Skip to main content

Week 7 College Football Picks: Challenge the Athlon Sports Experts in 2016


Tennessee's luck finally ran out, and Miami showed it wasn't quite ready for prime time, but there's plenty of football left to be played, and another great week of games is on the docket.

The Athlon Sports College Football Experts Club gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.

Think you’re up for taking on our experts every week? Think you can beat the writers and editors each week? Join our weekly pick 'em game and compete for tons of cool prizes.

Here are this week’s top picks from Athlon Sports senior editor Rob Doster:

Alabama at Tennessee

The Vols have their best chance in years to stem the tide in what has become a one-sided rivalry, although their season-long tightrope act finally caught up with them in College Station. Alabama is riding a nine-game winning streak in the series, but this year’s Vols have shown a never-say-die attitude when facing big deficits. Tennessee actually held a fourth-quarter lead in last year’s matchup in Tuscaloosa, and this year’s Vols seem more capable of closing out close games than last year’s edition. But Bama still holds the edge in terms of talent, health and a comfort level in contests of national significance.

Doster's pick: Alabama 34–24

Northwestern at Michigan State

First team to 21 wins this matchup of offensively challenged teams. Northwestern is showing signs of life after a dreadful start, while Michigan State has lost three in a row and looked bad doing it, a shocking turn of events for a Mark Dantonio-coached team. Momentum favors the visitors, but the hunch here is that the Spartans will do just enough to win at home. 

Doster’s pick: Michigan State 20–17

Vanderbilt at Georgia

Vanderbilt is playing for pride at this point, while Georgia still has a pulse in a wide-open SEC East. The Commodores have averaged under 10 points per game in their three SEC losses, and their last three visits to Athens have resulted in routs. Expect more of the same, although Vanderbilt's defense is strong enough to keep the score down. 

Doster’s pick: Georgia 31–13

UCLA at Washington State

The Bruins travel to Pullman to face a high-flying Washington State team that is riding a wave of momentum with a 2–0 Pac-12 start featuring routs of Oregon and Stanford. Adding to UCLA's woes, quarterback Josh Rosen suffered injuries to his leg and shoulder in the loss to Arizona State. Without a healthy Rosen, the Bruins aren't likely to keep pace with a Wazzu offense that is piling up 530 yards per game.

Doster’s pick: Washington State 35–28

Southern Miss at LSU

LSU is well rested following an unexpected, hurricane-induced bye week, while Southern Miss is smarting from an unexpected rout at the hands of Texas San Antonio. The bye gave Leonard Fournette's ankle time to heal, and if he's ready to go, he'll feast on a Golden Eagles defense that allowed 339 rushing yards to UTSA. 

Doster's pick: LSU 28–14

West Virginia at Texas Tech

This is an intriguing matchup with Big 12 title implications. The Raiders are piling up points in typical Tech fashion behind quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has already thrown 20 TD passes, but the Mountaineers have been stingy on defense, and Dana Holgorsen will no doubt have something dialed up for a suspect Raiders defense. Look for West Virginia to keep its title hopes alive in Lubbock.

Doster’s pick: West Virginia 34–31

Ohio State at Wisconsin

The Badgers have shown that they can compete at this level, but Ohio State is a challenge of a different kind. In a year of high-flying offenses in college football, the Buckeyes stand apart, with a scoring average that is pushing 60 points per game. But Indiana managed to take away quarterback J.T. Barrett’s normally efficient passing game, and the Badgers possess an elite defense that will be buoyed by a frenzied Camp Randall Stadium crowd. 

Doster's pick: Ohio State 24–17

Virginia Tech at Syracuse

Tech has to be considered the favorite in the ACC Coastal Division at the moment. The Hokies have played as well as anyone in the country since their loss to Tennessee, winning three games in lopsided fashion and jumping to a 2–0 ACC start. The Orange, meanwhile, have a long way to go to return to relevance. 

Doster's pick: Virginia Tech 38–10

Utah at Oregon State

Kyle Whittingham has another solid team hidden in the relative anonymity of Salt Lake City. Whittingham earned career win No. 100 in the Utes' workmanlike effort vs. Arizona. Oregon State finally picked up the first Pac-12 win of the Gary Andersen era with a shocking upset of Cal, but the euphoria in Corvallis will be short-lived.

