College football predictions: Week 7 scores and games to watch
Let’s bounce around the country and try to forecast what's ahead in Week 7.
*Which team can hold the other under 40 points? (Texas Tech at West Virginia, Noon ET, ESPNU)
Texas Tech is ranked for the first time all season, checking in at No. 24. The Red Raiders still aren’t very good defensively, but they’re substantially better than in years past. Given their typically explosive offense, that’s a formula for success.
In Tech’s seven losses last season, it allowed 40 or more points in every game. This year, the Red Raiders have allowed 40-plus points in two of five games. Not awful. When the offense is putting up 50 with regularity, they’ll win more often than not.
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The answer: probably, considering the downgrade in defenses. West Virginia has rolled through everybody but Virginia Tech and TCU. Texas Tech’s D may be improved, but it’s no Virginia Tech or TCU.
This is a tossup, but the Mountaineers are at home. That gives them a slight edge.
Score prediction: West Virginia 40, Texas Tech 38
*How will Oklahoma rebound from a devastating upset? (Oklahoma vs. Texas, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The Sooners shouldn’t have lost to the Cyclones. They know it. The good news? Their season is far from over.
Playoff hopes may look bleak, but give college football a few weeks to work its magic and more crazy upsets will happen. Maybe not Iowa State over Oklahoma level, but still. The Top 10 now won’t look like the Top 10 in December.
Oklahoma doesn’t have time to dwell on its loss with the looming showdown against archrival Texas. OU yielded a whopping 13.6 yards per pass attempt against ISU. The Sooner secondary has been trending downward for a few weeks now. Baylor threw for 463 yards against that group in Week 6.
Texas freshman QB Sam Ehlinger has looked pretty good in leading the Longhorns to a 2-1 record. He racked up 487 yards against Kansas State. And while it’s not wise to utilize the transitive property in sports, Texas beat Iowa State and held it to seven points the week before. Something to keep in mind.
This will be a game. But it’s tough to pick against Baker Mayfield, arguably the best quarterback in the nation, to lose twice in a row.
Score prediction: Oklahoma 34, Texas 27
*Can Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham puncture a tough LSU defense? (Auburn at LSU, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
Just when we thought LSU was toast, the Tigers pulled out an ugly win at Florida. Quarterback play is still an issue for LSU. Derrius Guice doesn’t look totally healthy. But the Tigers have always been able to play defense. That unit returned to form against the Gators, holding quarterback Feleipe Franks to a measly 108 yards. And Tiger defensive end Arden Key still doesn’t look like the Key of old, but he’s making progress. For LSU to slow down Stidham and company, he’s going to need to play like the all-world pass rusher he’s touted to be.
Auburn is getting overshadowed by Alabama and Georgia in the SEC. But Auburn is rolling since its loss to Clemson – which, by the way, wasn’t a bad loss. The Tigers lost by one score at Death Valley. If anything, that solidifies their worth as an upper-echelon team.
Stidham is completing 71 percent of his throws on almost 10 yards per attempt. That includes the stinker against Clemson, where be barely topped three yards per attempt. He’s been dynamite since Week 3. The whole Auburn offense has been. Expect it to keep rolling in Baton Rouge.
Score prediction: Auburn 27, LSU 20
*Now that the pressure is off, will USC play with more freedom? (Utah at USC, 8 p.m. ET, ABC)
USC rolled Oregon State by 28 points last week, outgaining the Beavers by almost 200 yards. USC QB Sam Darnold turned it over only once (progress is key!) and threw for 316 yards and three scores. Ronald Jones was his usual efficient self, averaging 6.6 yards per carry.
But that was against Oregon State, a Pac-12 bottom-feeder. Utah is coming off a tough loss to Stanford, but the Utes have been in and out of the Top 25 all year. Utah is more like Washington State than it is Oregon State.
Perhaps the loss to Wazzu cleared the air for a USC team that faced lofty expectations coming into the year. Maybe the early season issues had more to do with mindset than strategy or ability. The Oregon State blowout was a good sign.
The Trojans are at home. Utah’s players are good. USC’s are probably better. This can be a big confidence boost for a Trojan team that needs some good vibes.
Score prediction: USC 35, Utah 21
*Can Oregon hold Bryce Love under 200 rushing yards? (Oregon at Stanford, 11 p.m. ET)
Stanford's Love has 1,240 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He’s played six games.
Oregon has never been known for its run defense, but the Ducks have been stout against the run this year. In its two losses to Arizona State and Washington State, Oregon held each under four yards per carry. Good on Willie Taggart for fixing a unit that has plagued the Ducks so much in the past.
The pass defense, however, has been a major issue. Good thing for Oregon, Stanford’s not going to scare anybody through the air. Stanford has a behemoth offensive line and an outstanding running back in Love. Don’t count on the Cardinal to diversify the game plan too much.
Oregon’s better-than-you-think rushing defense is in for a test. Love is a different beast. If he’s not ahead of Saquon Barkley in the Heisman race, he’s darn close. Love should run wild in Eugene.
Score prediction: Stanford 35, Oregon 24
Michigan 17, Indiana 13 (Noon ET, ABC)
Oklahoma State 42, Baylor 28 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1)
Memphis 33, Navy 30 (3:45 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
Alabama 42, Arkansas 14 (7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Ohio State 37, Nebraska 13 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1)