The road to the college football playoff is becoming more and more treacherous as the season goes along. Unlike last year, there are numerous teams with the opportunity to finish with a top four ranking and there has been a ton of parody so far among the powerhouse programs. Let’s take a look at the best college football games in Week 7.
5. PENN STATE (5-1) VS. #1 OHIO STATE (6-0): 10/17, 8:00 pm, ABC
Ohio State is currently one of the favorites to have a spot in the college football playoff and repeat as national champions. The Buckeyes were supposed to be blowing out teams left and right but it’s been a lot more difficult than one would think.
Ohio State scraped by Indiana and Northern Illinois and Cardale Jones still has a lot to learn. They host an upstart Penn State team led by future pro QB Christian Hackenberg and head coach James Franklin.
This is a vital game for not only the national title race but the Big 10 title race as well. The Buckeyes are surprisingly 19 point favorites at home but with the talent Penn State has, they’re more than likely to cover with the way Ohio State has been playing recently.
Penn State will be putting Ohio State on upset alert this week, as the Nittany Lions are tied for the most sacks in the FBS with 25 total.
Their ability to get after either Jones or J.T. Barrett could be the difference in this one. However, Ohio State has won 19 straight games and a loss at home to Penn State just doesn’t seem likely. The Buckeyes should take care of business in this one.
Ohio State 35 Penn State 21
4. USC (3-2) VS. #14 NOTRE DAME (5-1)
This is one of the best rivalry games in college football and it has seen some tremendous games over the years. It doesn’t matter how well these teams are doing, these are two schools that really don’t like each other despite being so far apart geographically.
These are two teams have already had to face some adversity and it’s time to see how each of these team fare against better competition. USC has to deal with the firing of Steve Sarkisian, whose alcohol problems cost him his job.
Former offensive coordinator Clay Helton is Sarkisian’s replacement and is eager to prove that he deserves this illustrious USC job. Believe it not, Helton is the school’s 4th coach in four years against Notre Dame.
Which USC team will show up to play Notre Dame? The one with a poor defense that couldn’t stop Stanford or a poor offense that couldn’t move the ball against Washington?
Cody Kessler has a lot to prove against a Notre Dame quarterback who has been way more efficient than him. DeShone Kizer has filled in well with Malik Zaire being injured, and they have a stud running back in C.J. Prosise who is averaging 128 rushing yards per game.
USC does not do well when they are unranked, especially against Notre Dame. Anytime this has been the case, USC is 1-7 in those games.
Notre Dame’s one loss is to a solid Clemson team and while they are only a touchdown favorite at home, I expect the Fighting Irish to cover the spread and more. USC will either struggle mightily or come out with a ton of emotion in this game, but Notre Dame is winning this game.
Notre Dame 31 USC 21
3. #7 MICHIGAN STATE (6-0) vs. #12 MICHIGAN (5-1)
This is another college football rivalry that sometimes get overlooked outside of Michigan but it won’t anymore. Jim Harbaugh squares off against Mark D’Antonio in an awesome coaching matchup. These two teams really hate each other, Michigan State has been seen as the “little brother” for a long time but lately it’s been Sparty who has dominated this rivalry.
The Wolverines are looking for revenge with Jim Harbaugh back at the helm and there’s a good chance they’ll do it this week. This rivalry will be even more heated after Michigan fans vandalized the Magic Johnson statue in East Lansing.
Michigan State has struggled recently, they barely survived to beat Rutgers and Purdue. The Wolverines have shutout their opponents in their last three games which is really impressive to do in college football these days.
Something will have to give in this matchup, Sparty is 0-6 when going against the spread and they are 7.5 point underdogs in this one. On the other side, no Michigan coach has won their first game since Michigan State since 1948.
Conor Cook is crazy efficent against the blitz and that’s what Michigan loves to do. I’m taking Sparty to squeak by the Wolverines in this one.
Michigan State 24 Michigan 21
2. #10 ALABAMA (5-1) VS. #9 TEXAS A&M (5-0)
Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M will be looking to avenge a brutal 59-0 demolition at the hands of Alabama last season. This time the Aggies are hosting the game at Kyle Field which is one of the toughest places to play in college football. Or is it?
The Aggies have only one home win against ranked opponents under Sumlin and they also have a -8 turnover differential at home. The Aggies haven’t turned the ball over in two games but that could change against Alabama’s defense.
Kyle Allen has been great for Texas A&M, Allen is very accurate with the deep ball and that’s one of the few ways that the Aggies can do damage.
Nick Saban and Alabama have been here before. The Crimson Tide suffer an early season loss and then blow through the rest of the SEC and get to the SEC Championship game. This should be no different, Nick Saban has five road wins against ranked opponents and is 4-1 in top 10 matchups when his school is the away team. That’s not good news at all for Texas A&M.
Alabama running back Derrick Henry is a monster and has now scored a TD in 11 straight games. Expect Henry to get the ball a ton to take pressure off Jake Coker, if the Aggies can’t stop the run then they will be in for a very long night.
Kevin Sumlin has always recruited well and he has the talent to win this game at home, but Nick Saban’s teams are always too prepared. Roll Tide on this one.
Alabama 35 Texas A&M 28
1. #8 Florida (6-0) vs. #6 LSU (5-0)
The Florida Gators were riding high this week after a hard-fought win over Missouri last week. Everything went downhill after that, starting quarterback Will Grier was suspended for the rest of the season due to PED use.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Gators had a star cornerback Deiondre Porter arrested after firing his gun near his pregnant girlfriend. The Gators were forced to suspend Porter indefinitely.
The question is how will the Gators respond with their backs against the wall? Treon Harris will have to play well as the replacement to Will Grier and the Gators will have to continue to play solid defense.
That is much easier said than done against Heisman hopeful Leonard Fournette who is shredding the SEC right now. LSU will continue to ride out Fournette for as long as they possibly can but he’ll be without his lead blocker J.D. Moore. Fournette could possibly be limited and if LSU is forced to throw the ball more than they are in deep trouble.
Les Miles and LSU are looking for their third straight win against Florida and the Tigers are 47-4 in primetime games since Miles became the head coach. The problem is he has a 1-3 record against top 10 Florida teams, which makes this matchup even more interesting.
I just don’t think Florida will get it done with Treon Harris leading the way. Fournette and LSU and seven point favorites at Death Valley and they should win against a Florida team that has to deal with a lot of distractions.