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Games to Watch - Week 7

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Editor's Note: Christian Alexander dominated the books this college football season with a 62% (29-18) winning record. Get the rest of his expert selections now in his discounted season package! Click to win!
Saturday - Oklahoma vs. Texas from Dallas (ABC, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Matchup Skinny
Oklahoma at Texas
The Red River Shootout (I refuse to call it the 'rivalry' based strictly on principle) which has been played in Dallas every year since 1929 has lost a little bit of its luster this year as both teams come in with one loss. However to these two fan bases that simply dislike the other, this is still just as big of a game. While West Virginia and Kansas St appear to be the teams to beat in the Big 12, other than Oklahoma State last year, one of these two teams had claimed the Big 12 crown seven straight years. Texas is coming in off a 48-45 track meet loss at home to West Virginia where their defense that was so highly touted to start the season was once again exposed giving up 207 rushing yards and 460 total yards. Offensively Texas has one of the most balanced attacks in the country behind surprise QB Davis Ash and a handful of talented running backs. Oklahoma has played well below their preseason expectations on both sides of the ball so far this season but does come in off a 41-20 victory against Texas Tech in Lubbock. This game will either come down to which team's fan base eats the most Fletcher's Corny Dogs in the fairgrounds outside or which team's defense is able to execute when it matters most. In either case with each team having one conference loss, the loser of this game is all but out of the Big 12 conference race. Texas leads the series 59-42-5, although Oklahoma has won the last two (including 55-17 last year). OU is a field goal favorite and this game could very easily come down to just that.
Saturday - Stanford at Notre Dame (NBC, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Matchup Skinny
Stanford at Notre Dame
Apparently 1990 called and Notre Dame answered. No one in college football has been a bigger surprise this year than the Golden Domers. With the exception of the hideous uniforms and helmets the Irish wore on Saturday night they have been extremely impressive in all facets of the game through their first five games. The Irish are 5-0 for the first time since 2002 and their 587 yards of offense against the Hurricanes was a season high, including 376 yards rushing which was their most since Nov. 11, 2000. Yet the most impressive part of Notre Dame this year has been their defense which currently ranks second in the country allowing a mere 7.8 points per game. Needless to say the 'hot seat' that Brian Kelly entered the year on has cooled off in South Bend. This week The Irish host probably their toughest game yet. While they have looked great beating up on the Big 10 and ACC the Stanford Cardinal presents a real challenge for ND. Stanford QB Josh Nunes is coming off a career high 360 yard game and standout RB Stepfan Taylor rushed for 132 yards, however the Arizona defense is a far cry from what the Cardinal will face this week. These two teams have two of the best front seven defensively in the country and I expect this to be a very physical, very entertaining football game. Stanford has won three straight in the series, including 28-14 last year at home, but this doesn't appear to be the same Notre Dame team as a year ago. Notre Dame is a home touchdown favorite and if they can get by Stanford the rest of their schedule is…well…still really hard.
Saturday - South Carolina at LSU (ESPN, 8:00 p.m. ET)
Matchup Skinny
South Carolina at LSU
Congratulations South Carolina, you just manhandled the 5th ranked Georgia Bulldogs at home. Your reward…you get to take on LSU…in Death Valley…at night…coming off a loss. There are not many places in the country harder to play than Death Valley where LSU is riding a nation-leading 21-game home winning streak and having won 47 of its 53 home games under Coach Les Miles. (Especially when you give 95,000+ Cajuns all day to get liquored up) Throw in the fact that LSU has dominated the series (16-2-1) with four straight wins and that's why the odds makers have the 3rd ranked Gamecocks as a field goal underdog in this game. However, according to Gamecocks tailback Marcus Lattimore, "It's not the old South Carolina. We can play with y'all. We can play with anybody." Well, we are certainly about to find out. These two teams both rank in the top 10 defensively in the country allowing less than 13 points a game, however South Carolina has looked much better and more balanced on offense this season with Shaw and Lattimore than LSU with Mettenberger and a committee of running backs. The best part of this entire game however will be the match-up between "The Mad Hatter" and "The Ol' Ball Coach." Before the game, during the game and after the game we will all be treated to countless quotes, questionable decisions and countless facial expressions. No matter who wins this games we will all be entertained.
Other Games to Watch
Matchup Skinny
West Virginia at Texas Tech
West Virginia at Texas Tech: UPSET ALERT. West Virginia is coming off a huge road win against Texas and has what appears to be the Big 12 game of the year next weekend at home against Kansas State. However sandwiched in-between they go to Lubbock this weekend which historically can be a very tough place to play for highly ranked teams. The odds makers only have West Virginia as a 4 point favorite; and if they have an emotional letdown or look ahead to next week's game against Kansas St they could very easily fall victim to Texas Tech. Then again, if they don't, this game has the potential to get very ugly for The Red Raiders.
Oregon State at Utah
Oregon State at BYU: Desmond Howard is all-in on the Beavers. I'm not, at least not yet. While they have beaten three teams that were preseason ranked (Wisconsin, UCLA , Arizona) none of those teams are ranked anymore and quite frankly aren't very good; and they won those games by a combined nine points. Throw in a win over a bad Washington State team last weekend and their four wins are simply not that impressive. BYU, while offensively challenged, does boast one of the best defenses in the country and will present a problem for an Oregon St offense that ranks 93rd in the NCAA in points scored. BYU opens as a field goal favorite and this game will simply come down to which team is able to muster up any resemblance of an offense.
Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech
Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech: Both of these teams are ranked in the top 25…seriously, I looked it up twice just to make sure. This is a make-up game from the opening weekend of the season when it was postponed due to Hurricane Isaac. Louisiana Tech has built a 5-0 resume by simply outscoring their competition. They are 3rd in the NCAA averaging 53.2 points a game; however they are 109th allowing 35.8 points per game. In other words, look for Aggie freshman QB Johnny Manziel and the Aggie offense to have a very big day. The question simply becomes can the La Tech offense keep up against an A&M defense that just surrendered 464 yards to Ole Miss last week in a dramatic come from behind win in Oxford. The Aggies are a touchdown favorite in what should be a back-and-forth shootout in Shreveport.

  
HEADLINES
ASA: Big Ten Report - Preseason
Blankenship: Press Pittsburgh
ASA: Games to Watch - Big Ten
Nelson: Week 1 Clashes
ASA: Top Big Ten QB's
Lawrence: 2014 Pac-12 Preview
Edwards: Top 20 QB Changes
Georgia WR Mitchell hurts knee again
RB Gordon takes lead role at Wisconsin
MORE HEADLINES
 
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