Doster's pick: Utah 24–10

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Wake Forest at Florida State

A game in the Miami-Florida State series once again turned on a kicking game mistake, but this time it was the Noles who benefited, blocking a Canes extra point for a 20–19 win. Still, the Noles are struggling to find consistency, and they face a Deacons team that has been one of the pleasant surprises in college football with a 5–1 start. But there's still a significant swagger gap between these two programs.  

Doster's pick: Florida State 27–13

Kansas State at Oklahoma

It's still hard to know what to make of the Sooners, who are 2–0 in Big 12 play but have shown little inclination to stop their opponents from scoring. We know this much about the Wildcats: They'll be well coached and will probably play above their ability.

Doster's pick: Oklahoma 27–20

NC State at Clemson

This is a sneaky-tough matchup for Clemson. The Wolfpack are 4–1 (1–0 in the ACC) and are playing a solid brand of defense, which they showed in a rain-soaked 10–3 win over Notre Dame. But the Pack surrendered 56 points to Clemson a year ago, and the Tigers have put things together offensively after a sluggish start to the season. Pack quarterback Ryan Finley has yet to throw an interception this season, and if he protects the ball, State could keep it close.  

Doster's pick: Clemson 31–17

North Carolina at Miami

The Canes’ renaissance under Mark Richt had been impressive until their prime-time 20–19 loss to rival Florida State on a blocked extra point in a game that revealed some weaknesses in the running game and on the offensive line. The Canes are back to playing the kind of defense that was once their hallmark, but they’ll face a big challenge in Mitch Trubisky and the North Carolina offense. Trubisky and the Heels ran into two obstacles they couldn’t overcome in a 34–3 loss to Virginia Tech — the Hokies defense and the rains of Hurricane Matthew. 

Doster’s pick: Miami 27–24

Stanford at Notre Dame

Before the season, this matchup looked like a possible playoff elimination game. Now, it's merely two teams in salvage mode trying to scratch out enough wins for bowl eligibility. The Irish offense bottomed out in a rainy loss to NC State, and Brian Kelly may be a dead man walking in South Bend.

Doster's pick: Stanford 24–21

USC at Arizona

After a stumbling start, USC has righted the ship and is still a factor in the wide-open Pac-12 South — a division in which Arizona is the clear doormat. Look for Trojans freshman quarterback Sam Darnold to continue his recent run of stellar play. 

Doster's pick: USC 31–21

Nebraska at Indiana

Nebraska is unbeaten, but a weak assortment of victims shouldn't leave the Huskers overconfident against a dangerous group of Hoosiers. Indiana took away Ohio State's passing game, but like the Buckeyes, the Huskers are balanced enough to compensate.

Doster’s pick: Nebraska 31–24

Ole Miss at Arkansas

The Hogs' grueling SEC West gauntlet continues against the Rebels, who have held huge leads in both their losses are aren't far from being an undefeated playoff contender. Look for Chad Kelly & Co. to turn Arkansas into the best 0–3 SEC team in recent memory.

Doster’s pick: Ole Miss 42–35

Pittsburgh at Virginia

The Cavaliers are much improved under Bronco Mendenhall and picked up their first ACC win against Duke, but the Panthers are battle tested following a series of close games and should be able to ride a powerful run game to a win in Charlottesville. 

Doster's pick: Pittsburgh 24–14

Arizona State at Colorado

The Buffs came back to earth with a loss to USC, but Mike MacIntyre's team is still in the thick of the Pac-12 South race — as is Arizona State, which posted a key win over UCLA. This looks like one of the better games of the weekend. 

Doster's pick: Arizona State 31–27

Missouri at Florida

The Gators will be chomping at the bit to take the field following the cancellation of their game with LSU, and quarterback Luke Del Rio's return from injury could give the Gators the offensive boost they need. Missouri's SEC struggles continue in the first year of the Barry Odom era.

Doster's pick: Florida 28–10

Last Week: 12-8