Simply put, this is what we do best. As evidenced by our "Most Accurate BCS Predictions" title, we take pride in our season previews and weekly game picks. As we have done each week since we launched the site, the two of us will analyze, preview, and predict the results of the best SIX games each week.
New this season: if your team's game didn't make the cut here, our conference experts have you covered. Find the links (on the RIGHT) for further analysis for every conference game not shown on this page, along with Heisman discussion and our weekly Deion Sanders Award for the Best Pick Six of the Week.
Enjoy your Football Weekend!
OREGON AT UCLA
This time last week, the Oregon-UCLA game was pegged as one of the season-defining matchups and a surefire bet to host College Gameday. Then Week 6 happened, a weekend that saw 11 ranked teams lose – including both the Ducks and Bruins. Both fresh off of upset losses, these division contenders need to refocus and bounce back. This season there is still hope for a 1-loss team, but a 2nd loss is crippling.
Marcus Mariota has lived up to the preseason Heisman hype and is yet to throw an interception (18 Total TDs), but his two fumbles proved costly in the loss to Arizona. For the nation’s #9 scoring offense to start lighting up the scoreboard again, Oregon needs to reestablish its rushing attack, a feat that looks much more manageable this week. UCLA’s defense has been suspect all season (72nd in ppg allowed) and especially had trouble against the run and the mobile quarterbacks of Utah last Saturday night. I expect that Mariota will be able to crease the defense more often against the Bruins, all the while opening up passing lanes. On the other side of the ball, UCLA QB Brett Hundley has had trouble in decision-making and this offense simply hasn’t lived up to expectations. Last game, Hundley was sacked an incredible TEN TIMES. Oregon’s All-American CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will need his top performance against a playmaking receiver core that went up and made plays for Hundley in the Thursday night blowout of Arizona State. Despite the homefield advantage, I expect the Ducks to right the ship here and bounce back into playoff discussions. Let’s not forget that this UCLA team nearly lost 3 games already to weaker foes: Virginia, Memphis, and Texas.
Oregon 41 UCLA 33
SOUTHERN CAL AT ARIZONA
The Pac-12 makes no sense. Every bit of conventional wisdom was thrown out last Saturday where we saw a myriad of upsets; both Arizona and USC were involved in the chaos, but on other sides of emotion. Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcats started off the crazy Week 6 on Thursday night by knocking of the hometown Ducks (as 22-point underdogs). Then two nights later, USC allowed 510 passing yards and blew a 9-point lead under 3 minutes to backup-QB led Arizona State, including a Hail Mary as time expired. So here we are, not even halfway through the season and the only remaining undefeated team in the Pac-12 is … Arizona?
UA passed for 287 yards against Oregon, and all of it came from passes under 15-yards; will Rich Rod open it up a bit against a secondary that was torched by a backup? Freshman Anu Solomon emerged from Arizona’s 7-man QB competition this August, and has impressed.
The USC defense has looked like completely different units this season. Which Trojan squad will show up Saturday – the team that allowed 400+ rush yards to Boston College, the one that gave up 510 passing yards to a backup QB, OR will the defense that limited star QB Sean Mannion and Oregon State to just 10 points? I think that fresh off of their dominant win over OSU, the young Trojans were a bit overconfident and took the beat-up ASU team lightly. Such a humbling loss and final play will surely have USC focused this week. On the other side, Arizona has been thrown into the college football limelight, perhaps too fast. From unranked to #10 in the nation, Arizona went from being the hunters to the hunted as the new Pac-12 flag-bearers. So often we’ve seen teams overwhelmed with their new high rank and come out over-hyped. While I think Rich Rodriguez is building quite a program, they are not ready for this spotlight. They have been escaping with close wins (last 4 all 7 points or less), but the run comes to an end here. Look for USC to refocus and wake Arizona up from its dream start.
Southern Cal 31 Arizona 23
GEORGIA AT MISSOURI
This game has changed since the beginning of the week. Todd Gurley was suspended for this game and more for student-athlete violations. Now Georgia’s offense loses its star, its identity, and its heartbeat. Gurley is the type of back that is capable of taking over a game; and while his replacements are some of the finest runners in the country, they are not the one-man offense that Gurley was. Nick Chubb will show what the future looks like in Athens because if Gurley wasn’t heading to the NFL already, he surely is now. The Bulldogs are currently averaging 45 points per game this year and over 7 yards per rush. Gurley was also a workhorse in the red zone, which led to an 89% red zone success rate. With that said, Missouri is not the same team from last year. The Tigers have lost to Indiana and eeked out a victory against a weaker South Carolina team. Their strength is Maty Mauk at QB and edge rushers Shane Ray and Markus Golden. Ray and Golden have picked up right where Kony Ealy and Michael Sam left off, each averaging at least one sack per game. However, I don’t expect Missouri to be able to fully contain the Bulldog rushing attack. With Gurley, Sony Michel, and Keith Marshall out, it is amazing that the UGA 4-deep is one injury away from being decimated. However, if Chubb can stay healthy for the entire game, I expect a huge day from him. It could be a low-scoring game in this year’s matchup. Hutson Mason hasn’t been great and the Georgia defense matches up well against Missouri. Look for Nick Chubb’s coming out party as Georgia’s starter to be the difference in this one.
