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College Football Week 7 Preview: It’s a weekend full of playoff implications

Here is what’s on the menu this week in college football.

LSU v Florida Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

#6 Oklahoma vs. #11 Texas - Two teams that could very well meet again in the BIG-12 title game - 12 PM ET FOX

Last year, the Red River Rivalry was reignited by quarterbacks Sam Ehlinger and then-Sooner Kyler Murray. Well, Murray has continued his football career with the Arizona Cardinals but Oklahoma went out and procured Jalen Hurts, the former Alabama quarterback.

For the Longhorns, they have one loss to LSU, so a loss here would likely effectively end any CFP hopes. For Oklahoma, a win would likely only guarantee a return to BIG-12 title game. The Longhorns offense is going to be a big test for the Sooners’ defense, their biggest of the season:

To date, the Oklahoma defense has been solid as it ranks in the upper half of the Big 12 in a handful of notable stats, but the match up against Sam Ehlinger and the Texas offense will easily be the unit’s hardest test yet. There’s a reason the over/under is set as high as it is.

In all, the rivalry game Saturday between the Big 12’s true blue-bloods is set up to be one for the ages. Each team enters the game with various ways to put points on the board along with their own combo of strengths and weaknesses on either side of the ball.

Prediction: OU squeaks out a three-point win over Texas in another Red River Thriller

#1 Alabama @ #24 Texas A&M - It’s unlikely the Aggies upset ‘Bama but crazier things happen in college football - 3:30 PM ET CBS

This will be the second time this season that the Aggies play the number one team in the country. They lost earlier to #1 Clemson 24-10 so expecting a different result here would be risky. Though Alabama has had a sudden issue on defense stopping the run, it’s going to take more than the 12th Man for the Aggies to pull this off. Alabama’s QB Tua Tagovailoa has thrown 23 TD’s to zero picks and is red hot. A&M’s hope will be that their secondary continues to play well because they will certainly need it:

They’ll need all the help they can get this week against an Alabama squad that is one of (if not the) best offenses in the country. Even before Saban realized he could just plug NFL talent in at the QB position and instantly unlock about +11 more points/game, Alabama had good offenses. This is something else entirely though.

We all know what Tua is capable of, and he’s surrounded by elite talent and true speed at the receiver position. This is one of the most explosive passing attacks in the country, and it’s not like the brutally efficient run game of years past has just gone away either. It’s still there, led by Najee Harris (60% Success Rate and an 8.3% Explosive Run Rate) and a QB who can move too. Every receiver they will trot out on Saturday has a catch rate of 77% or higher, 60% or higher Success Rate, and game breaking speed to either beat you before the ball is thrown or annihilate your ankles and then put in some serious yards after catch. If this sounds like a narrator on a Shark Week documentary explaining how screwed you are anytime you are in the water, it’s because this Alabama offense truly is a unique and terrifying killing machine.

Prediction: The Tide rolls over Texas A&M by three scores

#10 Penn State @ #17 Iowa - Can the Hawkeyes spoil another undefeated Nittany Lions hopes once again? 7:30 PM ET ABC

What happens when an irresistible force meets the immovable object? It’s strength on strength as the Penn State high-powered offense does battle with a stout Iowa defense. Though Penn State still has zero blemishes and Iowa lost to Michigan 10-3, the Nittany Lions are in for a heavyweight fight:

Iowa has been especially well defending the run, allowing 87.6 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry. If they do a good job of shutting down the #LawnBoyz, Sean Clifford will need to be prepared to carry the load in a hostile environment. This could also mean more of running back Noah Cain, who has proven capable of picking up tough yards and moving the chains. Cain is coming off a big performance against the Boilermakers, where he gained 105 yards on 12 carries.

Senior cornerback Michael Ojemudia is the standout of the secondary. Not only does he have two interceptions and three pass breakups, but has an excellent nose for the ball and is currently fifth on the team in tackles. Senior linebacker Kristian Welch is far from flashy, but continually stops plays before they can get anywhere. He currently leads the team in tackles by a wide margin, with 39 on the year.

Prediction: Penn State stays undefeated with four-point win over Hawkeyes

#7 Florida @ #5 LSU - Gators took down then #7 Auburn last week but are rewarded with noisy night game in Baton Rouge - 8 PM ET ESPN

Great job, Florida, you took down Auburn and snagged their ranking while you were at it. For that, you’ll get another huge test vs. Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers. Playoff-wise, Florida knows they can’t get caught looking ahead to Georgia. If the Gators lose a close one, they still can attain their goals if they get past the Bulldogs. If Gators pull off the upset then the argument will become louder for them to lead the AP Poll.

The pressure is on the home team, LSU must keep the W’s coming for an inevitable showdown with ‘Bama. This Gators-Tigers contest will be the game of the day as these two have some bad blood between them:

The players are right. LSU doesn’t like Florida and Florida doesn’t like LSU. That dislike ranges from players to fans and everybody in between.

With tensions running high in 2016, a pregame “tussle” — as LSU coach Ed Orgeron put it — broke out at the 50-yard line

Florida players have stories of LSU fans throwing food at them on their way into Tiger Stadium at that same 2016 game. Von Rosenberg and long snapper Blake Ferguson have their own horror stories of the Florida student section, which Von Rosenberg calls “the worst in college football.”

“We got a lot of water bottles thrown at us,” Von Rosenberg said. “Maybe some urine bottles too. Blake got hit. They were calling him names that I can’t say out loud. If you look up in the stands, it’s a big mistake. I kind of wish Joe could play there one more time and give them the pageant wave if we beat them.”

Prediction: I got a feeling these Gators aren’t ready to lose yet, give me the upset, Florida by a late field goal

A full schedule of college football on TV can be found here.

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