small gains on the ground before going over the top and making big plays.
The Wildcats have had success against TCU in the past. They are 3-2 against the Frogs since TCU joined the Big 12, including a 30-6 win over Gary Patterson’s hapless squad last season. Statistically, these two teams have similar profiles.
TCU National Rankings
- Offensive yards per play: 6.5 (27th)
- Quarterback rating: 164.5 (12th)
- Rushing yards per attempt: 5.1 (32nd)
- Defensive yards per play: 5.3 (56th)
- Rushing yards allowed per attempt: 3.0 (14th)
- Defensive Quarterback rating: 124.1 (53rd)
Kansas State Rankings
- Offensive yards per play: 6.6 (21st)
- Quarterback rating: 146.4 (39th)
- Rushing yards per attempt: 5.3 (26th)
- Defensive yards per play: 4.9 (31st)
- Rushing yards allowed per attempt: 3.5 (36th)
- Defensive Quarterback rating: 117.8 (38th)
Kansas State does have two losses (Texas and Vanderbilt), but even in those games they were competitive. The Wildcats dropped their game in two overtimes to Texas, and Vandy picked off Wildcats quarterback Jesse Ertz twice in a 14-7 win for the Commodores.
TCU’s offense is a different animal than what Kansas State has seen, though. Of their five opponents thus far, Baylor has the most potent offense at 5.9 yards per play. That’s good for 59th in the nation.
K-State will be able to keep this game close. Their ability to chew clock and control the game at home means a difficult day for the Frogs. But, much like the Texas and Vanderbilt games, the Wildcats have only shown the ability to hang with teams, not to put them away.
That should be the case here as TCU pulls off its second close win in as many weeks.
Prediction: TCU 27, Kansas State 24
Georgia Tech at Miami
Butch Dill/Getty Images
Somehow, the Miami Hurricanes seem a little under the radar. The former powerhouse usually has a hard time avoiding “The U is back” narratives, but Mark Richt has managed to keep the buzz down despite a 4-0 start.
Richt is just fine with that.
“People want to say, is Miami back, but to me, we’re not back until we can line up and go toe-to-toe with everybody from a physical standpoint in America,” the former Georgia head coach said on The Paul Finebaum Show, per Brad Crawford of 247 Sports. “I don’t think we’re there yet. We’ll be back yet when we can handle an injury at this position or that position. We’re trying to hold things together with the guys we have wanting to play winning football.”
Right now, the Hurricanes biggest win came in the form of a 31-6 beatdown of Duke and a four-point win over 1-3 Florida State.
The Yellow Jackets haven’t proved much in their 3-1 start to the season, but they’ve proved they can move the ball. Paul Johnson’s option attack is amassing 479.3 yards per game, good for 20th in the nation.
They’re more than just a one-trick pony, though. Georgia Tech is 26th in the nation in Football Outsiders’ F/+ rankings. While Miami is 12th, it shows these two teams are closer than they may appear.
Making things even more difficult for the Hurricanes is their propensity to lose games after a physical contest with Florida State.
Matt Porter of The Palm Beach Post noted the program’s struggle after games against the Seminoles in recent years:
What Miami's trying to avoid this week. https://t.co/1kvlVTPr2A
One way a trend like that manifests is in the physical toll a rivalry game can take. With star running back Mark Walton suffering a season-ending injury, the post-FSU struggle could rear its ugly head again.
The Yellow Jackets will dominate the clock and force Miami to be efficient every time it has the ball. That might be harder to do while trying to replace Walton’s 129.8 yards per game.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 26, Miami 24
Utah at USC
George Frey/Getty Images
Sam Darnold might be an elite NFL Draft prospect.
He might have all the tools it takes to succeed at the NFL level.
He might be deserving of every headline that he’s received.
But the fact remains that USC has thrown nine interceptions in five games and is taking on a secondary that is second in the nation in interceptions per game in Utah.
The Trojans are a 13-point favorite when they host Kyle Whittingham’s side, but everything about this matchup says it should be a close game. Utah’s only loss this season was a three-point loss to Stanford in their last outing.
That loss came while the Utes were trying to break in a new starting quarterback in Troy Williams. The senior took over after Tyler Huntley left the Arizona game the week prior.
The result was a sputtering offense that couldn’t even get the ball to star receiver Darren Carrington II. He had zero catches in the first half before going off for seven catches and 99 yards in the second half.
Darren Carrington II on Utah’s QB situation ahead of showdown with No. 13 USC: “Whoever is ready to ball has got to ball.” https://t.co/QSt1ewubM5
This week, the quarterback situation for Utah is unclear. According to Dirk Facer of Desert News, Whittingham was non-committal about who would get the nod, while offensive coordinator Troy Taylor spoke as though Williams would be the quarterback.
Either way, Carrington should be productive enough to help either quarterback get into a rhythm.
Combined with Utah’s ability to force turnovers in the passing game, this should be a lower scoring game than expected. That favors the Utes at least covering the spread if not stunning the Trojans and winning outright.
Prediction: USC 28, Utah 21