Georgia 27 Missouri 17
OLE MISS AT TEXAS A&M
After I called the Rebels’ victory last week over Alabama and had them ranked higher in the preseason than anyone else, I clearly feel good about their chances against anyone. This defense may just be the best unit in the country and dominated Alabama, limiting the Crimson Tide offense to only 10 points. My primary concern in this game is the Ole Miss psyche coming off a big win. This week they will not have the luxury of the most raucous home crowd in program history and will play in a hostile environment in College Station. Still, Ole Miss is the better team. The secondary limited Amari Cooper to 91 yards and 0 touchdowns and held Blake Sims to 228 yards and 0 touchdowns. The defensive front controlled the line of scrimmage and held the rushing attack in check. With Ole Miss strong up the middle, I can’t see Texas A&M getting much going this week. The biggest question mark of the game is the Rebel offense vs the Texas A&M defense. Mississippi has struggled to run the ball and Bo Wallace has been inconsistent. If Wallace plays the entire game against Texas A&M like he did in the second half of the Alabama game, Ole Miss should go undefeated. But the fact remains that every game is a bit of a wild card with him under center. The Aggies were overrated after the South Carolina game and Mississippi is one of the nation’s elite teams. Kenny Hill has shown he isn’t quite Johnny Manziel and A&M’s defense is still limited. In a strength vs. strength matchup—Texas A&M offense vs. Ole Miss defense—I’ll go with the Rebel defense.
Mississippi 35 Texas A&M 18
AUBURN AT MISSISSIPPI STATE
One week after one of the biggest wins in program history, Mississippi State is faced with an even bigger challenge. Texas A&M is a very strong team, but should finish in the bottom half of the SEC West. The jury is still out on Auburn, which is certainly a very good team, but has not looked quite as good as last year. The losses of Greg Robinson and Alex Kozan on offense, among others, have hurt the rushing attack. However, a more accurate Nick Marshall, a healthy Sammie Coates, and a new D’haquille Williams have provided a more potent passing attack. Auburn has suffered some key injuries, but is probably as healthy as it’s been all season. Auburn is also being a little overrated coming into this game. LSU is the worst team in the SEC West and its weakness has been its rushing defense; it was a perfect matchup for Auburn. Mississippi State is very strong up the middle on defense led by Bernardrick McKinney and a stout defensive line. I expect the Mississippi State defense to have success on this Auburn attack. The key will be to limit the aforementioned passing attack. On the flip side, I believe Dak Prescott and company will be able to put up points on this Tiger defense. Dan Mullen’s offense is so dynamic and multi-dimensional, I would expect Mississippi State to score points on any defense. Look for the home team to pull away once again.
Mississippi State 38 Auburn 25
TCU AT BAYLOR
Baylor and TCU have met 109 times on the gridiron with the series tied exactly at 51-51-7, with Saturday’s matchup becoming the first time they face each other both ranked. Who would have though that the biggest game in the state would NOT be at the Texas State Fair, but rather 95 miles South in Waco. A battle of undefeateds, this game will go a long way in both the Big 12 and Playoff races. TCU was one of 11 teams to defeat ranked foes last weekend, but due to an incredible 3:30 slate, most of America is still not as familiar with the Horned Frogs as they should be. TCU has a new offensive identity, an air-it-out, spread attack that dual-threat Trevone Boykin has operated flawlessly. On defense, it’s the business as usual; Gary Patterson again has a top unit (6th nationally in pass efficiency). His 3-3-5 attack is designed to stop Big12 passing attacks just like this Baylor offense.
While it seemed the rest of the nation’s contenders were all losing, Baylor survived the wild Week 6. But in the process, Texas proved that the Baylor machine could be stopped, and held Heisman contender Bryce Petty to just 7 of 22 passing (111 yards). Yes, they still lead the nation in points per game (52), but have not faced a team with a winning record. How will Baylor’s young skill players (Shock Linwood and KD Cannon) react to this elite defense? How will the Baylor defense handle this dynamic TCU offense, the first real attack they have faced this season? This time last season, 4-7 TCU played right with #7 Baylor, losing by just 3 points. In the time since, both TCU’s offense and defense have made huge strides of improvement. They will ride the momentum of their upset win over #4 Oklahoma into Waco and knock off the other top Big12 contender. TCU has waited years for this taste of success in the league, and it will relentlessly fight hard to keep it.
TCU 37 Baylor 34
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