As week seven of the college football season approaches, virtually every conference is still up for grabs, and moves can still be made toward a run at the College Football Playoff. TCU and Washington aim to stay hot on the road at Kansas State and Arizona State, respectively, while teams like Georgia and Alabama should roll over lesser opponents in Missouri and Arkansas.
No. 10 Auburn versus LSU
Alex: Which LSU team will show up? The one that was dominated on both sides of the ball by Troy two weeks ago or the one that held its own and defeated a fairly good Florida team on the road? Even if it’s the latter, Auburn is playing too well to slip up against a confused, uncharacteristic LSU team. The way Kerryon Johnson has been running the ball combined with Jarrett Stidham’s improved play will present too many problems for a disappointing LSU defense. Also, considering that Auburn boasts the 13th best defense in the country, it could be a very, very long day for LSU. Auburn wins handily.
Josh: Auburn has not won a game in Death Valley since 1999. Baton Rouge owns one of the best home-field advantages in football. This is not the LSU team we have come to know. Its defense lacks stars, and its offense is as one-dimensional as ever. On the other hand, Auburn has its best quarterback since Cam Newton in Jarrett Stidham, and Kerryon Johnson is embarrassing opposing defenses. Auburn’s defense has slowed plenty of high-power attacks this season, so LSU’s bland offense will not be a problem. Auburn continues to gain momentum with a big road win.
Utah versus No. 13 USC
Alex: Coming off a narrow defeat to Stanford last week, the Utes have another tough matchup ahead of them in USC. Following its loss to Washington State two weeks ago, USC had a strong showing against Oregon State. It will look to continue its run toward a Pac-12 championship, and maybe even the College Football Playoff, against a tough and gritty Utah team. Similarly to its match with Stanford, Utah will fall just short in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as Sam Darnold puts on a show and reminds the country just how good he can be.
Josh: The Pac-12 has produced some of the best football in the country this season. USC is a big reason for that. With a roster plagued by injuries and a lack of talent, the Trojans have placed all their chips on quarterback Sam Darnold to pull a win out of thin air. Ronald Jones II is a great running back, but his influence continues to wane. Expect USC to trail for most of the game. Utah’s defense is good. Expect Darnold to throw a couple of turnovers. But with the ball in his hand late, Darnold will pull through when it counts. USC gives its fans another nail-biting win.
Texas versus No. 12 Oklahoma
Alex: Oklahoma’s shocking defeat at the hands of Iowa State could be the upset of the year, and the Sooners will hope to bounce back in a big way. Baker Mayfield and company are not as confident as they once were, especially after defeating Ohio State on the road and planting the OU flag in the center of the horseshoe, but good teams tend to rebound. Oklahoma’s signal-caller will come out determined to prevent another slip-up and capture a big win over a Texas team with quality Big 12 victories over Kansas State and Iowa State.
Josh: Dating back to 1900, the Red River Rivalry is one of the oldest and best in the country. Oklahoma boasts a high-powered offense that is dependent on Baker Mayfield making plays and carrying the team. He has been the best player on the field in every game he has played, even the loss to Iowa State. Texas does not have the offense that Oklahoma has, but it has a stout defense. Malik Jefferson is a game-wrecker at linebacker, and safety DeShon Elliott is a playmaker. These two will need to create turnovers and give freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger a short field. Mayfield will overwhelm the Texas defense, and Oklahoma’s pass-rushers will get after the young Ehlinger. Oklahoma wins.
No. 9 Ohio State versus Nebraska
Alex: Memorial Stadium is a treacherous place to play; plenty have met their match there in previous years. The Buckeyes have been hot since their loss at home to Oklahoma, blowing out each of their following four opponents. This game will be no different. J.T. Barrett and the slate of incredible Ohio State athletes will carry them to an easy win over a Cornhuskers team that’s probably still a couple years away from relevance.
Josh: A few years ago, a matchup between Ohio State and Nebraska would have been a must-watch. Times have changed. Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Ameer Abdullah are gone. This Buckeye team is better than Nebraska at every position. But it’s the Big Ten. A seemingly no-name Michigan State team went to Ann Arbor and got a win. This conference is susceptible to big upsets. Ohio State needs to come ready to play, and it is up to J.T. Barrett to kickstart the offense. The Buckeyes will win a close game on the road, pulling away late.