College Football Picks: Week 7 Predictions for Every Game

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIOctober 11, 2013

College Football Picks: Week 7 Predictions for Every Game

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    With conference action in full swing, college football's Week 7 will bring several heated battles between top contenders, headlined by Oregon at Washington and Florida at LSU.

    The day will kick off with the Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas, as well as another SEC bout between the red-hot Missouri Tigers and the shorthanded Georgia Bulldogs.

    The Jadeveon Clowney injury saga will play out in Fayetteville, where Arkansas will play host to South Carolina.

    And major Big Ten bout will come later in the day between Northwestern and Wisconsin.

    Check out previews and predictions for every matchup, small and large, up ahead.

    Note: All times Eastern and all rankings based off the Week 7 AP Top 25

     

No. 25 Missouri at No. 7 Georgia

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    Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Missouri 41, Georgia 26

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m.

    With a litany of injuries, Georgia's prospects for this weekend and beyond are in flux. 

    Keith Marshall, Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett are all out of commission, and head coach Mark Richt told Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he is preparing for this week as if Gurley won't be available at running back:

    I don't really know for sure on Gurley's situation. I would say it's doubtful. I don't know if doubtful is the best word. He's not going to practice today; I know that. Tomorrow we'll see how he runs straight ahead. Is he going to play in this game? He could; I'm not going to count him out. But we've got to prepare as if he won't play.

    With Gurley's outlook cloudy at best, UGA will likely have to depend on a pair of true freshmen, J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas, to carry the load on the ground. More importantly, quarterback Aaron Murray will have to outduel Missouri's James Franklin.

    The Mizzou signal-caller has thrown for more than, 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns this year and, along with offensive weapons Henry Josey, L'Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham, will give the Tigers a chance at the upset.

    However, playing at home, even shorthanded, Georgia should take care of business. The Bulldogs did the job on the road last week while plugging in replacements unexpectedly against Tennessee. Now with a week to prepare, the Dawgs should look better.

     

    Prediction: Georgia 41, Missouri 31

No. 12 Oklahoma vs. Texas

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    *UPDATE*

    Texas 36, Oklahoma 20

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m.

    As the highest-ranked team in the Big 12, Oklahoma is a comfortable favorite over Texas.

    The Longhorns will have the revenge factor on their side, as they'll be looking to avenge two consecutive humiliating losses (and three overall) at the hands of their archrivals. However, the Horns just might not have enough to match up with the Sooners.

    OU is the No. 1 defense in the Big 12, allowing just 13 points per game. Additionally, the Sooners have been playing much better on offense since inserting Blake Bell as the starter.

    UT will need a big push up front and a strong effort from its corps of running backs to keep up. Unfortunately, that push just hasn't been there this season.

    Oklahoma will roll again.

     

    Prediction: Oklahoma 34, Texas 20

Iowa State at No. 20 Texas Tech

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    Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Texas Tech 42, Iowa State 35

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m.

    Sitting at 1-3, Iowa State will head to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech in desperate need of a win.

    The Cyclones have taken all three of their losses by just one possession (or so), including a 31-30 robbery against Texas last week.

    Texas Tech, meanwhile, has Big 12 title hopes, sitting undefeated at 5-0. However, starting quarterback Baker Mayfield is questionable for this week. This leaves the Red Raiders offense as a major question mark.

    With the two teams in completely different places, anything could happen. Head coach Paul Rhoads will ignite his team and quarterback Sam B. Richardson will have a big day, leading ISU to the upset.

     

    Prediction: Iowa State 34, Texas Tech 31

     

Pittsburgh at No. 24 Virginia Tech

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Virginia Tech 19, Pitt 9

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m.

    Virginia Tech has improved with every passing week since its season-opening loss to Alabama. Pitt has been doing much the same since it was trounced by Florida State in Week 1.

    Both still have just the one loss, making this a crucial game in the ACC Coastal Division.

    The game will feature an intriguing matchup between the Va Tech secondary, which leads the nation in interceptions, and the Pitt wide receiver duo of Devin Street and Tyler Boyd. Together, they have been one of the most prolific receiving twosomes in the nation, each averaging more than 100 receiving yards per game.

    However, Street and Boyd haven't seen a secondary as strong as that of the Hokies. In Blacksburg with Coastal title hopes on the line, VT won't lose.

