Gamecocks to edge LSU
Alexander Ferguson with his Week 7 predictions of the biggest games in college football - including two on UK TV.
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After Florida State lost to NC State in the biggest upset of the college football season so far, we can truly say this: No-one is safe in College Football.
We thought South Carolina and Georgia would be a close game. It wasn't. South Carolina destroyed the Bulldogs. We screamed "Take Texas!" in its showdown with West Virginia, but we weren't banking on poor coaching decisions in the final quarter that cost the Longhorns.
We told you that Florida would beat LSU, and we were right, and by God, we told you to go for Penn State against Northwestern, and we right about that too.
South Carolina's victory over Georgia, which included an incredibly dominant defensive performance, has got us all excited about the Gamecocks' visit to Death Valley, where they will play at LSU in the Game Of The Week. LSU comes off a week where it could only muster 6 points at Florida, and is so injured on the offensive line that it might put out NO starters for Saturday night's game. That will mean that QB Zach Mettenberger - who hasn't looked too clever anyway this year - might get eaten for lunch for future high NFL Draft picks Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor. On the other side of the ball, running back Marcus Lattimore is going to have to run against 2.5-point favourite in LSU's very good (albeit a little injured) defence - and a very loud crowd. This one's going to be fun.
PREDICTION: South Carolina to win by a field goal in another game of emotional and mental exhaustion.
The Red River Rivalry is one of the biggest games of the season, and features two sides who have a loss to their season, but could still win the Big XII Conference. Plus, it doesn't need a lot to get both sets of fanbases to dislike each other, considering there's a T-Shirt that goes around amongst Longhorns fans that says: "The University of Oklahoma. Keeping ugly girls out of the University of Texas since 1890." And Oklahoma fans just have a little bit of history: They've won the last two Red River Games, and only lost four since 2000. But this year in the Cotton Bowl, there's going to be a lot of talent on display, with Texas' star defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor trying to stop QB Landry Jones and his strong offence, which came out of its shell in crumpling Texas Tech last weekend. While QB David Ash and Texas hosted a shoot-out with West Virginia, but came up just short. .
PREDICTION: Hands up! Texas wins by 3 in one of the closest games for years.
Usually we're lucky with our college football TV schedules, but unfortunately, we have not been with the the Alabama vs Missouri game. Alabama is just exceptional, moving seamlessly between great side and great side, while Missouri hasn't won a SEC game yet (true, it's had an awful schedule up to last week's home loss to Vanderbilt). No-one thinks that the Crimson Tide are going to lose - least of all SkyBet, who are giving Missouri a 21 point start. Is that a little bit too generous?
PREDICTION: Alabama wins comfortably. Which means they beat the handicap but only just.
You know the story. Notre Dame is unbeaten, Stanford lost a game it really shouldn't have done at Washington. Notre Dame has the second best defence in college football, giving up under 8 points per game. In fact, the Irish's stoppers - led by Manti Te'o - have been so good that they haven't trailed in a game this season. You'll hear that stat on a lot of pregame shows this season (although they should have done if Miami's receivers had caught a catch or two). They face a Stanford team that's already beaten one big-time team (USC) and is looking for another name on their CV. 7.5 point underdog Stanford will be hoping QB Josh Nunes doesn't have a repeat of his Washington disaster. This is going to be a war.
PREDICTION: Stanford wins a thriller, stunning the Irish by a field goal.
Last Saturday West Virginia won the most exciting game of the week when they beat Texas on their own turf. Texas Tech - who were unbeaten up to that point - played their first good side of the season in Oklahoma and were summarily thrashed 41-20. So we can work out why they are 3 ½ point underdogs against West Virginia - one of the best offences in the country - for this game - but it looks far too low. Maybe they think that really wild things happen in Lubbock on a Saturday night.
PREDICTION: Don't get us wrong - the Red Raiders will put up some points on a defence that gives up 35 points per game, but it won't outscore them. West Virginia wins by 14.
Auburn is a program in wretched form, while Ole Miss is still losing, but is improving week on week. So what will happen when two unmovable objects meet? You place your bets and hide your eyes away from what will be one of the country's uglier encounters! Seriously though, Auburn can do no right, and it must be the first time in years that they are actually a six-point dog to Ole Miss, who hasn't won a SEC game in 16 games.
PREDICTION: Ole Miss wins by a touchdown.