College Football Week 7 Predictions
No. 15 Texas vs. No. 13 Oklahoma (At Cotton Bowl)
Trenise Ferreira: Oklahoma 42 -Texas 36: Texas is coming off a thriller against West Virginia where the Longhorns ran out of steam against Geno Smith and the Mountaineers. The Texas defense couldn't stop a nosebleed, and things will likely be the same in this edition of "Shootouts at the Big 12 Corral." Sooners win because they have the slightly better defense.
Jeremy Fuster: Texas 24 - Oklahoma 21: A must-see rivalry game where the winner will keep its Big 12 title hopes alive. I have the Longhorns in this one because of their strong defense that features a strong pass rush and an interception machine in cornerback Quandre Diggs. Expect Texas to force at least three turnovers out of the Sooners.
Mike Piellucci: Texas 33, Oklahoma 24: Through five games, David Ash is besting Landry Jones in virtually every passing mark and I'm not sure what it says more about: the sophomore's ascendance, or the redshirt senior slowly working his way out of the nation's top tier of pro style quarterbacks. What I am sure of, though, is that Texas is a good, if flawed team that not only can put up points but has done so in every game this year. That consistency has been nowhere to be found in Norman, and it makes me skeptical the Sooners can string a second strong performance together after blowing out Texas Tech last week.
Jeremy Shapiro: Texas 41 – Oklahoma 34: Both teams have suffered early season defeats to Big 12 foes, but look to rebound in the Red River Rivalry. The Longhorns sophomore quarterback David Ash has been on a tear throughout Texas’s first five games, but has yet to face a defense as staunch as the Sooners. Texas will make some big plays in the secondary, limit Landry Jones and his talented receiving corps, and leave the Cotton Bowl with a victory.
Matthew Tufts: Texas 42 - Oklahoma 31: This episode of the Red River Rivalry pits two very good quarterbacks against each other in what is likely to be an offensive display of power. Longhorns' quarterback David Ash looks to remain as efficient as ever (77.5 percent completion percentage this season), while Landry Jones aims to pass for over 250 yards for the third-straight game. In the end, the Texas D-line will rattle Jones, and the Longhorns will come out hoisting the Golden Hat Trophy.
No. 17 Stanford at No. 7 Notre Dame
Ferreira: Notre Dame 35 - Stanford 31: Notre Dame hasn't trailed for a single second yet this season, and this game will likely determine if they are contenders or pretenders. Stanford could give them a run for their money, and if they don't win, Josh Nunes and the offense will will find a way to keep it close thanks to the brilliance of David Shaw.
Fuster: Notre Dame 30 - Stanford 17: Ty Montgomery, Stanford's top receiver, is listed as doubtful after suffering a knee injury against Arizona last week. Without his top target, Nunes will have to be on target all game long to escape the crushing Irish defense. Expect Manti Te'o to get a pick in this game.
Pielucci: Notre Dame 24, Stanford 20: This is the type of game both these teams like to play, replete with more old school "football-isms" than you can shake a stick at. But I trust the Irish playing at home more than I do Josh Nunes going into South Bend, especially with top receiver Ty Montgomery on the shelf.
Shapiro: Notre Dame 20 – Stanford 13: Notre Dame and Stanford have similar identities—both teams are able to run the ball and stop the run. Ultimately, home field advantage will be key in the contest. Look for Notre Dame front seven to rattle Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes in a hostile environment at South Bend.
Tufts: Stanford 10 - Notre Dame 28: The Fighting Irish have been a dominant force on defense in their first five games. The defense has given up the second least points in college football this season and averages nearly three sacks per game. Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes will be rushed and Notre Dame will cruise to an easy victory.
No. 3 South Carolina at No. 9 LSU
Fuster: South Carolina 28 - LSU 3: Let's see, we have a Gamecocks squad on the top of their game fresh from a blowout win over a top-5 team. On the other side, we have LSU, which has struggled all season long to get their offense going. Easy pick here – South Carolina wins and LSU continues its drop down the rankings.
Piellucci: LSU 17 - South Carolina 13: On paper, this is South Carolina's ballgame to lose. Their pass rush should pounce on an LSU offensive line in disarray and maul statuesque LSU signal caller Zach Mettenberger. The problem, though, is you could write an entire book about the things South Carolina should have accomplished over the years. As mediocre as LSU has looked, I'm not writing them off until I actually see them lose in Death Valley.
