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College Football Picks: Predicting Every Game in Week 7

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The Week 7 edition of picking every game on the college football schedule is highlighted by a trio of intriguing league games: Surging Auburn heads to rejuvenated LSU in a key SEC West showdown; Oklahoma and Texas meet in Dallas in a Big 12 battle of first-year head coaches; and Georgia Tech plays at Miami in an important game for two teams hoping to contend in the ACC Coastal Division. Here is every game on the Week 7 slate:

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield

Thursday, Oct. 12

Texas State at Louisiana

Louisiana beat an FBS opponent for the first time in 2017, topping Idaho 21–16 in Moscow on Saturday. Texas State wasn’t so fortunate; the Bobcats lost their 15th straight against an FBS team, falling 45–27 at home to ULM. Louisiana 27, Texas State 10

Friday, Oct. 13

Clemson at Syracuse

Syracuse has made tremendous strides defensively in Dino Babers’ second season. The Orange have allowed 35 points or fewer in all six games to date in 2017 after giving up an average of 38.6 in 2016. That defense will be tested on Friday night. Clemson 35, Syracuse 21

Washington State at California

The Cougars hit the road for the first time last weekend and posted an impressive 33–10 win over Oregon. Mike Leach’s club must now be considered a legitimate threat to win the Pac-12 North. Washington State 37, California 20

Saturday, Oct. 14

Massachusetts at South Florida

Not many people are paying attention, but it’s been a very interesting season for UMass; the Minutemen are 0–6 but each of their six losses has come by 10 points or fewer. The guess here is that’s never happened in the history of college football. The guess is also that they will lose by more than 10 points this weekend. South Florida 38, UMass 14

BYU at Mississippi State

BYU ranks 128th nationally in both total offense (253.5 ypg) and scoring offense (11.7 ppg). That cannot be sitting well with the Cougar faithful. Mississippi State should roll. Mississippi State 34, BYU 10

Eastern Michigan at Army

Here’s this week’s fun Army stat: The Black Knights have a total of 125 passing yards in six games. UCLA’s Josh Rosen, the nation’s leading passer, averages 107 passing yards per quarter. Eastern Michigan 30, Army 27

Florida State at Duke

Florida State is 1–3 for the first time since 1976, Bobby Bowden’s first season as the Seminoles’ head coach. Duke has three more wins than FSU, but the Blue Devils are coming off back-to-back losses to Miami at home and at Virginia. Florida State 27, Duke 17

Kansas at Iowa State

Iowa State is fresh off arguably the biggest win in school history, a 38–31 shocker at Oklahoma. The task for Matt Campbell and his coaching staff: Keep the Cyclones grounded. Fortunately, this week’s opponent is not good at football. Iowa State 37, Kansas 23

Michigan at Indiana

A loss at home to Michigan State was not part of the script for the 2017 Michigan Wolverines. That, however, is what happened — much to the delight of those in Columbus, Ohio, and State College, Pa. The Wolverines must now win out — which would require victories at Penn State and Wisconsin as well as a home win over Ohio State — to remain in the hunt for the CFB Playoff. Michigan 28, Indiana 14

NC State at Pittsburgh

This has letdown written all over it for an NC State team that knocked off Louisville last Thursday and has dates with Notre Dame and Clemson looming. Much of the college football world will be expecting State to stub its toe. Not going to happen. NC State 34, Pittsburgh 20

Rutgers at Illinois

Illinois ranks last in the Big Ten in both total offense and total defense. Rutgers is 13th in total offense and ninth in total defense. Advantage Scarlet Knights. (And I realize that is not a very smart way to analyze a game.) Rutgers 24, Illinois 21

South Carolina at Tennessee

There are differing opinions on what Butch Jones needs to do to save his job at Tennessee. Most people can agree, however, that his chances of returning next year will go down significantly if his team does not beat South Carolina. Tennessee 27, South Carolina 20

TCU at Kansas State

Kansas State has lost two games — by seven points at Vanderbilt and in double-overtime at Texas. This team is very close to being undefeated and ranked somewhere in the top 15. The Wildcats might not have the services of starting quarterback Jesse Ertz, who missed time in the Texas game due to injury. TCU 24, Kansas State 17

Texas Tech at West Virginia

Texas Tech continues to fly under the radar, but this team is exceeding expectations in 2017. Nic Shimonek has done a great job at quarterback, and the defense has improved dramatically. The test this week will be significant. West Virginia boasts one of the best — and most balanced — offenses in the Big 12. West Virginia 44, Texas Tech 37

