We’ve reached week 7 of the college football season, and it’s the busiest collection of games we’ve ever seen.
Saturday features six ranked vs. ranked clashes, including three huge games where both teams are undefeated. Things start in the noon window with a Big Ten matchup between Michigan and Penn State before a massive SEC showdown between Tennessee and Alabama and a huge Big 12 game between Oklahoma State and TCU. This all gives way to a tasty Pac-12 showdown the night between USC and Utah.
We have passed the mid-season, so these games are gaining importance every week. We could consider this weekend as a turning point in the season for many teams.
(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)
Time: Noon | Television: Fox | Line: UM-7 | Overall: 51.5
It’s the Big Ten’s biggest game of the season so far. Penn State enters Ann Arbor after a bye with a 5-0 record. PSU has a veteran quarterback in Sean Clifford and an improved running game in freshman guards Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen. The PSU defense will have their hands full with Michigan, especially running back Blake Corum. He’s been a big threat to the Wolverines and is also a big help for freshman starting quarterback JJ McCarthy. McCarthy was very effective, albeit against lackluster competition. The visiting Nittany Lions will be Michigan’s toughest test by a significant margin.
Time: 3:30 p.m. | Television: CBS | Line: Alabama -7.5 | Overall: 65.5
All eyes will be on Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, the defending Heisman Trophy winner who missed last week’s win over Texas A&M with a shoulder injury. The Crimson Tide picked up the win despite a shaky offensive performance, so Alabama will likely need Young if they want to leave Knoxville with a win. This is Tennessee’s biggest game in a long, long time. Not only have Tennessee lost 15 straight to Alabama, but a victory here would put the Vols right in the middle of the college football playoff race. To get to this point, Tennessee used a powerful offense led by quarterback Hendon Hooker. Can the Flights finally put an end to the losing slide?
Time: 3:30 p.m. | Television: ABC | Line: TCU-4 | Overall: 68.5
Oklahoma State and TCU are the only remaining undefeated in a deep Big 12 conference. Oklahoma State was expected to contend for the conference crown after playing in the title game last year. The Cowboys are scoring a ton of points this year, but the defense isn’t nearly as strong as it was last fall and will face another big challenge Saturday in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs, led by first-year head coach Sonny Dykes, have improved over the weeks, especially on offense. That’s a big reason TCU is 5-0 with wins over Oklahoma and a ranked Kansas team.
Time: 7:30 p.m. | Television: ABC | Line: Clemson -3.5 | Total: 51
Is this trip to Florida State the toughest test of the season so far for Clemson? Bettors certainly think so. Clemson is just a 3.5-point favorite on the road at FSU. It’s the smallest point spread of the year for the Tigers, who could face a serious challenge from an FSU team that is coming off back-to-back losses. The Seminoles started the year 4-0 and were back in the Top 25 before losing 31-21 at home to Wake Forest and then taking a 17-3 lead in the 19-17 road loss to NC State last week. Can FSU bounce back against an even better Clemson team?
Time: 8 p.m. | Television: Fox | Line: Utah -3.5 | Total: 65
The Lincoln Riley train at USC continues to roll. The Trojans are now 6-0 with a 4-0 Pac-12 record so far in Riley’s first season in charge of the program. But this week’s road trip to Salt Lake City could be the toughest challenge yet for the Trojans. Utah is coming off a loss to UCLA last week. That makes it a big game for the Utes if they want to get back into the Pac-12 title chase. Utah hasn’t been as strong as usual at the lines of scrimmage, but this team still has plenty of talent. That includes Cam Rising, one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the nation.