Week 7 in College Football doesn’t have as many high-profile matchups but Saturday has a number or really tasty matchups to offer as conference play heats up as we reach the halfway point of the College Pick’Em season.
Last week, my entry finished with a five-point above average 43 points after my perfect 55 the week before. I lost with Auburn to Arkansas (6 points), Texas to West Virginia (4 points), and Georgia to S. Carolina (2 points). I got the other seven picks right which moved me into third place in our 13-player group. The overall leader is medstudent15 with his “Josh Black M2″ entry that scored 46 points last week. The best overall week in our group had four more points than that as “richtermic1030″ went 8-2 losing only with Georgian and Auburn and finishing with a solid 50 points.
Hopefully this week, I can stay on a role. I’ve been over the average entry the last two weeks and am hoping to break into the top 10 % this week. I’m currently in the 87.4 percentile. Here’s the picks I’m hoping get me there:
1 point-Oklahoma over Texas: It’s the Red River rivalry at the Cotton Bowl in a huge game for both teams. Neither one can afford a second loss. Texas’s defense struggles with the pass as we saw in their loss last week and I think that will again cost them the game as they won’t be able to stop Landry Jones. OU has won the last two games in this annual event and looked good last week knocking off previously undefeated Texas Tech.
2 points-South Carolina over LSU: Yes, I was that impressed by SC’s win last week against a tough Georgia team to think they can go into LSU and get a victory. LSU dominates at Tiger Stadium especially at night and they’ve only lost consecutive games one time in Les Miles term as Head Coach. I think SC makes that twice handing the Tigers a loss coming off their loss last week to Florida in the swamp.
3 points-Notre Dame over Stanford: This game had much more appeal before Stanford lost at Washington and barely edged Arizona after a furious comeback at home. This should be a great defensive battle if the Cardinal can return to their early season form. Before the Wildcats hung 48 on them last week, Stanford hadn’t given up more than 17 points in its first four games. Notre Dame’s defense might be even better though as they’ve allowed 12 points total in their last three games against then #10 Michigan State, then #18 Michigan, and Miami. Manti Te’o has led this defense to a truly elite level. I’m not picking against the Golden Domers at home against a suspect Stanford team.
4 points- Texas A&M over Louisiana Tech: Tech rolls into this undefeated as they welcome the Aggies to Shreveport and are a tempting upset pick that I’ll ultimately pass on for this week. Both these teams offenses are top-notch and there should be plenty of points in this one. Ultimately though, I think it’s the defense of the Aggies which will decide this game. Both teams score in bunches but Louisiana Tech’s defense ranks 119th in total defense, but A&M actually is 14th in the BCS in scoring defense. Louisiana Tech hasn’t won in its last 13 games against ranked oppoenents. Expect this one to be a shootout, but I like Johnny Manziel to get the Aggies the win.
5 points-Louisville over Pittsburgh: Louisville is unbeaten and coming off a bye but has lost four in a row to Pitt and is just 1-6 in Big East openers. Teddy Bridgewater leads a nicely balanced offense that will face a bi-polar Panthers team that has looked horrible in losses to Youngstown State and Cincinnati, but also knocked off then-#13 Virginia Tech in Pittsburgh as well. The Panthers will have a ceremony before the game honoring Beano Cook, a longtime Pittsburgh sports reporter and alumnus who died this past week. Whether Pitt can rally behind that to upset the Cardinals for a second year in a row remains to be seen. Louisville’s history and the fact that they’re on the road make me hesitate, but ultimately there’s no way I can go with Pitt since you just never know which version of their team will show up.
6 points- Mississipi State over Tennessee: The Vols schedule has been brutal to open the SEC as they’ve faced Florida and Georgia to open conference play. Now they have to travel to Davis Wade Studium and face an unbeaten Bulldogs team that are trying to force their way into the SEC discussion. The Bulldogs have the athletes on offense to put up points, the question will just be int heir defenses ability to limit the Tennessee passing game. The’ve only allowed 13.4 points per game so far this season but they haven’t faced any teams with the firepower of Tylor Bray. MSU’s defense will be tested, but I think they’ll create key turnovers to get the win at home.
7 points- Boise State over Fresno State: Boise will host this Mountain West showdown as they look to win their seventh in a row over the Bulldogs. Boise’s only loss was to then-#13 Michigan State to open the season, but they’ve bounced back nicely with wins over Miami (OH), Brigham Young, New Mexico, and Southern Miss. They’ve looked good on the road the last two weeks and coming home to the blue turf should stay unbeaten in conference play after beating Fresno State this Saturday.
8 points- Michigan State over Iowa: The Spartans two losses have come against ranked teams (Ohio State and Notre Dame). They weren’t as dominant as many people expected last week as they needed a late comeback to win on the road at Indiana. Iowa’s schedule hasn’t exactly been tough a tough one so far. They lost to Iowa State and Central Michigan and will be going on the road for the first time this season. In East Lansing, it’s hard to see Sparty going down this weekend since their defense and home-field advantage should carry them through. The only caution in my mind is that they do have a big trip to Michigan on tap for next weekend and they may overlook the Hawkeyes. That’s why they aren’t higher, but I still like them to get the W.
9 points- USC over Washington: Washington has been crushed in its two losses 41-3 at LSU and 52-21 at Oregon. At home though, they did knock off Stanford and USC will have to go into a tough road environment for a primetime game with a 7:00 ET start on FOX. USC’s offense may not be on par with Oregon’s but I don’t think the Huskies will be able to get up for a second big upset at home. The Huskies defense allowed Marcus Mariota to throw for four TD’s last week so I think Matt Barkley and the Trojans will be able to carve them up Saturday.
10 points- West Virginia over Texas Tech: West Va heads to Lubbock which can always be a tough place to play and Mountaineers fans have been telling me to wait for the annual choke. I just can’t see it coming here against a team that played it’s first serious competition last week and lost 41-20 to Oklahoma. I think WVU is a better team than Oklahoma and I don’t think Coach Dana Holgorsen’s team will falter this week on the road.