Games to Watch: Week 7

Steve Helwick

  • No. 6 Texas A&M vs. No. 1 Alabama
  • Saturday – 2:30 p.m. – CBS

According to Vegas, 18.5 points is the gap between No. 1 and No. 6 in college football. 

The opening spread is a testament to how dominant head coach Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide are. Alabama stormed into Knoxville last Saturday and wrecked a top-10 Tennessee team, 49-10. True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts was spectacular on the ground, rushing for 132 yards and three touchdowns. 

Defense and special teams contributed a touchdown each, further supporting the idea that  Alabama dominates at every unit. 

After a double-overtime victory versus Tennessee, Texas A&M was gifted a week to prepare for the visit to Tuscaloosa. Star defensive end Myles Garrett is recovering from a leg injury, but he has the skill to lead the Aggies to their first win over the Crimson Tide since 2012.

TCU vs. No. 12 West Virginia

  • Saturday – 2:30 p.m. – ABC/ESPN2

This game is perfect for offensive enthusiasts. Both Big 12 opponents pass for over 300 yards and average over 32 points per game. 

Last year’s result was a 40-10 TCU victory, but the programs seem to be venturing in opposite directions. 

TCU has looked sluggish in a 4-2 start, characterized by a 24-23 victory over lowly Kansas. The Mountaineers raided Lubbock last Saturday, winning 48-17 over Texas Tech. 

West Virginia is one of two undefeated teams in the Big 12, and would need a victory over the Frogs in Morgantown to sustain its perfect season.

No. 2 Ohio State vs. Penn State

  • Saturday – 7 p.m. – ABC

Ohio State showed vulnerability in its overtime victory at Wisconsin last Saturday. Junior quarterback J.T. Barrett led the way with 226 passing yards and three total scores. 

Instead of relaxing, the Buckeyes find themselves in another primetime road test in Happy Valley on Saturday. After a 2-2 start, Penn State seems to be finding a rhythm, derailing the undefeated seasons of Minnesota and Maryland in consecutive weeks. 

Sophomore halfback Saquon Barkley has emerged as the Nittany Lions’ strongest offensive weapon, rushing for a career-high 202 yards against the Terrapins. But Ohio State allows the third fewest points per game in the nation, so the Nittany Lions may have to limit the Buckeyes’ offense to beat their first ranked opponent in three seasons.

No. 23 Ole Miss vs. No. 25 LSU

  • Saturday – 8 p.m. – ESPN

Since the firing of Les Miles, LSU has outscored opponents 87-17. The Tigers have demonstrated a revival on offense after a slow 2-2 start to 2016. Junior running back Leonard Fournette is finally set for an anticipated return from an ankle injury. 

Ole Miss has struggled on defense in its three losses, yielding 42.3 points per game in defeats. The Rebels employ senior quarterback Chad Kelly, who staged a 38-17 victory over the Bayou Bengals last November. Both teams are fighting to stay in the AP poll, a reason to watch Saturday’s SEC skirmish.