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The Obstructed NCAA Preview-Week 7

We have now hit the halfway point of the season.  Where has the time gone?  Anyways, I was out last week and saw the Michigan State/Northwestern game in person on one of my two annual football trips (as well as the Lions and Packers in Detroit).  Yikes, does Michigan State have some things to figure out or what?

Anyway, let’s get on with the preview of Week 7 and the games ahead.

TEXAS TECH AT TCU 7:30 (THURS)-ESPN:  Texas Tech has been somewhat of a question mark.  The offense is still the same offense under Kliff Kingsbury (putting up points galore) but the defense is streaky.  They can look like they turned a page or they look like they can allow 80 points.  TCU is the opposite somewhat.  They can play some excellent defense, but you never know what you get out of the offense from game to game.  This is somewhat of a rivalry game since TCU joined the Big 12 and I think they have enough defense to cool off the Red Raiders and get enough points against them to hold serve at home.  TCU 34, TEXAS TECH 31

ARIZONA AT UTAH, 10:00 (FRI)-ESPN:  Continuing the trend of teams you have no clue on figuring out, these two fit that bill.  Truth be told however, Arizona looks like they may have righted the ship after a disastrous start to the season.  If Khalil Tate can just be consistent, the Wildcats have a great shot at stealing one in Utah.  Utah has issues on offense, but that defense is still pretty legit and going against a streaky quarterback is really in their favor as well as being at home.  I like the Utes to win here, but I think Arizona will be in this game closer than what people make it to be.  UTAH 24, ARIZONA 20

IOWA AT INDIANA, 12:00-ESPN2:  4-1 Iowa at 4-2 Indiana?  Surprisingly they have held their own in the Big Ten, albeit not many figure either team to be a massive threat.  However, you have to be somewhat impressed with the Hoosiers fighting strong against Ohio State last week despite the late pull-away from the Buckeyes.  Iowa is still Iowa, just that rest on the defense and get enough offense in the end to win out.  This game I think will be low, but I think sometimes losing one battle will help you win another.  I’m calling an upset (somewhat) here and thinking Indiana gets the job done in Bloomington.  INDIANA 24, IOWA 17

MINNESOTA AT #3 OHIO STATE, 12:00-FS1:  While I think Ohio State is in that upper echelon with Alabama and Georgia in the college football world, it feels like it’s a little looser with them than the SEC big boys.  They seem to give up major offensive plays to teams even starting with Oregon State to begin the year.  Now, I don’t think Minnesota has the offensive carnage to really dent Ohio State, but if the Buckeyes find themselves in a relatively close battle, there will have to be alarms ringing in Columbus.  The Buckeyes will score points on Minnesota but they can’t think this game will be cruise control.  But they have to play far better than what they’ve been playing.  Ohio State should (and will) win, but they need a complete game at some point.  If not Minnesota, who?  OHIO STATE 42, MINNESOTA 21

#14 FLORIDA AT VANDERBILT, 12:00-ESPN:  The Gators are rolling right now and will have a bye week before their big tilt with Georgia in Jacksonville in 2 weeks.  Florida is winning games under Dan Mullen and it seems their confidence level has been growing since their loss to Kentucky with wins against Mississippi State and LSU.  This compared to the others is more of a letdown somewhat, but that is what is concerning here.  Florida if they go too easy, they can be in a fight against a Vanderbilt team that can be a pest.  But Florida will have to step it up more actually since their rivals in the Peach State beat the Commodores 41-13 last week.  I think there will be a slight letdown after their big win against LSU.  This game could be close in the 4th quarter before Florida pulls away.  FLORIDA 27, VANDERBILT 13

DUKE AT GEORGIA TECH, 12:20:  Probably not a must-see TV game (and it isn’t unless you’re in an ACC region like I am, which means I may be flipping to it every now and then), but this does have some impact on the ACC Coastal if Duke can win.  But we don’t know what Duke team shows up.  The one that has been rolling or the one we saw come up flat at home to Virginia Tech.  Georgia Tech had a HUGE win at Louisville and are riding a 2-game winning streak after a miserable 1-3 start.  The key to Duke is to make sure they jump on the Jackets early.  If they can’t, Georgia Tech will dictate the tempo the whole time.  However, I like Duke’s defense and I think they will step up.  Georgia Tech’s two wins were to Bowling Green and a miserable Louisville squad and Duke plays them tough in Atlanta.  DUKE 31, GEORGIA TECH 17

PITTSBURGH AT #5 NOTRE DAME, 2:30-NBC:  All eyes are on Notre Dame as it may feel like it is smooth sails and for a team that has really dominated in their wins ever since their close calls to Vanderbilt and Ball State.  Should they have trouble with Pittsburgh?  They shouldn’t.  Pittsburgh is just an inconsistent bunch this year from top to bottom.  I’d be surprised if this game is really that close.  NOTRE DAME 38, PITTSBURGH 16

MICHIGAN STATE AT #8 PENN STATE, 3:30-BTN:   Michigan State looked very bad on both sides of the ball on Saturday against Northwestern.  The Spartans had a small excuse of having a depleted bunch at receiver and at running back, but no excuse for not playing better defense or better play-calling in that 4th quarter.  Penn State had a bye to nurse their physical and emotional wounds from Ohio State.  Many figure this may be advantage Penn State, but remember they had Michigan State right after Ohio State last year and lost.  Michigan State should be slightly healthier, but that game plan was atrocious last week and if they plan poorly again, the Spartans will have problems again in Happy Valley.  PENN STATE 34, MICHIGAN STATE 20

