2019 NCAAF Week 7 Weekend Preview

October 11, 2019

If last week was just getting into the meat of the college football schedule, then things have escalated…quickly.

Week 7 is bursting at the seams with solid matchups that have either a College Football Playoff or top of a conference race impact – or both. Championships aren’t won in October, but the framework for them is most certainly built during the month.

In the head-to-head prediction game, things have closed up slightly, adding to the fun this weekend:

K. Becks – 20-11

Guests – 21-10

This week, my mom will make her college football prognosticating debut on Around The Corn. Despite her limited knowledge of the game, I have to give credit where credit is due, noting that she did not need to be reminded even once what day the games started or when the picks were due back to me.

Solid work, Mom.

Let’s take a look at the slate of games to pay the closest attention to this weekend.

5 Games to Watch This Weekend

#6 Oklahoma vs. #11 Texas [game in Dallas] (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

The expectation for the Red River Rivalry is that it should at the very least come close to the excitement level created by the 2018 regular season contest, which is great news. Both Oklahoma and Texas are comfortable engaging in an offensive shootout similar to last year, particularly the former. The Sooners have been an offensive machine with Jalen Hurts at the helm, a testament to Lincoln Riley’s ability to bring the best out of his signal-callers. The Longhorns defense, already bad by statistical standards, may look helpless trying to stop Hurts on Saturday.

Although this is a game that may be decided by a single turnover, it’s tough to trust either one of these defenses to come up with that. Texas’s Big 12 leading 10 takeaways this season refutes that statement, but it’s hard to imagine Hurts not having his way with the Longhorn secondary for four quarters. A furious comeback won’t be needed this time around, but the Sooners will still get the job done against a Texas squad that still looks to be a year away from truly contending for a CFP bid.

My Pick: 45-36 Oklahoma

Mom’s Take: Texas 49-35. Hook ’em horns!

#1 Alabama at #24 Texas A&M (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The Aggies are still looking for their breakthrough win in 2019, but unfortunately recent history is not on their side. Texas A&M has lost five straight games against the AP No. 1 team; however, its last victory did come against the Crimson Tide, in 2012. Kellen Mond will look to channel some Manziel Magic against the Alabama defense, which has been average this season by the program’s standard. Mond can create some discomfort if he is quick to tuck the football, as Alabama’s run defense has been the main contributor to the mediocrity.

The Aggies are an intriguing football team with a defense capable of slowing down Tua Tagovailoa, but it feels like we’ve already been here once before this season. Texas A&M was unable to move the football when it mattered most against Clemson, and it’ll be a similar story again this Saturday. Mond will keep the Aggies in this one but won’t get enough help to close the deal.

My Pick: 34-16 Alabama

Mom’s Take: Alabama 49-28. Roll Tide! Picked Alabama to win cause I just like saying that.

#10 Penn State at #17 Iowa (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET)

The Big Ten’s game of the week takes place at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday evening, which is an extremely tough place to play as an opposing team, especially under the lights. The Hawkeyes will be looking to bounce back from a tough defeat at the hands of Michigan last weekend, where points came at a premium. Given Penn State’s offensive prowess and Iowa’s results against all teams outside of the Maize & Blue, it’s safe to assume that there will be more offensive fireworks in Iowa City.

The Nittany Lions have been impressive and, frankly, a bit of a surprise offensively this season, trailing just Ohio State in yards per game despite a handful of first-year starters at the skill positions. Sean Clifford has been excellent in the passing game and has made good use of a bevy of receivers. The Hawkeyes match up well in most areas, but it will be difficult to find a footing in the running game against Penn State’s defensive front. For the second weekend in a row, Nate Stanley will have trouble finding open receivers in the fourth quarter, as the Penn State secondary will have faith in the unit up front to stifle the rushing attack. Expect this one to be close for four quarters.

My Pick: 24-20 Penn State

Mom’s Take: Penn State 35-28

Nebraska at Minnesota (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET)

Both head coaches are working on establishing the culture at their respective school, and this is the kind of game that can help set the mold. The Golden Gophers are currently tied for the lead in the Big Ten West, proving to be solid in nearly every area of the game this season. Quarterback Tanner Morgan has taken tremendous steps in the passing game in his second season as a starter and will be a challenge for Nebraska to stop. Morgan has been asked to do a lot more in 2019 and has responded positively, already throwing for more touchdowns (13) than he did all of last season (9).

Nebraska also has a quarterback it is confident in, but Adrian Martinez has not been nearly as consistent or reliable as Morgan. The talent is obviously there, but Martinez has to rely more on his teammates and less on himself for the Cornhuskers to consistently move the football like they are capable of doing. On paper, the Golden Gophers and their solid defense aren’t the team Martinez is most likely to suddenly piece it all together against, but ATC chose Scott Frost’s squad to win the West Division and this one is even enough to feel decent about Nebraska.

My Pick: 34-31 Nebraska

Mom’s Take: Nebraska 42-23. Minnesota has ugly uniform colors.  Makes them feel self-conscious and in turn affects their playing.

#7 Florida at #5 LSU (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

For the second weekend in a row, the Gators will engage in a Top Ten battle that has major ramifications not only for the SEC title race, but for the CFP picture. This Saturday Florida will be away from the friendly confines of the Swamp, looking to spoil LSU’s perfect season at Death Valley. It won’t be an easy task – few players in the country have a better early Heisman résumé than Joe Burrow, who is helping redefine what comes to mind when one hears “LSU offense.” However, the opportunistic Gators defense is a perfect litmus test for whether the Tigers can survive the rest of their SEC schedule.

Kyle Trask proved in the Auburn game he can be relied upon, but he’ll have to keep pace with Burrow for the Gators to be able to win this one. Florida’s defense is full of speed and can change a game with a well-timed turnover, but so can LSU’s. Each defense will have its moments, and points may very well be hard to come by in Baton Rouge on Saturday night. So if it ends up coming down to a final drive, it’s hard to pick against Burrow, who would be making Ohio State kick itself hard for letting him go if not for Justin Fields.

My Pick: 24-17 LSU

Mom’s Take: LSU 38-23. Once again, the uniform colors rule. And it’s LSU for the win!

5 Games to Flip To

#23 Memphis at Temple (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

Both teams will look to keep pace at the top of their respective divisions in the AAC in a battle of contrasting styles.

Michigan State at #8 Wisconsin (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The Spartans have had a rough couple of weeks, travelling to Columbus and now Madison on consecutive Saturdays. It’s foolish to completely count out Mark Dantonio’s squad, though.

Washington State at #18 Arizona State (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The Sun Devils are once again proving pundits wrong with their strong start, and are stingy against the pass. The Pirate will have his work cut out for him to avoid slipping to .500 on the season.

Southern Cal at #9 Notre Dame (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET)

Talent is abundant for the Trojans, but the home team has already proven it can battle with the top teams in the country. If this is Clay Helton’s last game at Southern Cal, at least it’ll be a fun one.

Hawaii at #14 Boise State (Saturday, 10:15 PM ET)

The Broncos have built an early case as the Group of Five’s top team, but Hawaii will be a major test for the Mountain West’s top pass defense.

In the past, I’ve asked readers to let me know if they’d like to be guests on Around The Corn to make weekly college football picks. And while that invite still stands (email kbecks@aroundthecorn.com or message me on Facebook or Twitter if interested), the truth is that I’m basically asking friends and family on a weekly basis. Writing is a passion of mine, as is commenting on sports. But sharing those two passions with others are what has always made this worthwhile. So tell me what you think of the site and let me know what could be done better, or what would make you come back without prompting. I’d really appreciate it.

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