Top college games to watch,
Games to watch in Week 7:
No. 2 Georgia at No. 12 LSU
Oct. 13, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Danny Sheridan’s line: Georgia by 7
LSU’s first loss of the season at Florida last week was significant on several levels within the Southeastern Conference. It was a setback for the Tigers, who have plenty of challenges left in their quest to conquer the hyper-competitive West Division. But it was also a signal that Georgia’s remaining trek through the East might not be a cakewalk, either. The Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0 SEC) still have that slight margin for error, but they’d rather not take a loss if they can avoid it.
Up until the final moments against the Gators, LSU QB Joe Burrow had made all the necessary plays to win. He still isn’t always accurate, however, and that could be problematic against the Bulldogs. The other bad news for LSU (5-1, 2-1) coming out of the Swamp was the success Florida had in the second half powering the ball on the ground. Georgia, which is averaging 6 yards per rushing attempt with RB Elijah Holyfield leading a deep rotation, will look to take charge of the line of scrimmage.
Prediction: It will be a tight affair for four quarters, but the Bulldogs will seal it with a couple of late scoring drives.
No. 7 Washington at No. 17 Oregon
Oct. 13, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ ESPN2
Danny Sheridan’s line: Washington by 31⁄2
The Huskies (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) entered the campaign as the favorite to claim the Pac-12 North. They still might, but the resurgent Ducks have emerged as formidable challengers. One needed piece has already fallen into place for Oregon (4-1, 1-1) in Stanford’s loss to Utah. A Ducks win against Washington on their home field would further enhance their position.
With the exception of the BYU game, the Huskies have struggled to put opponents away. The veteran duo of QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskins have been steady if unspectacular. Oregon QB Justin Herbert has been brilliant at times as his completion percentage has climbed, though there are a few plays in the Stanford game he’d like to have back.
Prediction: The Ducks have had a win at California and a bye week to recover from the collapse against the Cardinal. This time they won’t let a highly ranked visitor escape Autzen Stadium.
Michigan State at No. 8 Penn State
Oct. 13, 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN Danny Sheridan’s line: Penn State by 131⁄2
This one lost a bit of its luster as Michigan State (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) all but excused itself from the Big Ten East race with last week’s loss to Northwestern. But the Spartans have been known to play spoiler, and the Nittany Lions (4-1, 1-1) will be taking the field for the first time since the Ohio State game got away from them two weeks ago.
The Spartans have been unable to establish any consistency on the ground, making it difficult for QB Brian Lewerke to finish drives with points despite respectable passing stats. The MSU ground defense is solid, but Nittany Lions QB Trace McSorley will be difficult to contain for 60 minutes.
Prediction: After letting the Buckeyes get away, the Nittany Lions will be in no mood to let the Spartans hang around.
Penn State, 38-17
No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 13 Michigan
Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC Danny Sheridan’s line: Michigan by 71⁄2
This cross-divisional Big Ten clash isn’t an eliminator in the conference race. It might be, however, as far as the quest for the College Football Playoff is concerned since it will be a second loss for somebody. The Badgers’ non-league setback to BYU hasn’t aged as well as the Wolverines’ opening-day loss at Notre Dame, but neither team wants to put such comparisons in the hands of the committee.
The Wolverines (5-1, 3-0) have performed much better at home in 2018. That has been especially true of QB Shea Patterson, who has thrown all 10 of his TD passes this year in friendly surroundings. The Badgers (4-1, 2-0) will do their best to keep the ball out of his hands, which will likely mean a heavy workload for standout RB Jonathan Taylor.
Prediction: Wisconsin is good when it takes care of the ball. But the Badgers will have a couple of inopportune turnovers that will help the Wolverines build an insurmountable lead.
No. 18 Colorado at Southern California
Oct. 13, 10:30 p.m. ET, FS1 Danny Sheridan’s line: Southern Cal by 7
Colorado (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) remains something of a mystery team. The Buffs answered some questions by outlasting Arizona State at home to keep their record clean, and they’ll look to answer some more in their first Pac-12 road test. It’s equally hard to know what to make of the Trojans. They had last week off and enter this date with CU on a two-game winning streak. Both those wins were squeakers, but they followed a loss to Texas that might not have been as bad as it appeared.
USC freshman QB JT Daniels continues to have ups and downs, though his most recent home outing in which he rallied the Trojans to victory against Washington State was a huge boost. Colorado’s combo of QB Steven Montez and WR Laviska Shenault, however, is capable of providing an answering score at any time.
Prediction: Even if the Trojans are out of the Playoff picture, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a hard place to win for visitors. If the Buffs can pull it off, the Pac-12 South might just be theirs.
Colorado receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (2) scored four touchdowns, two on runs and two on receptions, Saturday against Arizona State. He has 10 total TDs this season.