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College football ’18: Week 7 Top 25 previews

Top 25

Each week, The Game Haus will preview every college football game featuring teams in The Associated Press Top 25. We’ll also give an expanded look at three Top 25 matchups especially worth watching.

Here we go with those Top 25 games for Week 7 (all times Eastern):

Key Games

No. 2 Georgia (6-0) at No. 13 LSU (5-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

Scouting the Bulldogs: Meeting LSU for the first time since 2013, Georgia last played in Baton Rouge in 2008. Florida rushed for 215 yards in beating the Tigers last week. The Bulldogs rank 16th in the nation, averaging 245.2 yards on the ground.

Scouting the Tigers: Since 2010, LSU is 13-4 when hosting SEC teams in the Top 25. However, the Tigers face a daunting task while trying to avoid losing back-to-back league contests in a season for the first time since Nov. 2015.

Winner: Georgia

No. 7 Washington (5-1) at No. 17 Oregon (4-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

Scouting the Huskies: The best team in the Pac-12 will try for a sixth consecutive victory. Washington yielded 24 points to winless UCLA last week, including 17 in the second half. The Huskies might not be able to get away with that happening again this week.

Scouting the Ducks: Don’t think they forgot about the last time Washington visited Eugene in 2016 and came away with a 70-21 throttling of the hosts. That was a 4-8 Oregon team, this one has a Heisman candidate in quarterback Justin Herbert. The Ducks also have something to prove after letting a late lead slip away against Stanford in their last home game.

Winner: Washington

No. 15 Wisconsin (4-1) at No. 12 Michigan (5-1), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
Top 25
Jonathan Taylor (Photo by sbnation.com)

Scouting the Badgers: Winners of two straight following what now might be considered a bad home loss to BYU, Paul Chryst’s group appears to be back on track. So is running back Jonathan Taylor, who rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns against Nebraska last weekend. Michigan, though, is yielding just 2.6 yards per carry this season.

Scouting the Wolverines: They’re aiming for a sixth straight victory while hoping to snap a four-game losing streak against Top 25 opponents. Michigan has also dropped three of the last four at home versus Top 25 teams – the lone win coming against then-No. 8 Wisconsin in 2016.

Winner: Wisconsin

The Rest

No. 23 South Florida (5-0) at Tulsa (1-4), 7 p.m., Friday

The Skinny: The Bulls make their season debut in the Top 25 while trying to go 6-0 for the second consecutive season. Florida transfer Jordan Cronkrite is a name to remember after rushing for a school-record 302 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries versus UMass last week.

Winner: South Florida

Tennessee (2-3) at No. 21 Auburn (4-2), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: The Tigers’ shot at a College Football Playoff berth pretty much ended with a 23-9 loss at Mississippi State last weekend. For the second time in three games, Jarrett Stidham did not throw a touchdown pass. However, expect Auburn to pound the ball against a Vols defense that yielded 452 rushing yards to Florida and Georgia in the last two games.

Winner: Auburn

Minnesota (3-2) at No. 3 Ohio State (6-0), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: A decisive victory over Indiana opened a favorable four-game stretch for the Buckeyes that continues with this contest, then features tilts against Purdue and winless Nebraska. Minnesota has dropped 11 in a row against teams in the Top 25.

Winner: Ohio State

No. 14 Florida (5-1) at Vanderbilt (3-3), Noon, Saturday
Top 25
Photo by wruf.com

The Skinny: With four straight wins, and the last two over Top 25 teams, Florida should feel good about things. It also may be walking into a trap this weekend. Sure, the Gators have won 21 of the last 22 meetings between the schools, but Vandy played Notre Dame tough earlier this season and might have the talent to knock Dan Mullen’s boys down a peg.

Winner: Vanderbilt

Pittsburgh (3-3) at No. 5 Notre Dame (6-0), 2:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: It looks like quarterback Ian Book will play, which obviously is good news for the Irish. Then again, the way they are rolling it might not matter who is under center. Pitt is hard to figure out. It’s pummeled by Penn State and UCF, but beats improved teams in Syracuse and Georgia Tech.

Winner: Notre Dame

No. 10 UCF (5-0) at Memphis (4-2), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Yes, the Knights are in the top 10 and winners of 18 in a row, but stop the College Football Playoff talk, please. What should be the focus is Memphis, which has won 12 straight regular-season games at home and is averaging 58 points against sub-par competition in four there this season.

Winner: UCF

Michigan State (3-2) at No. 8 Penn State (4-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Back from their open week, the Nittany Lions have had plenty of time to regroup after that frustrating defeat to Ohio State. Since 2010, they’ve lost four of five against Michigan State. However, Sparty comes in damaged after losing at home to Northwestern.

Winner: Penn State

No. 22 Texas A&M (4-2) at South Carolina (3-2), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: The last time the Aggies were in the Top 25, they lost to Alabama by 22 points in their only other true road game. Though this test is not as difficult, the Gamecocks are no slouch despite losing four straight in the series. This will again show whether or not we should take A&M seriously.

Winner: South Carolina

Baylor (4-2) at No. 9 Texas (5-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Top 25
Sam Ehlinger (Photo by bleacherreport.com)

The Skinny: Tied with West Virginia for the Big 12 lead at 3-0, the Longhorns are showing the form that many felt was possible in the preseason. With five total touchdowns during Texas’ epic victory over rival Oklahoma last week, quarterback Sam Ehlinger solidified himself as a true leader. Baylor has dropped three straight to Texas.

Winner: Texas

 

Missouri (3-2) at No. 1 Alabama (6-0), 7 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: It’s got to the point where Alabama is concerned about scoring too quickly. The Crimson Tide have outscored their opponents 124-21 in the first quarter this season. Mizzou has allowed 117 points while losing two of its last three contests.

Winner: Alabama

No. 6 West Virginia (5-0) at Iowa State (2-3), 7 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: For the second time in two years the Mountaineers are eyeing a 6-0 start. They’ve won four in a row over the Cyclones, and the last three in Ames. That being said, Iowa State just went into Stillwater and beat then-ranked Oklahoma State. Might be crazy, but this smells like an upset.

Winner: Iowa State

No. 16 Miami, FL (5-1) at Virginia (3-2), 7 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: A 21-point second-half helped the Hurricanes rally by rival Florida State for their fourth straight victory. They could have receiver Jeff Thomas healthy while trying for a fourth consecutive win over the Cavaliers. However, after that comeback victory, there might be reason for concern at Miami

Winner: Virginia

No. 19 Colorado (5-0) at USC (3-2), 10:30 p.m. Saturday

The Skinny: The Buffaloes haven’t gone 6-0 since 1994 and have never defeated the Trojans in 12 tries. However, USC has never faced an undefeated Colorado squad this late in the season. With a trip to Washington next week, this two-game stretch should tell a lot about the Buffaloes.

Winner: USC

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