Connecticut at Temple

There’s a disturbing trend for UConn five games into the season: The Huskies have allowed more points than the previous game each week, from 20 to 38 to 41 to 49 to 70 in last week’s loss to Memphis. It’s doubtful that this will continue. Temple 38, UConn 24

Boston College at Louisville

Louisville has allowed an average of 40.3 points in its three ACC games. Boston College has scored a total of 27 points in its three league games. Something has to give. Louisville 30, Boston College 17

UNLV at Air Force

Air Force’s difficult season took another bad turn on Saturday as the Falcons lost a 48–45 thriller to rival Navy. AFA is now 0–4 against FBS opponents despite having scored a total of 83 points in the last two weeks. Air Force 38, UNLV 14

Old Dominion at Marshall

Marshall is well on its way to returning to a bowl game after last year’s 3–9 debacle. The Thundering Herd are 4–1 overall, with a respectable 37–20 loss at NC State. Old Dominion has lost three straight games, each by at least 30 points. Marshall 34, Old Dominion 20

Akron at Western Michigan

Western Michigan won its fourth straight game on Saturday — but it wasn’t easy. The Broncos outlasted Buffalo 71–68 in seven overtimes in a game that took over four-and-a-half hours. Akron is showing signs of life, with wins in its last two games (both in league play), but the Zips simply aren’t as talented as Western Michigan. Western Michigan 41, Akron 17

Auburn at LSU

Perhaps no team needed a big win as badly as LSU last weekend — and the Tigers delivered with a 17–16 victory over the Gators in Gainesville. One win, however, does not equal a turnaround. LSU this week hosts a very good Auburn team that has its sights set on the SEC West title. Auburn 27, LSU 20

Baylor at Oklahoma State

We knew things would be a bit rocky in Matt Rhule’s first season at Waco, but no one could have predicted an 0–5 start to his tenure. And with Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Texas on the slate in the next three weeks, it could be 0–9 before the trip to Kansas on Nov. 4. Oklahoma State 41, Baylor 24

Georgia Tech at Miami (Fla.)

Miami and Georgia Tech are both 2–0 in the ACC. Miami has won two road games, at Duke (undefeated at the time) and Florida State. Georgia Tech has defeated North Carolina and Pitt at home. Miami’s résumé is more impressive. Miami 28, Georgia Tech 24. 

Miami (Ohio) at Kent State

Miami, the preseason favorite in the MAC East, lost at home to winless Bowling Green in one of the more surprising (though under-the-radar) results of the season to date. Kent State has scored a total of 22 points in five games against FBS opponents. Miami 34, Kent State 10

Northern Illinois at Buffalo

Buffalo must regroup after last week’s emotionally draining seven-overtime loss to Western Michigan. Northern Illinois, on the other hand, barely broke a sweat in a 24–3 win at home vs. Kent State. Northern Illinois 30, Buffalo 23

Northwestern at Maryland

Northwestern is averaging only 233.3 yards per game and 3.4 yards per play in three games against Power 5 opponents, as opposed to 593.0 and 7.3 in its other two games. Maryland is struggling on defense (the Terps gave up 62 to Ohio State on Saturday) and has major injuries at quarterback (as usual). Northwestern 24, Maryland 23

Ohio at Bowling Green

Bowling Green broke into the win column in 2017 in impressive fashion, rolling up 505 yards (275 rushing, 230 passing) in a 37–29 win at Miami. Was the offensive explosion a fluke or a sign that the Falcons could emerge as legitimate threat in the MAC East? Ohio 38, Bowling Green 30

Oklahoma at Texas

The stakes are enormous for a pair of first-year head coaches who would love nothing more than to post a win over their respective school’s hated rival. Oklahoma looked like the easy pick … before the Sooners’ inexplicable loss at home to Iowa State. Texas is 2–0 in the Big 12 after surviving in double overtime against Kansas State. Sam Ehlinger was brilliant at QB on Saturday, and the Horns feature one of the top defenses in the league. Texas 27, Oklahoma 24

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Purdue at Wisconsin

Jeff Brohm has made Purdue relevant in the Big Ten West sooner than expected. The Boilermakers are 1–1 in the league with a loss at home to Michigan and a win over Minnesota. They probably aren’t ready to contend for a division title, but there’s no doubt Brohm has given Purdue fans a reason to believe. Wisconsin 27, Purdue 17

