By Stewart Mandel
October 14, 2011
College Football Pickoff: Week 7
Saturday, Oct. 15
10:15 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 18 Arizona State (5-1) at No. 9 Oregon (4-1)
These two played a wild game in Tempe last season, a 42-31 Oregon win that featured 976 total yards and seven ASU turnovers. This one will be played at an equally frenetic tempo but with less scoring, since both teams' defenses have improved and since the Ducks will be without LaMichael James. Still, Oregon hasn't lost a home conference game in four years.
Noon (ESPN) No. 11 Michigan (6-0) at No. 23 Michigan State (4-1)
The top-ranked defense in the country belongs not to Alabama or LSU, but to Michigan State, which is allowing just 173.4 yards per game. Part of that is due to weak competition (112th in Sagarin's ratings), so don't expect Jerrell Worthy and Co. to hold the Wolverines under 200 yards. But this is the rare Michigan foe Denard Robinson will not be able to beat by himself.
Noon (FX) No. 20 Baylor (4-1) at No. 21 Texas A&M (3-2)
A&M is the more talented team, particularly on defense. However, that same defense has allowed the Aggies to surrender a combined 72 second-half points the past three weeks. Baylor star Robert Griffin III is completing 80.3 percent of his passes, to go with 19 touchdowns and one pick. A&M may start fast, but Griffin will get hotter as the game goes on.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 6 Oklahoma State (5-0) at No. 22 Texas (4-1)
Mack Brown is 13-0 in games immediately following the Red River Shootout. But those 13 contests have rarely seen the combination of an inexperienced secondary facing a lethal arm like Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden (75.8 percent completions, 1,880 yards). 'Horns running back Malcolm Brown will have a big game, but not enough to keep up with Weeden.
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) No. 1 LSU (6-0) at Tennessee (3-2)
Any hope for a Tennessee upset likely went out the window last week with Tyler Bray's thumb injury. The Vols have no rushing attack (114th nationally), and they're going against an LSU defense geared toward stuffing the run (No. 4 nationally). That means it will be entirely up to Tennessee's defense to keep it in the game. It will only work for so long.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) Ohio State (3-3) at No. 16 Illinois (6-0)
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is expected to start after getting knocked out of last week's Nebraska game. The Buckeyes need his mobility to counter Whitney Mercilus and the Illini defense, which ranks sixth nationally in sacks with 3.7 per game. OSU will do a decent job containing Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase, but doesn't have enough offensive firepower of its own.
7 p.m. ET (FSN) No. 17 Kansas State (5-0) at Texas Tech (4-1)
Coming off consecutive home wins in which it held both Baylor and Missouri below their usual offensive outputs, Bill Snyder's defense faces another steep challenge, this time on the road. While the Red Raiders can move the ball, their defense (115th nationally against the run) inspires no confidence. Running back John Huber and the Wildcats will attack relentlessly.
6:30 p.m. ET No. 19 Virginia Tech (5-1) at Wake Forest (4-1)
Are you a Wake believer? Tanner Price is one of the nation's most underrated quarterbacks, and he'll be going against a Hokies defense that struggled mightily against Miami last week. Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas is coming off a breakthrough performance. He and tailback David Wilson are a dangerous tandem, but the Deacons' defense is up to the task.
7 p.m. ET (ESPN) Florida (4-2) at No. 24 Auburn (4-2)
Speedy Florida running back Chris Rainey should find more room to run against Auburn's leaky defense than he has the past two weeks against Alabama and LSU, which both shut him down. But we've also learned the past two weeks that Florida's defensive front is a work in progress. Expect Michael Dyer and Auburn's multifaceted offense to wear down the Gators.
3:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU) No. 12 Georgia Tech (6-0) at Virginia (3-2)
UPSET SPECIAL: Statistically, Georgia Tech's offense is still off the charts, but it's regressed a little since entering conference play. The Cavaliers haven't been overly impressive, most recently eking by Idaho 21-20. But they do boast a decent run defense and a running back, Perry Jones, who can help milk the clock. Most importantly, they had a bye week to prepare for the triple option.
Record Last Week: 8-2               Record This Season: 39-21
Week 7 Preview
Source:SI previews the best of the Week 7 action, including ASU-Oregon, Michigan-Michigan State and more.

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