     

    Prediction: Virginia Tech 28, Pitt 17

South Florida at Connecticut

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    Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    South Florida 13, Connecticut 10

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m.

    Connecticut and South Florida have both experienced dreadful years. Between the 0-4 Huskies and the 1-4 Bulls, someone has to win.

    USF is No. 120 in the nation in total offense, while UConn is a hair better at 119. As inept as they are on offense, both are decent defensive clubs. The Bulls rank 39th nationally and the Huskies are 51st in total defense.

    At home with probably their best chance at a victory this season, the Huskies will have just enough from junior quarterback Chandler Whitmer to edge the Bulls.

     

    Prediction: UConn 20, USF 17

Indiana at Michigan State

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Michigan State 42, Indiana 28

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m.

    Michigan State is abhorrent on offense but outstanding on defense, while Indiana is the exact opposite, making this an intriguing Big Ten matchup.

    MSU is No. 1 in the nation in total defense, allowing 204 yards per contest. Meanwhile the Hoosiers have allowed more than twice that.

    The Hoosier offense has made up for it though. Led by quarterback Nate Sudfeld, the Hoosiers have the No. 11 scoring offense in the country. But while IU has averaged 44 points per contest, MSU has scored just 28.

    In a classic offense vs. defense clash, the defensive club will win out at home.

     

    Prediction: Michigan State 27, Indiana 21

Memphis at Houston

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    Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Houston 25, Memphis 15

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m.

    Houston has a strong offense, as usual, and has been improving week to week.

    The Cougars are No. 10 in the nation in total offense and have posted 534 yards and 13th at 43.5 points per game. 

    Memphis, meanwhile, plays a much slower style, relying on a strong defense and rushing attack to win games.

    In this one, the Cougars offense will catch fire early and never really let up, leaving the Tigers in their dust. At home, Houston wins big.

     

    Prediction: Houston 48, Memphis 13

     

Eastern Michigan at Army

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    Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Army 50, Eastern Michigan 25

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m.

    It isn't a good year to be an Eastern Michigan fan.

    The Eagles haven't played well on either side of the ball and have just one win this year, a season-opening victory over Howard. Army, meanwhile, has been playing relatively well and is 2-4 with wins over Louisiana Tech and Morgan State. 

    The game will feature a stark mismatch. EMU ranks 110th in rush defense, while Army comes in as the No. 4 rush offense in the country. 

    The Eagles simply won't be able to stop the Black Knights' ground assault.

     

    Prediction: Army 28, Eastern Michigan 20

Nebraska at Purdue

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    Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Nebraska 44, Purdue 7

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m.

    Nebraska has a great opportunity this week against Purdue. Not to notch an impressive quality win, but to flex its muscle against a weak opponent.

    The Cornhuskers are on the cusp of the Top 25 at 4-1, with just a loss to UCLA, and have looked strong on offense.

    The balanced Nebraska attack, headed by running back Ameer Abdullah and quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. (who will once again start in place of the injured Taylor Martinez) should have no problem posting big numbers against Purdue.

    The Boilermakers are No. 113 in scoring offense and No. 111 in scoring defense and own just one six-point victory over Indiana State on the year.

    Huskers win in a laugher.

     

    Prediction: Nebraska 48, Purdue 7

Kansas at TCU

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    John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    TCU 27, Kansas 17

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m.

    Once again, Kansas is the worst team in the Big 12. And once again the Jayhawks look utterly incapable of winning a single game in conference play.

    That trend will hold true when they head to Fort Worth to take on a TCU squad that is thirsty for a win.

    The Horned Frogs were edged by Oklahoma, 20-17, last week and need to start picking up victories, as they sit at 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Big 12.

    TCU will notch one in the win column this week, though its offense will still have some struggles.

     

    Prediction: TCU 28, Kansas 3

     

No. 14 South Carolina at Arkansas

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    Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    South Carolina 52, Arkansas 7

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12:21 p.m.

    All the talk surrounding South Carolina is involving the Jadeveon Clowney injury fiasco. Head coach Steve Spurrier and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward both like his chances to play, as reported by David Cloninger of The State:

    "I think he’ll play,” South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said on Thursday. “He’s gotten better. He’s still getting a lot of treatment, he’ll continue to get a lot of treatment, but I think he’ll play.”

    “He has practiced a bit,” Spurrier said on his call-in radio show. “We’re still listing him as questionable, but there’s a good chance he could play some out there.”

