College football has returned for a few weeks. There are always things to watch every week of the season. Here are 5 things to watch in college football week 7.
1. Alabama at Tennessee
An SEC matchup this week is among the best games in college football. Alabama travels to Knoxville to take on the red-hot Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee is scoring 40.8 points per game thanks to a fast-paced offense and quarterback Hendon Hooker’s good play. They’ll need to keep their foot on the gas to beat Alabama.
The big question for Alabama is the health of Bryce Young. Young missed a nail-biter of a game against Texas A&M with a sprained shoulder. Alabama may struggle if they don’t have their star quarterback. Jalen Milroe will be tasked with starting if Young can’t go. The defense, which is allowing just 12.5 points per game will be put to the test. Can Tennessee win their biggest game in a long time against Alabama?
2. Penn State at Michigan
Penn State and Michigan match up in a matchup of undefeated Big Ten East teams. The Nittany Lions have ridden their talented defense that allows just 14.8 points per game. They’ll need to shut down the run to win the game, which is within their capabilities. Penn State will also need quarterback Sean Clifford to pay well after having a tumultuous start to the season.
Michigan has run the ball well this season, which has allowed them to go right through an easy schedule. Blake Corum is in the Heisman race after rushing for 735 yards on the season so far. Their defense has allowed an impressive 11.3 points per game as well. The Wolverines will be favored, but the question will be whether J.J. McCarthy can complete passes downfield to open up the offense.
3. Pac-12 South Battle
USC has their biggest game of the season so far this week when they match up with Utah. The Trojans are undefeated in Lincoln Riley’s first year and are scoring 40.2 points per game. Quarterback Calebl Williams has had a solid start to the year with 1,590 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. Their defense has also improved so far, allowing just 18.7 points per game. There has been talk about USC possibly going on a run to the CFP and this week they can prove they are real.
Utah has two losses this season through six weeks after initially being projected to be a contender for a New Year’s Six Bowl. That is still on the table, but they need to turn things around fast. The good news is that both losses came on the road, so if Cameron Rising and Tavion Thomas protect the football, they should be able to run the ball and possibly win the game.
4. Big 12 Favorites Matching Up
The Big 12 has two undefeated teams (overall) left in Oklahoma State and TCU. Oklahoma State was more of a defensive team last season, but is now offensively-focused, scoring 45.2 points per game. Their experienced quarterback Spencer Sanders is capable of creating offense in a hurry. With wins in consecutive weeks over Baylor and Texas Tech, Oklahoma State looks pretty good.
TCU came out of nowhere this season to start the year 5-0. Their offense is much better with Sonny Dykes as coach this season. They score 46.4 yards per game and have not scored fewer than 38 in a single game this season. Max Duggan has earned a little recognition from Heisman voters after passing for 1,305 yards, 14 touchdowns and one interception. The winner of this game will have an edge in the Big 12 the rest of the way.
5. How can NC State do if Devin Leary is Out?
In week 6, NC State star quarterback Devin Leary injured his shoulder and had to leave the game against Florida State. He was later seen in a sling on the sideline. NC State was losing at the time, but they were able to come back and narrowly defeat the Seminoles. His x-rays were negative, but his status is unknown for when the Wolfpack take on a ranked Syracuse team this weekend.
Without Leary in the game, NC State did not complete a pass. Their team is very talented and can win without him in this game, but it would likely be a very ground-focused game. Even if Leary does play, he will likely not be at one hundred percent. There is a lot on the line for NC State, who are still in search of a New Year’s Six Bowl game.
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