College Football Week 7: Five Games To Watch
All picks are straight up:
No. 6 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Texas
Alix Fitch: Oklahoma State - The Cowboys have developed into a threatening football program with their powerful wins against opponents. They have won seven straight road games, which will prove to be the ultimate test in Austin. Texas is rebuilding their program as they are in desperate need to find their leg-up to be regarded as a team to beat this season.
Michael Katz: Oklahoma State - A week ago I might have picked Texas. But after watching the Horns get absolutely demolished by Oklahoma, I can’t see them being able to stop Oklahoma State's explosive attack. If receivers Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills gave them fits, OSU's Justin Blackmon is almost guaranteed to as well.
Andrew Parrone: Oklahoma State 41, Texas 21 - Last week Texas was exposed big time, and I expect that to happen again against OSU. Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon is one of the sweetest connections in football (other than Barkley to Woods), and their defense is playing better than usual this year as well. The Longhorns are still a little too young to cause good teams that many problems.
Omar Shamout: Oklahoma State 44, Texas 20 - OSU has won seven straight on the road, and expect that streak to continue in Austin when Justin Blackmon and the Cowboys come to town. Texas gave up 453 yards to State's rival Oklahoma, so you know QB Brandon Weeden will be looking to top that, and prove why they are the top-ranked offense in the nation.
No. 11 Michigan at No. 23 Michigan State
Fitch: Michigan State - Michigan has a strong offense that has proven to a key factor in their 6-0 record coming into this rivalry game. However, Michigan State has the top-ranked defense in the country, which I believe will prove to be a true threat for the Wolverines hopes of a perfect season.
Parrone: Michigan 31, Michigan State 30 - These two teams appear to very evenly matched, so I'll go with the one that has a little luck on their side this year. QB Kirk Cousins is great for the Spartans, but Denard Robinson (seen left) is magic. Despite his troubles throwing the ball this year, he always seems to make things happen when his team needs it most, and that's why I am going with the Wolverines.
Shamout: Michigan State 23, Michigan 20 - Michigan QB Denard Robinson has undeniable talent, but his performances are too erratic to be a true Heisman contender, or lead his team to a national championship. He threw three interceptions (and now has nine for the season) in the first half against Northwestern, and the Wolverines would have lost that game to a better team (than the no-offense Wildcats). Apart from the Irish, this will be the Michigan's first real test of the season, and I think they will struggle on the road. The Spartans win a tight battle.
No. 19 Virginia Tech at Wake Forest
Fitch: Wake Forest - The Demon Deacons are coming off of a hot win last week against the Florida State Seminoles and I think this is their moment to show that they can compete with top-25 programs. Virginia Tech has the Demon Deacons beat when it comes to their rushing yards but Wake Forest has the will power to prove that last week's win was more than just a simple W.
Katz: Wake Forest - I never thought a game featuring Wake Forest would be a big-time matchup, but I stand corrected. The Hokies are always ACC contenders, but they are very young at the skill positions. Wake has looked pretty good lately too. I think this will be a really good game, but I'm going for the upset.
Parrone: Wake Forest 31, Virginia Tech 28 - Most of my brain is hating me for this pick, but what the heck. Wake Forest has far exceeded what most people were expecting this season, and QB Tanner Price is finally making people forget about Riley Skinner and the job he did there for so long. VA Tech had a scare last week with a Miami team they should have rolled over, and that was at home. The Demon Deacons surprise everyone with the win over the Hokies.
Shamout: Wake Forest 28, Virginia Tech 24 - Sophomore Wake Forest QB Tanner Price has been a revelation for the Demon Deacons this season, throwing for almost 1400 yards, with 10 touchdowns, and only two interceptions. Wake beat a ranked opponent last week in Florida State, so I think this team is for real. The Hokies have a great running back in David Wilson, so he will keep things close against a subpar Wake defense. If Wake running back Josh Harris isn't fit to play after a hamstring injury, that will put even more pressure on Price, but I like the Deacons here.
No. 20 Baylor at No. 21 Texas A&M
Katz: Texas A&M - I think this is where we see what Baylor is really made of. QB Robert Griffin III (seen at right) is scary good, but it is pretty hard to win at College Station. While I haven't been impressed with A&M for the most part, I think that their running game will keep the ball away from Griffin and will score enough points to win.
Parrone: Texas A&M 35, Baylor 31 - As great as RG3 has been this year, I can't pick him against Texas A&M. The Aggies bounced back last week with a much needed win against Texas Tech, and their offense is as explosive as ever. Baylor has made a living beating up on the weaker teams on their schedule, but this game is a little above their heads, even with the Heisman frontrunner orchestrating the show.
Shamout: Baylor 38, Texas A&M 35 - The Aggies come into this game with the worst passing defense in the country, and now they will have to contend with Heisman Trophy candidate Robert Griffin III, who has already thrown for over 1500 yards this season, with 19 touchdowns (19!), and an astonishing 80-percent completion rate. Though the Bears' D has not been good for three straight weeks, and the Aggies have plenty of offensive weapons of their own, I still like Baylor to beat their in-state rivals in a thriller on the road.
No. 18 Arizona State at No. 9 Oregon
Katz: Oregon - I really want to take ASU, but I just don't think they have the firepower to keep up with the Ducks, especially at Autzen Stadium. Even if LaMichael James is out, Kenjon Barner and DeAnthony Thomas have enough skill to keep the explosive running game going. Oregon wins this one big.
Parrone: Oregon 42, ASU 24 - I was going to go higher with this score, but LaMichael James is out, so I will give the Sun Devils a little credit. Arizona State has played well so far this year, but Oregon defiantly showed that it can't be held down for long, obliterating a decent Cal team in the second half last week. And you can't blame me for still feeling a little bitter towards ASU.
Shamout: Oregon 38, ASU 24 - The Ducks have not scored less than 27 points in a game all season, and that total came against arguably the best defense in the country: LSU. The only issue here is that Oregon's passing game is not the best (ranked 62nd), and a LaMichael James-less offense will have trouble with ASU's run defense, which is giving up only 119 ground yards per game this year on average.
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