By Stewart Mandel
October 11, 2012
College Football Pickoff: Week 7
Saturday, Oct. 13
8 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 3 South Carolina (6-0) at No. 9 LSU (5-1)
While it's possible South Carolina's offense will come out flat on the road in a possible letdown game, Jadeveon Clowney and the Gamecocks' defense just held Georgia's top-10 offense (7.2 yards per play) without a point for 58 minutes last Saturday. What might South Carolina do to an LSU offense that averaged just 4.5 yards per play in its first two SEC games?
3:30 p.m. ET (NBC) No. 17 Stanford (4-1) at No. 7 Notre Dame (5-0)
Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes was 21-of-34 for 360 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against Arizona's 86th-ranked defense. But against USC and Washington, he completed just 47.8 percent of his passes with three interceptions. Now he's going up against a top-10 pass efficiency defense and he's without injured wideout Ty Montgomery. It won't be pretty.
Noon ET (ABC) No. 13 Oklahoma (3-1) vs. No. 15 Texas (4-1)
Despite how badly Texas' 106th-ranked defense (6.1 yards per play) struggled against Oklahoma State and West Virginia, it does have pass-rushers capable of flustering mistake-prone Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. Look for the Sooners to follow the Mountaineers' blueprint and provide running backs Damien Williams and Dominique Whaley with more touches than usual.
9 p.m. ET (ESPNU) No. 22 Texas A&M (4-1) vs. No. 23 Louisiana Tech (5-0)
In this clash of Air Raid-style offenses, Louisiana Tech comes in averaging 53.2 points per game. A&M is averaging 44.6 points. But the Aggies' 29th-ranked defense (4.8 yards per play) has proven far more capable of slowing down opposing offenses than the Bulldogs' 97th-ranked unit (5.9). A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (356 total yards per game) is poised for his biggest game to date.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN) No. 5 West Virginia (5-0) at Texas Tech (4-1)
Given the holes in West Virginia's 83rd-ranked defense, the Mountaineers are on upset alert virtually every week in the Big 12. And Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege is fully capable of pulling a Nick Florence on them. But Oklahoma found the weak spots in the Red Raiders' defense last Saturday, and Geno Smith and his receivers can inflict far more damage than Landry Jones.
Noon ET (FX) No. 6 Kansas State (5-0) at Iowa State (4-1)
Each of the past two years, Steele Jantz has started the year as Iowa State's quarterback. And each year, Jared Barnett has replaced him and upset an undefeated team (Oklahoma State last year, TCU this year). Expect Bill Snyder's defense to be ready for Barnett, and for quarterback Collin Klein to have success through the air.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN3) No. 10 Oregon State (4-0) at BYU (4-2)
Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion is out with a torn meniscus. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, who started the past two games, is out for the season with a knee injury. BYU's fourth-ranked defense will make life miserable for Mannion's replacement, Cody Vaz, but at least the Beavers have other firepower. The Cougars have been held to six points in two of their past three games.
7 p.m. ET (FOX) No. 11 USC (4-1) at Washington (3-2)
In a stunning regression, Washington quarterback Keith Price, the nation's seventh-rated passer last season, does not currently rank in the top 100. Running back Bishop Sankey has given the Huskies' offense some life, but it still ranks 114th in the country, averaging just 4.6 yards per play. Washington had one great night against Stanford, but it's looking more and more like an anomaly.
9 p.m. ET (ESPN2) Tennessee (3-2) at No. 19 Mississippi State (5-0)
This is a big game for both programs, particularly Tennessee, which faces a crossroads in coach Derek Dooley's third season. Dooley, who had hip surgery this week, will coach from the press box. Vols quarterback Tyler Bray will make some big plays, but he's also interception prone, which does not bode well with All-America cornerback Johnthan Banks roaming the Bulldogs' secondary.
Saturday, 11 a.m. ET (ESPNU) No. 18 Louisville (5-0) at Pittsburgh (2-3)
Pitt is all over the map this year, so it only makes sense that after losing 14-13 at Syracuse last Friday they'll come back with a strong performance at home -- especially since the Cardinals haven't performed well on the road. Panthers quarterback Tino Sunseri, the nation's 11th-rated passer, can have a nice day against Louisville's 80th-ranked pass efficiency defense.
Record Last Week: 5-5               Record This Season: 37-23

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