Week 7 College Football Playoff resume builder and other key games to watch | Koclukevi

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On Friday the 13th in mid-October? This college football weekend should be perfectly normal… right? Additionally, Bruce Feldman is tearing down UCLA’s dominant D-line. And I hope you stayed up to see that Houston-West Virginia wild end.

Here’s what’s happening in college football through Saturday…


Key games of Week 7

Two showdowns on Saturday at the top

College Football Playoff implications

Noon: Syracuse (4-2, 0-2 ACC) at No. 4 Florida State (5-0, 3-0), ABC: The Orange started 4-0, but have lost two straight with poor offensive performances against ACC opponents. The Seminoles are heavy favorites and should be safe as long as they don’t look too far ahead of Duke (yes, I said looks ahead at Duke).

Afternoon (3:30 p.m.): No. 8 Oregon (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) at No. 7 Washington, ABC (5-0, 2-0): This is the game of the weekend and one of the games of the season. Quarterbacks Bo Nix (Oregon) and Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) should lead the offensive battle, with the winner jumping to the top of the Heisman Trophy ballots and grabbing a huge Playoff resume builder.

Primetime (7:30 p.m.): No. 10 USC (6-0) at No. 21 Notre Dame (5-2), NBC: Notre Dame’s CFP hopes were likely dashed by a loss to Louisville last week. Meanwhile, USC battled Arizona in three overtimes and doesn’t have much room for error.

Group of 5 reflectors

Noon: Georgia Southern (4-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) at James Madison (5-0, 2-0), ESPN2: It’s already been an exciting week in the Sun Belt: Coastal Carolina beat Appalachian State by a field goal on Tuesday. The weekend slate begins with a battle between the top two teams in the East. Last season, Georgia Southern and JMU combined for 24 points in the final seven minutes in the Eagles’ victory.

Afternoon (3:30 p.m.): FAU (2-3, 1-0 AAC) at USF (3-3, 2-1), ESPN2: Bulls QB Byrum Brown leads the AAC in total offense (No. 8 nationally), and last week Bruce wrote about how USF coach Alex Golesh is putting together the program’s best season in some time. FAU is battle-tested and just beat Tulsa after facing Power 5 opponents (Clemson and Illinois).

Prime Time (7 p.m.): Wyoming (5-1, 2-0 MWC) at Air Force (5-0, 3-0), CBS Sports Network: In the wide-open G5 NY6 bid race, Air Force and Wyoming are two of the strongest contenders. The Cowboys beat Fresno State last week, but they could be without RB Harrison Waylee. Air Force’s defense has allowed an MWC-best 12.2 points per game.

Sneaky good games

Noon: Iowa State (3-3, 2-1 Big 12) at Cincinnati (2-3, 0-2), FS1: Yes, the top four teams in the nation play during the noon window (No. 1 Georgia at Vanderbilt; No. 2 Michigan vs. Indiana; No. 3 Ohio State at Purdue; and No. 4 Florida State vs. Syracuse), but the Most Competitive could to be Iowa State-Cincinnati.

Afternoon (3:30 p.m.): Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1 SEC) at No. 19 Tennessee (4-1, 1-1), ABC: There is angst in Aggieland after Texas A&M’s loss to Alabama (which included several clock management issues). The Vols, meanwhile, are coming off a bye week.

Primetime (8 p.m.): No. 18 UCLA (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) at No. 15 Oregon State (5-1, 2-1), Fox: The Bruins knocked off Washington State last week behind their stout defense (more on that later). They will now face Oregon State, who lost to Wazzu earlier this season. Missouri at Kentucky (7:30 p.m., SEC Network) is another game to watch, but it lost some thunder last week when both teams lost.

Austin Mock’s Best Bets

Noon: Georgia Southern at JMU (-110) over 58.5: “Georgia Southern loves to run the ball, but they really struggle to defend the pass. James Madison should find success in the air, which helps extend this play and allow it to come through. The Dukes defense is good, but the Georgia Southern offense is good enough to take this bet home.”

Afternoon: Oregon at Washington -3 (-110): “This offense in Washington is the best in the country in my model. Sure, Oregon might be the more balanced team, but Washington’s defense isn’t light years behind the Ducks. In what should be a match full of offensive firepower, give me a better offense at home.’

Prime time: USC +2.5 (-105) at Notre Dame: “Yes, USC’s defense is bad, but I’m not so sure about Notre Dame’s offense. I know USC’s offense, led by Caleb Williams, is fantastic. Ultimately, the Notre Dame offense won’t be able to keep up and the Trojans will come out victorious in South Bend.”


Caleb Williams (13) and the USC Trojans travel to Notre Dame on Saturday. (Kirby Lee/USA Today)

Feldman’s Writings

UCLA “SEC-type D-line”

This might be the best season the Pac-12 has ever had. In fact, given that it had by far the best non-league record of any Power 5 conference earlier this year, I’m confident this is the conference’s best season — at least since it’s been called the Pac-12. Pac-12 QBs tearing up college football is a big reason. Penix, Nix and Williams are among the top five in the nation in QB rating. Then there’s Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders (19 TD, 2 INT), Wazz’s Cameron Ward (14 TD, 2 INT) and Oregon State’s DJ Uiagalelei (13 TD, 4 INT).

But the fascinating undertone of it all was the emergence of the conference’s toughest defense.

UCLA, a program best known for Chip Kelly’s creative offensive schemes, has a nasty defense. The Bruins lead the nation in holding opponents to 3.74 yards per play, a huge improvement from last year’s No. 72 ranking. In the four seasons before that, UCLA was ranked 43rd, 123rd, 95th and 108th. Last week against Wazzu’s explosive offense, which crushed a good Oregon State defense for more than 8 yards per play in a 38-35 victory, the Bruins dominated, holding Wazzu and Ward to 216 total yards and just 2-for-13 on third downs. UCLA forced the Cougars into nine three-and-outs.

The addition of defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn, the 33-year-old son of former Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, proved to be one of the smartest moves of the offseason. The former Penn State DB, who has worked his way up through NFL coaching ranks over the last decade, has impressed his colleagues in Westwood with his ability to teach and connect with players. It helps that he arrived at a time when UCLA has amassed its most athletic collection of linebackers since Kelly took over the program. The Bruins are loaded with long, fast players, especially in the secondary, and have some twitchy, relentless D-linemen.

“We couldn’t block those guys,” said one offensive line coach who faced the Bruins this season. “They are much better up front. They got some creatures. They have SEC type D-line. He gives those defenders a lot of freedom and they play fast. I don’t think what they’re doing is overly complex, but it’s just hard to block them.”

UCLA headliner is Laiatu Latua feisty 6-foot-5, 265-pound former rugby star who is making the most of his second chance to play college football after an injury nearly ended his career.

As disruptive as Latu is (8.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks), the Bruins are throwing at people in waves. Linebacker Darius Muasau (six TFL, 4 sacks); and the Murphy twins, Gabriel and Grayson (11 TFL combined, 3.5 sacks), wreak all sorts of havoc. The Bruins (4-1) are No. 2 in the nation in run defense, allowing just 1.89 yards per carry, and No. 3 in red zone defense, and are tied for the national lead, allowing just nine plays of 20 .yards or longer. UCLA should get another good test this weekend when it visits No. 15 Oregon State in Corvallis.

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