This week won’t have the same level of high-ranked matchups that the last couple of weeks have had but there are still some really good games that have a lot of importance, particularly in conference divisional races as well as some compelling non-conference games still. What’s most interesting is that there are a lot of games that look like mismatches but feature teams coming off of big wins or tough losses. How will they perform a week later? Could be a huge letdown spot for someone…which would amp up the craziness.
Here’s our rundown of the Most Meaningful Matchups of Week 7 (and why)>>>>
(All times EST)
10. #10 Michigan State @ Indiana – Noon on FS1: While the Hoosiers have struggled a bit to start the year, they are coming off a bye week and are likely primed to make a splash in second half of the season. The Spartans have been one of the biggest stories in the country, unexpectedly starting 6-0 when many, including me, felt they would have a rough year. Can they maintain their winning ways on the road? Will be very interesting to see.
9. Air Force @ Boise State – 9:00 on FS1: A key Mountain West matchup – this is the best G5 game of the day. The Falcons are coming off a big win against Wyoming to move to 5-1 on the season while Boise beat up on out of conference rival BYU last week. Both teams could be there at the end in the Mountain West.
8. TCU @ #4 Oklahoma – 7:30 on ABC: Look – stranger things have happened. TCU has been right there in some games this year and Oklahoma might have a hangover from their huge comeback against Texas. This game is also worth watching because of Caleb Williams starting at QB after his eruption off the bench in the Red River Rivalry. Can the Horned Frogs hold him down without a lot of film to look at on him? If we’re calling this week another crazy one at the end of the night, this is the kind of game that would make it so.
7. #19 BYU @ Baylor – 3:30 on ESPN: I’m a bit confused as to why Baylor is not still in the Top 25 after winning convincingly on the road last week to move to 5-1. The Bears offensive coordinator was hired away from BYU in the offseason and its made a huge difference. Meanwhile the Cougars look to rebound from a disappointing loss to Boise last week. Sneaky great game here.
6. #13 Ole Miss @ Tennessee – 7:30 on SEC Network: With all the chaos of Alabama losing last week, Ole Miss is still within reach of SEC West if Alabama loses once more and the Rebels win out. Tennessee has started to really look good on offense after a rough start to the year. The Volunteers haven’t exactly faced tough defenses…and this week is no exception. Oh, and Lane Kiffin is making first return to Knoxville as a head coach. Should be a lot of fun here.
5. #5 Alabama @ Mississippi State – 7:00 on ESPN: Alabama looks to rebound from their stunning loss to Texas A&M…a team that the Bulldogs beat just the week before. This game is in Starkville, where Alabama has frequently had subpar performances, and MSU seems to be improving every week. If the Tide isn’t in the right frame of mind this could get interesting…or they could come out focused and clamp down. Lots of people around the country will be watching to see which team shows up. An MSU win would put them in first place in the SEC West oddly enough.
4. Purdue @ #2 Iowa – 3:30 on ABC: Iowa keeps living right on special teams and defense, giving their – frankly – dreadful offense short fields. While I would expect this to continue, Purdue is not a bad team (not a real good team either) and the Hawkeyes are coming off an emotional and draining win over Penn State to rise to #2 in the country. Will they handle the pressure? A Purdue win would actually put them in first in the Big 10 West.
3. #22 N.C. State @ Boston College – 7:30 on ACC Network: This is a battle for first place in the ACC Atlantic, with a real shot to get to Charlotte for the ACC Title game…that’s not something we would have probably typed in August. These two teams are both gritty but BC is still without their QB which has hampered their offense. However, this is the kind of game N.C. State blows quite often and it’s on the road. Should be a real good one on Saturday night.
2. #12 Oklahoma State @ #25 Texas – Noon on FOX: Texas has to find a way to get past blowing the Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma, where the surrendered a 21 point lead. On the bright side, they are hitting high gear on offense and if they can get some early points on the board, it will hamper the ability of the Cowboys to play the game they want to play. Inexplicably, OSU has struggled on offense BUT they are undefeated on the season so far with some solid wins. This could be a very close 28-27 kind of game. Sark winning this game would show real progress early in his tenure in Austin.
1. #11 Kentucky @ #1 Georgia – 3:30 on CBS: This is the biggest game of the day by rankings and it’s a battle for first place in the SEC East. Kentucky has been a great story this year but no one nationally is giving them much chance here…and that includes me. I think Georgia will suffocate their opportunistic, run-based offense. The only question for me is whether Kentucky’s defense can hold down the Bulldog offense enough to have this be a competitive game on this score board into the 4th quarter. It’s first because of the rankings and stakes, but I don’t expect it to be close.
Auburn @ #17 Arkansas – Noon on CBS: If Arkansas had converted their last second two point conversion try against Ole Miss, this would be a top 10 game for sure with both teams in contention in the SEC West. As it stands, the winner of this game will stay in play for at least second in the West while the loser will have to start likely looking at what minor bowl game they will be in this year. I’m expecting an Arkansas win if they don’t have a hangover.
Louisiana Tech @ UTEP – 9:00 ESPN+: The second best G5 game of the week, a solid Louisiana Tech team travels to El Paso to face what is quietly the most surprising team in the country, 5-1 UTEP, a team many expected to be awful (as they’ve been for the past several years). I don’t know what Dana Dimel (frankly, a retread hire for head coach) is doing but it’s working this year. Louisiana Tech has twice had Power 5 teams on the ropes this year and mismanaged end of game. The Bulldogs and the Miners should be a really good game.
Pittsburgh @ Virginia Tech – 3:30 ESPN2: Neither team inspires a lot of confidence but both are still very much in contention in the ACC Coastal – and the Panthers have looked really good on offense. Meanwhile, can the Hokies string together some consistent wins? If not, Fuente may be gone as head coach.
Army @ Wisconsin – 8:00 Big Ten Network: I would definitely put Wisconsin on upset alert against the Black Knights. Army always has tricks up their sleeve in these games and has nearly beaten Oklahoma and Michigan in recent years on the road…and those were much better teams than the Badgers. A loss here would mean a lot of flak for Paul Chryst who’s really had trouble getting his team moving this year.
While it’s not the greatest week of games ever, it will be fascinating to watch teams that had big wins (or disappointing losses) last week try to rebound or keep it going. As always, follow me on @ReadyCFB especially on Saturdays for commentary and live tweeting.