    Whether or not he goes, the Gamecocks will have their hands full with stopping the Arkansas rushing attack. The Hogs are No. 4 in the SEC on the ground thanks to the efforts of freshman back Alex Collins.

    South Carolina will counter with a dangerous back of their own, Mike Davis. Collins leads the SEC in total rushing yards, while Davis leads in rushing average with 122.8 yards per game.

    The game will likely come down to which of the two backs can break off the bigger runs at the most crucial times. That nod will go to South Carolina's sophomore, Davis, who is tied for the SEC lead with three runs of 50 or more yards.

     

    Prediction: South Carolina 34, Arkansas 27

Navy at Duke

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    Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sport

    *UPDATE*

    Duke 35, Navy 7

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12:30 p.m.

    This game might not have the commercial college football appeal, but both Duke and Navy have been playing some solid football this season.

    At 3-2, Duke has its eyes on its second consecutive bowl bid, as last season, the Blue Devils made their first postseason trip in almost 20 years. With a tough ACC slate coming up, their bowl hopes might hinge on this game.

    Meanwhile, Navy has its own bowl plans, as it sits at 3-1. The Midshipmen boast one of the nation's best rushing attacks and have also been solid on defense.

    Coming off a 28-10 win over Air Force, the Mids once again show that no government shutdown can halt their charge.

     

    Prediction: Navy 28, Duke 17

Western Carolina at Auburn

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    Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Auburn 62, Western Carolina 3

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m.

    It doesn't seem likely that Auburn will have the services of quarterback Nick Marshall against Western Carolina.

    JOX FM in Birmingham, Ala. tweeted that, according to its sources, Marshall is out for the game, with freshman Jeremy Johnson slated as the likely starter.

    This is Western Carolina here, though. Not South Carolina, North Carolina or even East Carolina.

    Whether it is Marshall, Johnson or Aubie the Tiger under center, Auburn should have no problem downing the Catamounts. 

     

    Prediction: Auburn 41, Western Carolina 7

Central Michigan at Ohio

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    *UPDATE*

    Central Michigan 26, Ohio 23

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m.

    The Dan LeFevour days are long gone at Central Michigan, but the Chippewas have been improving after their post-LeFevour lull.

    Still, they aren't up to par with Ohio, which stands as one of the MAC favorites.

    The Bobcats have been picking up steam since their season-opening loss to Louisville, and have outscored their last two opponents, 81-3.

    They'll continue on that tear and rip through CMU at home.

     

    Prediction: Ohio 43, Central Michigan 27

Buffalo at Western Michigan

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    Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Buffalo 33, Western Michigan 0

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m.

    Buffalo was whipped by Ohio State and Baylor to open the season, but hasn't lost since. The Bulls won their last two games over UConn and Eastern Michigan by a combined 57 points.

    Western Michigan, meanwhile, has been taken down by the Big Ten's Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa, along with losses to lesser foes of Nicholls, Kent State and Toledo.

    Ranking No. 120 in scoring offense and No. 116 in scoring defense, WMU just can't seem to score or keep opponents off the board.

    That will continue against a Buffalo squad that is still on the short list of MAC title contenders.

     

    Prediction: Buffalo 30, Western Michigan 17

Miami (OH) at Massachusetts

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    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    UMass 17, Miami (OH) 10

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3 p.m.

    The only good thing about this matchup between Miami (OH) and Massachusetts is that one team has to win.

    Not much...well, more like nothing, has gone well for either team this year, as both the RedHawks and the Minutemen stand at 0-5. 

    Both teams are allowing more than 30 points per game and scoring less than 10 points per game. The RedHawks are averaging 8.8 points per contest, while the Minutemen are averaging 7.0 (bottom two in the country).

    With what might literally be the two worst teams in the FBS squaring off, your guess is as good as mine...when in doubt, go with the home team.

     

    Prediction: UMass 20, Miami (OH) 17

Kent State at Ball State

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE* 

    Ball State 27, Kent State 24

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3 p.m.

    Ball State will be looking to continue to roll as they play host to Kent State on Saturday.

    The Cardinals have been great offensively and exploded for 48 points in win over Virginia last week. They are currently No. 2 in the MAC in scoring at an average of 41.3 points per contest.