#22 TEXAS A&M AT SOUTH CAROLINA, 3:30-SEC:  Texas A&M is gaining more and more momentum as the season has gone on.  Remember, the two losses are to Clemson and Alabama.  Obviously nothing to hang your head down on if you’re an Aggies fan.  South Carolina is another “tough-to-figure-out-group” where they look great one week and then horrid the next.  I think the consistency the Aggies are putting up may be just too much for the Gamecocks and since they are “rivals” according to SEC scheduling, A&M has had no issues pounding on South Carolina.  I think it won’t be a pounding but I like A&M here.  TEXAS A&M 28, SOUTH CAROLINA 21

#2 GEORGIA AT #13 LSU, 3:30, CBS:  LSU’s loss to Florida stung this game’s stock but still the best game of the week.  Now all heads are turning from a regional and a national standpoint to see if (a) the Bulldogs can win a big road game against a ranked opponent, something that eluded them last year  (b) where does LSU AND Florida rank in terms of standing up to both Georgia and Alabama for divisional supremacy  and (c) if LSU and Florida are legit contenders nationally.  But this will be a knock-down, drag out brawl that you normally associate LSU against Alabama.  But we are going to see an appetizer for LSU’s main course in early November.  This will test Georgia’s physical prowess on both sides.  But I think Georgia’s defense will frustrate Joe Burrow more than LSU will frustrate Jake Fromm.  But every yard will be earned on both sides.  I can’t wait to see this game actually.  And it will be very close until the very end.  GEORGIA 17, LSU 13

BAYLOR AT #9 TEXAS, 3:30-ESPN:  They’re back!  The Longhorns seem to figure it out under Tom Herman after last week’s thriller against Oklahoma.  Of course they still have some kinks to work out on defense, but since they are in the Big 12, they can hide those kinks a little bit more as we know the Big 12 is defensively challenged.  Baylor has had a good run in the conference and a great rebound season, but they aren’t on the same level as Texas though.  It may be close for a half, but I think the Longhorns pull it away in the 2nd half.  TEXAS 41, BAYLOR 24

#7 WASHINGTON AT #24 OREGON, 3:30, ABC:  Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment in predicting Oregon to win games.  Washington a week after curb-stomping BYU, struggled against a win-less UCLA squad at home.  I get maybe things are turning around for the Bruins, but still there is no way that game should have been close the way it is.  And not a way to go into Autzen Stadium to face the Oregon offense.  Now the thing is, can Oregon avoid the turnovers to win this game?  I think they learned their lesson in the Stanford game and I’m going upset here, which sucks for the PAC-12 especially if Washington loses as of now COLORADO may be the conference’s best shot if this happens.  OREGON 33, WASHINGTON 31

#16 MIAMI AT VIRGINIA, 7:00, ESPN2: Miami eked out a win against Florida State.  And while I do think rivalry games change the nature of the beast sometimes, it didn’t bode well for a Hurricanes squad that have to keep answering are they THAT good.  The Virginia game is a trap for the Hurricanes.  The Cavaliers haven’t played too bad all season and aren’t the same team that got religiously rolled over with Mike London as their coach.  I’d be buyer beware because this has the makings for an upset and if Miami’s offense doesn’t click against Virginia’s defense, this could most definitely be an upset.  Am I going with an upset here?  Sure, why not?  VIRGINIA 31, MIAMI 28

MISSOURI AT #1 ALABAMA, 7:00, ESPN:  Of course we are all thinking “blowout” with Bama.  And who can argue?  The Tide’s offense is clockwork this year, scoring at will against everybody.  However, before we just say easy “W” against Missouri, Alabama has MAJOR issues on defense right now (never thought I’d say that about an Alabama team-ever) and looks more like a Big 12 squad than an SEC squad.  And Drew Lock is that QB that can put up some yardage on the Tide’s defense with no issue.  Alabama has to step up their game on defense because while I still think they should win decisively, this game may not be “over” until the late 3rd/early 4th if that happens and then we can REALLY start measuring them and Georgia.  Until I see Bama’s defense step up, it could be a high scoring game on both ends.  ALABAMA 55, MISSOURI 27

#6 WEST VIRGINIA AT IOWA STATE, 7:00, FS1:  Everything is going for the Mountaineers, though their inability to shake off Kansas has to be of some alarm.  And Iowa State is not a typical 2-3 team right now as they’ve been in all games.  This, much like the Miami/Virginia game has the makings of an upset if the Mountaineers keep the Cyclones hanging around.  But Will Grier has been a Heisman candidate that has obviously overlooked because of the play of Tua at Alabama and Haskins at Ohio State.  He will make sure the Mountaineers win though it may be very close.  WEST VIRGINIA 34, IOWA STATE 28

#15 WISCONSIN AT #12 MICHIGAN, 7:30, ABC:  Michigan is clicking on offense, and that is scary.  The defense has some issues though you don’t see it too much as they do rank near the top of most categories but the penalties hurt them.  That said, I think the Wolverines defense will really play physical against the Badgers offense and keep Jonathan Taylor in check and I think Michigan will make some key plays to take out Wisconsin’s defense.  Again, I’ve not been sold on Wisconsin whatsoever with the mediocre QB play over the years and I think it is why they will lose to Michigan Saturday night with relative ease.  MICHIGAN 31, WISCONSIN 14

#19 COLORADO AT USC, 10:00, ESPN:  This is definitely another upset alert as Colorado, as we don’t really know what to make of them heads to USC, a team that handed them their lunch 2 years ago in Los Angeles.  This is a hard game to figure out.  If the Buffaloes win, you can pretty much wrap up the PAC-12 South for them because there is nobody in the way of Colorado.  If USC wins, with all the mess they’ve had in the season, they would really be the team to take control of the division.  So this is huge.  However, I think Colorado is better than what many believe they are and they will finally get that tough road W that has eluded them for a VERY long time.  COLORADO 26, USC 23

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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