Big Game Hunting: Alabama has already fallen. Is it Georgia’s turn in Week 7?
Short answer: heck no. Kentucky-Georgia, Oklahoma State-Texas, Purdue-Iowa, Rutgers-Northwestern predictions and more.
It’s the short straw. The runt of the litter. The cracked egg in the carton. The burnt french fry at the bottom of the bag.
Say hello to Week 7, college football fans. It stinks.
Every college season has a worst-looking week of games. Well, it’s here. And it’s so bad, there isn’t a matchup worth leading this column with. So let’s take stock of where we are at midseason instead.
TEAMS OF THE FIRST HALF
Georgia: The Bulldogs’ defense rocked Clemson’s post-Trevor Lawrence world in the opener and has become the story of the season. Clemson, Arkansas and Auburn combined — yes, combined — to score 13 points against the No. 1 team in the land.
Cincinnati: The win at Indiana was a key early hurdle to clear, and the ensuing win at Notre Dame was a declaration: The Bearcats intend to win ’em all — and they should — and put massive pressure on the playoff committee to include a Group of Five team for the first time.
Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State: Look at all those zeroes in the loss column. The Hawkeyes, Wolverines and Spartans have raised the Big Ten bar big-time.
TEAMS OF THE SECOND HALF
Alabama: Perfect no more, the Crimson Tide have a clear mission now: Get to Atlanta with just the one loss, beat Georgia for the SEC title and end up in Indianapolis playing — Georgia again? — for all the marbles.
Oklahoma: For an unbeaten, fourth-ranked team, the Sooners have been pretty awful. Maybe the benching of superstar quarterback Spencer Rattler will light a fire under everybody and turn this pretender into a contender.
Ohio State: Sounds nuts, but nobody’s talking about the one-loss Buckeyes. Just imagine how annoyed everybody will be after they beat Michigan State, Michigan and (in the Big Ten title game) Iowa back-to-back-to-back to get back into the playoff.
My top two so far are Georgia nose tackle Jordan Davis and Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III. The betting favorites to win the thing are QBs — shocking — but a lot of guys other than Alabama’s Bryce Young, Matt Corral or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud could rise up and win it.
WEEK 7 PICKS
Rutgers (-1½) at Northwestern (11 a.m., BTN, 720-AM): The Wildcats have had two weeks to think about a more-than-humbling 56-7 loss at Nebraska. Wait, is that a good thing? Scarlet Knights by a touchdown.
No. 12 Oklahoma State (+3½) at No. 25 Texas (11 a.m., Fox-32): It’s not quite Oklahoma-Texas fun, but it’s a heck of a good time. Run, Bijan Robinson, run — Longhorns, 38-30.
No. 11 Kentucky (+22½) at No. 1 Georgia (2:30 p.m., Ch. 2): The Wildcats are 6-0 and have this way of hanging around that’s so impressive … most of the time. Dogs, 31-10.
Purdue (+11½) at No. 2 Iowa (2:30 p.m., Ch. 7): A mismatch? The Boilermakers — who’ve beaten Iowa three times in the last four years — are laughing at the question. Hawkeyes, 23-17.
Bowling Green (+9) at Northern Illinois (2:30 p.m., ESPN+, 560-AM): BGSU has a 10-game MAC losing streak, but surprisingly good NIU is still without running back Harrison Waylee. This league is never not weird. Huskies by only a field goal.
TCU (+13½) at No. 4 Oklahoma (6:30 p.m., Ch. 7): The Sooners have beaten Tulane, Nebraska, West Virginia, Kansas State and Texas all by single scores. The lights are on in Norman, but is anyone home? Boomer by 21.
No. 18 Arizona State (pick ’em) at Utah (9 p.m., ESPN): There are lots of people who believe the Sun Devils are the best team in the Pac-12. Did I call the MAC weird? The Pac-12 is weirder. Utes, 27-23.
My favorite favorite: No. 5 Alabama (-17) at Mississippi State (6 p.m., ESPN): Somebody has to be the poor team the Tide annihilates after a loss.
My favorite underdog: Missouri (+11) vs. No. 21 Texas A&M (11 a.m., SEC): How bad is the Aggies’ hangover after upsetting the Tide? Mizzou is terrible defensively, but it can score on anybody. This is crazy. Completely crazy. Upset.
Last week: 6-3 straight-up, 4-4-1 vs. the spread.
Season to date: 40-17 straight-up, 33-23-1 vs. the spread.