    On the other hand, not much has gone the way of Kent State this year. The Golden Flashes lost all-purpose star Dri Archer early in the season and simply haven't been up to par, with their two wins coming over FCS foe Liberty and lowly Western Michigan.

    The Cardinals have MAC title hopes and those dreams will come closer to fruition this week.

     

    Prediction: Ball State 42, Kent State 28

Boston College at No. 3 Clemson

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    Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Clemson 24, Boston College 14

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

    Sound the trap game alarms.

    Clemson will host Florida State next week in a game that will carry ACC and BCS title implications, but they first have to take care of business against Boston College.

    While the Tigers have been rolling and are one of the nation's best teams, the Eagles haven't been bad either.

    BC notched losses to USC and Florida State but gave the Seminoles all they could handle and will look to do the same to Clemson.

    However, senior quarterback and Heisman hopeful Tajh Boyd won't let the Tigers fall victim to an upset before their biggest game of the year. Clemson will come out focused and win with ease.

     

    Prediction: Clemson 52, Boston College 20

No. 17 Florida at No. 10 LSU

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    *UPDATE*

    LSU 17, Florida 6

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

    In one of the week's most anticipated games, two SEC foes will put their conference title hopes on the line.

    LSU will pit its explosive offense against Florida's stingy defense in Baton Rouge.

    Led by quarterback Zach Mettenberger and running back Jeremy Hill, the Tigers boast the No. 3 scoring offense in the SEC and have scored more than 45.5 points per game.

    Meanwhile, Florida is a stark contrast and ranks No. 2 in the nation in total defense. The Gators yield just 217 yards per contest.

    However, they haven't played an offense as balanced and talented as LSU yet, and in an era of offensive football, the Tigers pull through. 

     

    Prediction: LSU 28, Florida 20

No. 15 Baylor at Kansas State

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Baylor 35, Kansas State 25

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

    Kansas State has a bone to pick with Baylor. The Bears knocked Kansas State out of the national title game last year with a shocking 52-24 win in Waco.

    There's no questioning how motivated K-State will be with last year's loss and this year's 2-3 start sure to fuel their fire in this matchup.

    However, since beating KSU last year, Baylor hasn't lost. The Bears offense has been superhuman this year, posting 70.5 points and nearly 780 yards per game.

    As much as the Wildcats will want this win, they can't have it.

     

    Prediction: Baylor 66, Kansas State 21

No. 19 Northwestern at Wisconsin

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    *UPDATE*

    Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 6

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

    This matchup feels like a consolation game for third place at the end of a tournament.

    Both Northwestern and Wisconsin tried their hands at beating Big Ten favorite Ohio State in the last two weeks, but both came up short.

    While that is deflating for both teams, it sets up an interesting game this week, as the Wildcats and the Badgers played OSU equally tough.

    UW has a lethal rushing attack but it might be quarterback Joel Stave who has a big day against the porous NU secondary.

    Look for Stave and the Badgers to win in a wild affair in Madison.

     

    Prediction: Wisconsin 41, Northwestern 34

San Jose State at Colorado State

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    *UPDATE*

    San Jose State 34, Colorado State 27

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

    San Jose State and Colorado State should provide a very even matchup, although they are two contrasting clubs.

    The Spartans run a pass-heavy attack with talented quarterback David Fales at the helm. SJSU ranks No. 20 in the nation with an average of 306.8 passing yards per game.

    Meanwhile, CSU is a solid team but isn't particularly great at anything. The Rams will have to lean on their secondary to stop Fales and Co. Unfortunately, it was their secondary that let them down in losses to Colorado and Tulsa.

    With CSU coming in at No. 110 in the nation against the pass, the edge goes to the Spartans, even on the road.

     

    Prediction: San Jose State 41, Colorado State 31

     

Virginia at Maryland

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    Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Maryland 27, Virginia 26

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

    Maryland was rolling until it was humiliated 63-0 by Florida State last week.

    The Terrapins aren't nearly as bad as that score makes them look, and will have a great opportunity to get back on track this week.

    They'll be hosting a Virginia squad coming off consecutive losses to Pitt and Ball State. The UVA offense is nothing like the one UMD saw against Florida State.

    The Terps will bounce back in a big way against a Cavaliers squad that is No. 13 in the ACC in scoring.

     

    Prediction: Maryland 30, Virginia 17

Syracuse at North Carolina State

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    Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Syracuse 24, NC State 10

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

    Syracuse's first ACC game didn't go so well. The Orange were smashed by conference favorite Clemson 49-14 at home last week to start their ACC life 0-1.

