(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Ranking Week 7’s College Football Games

Rob Joyce
October 09, 2019 - 3:23 pm
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Because of the way the schedule works out, every team in the nation gets two bye weeks this season. While that’s good for coaches, it’s effect on Saturdays is dramatic. Through the first six weeks the number of quality games is down, partially because the quantity of games has decreased (last week, for example, there were only 16 games in the top-25). As a result, the top six teams in the nation have remained the same: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and Ohio State.

That all changes Saturday, when we have top-10 affairs, top-25 matchups and rivalry games galore, starting right at noon and taking you all the way close to midnight. With so much to watch, where should your attention lie? Here are the five best games to watch this Saturday in college football:

5) #25 Texas A&M vs. #1 Alabama (3:30pm):

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

It’s being billed as a top-25 contest, but don’t be fooled. The Aggies went to Death Valley and only found the end zone in the dying seconds of garbage time, then looked lifeless for three quarters at home and couldn’t come back in a loss to Auburn. They’re only ranked still because they were high up in the polls to start the year.

The Tide, meanwhile, are business as usual. Tua Tagovailoa has 23 touchdown passes and no interceptions in leading the offense to no fewer than 42 points each game. The defense looked a little shaky at times in wins over South Carolina and Ole Miss, and Kyle Field will be rocking, but it won’t slow down the train any. Alabama 41, Texas A&M 20

4) #9 Notre Dame vs. USC (7:30pm):

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

The annual rivalry would be more appealing if the Trojans weren’t on their 19th quarterback (okay, it’s a slight exaggeration, but only slightly), but it’s still two traditional powers playing in South Bend. It’s another Brian Kelly-coached Irish team – they win close games, only lose to the big boys (Georgia) and are hanging around the playoff conversation.

It’s a must-win for Notre Dame against a USC team that has loads of talent, but can’t put it all together. JT Daniels tore his ACL in Week 1, Jack Sears transferred out the week before after losing the starting job, then Kedon Slovis was concussed against Utah. Matt Fink is now under center for USC, who is facing its third straight ranked team. Whether it’s beating Utah 30-23, losing to BYU in overtime, or being smothered by Washington, your guess is as good as anyone’s which Trojans team will show up. Notre Dame 31, USC 20

3) #17 Iowa vs. #10 Penn State (7:30pm):

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The Hawkeyes helped set football back about 100 years after its 10-3 loss to Michigan last week in which the offense committed four turnovers. It doesn’t bode well that they’re welcoming in a Nittany Lions team that’s scored 94 points the last two weeks, but Kinnick Stadium is where top-10 teams get upset. Remember the 55-24 thrashing of #3 Ohio State in 2017, or the victory over #2 Michigan in 2016, or even the 21-19 loss to #4 Penn State in ’17, when Iowa finished 8-5? Under the lights in Iowa City is no joke – however, Penn State will do just enough to pull it out. Penn State 17, Iowa 13

2) #5 LSU vs. #7 Florida (8pm):

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Last week the Gators notched a top-10 home victory over Auburn, but the level of competition goes up a notch on Saturday. After years and years of ground-and-pound football, LSU boasts a spread attack, and it’s clicking on all cylinders. Joe Burrow is second in the nation in passing (380 yards/game) and third in passing touchdowns (17). The Tigers lead the country in scoring, averaging 57.8 points per game, and already have a true road win at Texas.

Florida’s defense impressed last week in forcing four turnovers against Auburn. But LSU and Auburn are on two different levels offensively, and while Kyle Trask has done a nice job since taking over the starting job, he won’t be able to keep up with the Tigers. LSU 34, Florida 17

1) #6 Oklahoma vs. #11 Texas (12pm):

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Red River Rivalry is back to being a game between two elite programs. The Sooners offense seemingly hasn’t missed a beat with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts at quarterback, and the defense looks improved from a year ago. Now OU gets its biggest test to date at the Cotton Bowl, where Texas goes for a second straight win against its rival. Sam Ehlinger and company already lost one shootout this season, a 45-38 defeat to LSU in Austin in Week 2. With a defense that’s not as good as the 2018 edition, it’s going to be another high-scoring affair. Ultimately, though, the Sooners will be too much and will take a big step toward 12-0. Oklahoma 48, Texas 38