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Week 7 Football: What to Watch

A look at games that might pique your interest

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Phew, what a week last week was with the Wolfpack pulling out a weird victory that had us all going from “this team is hopelessly lost” to “our backup QB is going to lead us to a 10-win season” in a matter of 30 minutes. Thank you, Chris Dunn, for this strange confidence.

As for this week, we have college football Wednesday through Saturday, so that’s amazing. Couple that with the MLB playoffs, and there’s some good sports going on right now.

It’s not MACtion, but the Sun Belt has some Wednesday football for us this week. The Ragin’ Cajuns aren’t the Sun Belt contenders they’ve been the last few years (Billy Napier did have that program rolling before he peaced-out for Florida), but they’re not terrible. Marshall’s probably not as good as you’re thinking based on that win at Notre Dame earlier this year, so this should be a good game.

Let’s hope that Baylor-WVU game is good on Thursday night, because that Temple-UCF game will be a blowout. Mountaineer’s coach Neal Brown could really use a win, but man, the Big XII is brutally tough this year. WVU might be in a coaching search soon.

Friday there are football games. That’s about enough written about that.

Saturday might not be deep, but there are some fantastic games on the slate. Kicking off at noon is Penn State vs Michigan. James Franklin is trying not let yet another great start peter out, but the Nittany Lions have a brutal three-game stretch starting this week (vs Minnesota and Ohio State are the other two). If Michigan wins this one, they’ll skate into late November undefeated and in the thick of the playoff hunt.

Time for my weekly “this could be the week Bryan Harsin gets fired” line in this article. By the way, Ole Miss might end up with six games against lame duck or first year-year head coaches this year. They’ve already had four such games.

Kansas is, as you know by now, having a fantastic year and no doubt has Oklahoma fans sweating, but Brent Venables may well luck out with Jalon Daniels unlikely to play for the Jayhawks. Hard to really feel bad for Sooners fans given this is the first three-game losing streak in the lifespan of any player on that team.

Speaking of that Oklahoma losing streak, I still don’t know if Texas is as good as the advanced metrics say, but they get a good-not-great Iowa State team whose offense is averaging all of 13.5 points per game against P5 competition this year. Man, the state of Iowa must hate offense as much as they love corn.

That Minnesota vs Illinois game is the second best Big Ten game this week. I’m not buying either team, but it’s still a good matchup.

Ah, yes. Miami vs Virginia Tech being broadcast on ESPN3. Just as John Swofford imagined it! Says a lot when that game gets the same broadcasting treatment as UConn vs Ball State.

We don’t have to preview the NC State vs Syracuse game here, there will be other articles for that, but this is a huge matchup for both teams. The Orange are 5-0 for the first time since their undefeated 1987 season. This game is scary.

There are two other huge games in the midday slot aside from our beloved Wolfpack, and both those games are matchups of unbeatens. The focus all week will be on that Alabama-Tennessee game and for good reason. Bama has looked beatable this year (they likely should have two losses already) and they’re down their Heisman QB, while Tennessee has an offense that is steamrolling everything in its path.

Speaking of steamrolling offenses, TCU’s 4th ranked scoring offense faces off with Oklahoma State’s 3rd ranked scoring offense. Both teams rank in the 50’s in scoring defense. Maximum Big XII game here.

The nighttime games don’t feature games nearly to that level, but there are some really good ones in the mix. LSU-Florida is always intense, and now it features red-faced Brian Kelly. The Tigers could really use a win, too, since they just got destroyed by Tennessee and have Ole Miss and Alabama next up on the docket after this week. Florida, meanwhile, is... uhh... they’ve looked... uhh... I’m taking LSU in this one.

Florida State could really do the Pack a solid with a win over Clemson! Maybe Jordan Travis won’t throw so many jump balls this week... Then again, if his O-line can give him time to do that, there’s a better chance of those getting completed against Clemson’s DBs than State’s.

Mississippi State against Kentucky could be really fun if Will Levis plays, but the Wildcats obviously aren’t the same team without their starting QB. Really hope these walls aren’t glass.

The other good game in the evening Saturday is that USC-Utah game. The Utes will be the biggest test for Lincoln Riley’s Trojan offense so far. That felt weird to type...

Hey, Go Duke!

But most importantly: Go Pack!

Rankings for SP+ Ratings and Sagarin Ratings listed, respectively, ahead of each team’s name.


71/83 Louisiana @ 65/81 Marshall - 7:30pm - ESPN2


19/17 Baylor @ 47/45 West Virginia - 7:00pm - FS1

108/134 Temple @ 38/30 UCF - 7:00pm - ESPN


95/76 Navy @ 48/68 SMU - 7:30pm - ESPN

69/73 UTSA @ 130/197 Florida International - 8:00pm - CBSSN


14/15 Penn State @ 4/5 Michigan - 12:00pm - FOX

44/55 Auburn @ 6/13 Ole Miss - 12:00pm - ESPN

41/48 Kansas @ 18/24 Oklahoma - 12:00pm - ESPN2

40/27 Iowa State@ 5/4 Texas - 12:00pm - ABC

11/22 Minnesota @ 34/34 Illinois - 12:00pm - BTN

54/51 Miami @ 86/104 Virginia Tech - 12:30pm - ESPN3

122/150 UConn @ 114/111 Ball State - 2:00pm - ESPN3

32/29 NC State @ 57/52 Syracuse - 3:30pm - ACCN

2/2 Alabama @ 7/8 Tennessee - 3:30pm - CBS

15/11 Oklahoma State @ 23/16 TCU - 3:30pm - ABC

25/21 LSU @ 35/32 Florida - 7:00pm - ESPN

13/6 Clemson @ 33/39 Florida State - 7:30pm - ABC

12/12 Mississippi State @ 16/35 Kentucky - 7:30pm - ESPNU

61/67 Memphis @ 62/71 East Carolina - 7:30pm - ESPNU

24/10 USC @ 10/7 Utah - 8:00pm - FOX

51/41 North Carolina @ 77/69 Duke - 8:00pm - ACCN

45/36 Washington State @ 56/38 Oregon State - 9:00pm - PAC12

82/64 Air Force @ 100/94 UNLV - 10:30pm - CBSSN

91/57 San Jose State @ 87/95 Fresno State - 10:45pm - FS1