    North Carolina State, of course, is a longtime conference member but has also had a rough start to league play with losses to Clemson and Wake Forest.

    That loss to the Demon Deacons looks particularly bad since the Deacs have a nonconference loss to Sun Belt foe Louisiana-Monroe on their resume.

    The Wolfpack offense struggled with turnovers in that game and has played better at home this season.

    In the comfort of Carter-Finley Stadium, NCSU will edge the Orange.

     

    Prediction: NC State 31, Syracuse 28

Troy at Georgia State

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    Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Troy 35, Georgia State 28

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

    The Sun Belt Conference is pretty wide open and Troy certainly has a chance at the title after starting conference play at 1-1.

    Georgia State has no shot. The Panthers are 0-5 and have served as a punching bag for West Virginia, Alabama and even Chattanooga. 

    GSU is No. 121 in the nation in scoring offense and has posted just 14.2 points per game. Their defense isn't much better, ranking 116th with 38.2 points per game allowed.

    The Panthers might find a way to win a game this year, but it won't come against the Trojans, who boast the Sun Belt's No. 1 passing attack.

     

    Prediction: Troy 49, Georgia State 21

     

East Carolina at Tulane

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    Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Tulane 36, East Carolina 33 (OT)

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

    East Carolina has carried the flag for Conference USA this season and is the favorite to take the league title at 2-0 in league play. 

    Meanwhile, Tulane is also 2-0 in conference play and might provide the Pirates their toughest in-conference test of the season.

    The Green Wave will play well at home, but it won't be enough to top the Shane Carden-led Pirates.

    ECU's junior signal-caller is far and away the passing leader in the conference with more than 300 yards per game. He'll have another big day against the Green Wave secondary that gives up nearly 250 yards per game through the air.

     

    Prediction: East Carolina 41, Tulane 27

     

New Mexico at Wyoming

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    USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Wyoming 38, New Mexico 31

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m.

    This game will bring a whole new meaning to the phrase "contrasting styles."

    Wyoming is No. 2 in the Mountain West with an average of 322.8 passing yards per game. Meanwhile, New Mexico is dead last in the MWC and second to last in the nation, averaging just 76 passing yards per contest.

    However, UNM is No. 1 in the nation in rushing with a gaudy average of 367.8 yards per game. 

    As a result, both are scoring right around 38 points per game. 

    This one will be closely contested, but the Cowboys will wrangle the Lobos on their home turf.

     

    Prediction: Wyoming 45, New Mexico 35

No. 2 Oregon at No. 16 Washington

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    Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Oregon 45, Washington 24

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 4 p.m.

    Washington proved to be a legitimate Pac-12 contender when it nearly knocked off Stanford last week.

    But the Huskies won't have any time to pout about their 31-28 loss, as they'll host another Top 5 foe in Oregon. To further spice of up the enticing matchup, ESPN's College GameDay will be on hand, the pregame show isn't coming to Seattle for nothing.

    Washington's defense will be the best Oregon has faced this year and has athletes at all three levels that will try to match the speed of Marcus Mariota and Co. On the other side Huskies quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey will provide the toughest test yet for the Ducks defense that has played well all season.

    Additionally, they will likely have to adjust to actually playing a full four-quarter game, something they haven't done all year.

    According to Andrew Greif of The Oregonian, head coach Mark Helfrich acknowledged that potential new obstacle this week:

    We haven’t been in a game in the fourth quarter this year and we’d be very happy if it remained that way the rest of the year but it probably won’t. I think our guys have answered every challenge we’ve presented to them in practice as much as possible you can simulate those kinds of things. We try to create as chaotic an environment to just be comfortable being uncomfortable.

    It seems like just about everything is playing against the favor of UO on the road. This week, it will be learned whether or not Oregon is the real deal. 

    So far this year, they have been as real as it gets. With their first real opportunity to impress, the Ducks will roll.

     

    Prediction: Oregon 57, Washington 31

Rice at Texas-San Antonio

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    Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Rice 27, UTSA 21

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 4 p.m.

    Rice and Texas-San Antonio should provide an even matchup.

    The Owls and the Roadrunners share one common opponent this season; both lost to Houston. 

    Rice's 31-26 loss was much closer than UTSA's 59-28 defeat.

    While Rice's strength, the No. 1 rushing offense in C-USA, plays into the hands of UTSA's strong rush defense (No. 4 in C-USA), the Owls have been the more complete team this year. 

    That UTSA rush defense will falter late at home, giving Rice the edge.

     

    Prediction: Rice 31, UTSA 28

No. 18 Michigan at Penn State

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    *UPDATE*

    Penn State 43, Michigan 40 (4OT)

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 5 p.m.

    Michigan and Penn State have both been pretty enigmatic this season. 

    The Wolverines were very strong in wins over Notre Dame, Central Michigan and Minnesota, but nearly suffered humiliating losses to Akron and Connecticut.

    Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions have had one of the best passing attacks in the Big Ten with freshman Christian Hackenberg at the helm, but stumbled in two of their last three games to UCF and Indiana.

    This week, those roles will reverse and UM will finally find itself on the losing end of one of those close games, while PSU comes out on top behind big days from Hackenberg and receiver Allen Robinson.

     

    Prediction: Penn State 34, Michigan 31

Akron at No. 23 Northern Illinois

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    Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Northern Illinois 27, Akron 20

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 5 p.m.

    Akron and Northern Illinois couldn't be in much different places going into their contest this week.

    The Zips are 1-5 and were just crushed by Ohio and Bowling Green the past two weeks. That should give some insight into this game, as BGSU and Ohio are right alongside Northern Illinois as MAC favorites.

    NIU has bigger dreams than just winning the conference, though. Undefeated with two wins over Big Ten opponents, the Huskies have dreams of making the BCS for the second straight year.

    Quarterback Jordan Lynch and NIU will be too much for the Zips.

     

    Prediction: Northern Illinois 52, Akron 10

Marshall at Florida Atlantic

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    Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Marshall 24, FAU 23

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 5 p.m.

    So close. 

    That has been the theme for Marshall this season, which is oh, so close to being 5-0 with a pair of quality wins on its resume.

    The Thundering Herd nearly knocked off MAC and ACC hopefuls Ohio and Virginia Tech in consecutive weeks, but lost both in heartbreaking fashion. The Herd rallied late against the Bobcats, only to come up three points short. The next week they lost to VT in three overtimes.

    Florida Atlantic, on the other hand, has been solid in wins over South Florida and UAB, as well as during losses to Middle Tennessee and Rice.

    However, the Herd passing attack and solid defense will be too much in this one and Marshall will remain in contention for the Conference-USA title.

     

    Prediction: Marshall 34, FAU 24

No. 5 Stanford at Utah

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Utah 27, Stanford 21

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m.

    Stanford endured a slow start to the season but has since blossomed into the Top 5 team that many thought it was before the season.

    The Cardinal are fresh off a hard-fought win over Washington and could be in for a letdown if they take Utah too lightly.

    The game will be a physical battle between two of the better power rushing teams in the Pac-12. However, that is the kind of battle that Stanford just doesn't lose.

    Their ever-poised coach David Shaw will keep his squad focused forward, while Kevin Hogan has a big game off play action as Stanford rolls.

     

    Prediction: Stanford 41, Utah 21

Middle Tennessee at North Texas

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    Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

    *UPDATE*

    North Texas 34, Middle Tennessee 7

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

    North Texas and Middle Tennessee should provide yet another closely contested small-conference matchup this week.

    UNT likes to toss the ball around the yard and ranks 30th in the nation through the air. The strong Mean Green air attack will be pitted against a porous MTSU secondary that ranks No. 12 in C-USA.

    Quarterback Derek Thompson will eclipse 350 yards through the air as the Mean Green move to an even 3-3 on the year.

     

    Prediction: North Texas 38, Middle Tennessee 28

     

     

     

Georgia Tech at BYU

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    BYU 38, Georgia Tech 20

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

    One thing is for sure about the Georgia Tech-BYU matchup: There won't be much passing.

    The Yellow Jackets are seventh in the nation in rushing with an average of 300 yards per game. BYU isn't far behind in 11th with an average of 277.8 yards per contest. 

    The biggest difference between the two teams is that BYU trusts its quarterback, Taysom Hill. Meanwhile, Vad Lee's struggles for GT leave it much less decided at the position. 

    The Yellow Jackets juggled three quarterbacks last week in a loss to Miami. With two straight losses, the Ramblin' Wreck is looking like just that: a wreck.

