By Brad Carroll
The Saturday evening schedule of Week 7 games might not look like much on paper, but there are still some major programs in action with College Football Playoff implications on the line. No. 1 Alabama and No. 5 Washington will attempt to keep its good standing in the playoff picture intact, while No. 9 Ohio State and No. 13 USC attempt to get back into the conversation.
Our college football experts preview and pick against the point spread the biggest games from the Saturday night schedule below. Check out our Friday night previews and picks here and our Saturday afternoon previews and picks here.
As always, follow along on Twitter here.
Arkansas at No. 1 Alabama, 7:15, ESPN
Spread: Alabama -30.5
Brad’s Breakdown: Every week we break down an Alabama game it’s the same story each time: Is the spread too high for the Crimson Tide to cover? When the spread is manageable, say under 24 points, the pick is typically on Alabama no matter the opponent. If the spread is high, like this one is here, than you almost have to go against the Tide. The theory has played out well this season and in season’s past as well. Alabama is superior in every way to Arkansas, and the Tide will win easily, but they won’t cover the gigantic spread.
Brad’s Final: Alabama 40, Arkansas 14 (Arkansas)
Craig’s Final: Alabama 42, Arkansas 10 (Alabama)
Glenn’s Final: Alabama 38, Arkansas 13 (Arkansas)
Matt’s Final: Alabama 40, Arkansas 28 (Arkansas)
No. 9 Ohio State at Nebraska, 7:30, FS1
Spread: Ohio State -24
Brad’s Breakdown: Ohio State has won four in a row since getting beaten up by Oklahoma, which is an even bigger defeat now considering the Sooners were just upset by Iowa State. But the Buckeyes haven’t played anyone during that streak, and won’t again this week when they travel to Nebraska, a 3-3 program that will likely be overhauled after the season. Nebraska did a better than expected job against Wisconsin last week in a 38-17 loss, but Ohio State needs to make a statement in primetime to get back into the Playoff discussion, so expect a big win for the Buckeyes.
Brad’s Final: Ohio State 56, Nebraska 28 (Ohio State)
Craig’s Final: Ohio State 28, Nebraska 20 (Nebraska)
Glenn’s Final: Ohio State 31, Nebraska 17 (Nebraska)
Matt’s Final: Ohio State 56, Nebraska 20 (Ohio State)
Utah at No. 13 USC, 8, ABC
Spread: USC -13
Brad’s Breakdown: This was set to be a huge matchup, the marquee game for Week 7, when Utah and USC were undefeated and making their way up the rankings. But then USC lost to Washington State two weeks ago and then Utah lost to unranked Stanford last week, taking the luster of this supposed showdown. Even USC quarterback Sam Darnold has lost a lot of his own luster as well, as he’s been just ordinary this season, possibly hurting his draft stock in the process. Both offenses, however, are solid and the defenses better than you would expect, giving this game the potential to be good. Nobody really knows if the good or bad version of Darnold will be on display, or if his players can actually help him out or not, which has been a storyline all season, but with the national spotlight on, there’s no better time for USC and its quarterback to get the season back on track.
Brad’s Final: USC 34, Utah 17 (USC)
Craig’s Final: USC 30, Utah 20 (Utah)
Glenn’s Final: USC 38, Utah 24 (USC)
Matt’s Final: USC 35, Utah 21 (USC)
No. 5 Washington at Arizona State, 10:45, ESPN
Spread: Washington -17.5
Brad’s Breakdown: Arizona State had two weeks to prepare for this game, which is about the only thing that can help it beat Washington. The Sun Devils are 2-3, with a victory against Oregon but losses to San Diego State, Texas Tech and Stanford. Washington is far and away better than all those teams. Washington has won its last four games by an average of over 30 points, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t win this game by at least 18, even if Huskies coach Chris Petersen hates playing night games. Hopefully he takes out the frustration on Arizona State.
Brad’s Final: Washington 56, Arizona State 24 (Washington)
Craig’s Final: Washington 45, Arizona State 17 (Washington)
Glenn’s Final: Washington 44, Arizona State 20 (Washington)
Matt’s Final: Washington 42, Arizona State 24 (Washington)