Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
At this point in the college football season, marquee matchups begin to become the norm
Week seven of the college football season is upon us, and it’s starting to get real. At this point in the season, nearly every game has conference and potentially playoff implications. Summer is turning to fall, and marquee matchups are beginning to become the norm.
Big Games to Watch
Michigan State vs No. 8 Wisconsin. Michigan State may not be ranked, but this still could be a big matchup in deciding how the Big Ten standings shake out at the end of the year. Wisconsin brings to bear the No. 16 offense in the SP+ and the No. 4 defense. Michigan State comes into this matchup with the No. 56 offense and the No. 6 defense. Points may come at a premium in this one, and if that’s the case who knows how this one turns out. This game kicks off on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on BTN.
No. 10 Penn State vs No. 17 Iowa. The only matchup of Top-25 Big Ten teams this week, this game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and Iowa Hawkeyes rightfully has the 7:30 p.m. slot on ABC. Penn State comes in with the No. 10 offense in the SP+ and the No. 16 defense, while Iowa holds the No. 55 offense and the No. 9 defense. Much like Wisconsin and Michigan State, this game stays close if the respective defenses take charge of this game—and if that happens, possessions in the fourth quarter will be critical.
Nebraska vs Minnesota. The Nebraska Cornhuskers against the Minnesota Golden Gophers is the other Big Ten matchup in the primetime slot this week, but instead of two teams fighting for their respective division titles this game features more middling programs. Minnesota has a sneaky good offense this year, checking in at No. 14 in the SP+, but also has a defense that can be porous at times (No. 46). Nebraska has a mediocre offense (No. 34) that sometimes struggles to put up points, and also sometimes struggles defensively (No. 52). This game will be all about who executes better—the Golden Gopher offense or the Cornhusker defense. Kickoff is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on BTN.
National Games to Watch
No. 6 Oklahoma vs No. 11 Texas. This year’s edition of the Red River Rivalry (Showdown? Shootout? Classic? They’ve renamed this thing too many times) narrowly missed out on being a matchup of two Top-10 teams, but this game should still feature plenty of fireworks. Both the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns feature Top-10 SP+ offenses (No. 1 and No. 4, respectively) and less well-ranked defenses. I don’t know if they’ll quite get to the current over/under of 76, but it very well could be close. This game kicks off Saturday at Noon on Fox.
No. 7 Florida vs No. 5 LSU. The lone matchup of two Top-10 teams this week, the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers take top billing on Saturday night with an 8:00 p.m. kickoff on ESPN. Both LSU and Florida already have proven they’re the real deal this year; LSU with their early win over Texas and Florida with their win last week over Auburn. This game figures to be a contests of strengths, as Florida’s No. 5 defense will be tasked with slowing down LSU’s No. 3 offense. If this turns into a shootout, Florida could have a hard time keeping up on the scoreboard.
Just because we’ve highlighted the five games above doesn’t mean they’re the only ones on TV this weekend. Below, we have a list of every Big Ten and Top-25 game taking place this weekend. All games take place on Saturday, unless noted.
What games will you be watching this weekend? Sound off in the comments with the game and why.