College Football: Week 7 Predictions
As we get closer and closer towards the end of the season. Teams like Alabama, Georgia, USC, Clemson, Ohio State, and Michigan remain perfect through six weeks. Teams like Tennessee, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Penn State, and UCLA are the surprise teams so far. Each one of those teams will be tested soon.
Now, let's take a look at Week 7. College Gameday will be Knoxville for #3 Alabama at #6 Tennessee. Other ranked match-ups like #10 Penn State at #5 Michigan, #7 USC at #20 Utah, #8 Oklahoma State at #13 TCU, and #15 NC State at #18 Syracuse are key games for their respected conferences.
#3 Alabama at #6 Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
Alabama is 6-0 with wins over Texas A&M and Texas. This showdown in Neyland Stadium may end up being the best game of the season. Tennessee has proved to be a potential college football playoff contender. Tennessee is led by Heisman candidate Hendon Hooker, who has played better than expected.
The biggest question in this game is "Will Bryce Young suit up for Alabama?". That answer will not be answered until game time. Until then, the Tide are turning their heads to Jalen Milroe. Playing in front of one of the best atmospheres in the country will be a massive test. But I believe Jahmyr Gibbs will be the answer for the Tide in this game.
Britt's Prediction: Alabama: 34, Tennessee: 28
Jahmyr Gibbs (Kent Gidley/Crimson Tide Photos)
The Third Saturday in October will feature its biggest matchup in the historic rivalry since the late 1990s. Alabama rolls into Knoxville to face off against a Tennessee team looking to solidify their claim at the top of the college football world. The Vols have a lot of key things going their way, including a turnover margin of +5 on the season, 547.8 yards per game, and only allowing 17.8 points per game.
Alabama will face the possibility of not having Bryce Young for this Top 10 matchup, and with this team being one of the most penalty prone Nick Saban teams (averaging 8.2 penalties per game), a few bad calls in a hostile environment could be game changing. With that being said though, The Crimson Tide defense has been nothing short of excellent this season, only giving up on average 250.8 yards per game, and only allowing 12.5 points per game.
This game is going to be close regardless of who plays QB for Alabama, however I think this battle will be won on the defensive side of the ball, and while the Crimson Tide may not force as many turnovers as the Volunteers, they give up less PPG and YPG (by a substantial amount), and I think that is the deal breaker in this match up.
Hunter’s Prediction: Alabama: 27, Tennessee: 24
#10 Penn State at #5 Michigan, Noon ET on Fox
Penn State has been a surprise to for many people. This game is a battle of undefeated teams in Ann Harbor. This will be the first big game for both teams. I like Penn State's defense under former Miami head coach Manny Diaz. Definitely one of the better coordinator hirings of the off-season. Sean Clifford has to deliver if Penn State want to upset Michigan.
Michigan's offense has started to show more and more every week. It is a long season, so it is important that J.J. McCarthy continues to improve. The star duo of Blake Corum and Ronnie Bell will be the difference in this game.
Britt's Prediction: Michigan: 31, Penn State: 21
Blake Corum (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today)
A Top 10 matchup with a Maize Out in Michigan Stadium is sure to draw everyone’s attention to Big Noon Kickoff. J.J. McCarthy will face his biggest test of his career as a starter for the Wolverines, as they look to continue on their journey to make it back to the B1G Championship and the College Football Playoff. Meanwhile, Sean Clifford looks to pull off the upset in another tough road environment this year for the Nittany Lions.
While both teams are similar in offensive production and turnover margins, it’s the defensive side of the ball where the Wolverines really shine. With the 2022 Michigan defense having more sacks this season after 5 games than the 2021 team did with Aiden Hutchinson and David Ojabo, it just goes to show you how they did not have to rebuild, rather reload. I think this plays the biggest difference, leading to the Michigan victory.
Hunter’s Prediction: Michigan: 35, Penn State: 17
#7 USC at #20 Utah, 8 ET on Fox
After a strong start to the season, Caleb Williams and the Trojans face their toughest opponents so far as Cam Rising and the Utes look to bounce back as they lost to UCLA last weekend.
Caleb Williams has been one of the best players in the country so far, as he has a 14-1 touchdown-interception ratio. With playmakers like Mario Williams and Jordan Addison, you are probably not surprised he has those stats.
Utah has the ability to keep up with USC on the field. They will hope that happens on Saturday night. You have to be a great defensive team to keep the Trojans off the board. Safety Cole Bishop highlights a good Utah defense. We will wait and see if Utah can slow down USC's passing attack.
Britt's Prediction: USC: 42, Utah: 38
Caleb Williams (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)
So what a turn around USC has been under Lincoln Riley. As the Oklahoma fan in grits my teeth seeing the success that Riley and Williams are having in So Cal, I cannot deny that they are playing some of the best football in the country. This week they travel north to play a Utah team that has been handed their second loss of the season to the undefeated UCLA Bruins.