Toledo at Central Michigan

Toledo survived a scare in its MAC opener, beating Eastern Michigan 20–15 at home despite gaining a season-low 419 yards of offense. Central Michigan is coming off an impressive 26–23 win at Ohio. This will be a tough test for Toledo. Toledo 38, Central Michigan 28

Virginia at North Carolina

Are we witnessing the rebirth of Virginia football? The Cavs followed up their impressive 42–23 win at Boise State with a solid 28–21 victory over ACC Coastal rival Duke. North Carolina, on the other hand, is trending in the wrong direction; the Tar Heels are 1–5 overall and have lost their last two games (at Georgia Tech, vs. Notre Dame) by a combined score of 66–17. Virginia 35, North Carolina 27

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss

Both teams have been battered and bruised in recent weeks against elite competition. It’s up to each coaching staff to get their respective team ready for the (more manageable) stretch drive. Vanderbilt 27, Ole Miss 24

Memphis coach Mike Norvell said he spent all day Sunday “throwing up” after watching film of Navy’s option attack. Last year, the Midshipmen rolled up 447 yards on the ground in a 42–28 win over Memphis in Annapolis. Navy 38, Memphis 34

Colorado at Oregon State

Year 3 of the Gary Andersen era was not going well, but no one could have envisioned Monday’s announcement that Andersen and the school had decided to part ways. Less interesting storyline: These two teams are a combined 0–6 in the Pac-12. Colorado 31, Oregon State 17

Houston at Tulsa

After losing three games by 10 points or fewer, Tulsa was manhandled by surging Tulane 62–28 on Saturday morning/afternoon. Houston is 2–0 in the AAC after a solid 35–22 win over SMU. The Cougars still have to play Memphis, South Florida and Navy. Houston 34, Tulsa 13

Charlotte at Western Kentucky

What’s going on at Western Kentucky? The Hilltoppers beat winless UTEP 15–14 on Saturday one week after a less-than-impressive 33–21 victory over Ball State at home. This program has clearly taken a few steps backward in 2017. Western Kentucky 27, Charlotte 10

Wyoming at Utah State

Utah State’s modest two-game winning streak was snapped by Colorado State on Saturday. Wyoming has played only one league game to date, a 28–21 win over Hawaii in Laramie. This game could decide who finishes in last place in the Mountain West Mountain Division. Wyoming 21, Utah State 20

Appalachian State at Idaho

Idaho missed a great opportunity to start its final season in the Sun Belt with a 2–0 record in the league by losing at home to Louisiana 21–16. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season. Appalachian State 28, Idaho 20

Georgia State at ULM

The schedule hasn’t been tough, but ULM has opened up Matt Viator’s second season with a 3–0 record in the Sun Belt. There’s a decent chance the Warhawks could run that to 6–0 before closing with Appalachian State and Arkansas State (both at home). ULM 34, Georgia State 21

New Mexico State at Georgia Southern

New Mexico State is 2–4 overall — but it’s a respectable 2–4. The Aggies have a win at New Mexico and were competitive in all four losses (at Arizona State, Troy, at Arkansas, at Appalachian State). New Mexico State 30, Georgia Southern 17

Middle Tennessee at UAB

UAB has already won three games — an impressive accomplishment for a program that did not play any games in the last two years. Middle Tennessee has been without starting QB Brent Stockstill for the last four games. The Blue Raiders hope to get him back this week. Middle Tennessee 28, UAB 20

Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State

Coastal Carolina opened its first season in the FBS ranks with a 38–28 win over UMass but has since lost four straight (including a 52–10 loss at home to Western Illinois). This trip to Jonesboro will be a challenge. Arkansas State 40, Coastal Carolina 17

East Carolina at UCF

East Carolina has lost five games, each by at least 20 points. UCF is 4–0, with each win coming by at least 28 points. This will not be close. UCF 51, East Carolina 10

Tulane at FIU

Tulane is seeking its first three-game winning streak wince it won four straight in the middle of the 2013 season. FIU is 3–2 overall but the wins have come against Alcorn State, Rice and Charlotte. The Wave should roll. Tulane 41, FIU 20

Texas A&M at Florida

Texas A&M played perhaps its best game of the 2017 season … and lost by eight points at home to Alabama. The Aggies limited Alabama, which scored 125 points its previous two games, to 27 points and 355 yards of offense. Florida is coming off its first SEC loss of the season, a 17–16 heartbreaker at home to LSU. Texas A&M 24, Florida 20

