By Joe Curci
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Last week boasted one of the most entertaining college-football Saturdays in recent memory. It would be almost impossible to duplicate, but nevertheless Week 7 will be just as action-packed.
We can only hope I’ll go 5-1 (or better) like I did last week.
Yes, I’m bragging.
#15 Texas @ #13 Oklahoma 12:00 p.m.
The Red River Rivalry is always an amazing experience year-in and year-out. 2012 will be no different. Both Oklahoma and Texas have shown moments of greatness, as well as moments that really make you scratch your head. Last week against Texas Tech, Landry Jones bounced back nicely after his poor performance in the Sooners’ loss to Kansas State. The key to this game is very simple: the team the wins the turnover battle will come out on top. Last week Texas impressed, hanging tough against a very talented West Virginia team. They will avenge their blowout loss to Oklahoma from last season behind a big game from quarterback Davis Ash. PICK: Texas 38-21
#17 Stanford@ #7 Notre Dame 3:30 p.m.
This week will be the true litmus test for the most popular question in the college football world: Are the Fighting Irish for real? So far this season, the Irish have answered the call. They are a remarkable 5-0 with wins, at Michigan State, and at home against Michigan and Miami (FL). This week they will host a Stanford team that will look to make a statement with the pollsters that they are better than their 4-1 record. The Cardinal suffered a 17-13 loss at Washington before bouncing back nicely in a shootout win against Arizona 54-48. It will be a shocker if Stanford can put up 54 points on an Irish defense that has only allowed 42 points all season and just a mere 12 points in there last three games. Head coach Brian Kelly has this team playing solid in all three phases especially on defense lead by senior linebacker Manti Te’o, who has 46 tackles and 3 interceptions this season. Look for the Irish to continue to build on their most recent success. They will need to avoid crucial turnovers, force Stanford QB Josh Nunes to make some mistakes; after all he’s not Andrew Luck. PICK: Notre Dame 30-17
#3 South Carolina @ #9 LSU 8:00 p.m.
If you are not excited about this game, then you may need to check your pulse. This is almost as good as it gets in the SEC. A possessed Gamecock team, against an LSU team on what Tigers fans would call an off year. This game, under the lights in the bayou, will surely not disappoint. Last week it was two different stories for both of these schools. South Carolina blew out a very talented Georgia team at home, while LSU lost a defensive battle down in the swamp against Florida. If I were a Gamecocks fan I would be concerned for two reasons. First, this game has let down written all over it. LSU hasn’t been playing well, struggling in wins against Auburn andTowson. Secondly, the Tigers after losing last week have nothing, well, to lose. Les Miles will have all his trick plays, and unorthodox decisions in his arsenal. South Carolina also hasn’t faced a defense this talented all year. Steve Spurrier will have to have his team focused and quarterback Connor Shaw will have to make plays if LSU can shut down Marcus Lattimore. I think that LSU is too talented to lose two games in a row, and going into LSU against this defense is a daunting task for the Gamecocks. This will be a hard fought game but give LSU the slight advantage coming off a tough loss. PICK: LSU 16-14
Syracuse @#20 Rutgers 12:00 p.m.
After each game that Rutgers wins, the pressure builds. They have done a tremendous job in the first year under Kyle Flood. They find themselves at 5-0 and the Big East title is within their grasp. If they follow the mantra of their old head Greg Schiano they must “Keep Chopping” they can realistically find themselves undefeated when they host Louisville on November 29. Before all that happens they will have to take care of a gritty Syracuse team, who will not make Saturday’s game in Piscataway an easy one for the Scarlet Knights. Don’t let the Orange’s 2-3 record fool you — this is a tough team that has battled in every start this year. The Rutgers’ defense will have to keep up the solid play. They forced five turnovers last week against a formidable UCONN team who only managed a field goal. Syracuse will keep it close but they should be celebrating at the Olde Queens Bar on Easton Ave after this one. PICK: Rutgers 27-21
#10 Oregon State @ BYU
This won’t be easy for the Beavers, but they should be able to control the line of scrimmage. If they can slow down the dynamic combination of Tayson Hill and Jamaal Williams they will move to 5-0. PICK: Oregon State 21-10
#11 USC @ Washington
Since falling to Stanford, every game is a “must-win” for the Trojans. Washington beat Stanford at home in a tough game, and that will give them confidence on Saturday. I think USC is too talented, and will find a way in the second half to hold off a good Washington team. PICK: USC 33-28
#5 West Virginia @ Texas Tech
It’s no secret that Geno Smith is a star, and the Mountaineers have made a big time splash in their first year in the BIG 12. After wins against Baylor and Texas, West Virginia will travel to Texas Tech in a showdown with the Red Raiders. Texas Tech is coming off a loss against Oklahoma but don’t count them out in this one, as West Virginia is due for a letdown game. PICK Texas Tech 44-35
Follow Joe Curci on Twitter @JoeyBaboots
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