College Football Picks Week 7: Florida at LSU, TCU at Iowa State, USC at Notre Dame, Penn State at Ohio State, Arizona State at Utah

October 16, 2015

By Brad Carroll

 

The primetime slate of college football games in Week 7 features a College Football Playoff elimination game between No. 8 Florida and No. 6 LSU, plus three of the top four teams in the country playing big conference games, and an old-school rivalry with some tremendous history with Southern Cal and Notre Dame playing in South Bend.

 

So, there is no shortage of games to catch your interest Saturday night. And to give you a leg up on the rest, we analyze and our college football experts pick each game against the spread below. You can check out our Saturday afternoon game picks here.

 

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No. 8 Florida at No. 6 LSU, 7 p.m., ESPN

The Spread: Florida +9.5; LSU -9.5

 

Analysis: No team has surprised more this year than Florida, as the Gators are 5-0 with impressive victories over Tennessee, then-No. 3 Ole Miss and Missouri last week. The Ole Miss obviously was the attention grabber, as Florida destroyed the Running Rebels, 38-10. Ole Miss, remember, was being trumpeted as the best team in the country, especially after it defeated Alabama on the road. This game against LSU should have been the moment where the Gators either jumped to the top of the conference, and College Football Playoff list, or fell off completely if they couldn't get the victory on the road. But that's not what the topic of conversation is for Florida right now, as it is feeling the repercussions of its starting quarterback being suspended for taking PED's. Quarterback Will Grier won't play for the Gators again this year, a stunning blow for a team that suddenly has become title contenders. Grier had already thrown for over 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns, completing five 30-yard scoring strikes on the season. Florida quarterbacks last season has combined to throw for just four 30-yard touchdowns. Treon Harris now steps back into the spotlight as quarterback for Florida. He does have starting experience, including the season opener. He has completed 19 of 27 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns on the year. Harris was also suspended this year, missing the Tennessee game. LSU has things going in the right direction, both offensively and defensively. Running back Leonard Fournette is the best player in the country and is the leading candidate to win the Heisman trophy this year. Fournette already has rushed for 1,022 yards and 12 touchdowns. Led by Fournette the Tigers have scored at least 44 points in three of their last four games. LSU might be as good as it has been in years, but Florida isn't going let the Tigers seal its fate without a fight.

Brad's Score: LSU 35, Florida 28

Craig's Score: LSU 32, Florida 21

Glenn's Score: LSU 24, Florida 21

Matt's Score: LSU 35, Florida 28

 

No. 3 TCU at Iowa State, 7 p.m., ESPN2

The Spread: TCU -21; Iowa State +21

 

Analysis: TCU is getting the hang of big comebacks this season, already winning two games it probably shouldn't have. The Horned Frogs needed a miracle tip of a pass in the end zone to fall perfectly into the hands of a wide receiver away from the play to survive against Texas Tech in the final moments. Last week, the Frogs trailed 35-17 at halftime and by 11 in the fourth quarter before coming back to beat Kansas State. TCU might run out of miracles if it keeps playing close games, but so far, nothing but victories have followed its games. One slip up during the season, however, and TCU would be eliminated from the College Football Playoff tournament. Luckily, the Horned Frogs have Trevonne Boykin at quarterback and Josh Doctson at wide receiver. Boykin has thrown for over 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, while Doctson has caught 50 passes for 877 yards and 10 scores. Iowa State is 2-3 on the season and allows 29.4 points per game. The Cyclones lost last week to Texas Tech 66-31. Iowa State can't stop anyone on defense, which means TCU is going to have a big day through the air.