While both teams are similar in terms of total offense and defense, what really leans in favor of one team over the other is turnover margin. USC has forced 15, yes 15, turnovers this season while only giving up one….yes…just one. A +14 margin this early on in the year is absurd.
Utah also runs a lot of man defense, which is not going to be a good matchup against Caleb Williams and his army of top receivers, who are the best in the nation against man defense. While it is also true that USC has play close games on the road this year, I think this is the game where the Trojans emerge as not only a PAC 12 contender, but a potential CFP contender as well. Expect a shootout, with USC doing a lot of the shooting.
Hunter’s Prediction: USC: 45, Utah: 27
#8 Oklahoma State at #13 TCU, 3:30 ET on ABC
An unexpected top 15 matchup is happening in Fort Worth as the Cowboys travel to take on a surprisingly good Horned Frogs team. With Oklahoma struggling massively, the Cowboys are now the best team in Oklahoma.
Spencer Sanders is the reason why Oklahoma State has been super successful. Sanders has thrown for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns. Oklahoma State is the definition of clean football. Now onto TCU, the Horned Frogs is led by Max Duggan. Duggan has thrown for 1,305 yards and 14 touchdowns. That does not count for what he has done in the rushing game.
Enough of showing love to the quarterbacks. This game will be won on the defensive side of the ball. TCU has always proved to have a great defense. I want to see how Sanders can do against the Frogs defense.
Britt's Prediction: TCU: 38, Oklahoma State: 31
Max Duggan (Matthew Pearce/Getty Images)
We have a surprising Top 15 matchup happening in Fort Worth this weekend as TCU hosts Oklahoma State for top position in the Big 12 standings. Both teams are undefeated with 5 wins with both having impressive wins on the road (TCU @ Kansas, OK State @ Baylor).
Both teams in terms of offensive and defensive scoring are nearly identical, with both teams averaging 46.4 points per game, while TCU gives up around 23.8 PPG and OK State gives up around 24.8 points per game. The Cowboys kicking game has been fantastic this year, with kickers being perfect on extra points and field goals, while TCU’s offensive production has been one of the best in the nation.
Looking on paper, it’s really hard to determine which team is better. Oklahoma State has more experience on offense, yet their defense gives up lots of yardage and doesn’t have a high turnover margin. TCU is weaker in the kicking game, but have a much higher turnover margin and don’t give up as much defensive yardage as the Cowboys do. With that being said, and also the game being in Fort Worth, I think the Horned Frogs pull off the upset, and continue this magical first year for Sonny Dykes.
Hunter’s Prediction: TCU: 45, Oklahoma State: 41
#15 NC State at #18 Syracuse, 3:30 ET on ACC Network
Syracuse is one of those surprising teams. They started 5-0 thanks to quarterback Garrett Shrader and running back Sean Tucker. Those two will have to make NC State's defense confused. Looking at NC State, they started 4-0 and then eventually lost to Clemson. They beat a good Florida State team last weekend.
Credit to Dino Babers and Dave Doeren, both of these are great coaches and built their teams from the ground and up. With that being said, the Wolfpack have been rough on the road, losing to Clemson, struggling with East Carolina. Stats turn towards the Orange even though NC State is the higher ranked team. If the Wolfpack want to win this game, it will have to be on the defensive side of the ball. Jack Chambers will be the quarterback for the Wolfpack, so who knows how that will go. The Syracuse train will continue.
Britt's Prediction: Syracuse: 28, NC State: 21
Sean Tucker (Rich Barnes/USA Today)
Have you talked to your friends and family about undefeated Syracuse football? Yes you read that correctly, football. What Dino Babers is currently doing up in Syracuse is nothing short of amazing this season, and this week they face their toughest opponent yet in #15 ranked NC State. The stats here really point to the Orange. Having both a higher yards per game and lower yards allowed per game than the Wolfpack. They score more points per game and allow less points per game than the Wolfpack, and their turnover margin is better! Going off of this, it would be easy to pick the Orange right? Well let’s look at what NC State can do.
The Wolfpack have looked shaky ever since their loss to Clemson a few weeks ago, with them barely squeaking by Florida State this past week. They have also struggled on the road this season, almost losing to East Carolina in week one, as well as the previously mentioned loss to Clemson. What also is a point against the Wolfpack is QB Devin Leary is most likely out for the game, and perhaps another week after that, so NC State will have to turn to back up QB Jack Chambers. While this could be a breakout game for the Charleston Southern transfer, I don’t think it will happen against a defense only giving up 271.6 yards of offense per game. In other words, I think the clock has yet to strike midnight for the Syracuse Orange.
Hunter’s Prediction: Syracuse: 31, NC State: 21
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