|College Football Week 7 Picks and Predictions For Saturday October 11|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Friday, 10 October 2008 21:17|
Week 7 CF Picks
Conference play continues this week in college football as the season heads into Week 7. Our team of writers and handicappers hand out six picks for Week 7.
Vanderbilt at Mississippi State, 2:30 PM ET
Despite reaching its highest ranking in more than a half-century, unbeaten Vanderbilt still feels it might not be getting the respect it deserves.
The 13th-ranked Commodores will continue trying to change that on Saturday when they go for their best start in 80 years - and the best SEC start in school history - as they visit last-place Mississippi State.
Vanderbilt (5-0, 3-0) broke into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1984 on Sept. 21, and matched its highest ranking since Oct. 13, 1956, following a 14-13 home win over then-No. 13 Auburn last Saturday.
The Commodores improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1943 - a five-game season due to World War II. They haven't opened 6-0 since the 1928 season, and they have never opened their SEC schedule 4-0.
Mississippi State, which has split two games at Scott Field thus far, has won six of seven against Vanderbilt at home, winning the last five matchups there since 1971.
Colorado at Kansas, 12:30 PM ET
Todd Reesing hopes Kansas learned two big lessons in its last game. The first is never take any opponent lightly, and the second is never to give up.
After overcoming a 20-point deficit on the road to win their Big 12 season opener, the 16th-ranked Jayhawks will try to win their 13th straight at home as they face Colorado on Saturday.
Kansas (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) trailed 20-0 at halftime last week against Iowa State before pulling off the third-biggest comeback in school history. Reesing threw three TD passes after the break - two to Kerry Meier - and Jake Sharp and Angus Quigley added scoring runs to lift Mark Mangino's team to a 35-33 win.
The Buffaloes (3-2, 0-1) dropped their Big 12 opener, 38-14 at home to then-No. 5 Texas last Saturday. Colorado trailed 28-0 before scoring on Cody Hawkins' 7-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Backup Matt Ballenger closed the scoring by tossing a 28-yard TD in his first career appearance.
Cody Hawkins has been solid, but unspectacular, completing almost 60 percent of his passes for 926 yards with 10 TDs and four interceptions. He's also received little protection from a banged-up offensive line, having been sacked 10 times this year compared to 15 in 13 games in 2007.
LSU at Florida, 8:00 PM ET
Neither team has yet to take the field, but this year's version of the LSU-Florida rivalry is already heating up.
Some pregame chatter should only add to the intensity when the fourth-ranked Tigers visit the No. 11 Gators on Saturday night in an SEC contest featuring the last two national champions.
With the game days away, LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois mentioned in a published report Monday that the Tiger defenders would try to knock Florida quarterback and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow out of Saturday's game.
The comment caused a bit of a stir on both sides and Jean-Francois was forced to make a statement on LSU's official Web site clarifying his words.
LSU held on for 34-24 victory over Mississippi State on Sept. 27 in its most recent contest where running back Charles Scott rushed for a season-high 141 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns to crack the 100-yard mark for the fourth consecutive game.
Florida leads 28-23-3 in the all-time series with LSU.
Utah at Wyoming, 2:00 PM ET
Despite turning in its poorest defensive performance of the season last week, Utah preserved its perfect start. Keeping it going this weekend should be a lot easier, visiting one of the weakest offenses in the nation.
The 14th-ranked Utes look for a better defensive effort on Saturday as they try to remain unbeaten and hand Wyoming yet another blowout loss in Mountain West Conference play.
Utah (6-0, 2-0) is off to its best start since going 12-0 in 2004, thanks in part to a defense that has surrendered 260.3 total yards per game - the 13th-lowest average in the country.
The Utes allowed season highs in points and yards (405) in their most recent game, but maintained their undefeated status with a 31-28 home victory over Oregon State on Oct. 2.
Quarterback Brian Johnson led Utah's rally from an eight-point deficit in the final 89 seconds, and the Utes won on Louie Sakoda's 37-yard field goal as time expired.
The Utes' work might not be too tough this week considering they're facing a Wyoming team coming off its seventh straight conference loss, 24-0 at New Mexico last Saturday.
After quarterback Dax Crum started the first four games, Karsten Sween has taken the majority of the snaps in the last two contests. Sween went 9-of-19 for 71 yards with an interception last weekend.
Nebraska at Texas Tech, 3:00 PM ET
A once-proud program, Nebraska reached a new low last week as the Cornhuskers were ineffective defensively in their worst home loss in more than a half-century.
A road game against the nation's best passing offense doesn't figure to make things any better.
Seventh-ranked Texas Tech and record-setting quarterback Graham Harrell will try to take advantage of the reeling Huskers on Saturday, just as the Red Raiders did when they scored 70 points the last time Nebraska visited Lubbock.
The Huskers (3-2, 0-1 Big 12) allowed then-No. 4 Missouri to score at will in last Saturday's 52-17 home loss - Nebraska's worst defeat in Lincoln in 53 years.
While Missouri boasts the third-best offense in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Texas Tech (5-0, 1-0) ranks second - a billing the Red Raiders lived up to last weekend. In a 58-28 win at Kansas State that opened their Big 12 slate, they rolled up 626 total yards, including 490 through the air as Harrell threw for six touchdowns and broke Kliff Kingsbury's school record for career passing yards.
The Huskers will have their work cut out for them if they hope to avoid their first 0-2 start in conference play since they lost their first two Big Eight games in 1968.
Defense wasn't the only problem in the loss to Missouri. Tigers quarterback Chase Daniel accused Nebraska of being a dirty team and spitting on him, and the club committed 14 penalties totaling 101 yards - its second time this season with at least 100 penalty yards.
Michigan State at Northwestern, 3:30 PM
Michigan State's five-game win streak has propelled the Spartans into the rankings for the first time in nearly three years. Despite riding a similar streak, Northwestern remains on the outside looking in.
In a matchup between Big Ten rivals looking for a sixth straight victory, the 23rd-ranked Spartans look to protect their ranking Saturday when they visit the undefeated Wildcats, who are hoping to climb into the AP poll for the first time since the 2005 season and achieve their first 6-0 start since 1962.
Since losing its season opener on the road against California, Michigan State (5-1, 2-0) has won five straight to return to the rankings for the first time since Oct. 16, 2005.
Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) also received votes in this week's poll, but still hasn't cracked the Top 25 since it was No. 25 on Nov. 6, 2005. While he'd no doubt like to end that drought, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald insists his team's focus is on Michigan State, not on the rankings.
Ringer ran for 185 yards and added 54 receiving yards against Northwestern last Oct. 6. Sutton missed that game with an ankle injury, but C.J. Bacher made up for his absence by throwing for a school-record 520 yards and matching a school-record with five touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, in the Wildcats' 48-41 victory.
That was Northwestern's fourth win in its last six meetings with Michigan State. The Spartans, however, lead the all-time series 32-16, including a 15-10 mark at Ryan Field.
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