Brad's Score: TCU 56, Iowa State 10

Craig's Score: TCU 56, Iowa State 10

Glenn's Score: TCU 75, Iowa State 20

Matt's Score: TCU 63, Iowa State 21

 

Southern Cal at No. 14 Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m., NBC

The Spread: Southern Cal +6.5; Notre Dame -6.5

 

Analysis: Southern Cal will play its first game without former coach Steve Sarkisian, who was fired this week after reportedly coaching the team against Arizona State while drunk and showing up to practice this week intoxicated. It's a wild story surrounding a program that seemingly always has problems. On the field, USC has plummeted from title contenders to afterthoughts after losing two of its last three games, to Stanford and a bad Washington team. The loss to the Huskies was especially alarming for a team that was expected to contend. Simply put, the Trojans are at rock bottom as an entire program right now. Of course, winning cures all. Quarterback Cody Kessler has thrown 15 touchdown passes and just three interceptions and running back Tre Madden is a spark plug out of the backfield, with four touchdowns. Defensively, USC allows just 17.4 points per game. Notre Dame is hanging around on the edge of the College Football Playoff final four, needing to run the table to even have a chance at making the final four. The Irish are 5-1 this season with the lone loss coming at Clemson when they failed to convert a two-point conversation late to tie the game. Notre Dame bounced back to beat Navy by 17 last week. Notre Dame's running game is strong, with CJ Prosise leading the way. He has 779 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the year. With USC in turmoil this week, and Notre Dame playing at home in a must-win game, it should be the Irish who prevail.

Brad's Score: Notre Dame 28, Southern Cal 21

Craig's Score: Notre Dame 27, Southern Cal 20

Glenn's Score: Notre Dame 35, Southern Cal 17

Matt's Score: Southern Cal 28, Notre Dame 21 (upset pick)

 

Penn State at No. 1 Ohio State, 8 p.m., ABC

The Spread: Penn State +17; Ohio State -17

 

Analysis: Ohio State just might be the most unimpressive No. 1 team in the nation at this stage in the season of all time, as the Buckeyes have sleepwalked through their six wins. Ohio State has even had a couple of upset scares against non-traditional powers, as it had to hold on to beat both Northern Illinois and Indiana. Cardale Jones and JT Barrett have both been pedestrian at quarterback, with neither taking complete control of the offense. Even last week's win over Maryland, which fired its coach after the game, was by just 21 points. The only positive, besides the victories, has been running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has 835 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. The defense has been solid as well, allowing 17.3 points per game and a tick over 300 yards a game. Penn State has won five straight games since losing its opener against Temple, including a 29-7 win over Indiana last week. Ohio State beat Indiana two weeks ago 34-27. Other than that game, Penn State's schedule has been pretty weak. The Nittany Lions are ranked 10th in the country in yards allowed (275.7) and 11th in points allowed per game (14.3). Last year, Penn State took Ohio State to double overtime before ultimately losing. This game should be another closer-than-expected final.

Brad's Score: Ohio State 33, Penn State 24

Craig's Score: Ohio State 30, Penn State 14

Glenn's Score: Ohio State 35, Penn State 14

Matt's Score: Ohio State 56, Penn State 20

 

Arizona State at No. 4 Utah, 10 p.m., ESPN

The Spread: Arizona State +7; Utah -7

 

Analysis: Utah has passed its two biggest tests, winning at then-No. 13 Oregon 62-20 and last week at home against then-No. 23 California 30-24 and is in position to make the College Football Playoff. Nobody could have predicted that before the season. Utah is excelling on both sides of the ball, averaging 37 points and over 400 yards a game on offense, and allowing 19.8 points per game on defense. The Utes intercepted five passes last week in the win over Cal. Arizona State has been as up-and-down as a team could be, getting blown out at home by USC, 42-14, one week, and then knocking off then-No. 7 UCLA on the road by 15 the next. Arizona State's Mike Bercovici has thrown for over 1,500 yards with 14 touchdown passes and four interceptions. If the Sun Devils upset Utah Saturday night, there is a strong possibility no one from the Pac-12 will make the College Football Playoff. Utah has just one game remaining against a ranked team, home against UCLA, which might not even be ranked come Sunday. The Bruins were beaten badly by Stanford Thursday night.

Brad's Score: Utah 38, Arizona State 35

Craig's Score: Utah 28, Arizona State 14
Glenn's Score: Utah 42, Arizona State 20

Matt's Score: Utah 35, Arizona State 20

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