    The situation won't improve this week against the Cougars.

     

    Prediction: BYU 34, GT 21

     

Louisiana-Monroe at Texas State

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    Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

    *UPDATE*

    ULM 21, Texas State 14

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

    Louisiana-Monroe isn't the team it was last year. On the other side of the field, Texas State has it sights set on its first ever bowl bid since joining the FBS in 2012.

    At 3-2 with losses to two quality teams in Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas Tech, that looks like a definite possibility for the Bobcats in their first year in the Sun Belt.

    Texas State boasts the No. 2 scoring defense in the SBC and should have no problem stopping ULM, which has scored just 16.7 points per contest.

    Behind that strong defense, the Bobcats will move one step closer to a coveted bowl bid.

     

    Prediction: Texas State 24, Louisiana-Monroe 16

     

Idaho at Arkansas State

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    Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Arkansas State 48, Idaho 24

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

    In one of the bigger mismatches of the week, Arkansas State's explosive offense will line up against Idaho's practically nonexistent defense.

    The Vandals are the second-worst defense in the nation, allowing 536.8 yards and 42.3 points per game. 

    Meanwhile, the Red Wolves boast the No. 2 total offense in the Sun Belt. Their balanced attack has averaged 464.6 yards per contest.

    Those numbers certainly don't favor Idaho. And in this case, the mismatch will show on the scoreboard.

     

    Prediction: Arkansas State 51, Idaho 21

No. 1 Alabama at Kentucky

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    John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

    *UPDATE*

    Alabama 48, Kentucky 7

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

    Alabama had a snoozer last week against Georgia State, and will be in another one this week against Kentucky.

    The Wildcats might be on the rise under head coach Mark Stoops, but they have a long way to go before they're anywhere near the Crimson Tide.

    UK played UA close in their last two meetings in 2008 and 2009, but that won't be the case this time.

    With arguably the worst offense in the SEC, the Wildcats are doomed against the vaunted Tide defense.

     

    Prediction: Alabama 38, Kentucky 3

Bowling Green at Mississippi State

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    Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Mississippi State 21, Bowling Green 20

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

    On the surface, this matchup looks like a cupcake MAC opponent in Bowling Green coming just at the right time for a Mississippi State squad in need of a win.

    In reality, the task isn't as easy as it may seem. BGSU is averaging 480.8 yards per game and allowing just 16.5 points per contest. The Falcons might be on their way to a MAC title but would love a signature win over an SEC school to sweeten the deal.

    However, that won't come easy against a desperate MSU team.

    It won't be easy, but the Bulldogs will find their way back on track in their homecoming game and take care of BGSU.

     

    Prediction: Mississippi State 37, Bowling Green 21

UAB at FIU

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    Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    UAB 27, FIU 24

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

    This is another one of those "take your pick" games between two struggling small-conference teams.

    Florida International and UAB are both 1-4 and neither have done much of anything well this year.

    UAB ranks 120th in scoring defense, while FIU comes in at No. 121. Both are giving up more than 40 points per game.

    FIU is fresh off its first win over Southern Miss, while UAB is coming off two straight losses. In the last small-conference toss-up, I went with the home team. This time, I'm going the other direction.

     

    Prediction: UAB 28, FIU 21

Boise State at Utah State

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Boise State 34, Utah State 23

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.

    The Mountain West has several talented teams this year and two of them will be pitted against one another Saturday night.

    Boise State and Utah State are each strong on both sides of the ball and neither has a glaring weakness.

    USU and Boise are No. 1 and 2 respectively in total defense in the MWC. Meanwhile, the Broncos are No. 3 and the Aggies are No. 4 in total offense.

    On paper, the matchup couldn't be much closer. 

    However, the Aggies lost their starting quarterback Chukie Keeton for the season this past week, a huge loss that tilts the matchup in favor of the Broncos.

     

    Prediction: Boise State 31, Utah State 30

Hawaii at UNLV

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    *UPDATE*

    UNLV 39, Hawaii 37

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.

    It has been a woeful season for Hawaii.

    The Warriors are 0-5 on the season thanks to a porous defense and one-dimensional offense.

    That situation won't improve this week against a UNLV team on a three-game winning streak. The Rebels were downed by BCS conference opponents in their first two games but have been on a roll since.

    That roll will carry on thanks to strong running from Tim Cornett, the No. 2 rusher in the MWC, against the Warriors.

