We’ve reached Week 7 of the college football season, and it’s the most loaded collection of games we’ve seen yet.
Saturday features six ranked vs. ranked matchups, including three enormous games where both teams are undefeated. Things begin in the noon window with a Big Ten clash between Michigan and Penn State before a massive SEC showdown between Tennessee and Alabama and a huge game in the Big 12 between Oklahoma State and TCU. That all gives way to a tasty Pac-12 showdown at night between USC and Utah.
We’ve passed the midseason mark, so these games are gaining importance by the week. We could look back at this weekend as a turning point in the season for a lot of teams.
(Notes: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)
Time: Noon | TV: Fox | Line: UM -7 | Total: 51.5
This is the biggest game of the season in the Big Ten thus far. Penn State enters Ann Arbor coming off a bye with a 5-0 record. PSU has a veteran quarterback in Sean Clifford and an improved running game with freshmen backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen. The PSU defense will have its hands full with Michigan, particularly corralling running back Blake Corum. He’s been a big play threat for the Wolverines and is also a tremendous help for first-year starting quarterback JJ McCarthy. McCarthy has been very efficient, albeit against some lackluster competition. The visiting Nittany Lions will be Michigan’s toughest test by a significant margin.
Time: 3:30 pm | TV: CBS | Line: Alabama -7.5 | Total: 65.5
All eyes will be on Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner who missed last week’s win over Texas A&M with a shoulder injury. The Crimson Tide eked out the win despite a shaky offensive performance, so Alabama will likely need Young if it wants to leave Knoxville with a victory. This is Tennessee’s biggest game in a long, long time. Not only has Tennessee lost 15 straight against Alabama, but a win here would put the Vols in the thick of the College Football Playoff race. To get to this point, Tennessee has used a potent offense led by senior quarterback Hendon Hooker. Can the Vols finally end the losing skid?
Time: 3:30 pm | TV: ABC | Line: TCU -4 | Total: 68.5
Oklahoma State and TCU are the lone unbeatens remaining in a deep Big 12 conference. Oklahoma State was expected to contend for the conference crown after playing in the title game last year. The Cowboys are scoring a ton of points this year but the defense is nowhere near as strong as it was last fall and will face another big challenge on Saturday in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs, led by first-year head coach Sonny Dykes, have gotten better and better as the weeks have progressed, particularly on offense. It’s a big reason why TCU is 5-0 with wins over Oklahoma and a ranked Kansas team.
Time: 7:30 pm | TV: ABC | Line: Clemson -3.5 | Total: 51
Is this trip to Florida State the toughest test of the season so far for Clemson? The oddsmakers certainly think so. Clemson is just a 3.5-point favorite on the road at FSU. That’s the smallest point spread of the year for the Tigers, who could be in for a serious challenge from an FSU team coming off back-to-back losses. The Seminoles started the year 4-0 and were back in the Top 25 before losing 31-21 at home to Wake Forest and then blowing a 17-3 lead in last week’s 19-17 road loss to NC State. Can FSU rebound against an even better Clemson team?
Time: 8 pm | TV: Fox | Line: Utah -3.5 | Total: 65
The Lincoln Riley train at USC keeps on rolling. The Trojans are now 6-0 with a 4-0 mark in Pac-12 play so far in Riley’s first season running the program. But this week’s road trip to Salt Lake City may represent the toughest challenge yet for the Trojans. Utah is coming off a loss to UCLA last week. That makes this is a big game for the Utes if they want to get back into the Pac-12 title race. Utah hasn’t been as stout along the lines of scrimmage as usual, but this team still has a lot of talent. That includes Cam Rising, one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country.