UTSA at North Texas

These two programs are both on an upward trajectory. North Texas, 1–11 two years ago, is 2–0 in Conference USA after beating UAB and Southern Miss the last two weeks. UTSA opened the season with three straight wins but lost at home by two points to Southern Miss last weekend. North Texas 34, UTSA 31

UTEP at Southern Miss

UTEP showed signs of life last week, losing 15–14 at home to Western Kentucky in Mike Price’s first game as the interim head coach. The Miners, however, remain one of five teams in the nation without a win. That should continue. Southern Miss 37, UTEP 20

Arkansas at Alabama

These are not good times at Arkansas. The Razorbacks are 0–3 against FBS opponents, including 0–2 in the SEC. Bret Bielema is now 27–29 overall and, more damaging, 10–24 in league play in four-plus seasons. That record is very likely to be 10–25 after this weekend. Alabama 37, Arkansas 14

Missouri at Georgia

Georgia is playing as well as any team in the nation, having won its three SEC games (two on the road) by a combined score of 117–17. Missouri is 1–4 overall and has already played four home games. The Tigers did play well at Kentucky last Saturday night, but they still lost, 40–34. Georgia 41, Missouri 17

Ohio State at Nebraska

Here’s a damaging stat for Nebraska: Wisconsin’s last three drives in last Saturday’s game in Lincoln went 10 plays for 93 yards and a TD, 10 plays for 80 yards and a TD, 10 plays for 40 yards and a TD. Ohio State should have little trouble moving the ball on the ground against the Cornhuskers. Ohio State 34, Nebraska 17

Michigan State at Minnesota

Mark D’Antonio has defeated Michigan eight times in his 10 years as the Spartans’ head coach, none more surprising than last week’s 14–10 victory in Ann Arbor. Are these Spartans a legitimate threat to win the Big Ten East, or was this just a nice win in a rivalry game against a team playing its backup QB? We’ll have to wait a few weeks to find the answer to that question. Michigan State 20, Minnesota 17

Utah at USC

USC rebounded from its loss at Washington State by beating Oregon State 38–10 at the L.A. Coliseum. The Trojans, who have already played Stanford and Washington State and don’t play Washington or Oregon, are still the favorites to win the Pac-12 South. Utah has played two Pac-12 games and, in very Utah fashion, both games were decided by fewer than seven points. USC 27, Utah 20

UCLA at Arizona

Arizona is averaging 319.4 rushing yards per game, the most in the nation by a non-option team. UCLA ranks 129th in the nation in stopping the run, allowing an average of 284.2 yards on the ground. Arizona 37, UCLA 30

New Mexico at Fresno State

Fresno State has won two straight, beating arguably the two worst teams in the Mountain West, Nevada and San Jose State. New Mexico’s had an interesting two-game stretch; the Lobos beat Tulsa 16–13 in a rare sub-3:00 game and then beat Air Force 56–38 in a game that lasted over four hours. New Mexico 33, Fresno State 17

Nevada at Colorado State

Nevada broke into the win column for the first time, beating Hawaii 35–21 in Reno. The Wolf Pack have been respectable on offense (scoring at least 20 points in all but one game) but have consistently struggled on defense. That is not a good formula for beating Colorado State. Colorado State 44, Nevada 20

Boise State at San Diego State

No one would argue that these are the two top programs in the Mountain West, but it’s interesting that Boise State and San Diego State have never met in the league title game. That could change this season. San Diego State 24, Boise State 17

Washington at Arizona State

Arizona has played five games and each has been decided by 10 points or fewer. On the other hand, each of Washington’s six games has been decided by 16 points or more. Washington 47, Arizona State 24

Oregon at Stanford

Bryce Love rushed for 152 yards on 20 carries and scored one touchdown in the Cardinal’s 23–20 win at Utah on Saturday. And it was Love’s least productive game of the season. Oregon found life difficult without starting quarterback Justin Herbert last week; the Ducks averaged only 3.8 yards per play in the 33–10 loss to Washington State. It was their lowest output (on a per-play basis) since the 2009 opener at Boise State (remembered by most as the LeGarrette Blount punch game). Stanford 31, Oregon 20

San Jose State at Hawaii

San Jose State is making a strong case as the worst FBS team in the nation. The Spartans are 1–6 overall (the one win was against Cal Poly) and have lost their six games by an average score of 47–12. Hawaii has been a tad more competitive, with an overall mark of 2–4, highlighted by a win at UMass in late August. Hawaii 41, San Jose State 13