     

    Prediction: UNLV 44, Hawaii, 34

Tulsa at UTEP

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    Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Tulsa 34, UTEP 20

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.

    In yet another battle of struggling Conference-USA teams, Tulsa and UTEP will each be looking for just their second win of the season.

    Tulsa's once-vaunted offense has slowed considerably, as the Golden Hurricane has mustered just 21 points per game.

    UTEP is a bit better off offensively, posting 33.4 points per contest. However, the abhorrent Miner defense will provide an opportunity for Tulsa to find its way back on track.

    Although their offense might pick up some steam, the Golden Hurricane defense won't do their part to pick up the win.

     

    Prediction: UTEP 49, Tulsa 38

     

No. 9 Texas A&M at Ole Miss

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    *UPDATE*

    Texas A&M 41, Ole Miss 38

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8:30 p.m.

    Ole Miss was riding high heading into its tilt with Alabama two weeks ago, only to be sunk 25-0. The loss proved to be deflating the next week when the Rebels lost to Auburn.

    A win over Texas A&M would be outstanding for the young Rebels' confidence. However, that just isn't going to happen against an Aggie team that had an extra week to rest and prepare.

    Ole Miss will score some on A&M but won't be able to keep up with Johnny Manziel, Ben Malena and Mike Evans.

    The Rebels will also benefit from playing at home, but it won't be enough to beat a Top 10 team.

     

    Prediction: Texas A&M 45, Ole Miss 31

Colorado at Arizona State

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Arizona State 54, Colorado 13

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 10 p.m.

    Arizona State and Colorado are sure to put on a classic Wild West shootout.

    Both teams can make it rain through the air and CU receiver Paul Richardson will cause some problems for the suspect ASU secondary.

    However, the Sun Devils are the more complete team with the talented Marion Grice at running back. Colorado ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in total defense, relinquishing more than 480 total yards per game.

    ASU will have a field day, though it will give up its share of points too.

     

    Prediction: Arizona State 54, Colorado 38

California at No. 11 UCLA

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    Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

    *UPDATE*

    UCLA 37, Cal 10

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 10:30 p.m.

    UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has to be licking his chops while watching California's game film.

    The Bears have the worst defense in the Pac-12 and rank No. 123 (out of 125) nationally in total defense.

    Meanwhile, UCLA is No. 2 in the conference and No. 4 nationally in total offense. The game could get ugly quickly if it weren't for Cal's explosive passing attack.

    The Bears are averaging nearly 400 passing yards per game, good for fourth in the nation. They'll play pitch and catch on the Bruins defense for a while, but won't be able to keep up with Hundley and Co. for long.

     

    Prediction: UCLA 55, Cal 31

Oregon State at Washington State

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    Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Oregon State 52, Washington State 24

     

    When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 10:30 p.m.

    At 2-1 in the Pac-12, Washington State has proven that it is legit and is ready to make the jump up into contention in the Pac-12 North.

    Well, maybe not quite this year, but the Cougars definitely have something going with the No. 8 passing offense in the nation.

    They'll put on quite a show with Oregon State, which boasts the second-best passing attack in the country.

    According to ESPN's Ted Miller, OSU head coach Mike Riley is aiming to be more balanced with his offense:

    We certainly want to. We'd like to balance out a bit. But as I've said, we'll do whatever we have to do to win the game. Maybe I need to be a little more patient with the run.

    That probably won't happen this week. Expect a shootout in Pullman and Sean Mannion, Brandin Cooks and the Beavers to prevail.

     

    Prediction: Oregon State 48, Washington State 41

Temple at Cincinnati

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    Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    *UPDATE*

    Cincinnati 38, Temple 20

     

    When: Friday, Oct. 11 at 8:30 p.m.

    Temple isn't off to a great start, and that negative trend should continue this week.

    The Owls are 0-5 and have no identity whatsoever on either side of the ball. They rank 117th nationally in scoring, as they've put up just 15.8 points per game. They have had a few tough opponents, but losses to Fordham and Idaho don't provide much hope going forward.

    Cincinnati should handle its business with ease this week. But then again, the Bearcats should've done the same last week against winless South Florida, but they didn't and instead gave the Bulls their first win of the season.

    However, South Florida isn't as inept as Temple, so that won't happen this time around.

     

    Prediction: Cincinnati 38, Temple 10