Shapiro: LSU 16 – South Carolina 13: LSU and South Carolina are battle tested after clashes with top SEC teams last week. Both teams feature formidable rushing attacks and elite pass rushers, leading to a low-scoring grind-it-out style game. LSU will be able to contain Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore at home, and get back into the national championship discussion.
Tufts: South Carolina 21 - LSU 14: The Gamecocks enter this SEC matchup after thrashing Georgia 35-7, while LSU is trying to regroup after a shocking 14-6 defeat at the hands of Florida. South Carolina has scored more than 30 points in five of their first six games, and running back Marcus Lattimore has led the charge. He'll lead South Carolina past the Tigers as the Gamecocks grind out their seventh-straight win.
No. 22 Texas A&M at No. 23 Louisiana Tech
Ferreira: Texas A&M 28 - Louisiana Tech 24: SEC newcomers Texas A&M have shown they can hang in the SEC, going 4-1 so far including a 58-10 beat down of Arkansas. Louisiana Tech is undefeated and looks to have some proving of their own to do this season. This matchup got postponed from week one because of a hurricane, so expect a perfect storm of good ole' SEC defense and minimal, yet lethal offense. Aggies win and continue their quiet surge through the SEC.
Fuster: Texas A&M 45 - Louisiana Tech 31: This is going to be a shootout. Maybe not on the scale of WVU/Baylor, but a shootout nonetheless. Johnny Manziel is one of the most exciting freshmen in college football, with 1,285 passing yards and 495 rushing yards. His hybrid skills combined with the other Aggies weapons should allow them to wear out Louisiana Tech in the fourth quarter.
Piellucci: Texas A&M 38 - Louisiana Tech 21: Louisiana Tech, not Boise State, is the non-automatic qualifier making noise this year after knocking off Virginia and Illinois, each of whom made bowls last year. The difference this time is that Texas A&M is actually good - and that will spell trouble for the Bulldogs.
Shapiro: Texas A&M 49 – Louisiana Tech 41: Louisiana Tech will face its toughest test to date, at home, against Texas A&M. This game has “shootout” written all over it, but the Aggies will make a few key stops, and score at ease against a struggling Bulldogs defense.
Tufts: Texas A&M 38 - Louisiana Tech 31: The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs' offense is flying high, scoring over 40 points in every game so far this season. Texas A&M has been putting up similar numbers apart from their narrow loss to Florida early in the season, including 70 points in a blowout of South Carolina State. The difference-maker will be experience in high pressure games, and Texas A&M has the edge there.
No. 11 USC at Washington
Fuster: USC 35 - Washington 28: This is a crucial game that will determine how the second half of the season will play out for both teams. The key matchup will be the Washington O-Line vs. the USC D-Line, as Keith Price's passing productivity is drastically worse when he's got constant pressure on him. On the other hand, rain is in the forecast in Seattle, and the last time Barkley played in the rain (Notre Dame 2010), it was a mess. Still, he has better receivers now, so USC should pull out the win. But don't expect a good show against Oregon if they only squeak this one out.
Piellucci: USC 37 - Washington 28: USC's defensive line has been the surprise of the season, and the Huskies offensive line is in tatters. That's the extra edge that will put the Trojans over the top in a battle of the conference's two best quarterbacks.
Shapiro: USC 37 – Washington 24: USC finally got back on track last week against Utah, putting together the Trojans most complete performance in several weeks. With rain in the forecast in Seattle, USC will need to rely heavily on Silas Redd to maintain a balanced attack and set up play action opportunities for the Trojans wide receivers to exploit down the field. Lane Kiffin will take his shots, the Trojans defense will contain Keith Price, and USC will continue to build off of last week’s momentum.
Tufts: USC 31 - Washington 14: Washington is 3-0 at home, but coming off a big loss to No. 2 Oregon. The Huskies' success won't continue though while Matt Barkley and a star-studded receiver tandem chase multiple school and conference records in this game. Also, look for USC to shut down Washington running back Bishop Sankey, who enters this game with three straight 100-yard games.