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College football: Week seven preview and predictions

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NCAA Football: Alabama at Texas A&M
Fans cheer during a game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma’s slip up to Iowa State may have been catastrophic enough to ruin their college football playoff dreams. The Sooners will have to be perfect from here on out to sneak back into the race. Be careful, OU, Texas will look to kick you while you’re down.

Miami went into Doak Campbell Stadium and beat Florida State for the first time in eight years. While it was a terrific, legendary win for UM, they need to put together four quarters of execution on both sides of the ball. The first half performance against FSU was an offensive nightmare -- something that won’t fly the rest of the season.

Alabama and Clemson continue to rule the college football world, but there’s still plenty of season left for fireworks. Will the top-10 experience another shakeup this week?

Let’s preview the games for week seven of the season.

Appetizers

(12) Oklahoma at Texas

Saturday, Oct. 14th, 3:30 p.m.

Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX

The last few games between these two rivals have been excellent, and something tells me this game will be just as exciting. Head coach Tom Herman has had a challenging start to his career in Texas, but the Longhorns have an underrated defense that doesn’t receive national recognition since Texas is unranked. The Longhorns won’t wow you on offense like they used to with quarterbacks Vince Young and Colt McCoy, but they move the ball in a balanced attack lead by both quarterbacks Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger.

Oklahoma’s defense looked vulnerable two weeks ago against a mediocre Baylor team who is yet to win a game this season. Baylor QB Zach Smith threw for 463 yards and four scores. Not to be outdone, the Sooners then allowed 38 points to Iowa State in an upset loss with QB Kyle Kempt throwing for 343 yards and three scores. OU’s run defense is terrific, but the secondary looks like the team’s Achilles’ heel. OU’s star QB Baker Mayfield can only do so much on offense if the defense abandons him in another game.

Expect Oklahoma to edge Texas in a very tight game only because OU is coming off a loss. The Sooners will be hungry and ready to withstand the Longhorns’ fight but not without some late heroics by Mayfield.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma
Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) scores a touchdown in front of Iowa State Cyclones linebacker Joel Lanning (7) during the second quarter at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

(24) Texas Tech at West Virginia

Saturday, Oct. 14th, 12 p.m.

Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV

Texas Tech has made a surprising arrival to the top-25, while West Virginia is unexpectedly unranked. This game historically hasn’t been as much of a shootout as fans would’ve hoped for, but this time is different. Texas Tech’s defense isn’t excellent, but they make plays at big times in the game. West Virginia always has a solid offense who can move then all through the air, but it hasn’t been able to role as smoothly as usual against better competition. If you’re a defensive coordinator, you’re going to want to burn the tape from this game. If you’re a fan of offense, expect this game to be a shootout until the very end. This game may be the first to 50, wins. West Virginia QB Will Grier will lead the Mountaineers in the fourth quarter to upset Texas Tech in the final minutes.

NCAA Football: Delaware State at West Virginia
West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier (7) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Delaware State Hornets at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Main Course

Texas A&M at Florida

Saturday, Oct. 14th, 7 p.m.

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL

Florida isn’t a top-10 team, but they still have a chance to play in the SEC championship. Florida lost at home to an inconsistent LSU team, but welcome to the SEC — where anything is possible. Beat Texas A&M, and the Gators are 4-1 in the SEC with a showdown against Georgia to follow with a possible SEC championship birth on the line. We know UF’s defense will show up for this game, but can the offense hold its own against the high-powered Aggies offense?

A&M gets Auburn at home and closes out against LSU on the road, so they still have work to do. The Aggies will disrupt UF in the backfield and cause turnovers that will be the difference in the game. A&M will be held in check on offense but UF will be unable to score enough to keep up. A&M escapes The Swamp.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Texas A&M
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond (11) and South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Chris Lammons (3) in action during the game at Kyle Field. The Aggies defeat the Gamecocks 24-17.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech at (11) Miami

Saturday, Oct. 14th, 3:30 p.m.

Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL

Miami finally got over the hump and beat FSU for the first time in eight years. Miami had a brilliant ending to the game, but didn’t play exceptionally well on offense. Miami has historically had its share of slip ups in the past decade that derailed each season. Losing running back Mark Walton stings, but Miami can mask his loss if QB Malik Rosier can play a clean game for four quarters -- something he’s been unable to do this season. Head coach Mark Richt will need to strategize accordingly against Georgia Tech; throwing the ball 44 times like they did against FSU, isn’t a recipe for success.

Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense will give any team a headache. Miami has had inconclusive results defending it — one season they'll shut it down, the next they’ll get ran over for 400+ yards. The Hurricanes’ young defense will need to come out strong and set the tone for the game. Allowing GT to build any type of early lead puts pressure on the Canes to score at a near-perfect efficiency since GT can do so much damage with time of possession. We’ve seen the Yellow Jackets build an early lead and dominate time of possession until the opposing team’s defense finally wears out for the final blow of the game. TaQuon Marshall has been putting on incredible performances, and his speed and agility will match Miami’s. If Miami fails to stop his runs, he could give them fits both on the ground and through the air.

Miami beats Georgia Tech in frustrating fashion. The Yellow Jackets will stick around and frustrate the Canes until they finally step up and pull away.

NCAA Football: Miami at Florida State
Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier (12) throws the ball during the second half against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Dessert

(10) Auburn at LSU

Saturday, Oct. 14th, 3:30 p.m.

Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA

The battle of the Tigers will be as ferocious as a real-life tiger battle would be. LSU is coming off a solid win after suffering an embarrassing loss to Troy. LSU’s defense is as scary as always, and RB Derrius Guice has done his best to play at a high level despite nagging injuries.

But, LSU’s offense will be the x-factor. We know Auburn has an elite defense and their offense can move the ball better than last season. RB Kerryon Johnson has been magnificent, scoring 11 times and destroying Mississippi State for 116 yards and Ole Miss for 204. This game will be a battle of who can run the ball more affectively. Guice is the better running back, but Johnson will have the better day, as will Auburn’s offense. Auburn wins a low-scoring affair.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Auburn
Auburn Tigers running back Kerryon Johnson (21) scores a touchdown against the Ole Miss Rebels during the first quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports