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Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during a college football game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Indiana Hoosiers. (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire)
October 11th, 2021
It was another wild week of upsets, with the biggest of the season coming late at night in College Station as the Texas A&M Aggies knocked off the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide with a last-second field goal. Alabama was a 17.5-point favorite, and appeared to have things in hand after earning a 38-31 lead late. However, Nick Saban's squad succumbed to big plays and ended up on the wrong side of a 41-38 defeat.
In this column we were 2-3 straight-up last week, but we could easily have been 4-1 if Texas and Penn State hadn't blown big double-digit leads. Let’s break down the Week 7 schedule and find some more upset winners.
Let’s try and start the weekend with some Friday night Pac-12 After Dark wildness as the California Bears travel to Oregon to try and give the Ducks their second consecutive loss. When we last saw Oregon, they collapsed against Stanford with poor play calling and a vulnerable pass defense.
Now they must face a tough California team that is hungry for a big win in the North. The Ducks have as many key injuries as anyone in the conference, and the Golden Bears have shown an ability to stop opponent rushing attacks. Oregon is just 67th in the country in yards per pass attempt, and if injuries keep Oregon from hitting the seams they’re so reliant on to succeed in the running game, California could be the beneficiary.
Michigan State should maybe be talked about as the most underrated team in the county - all they’ve done so far is win games. They are 6-0 straight-up and 4-0-2 against the spread, meaning anybody that has bet on them at any point this year hasn’t lost money.
It's a good streak, but that kind of success isn’t likely to hold for a team that the film shows isn’t actually elite.
Against Miami, Michigan State benefited from an absurd amount of missed tackles from the Hurricanes. Against Nebraska, they had a fluke special teams score late to win in OT. Against Rutgers, they largely dominated the game but had three big plays that inflated the final score.
Michigan State survives Nebraska to win in OT!Nebraska (+3.5) covers 🌽 pic.twitter.com/hTFqIDK49Y— Covers (@Covers) September 26, 2021
Michigan State survives Nebraska to win in OT!Nebraska (+3.5) covers 🌽 pic.twitter.com/hTFqIDK49Y
Indiana has had a week off leading up to this home game and the defense will be ready to go. This is going to be a low-scoring contest, and the home team with a dual-threat quarterback is going to do enough to get the outright win and finally hand the Spartans their first loss.
Another Big Ten team that enjoyed last week off to prepare for a top 10 ranked conference foe was Purdue.
Iowa had a dramatic win at home in the game of the week last Saturday to beat Penn State in a No. 3 vs No. 4 matchup, but this has all the makings of a hangover game. The Hawkeyes really struggled against the Nittany Lions until a couple of breakthrough passing plays and some luck with Penn State’s starting quarterback, Sean Clifford, missing the entire second half.
Iowa is just 93rd in the country in yards per pass attempt, and Spencer Petras hasn’t impressed me despite the Hawkeyes’ success. In a wild 2021 season, it only seems logical for the team that just won a huge matchup to take a step back after such a big leap forward.
What if I told you less than two months ago that two ACC teams that were thought to be among the best in the country would now have a combined 5-6 record?
Welcome to Miami vs. North Carolina in 2021!
Both these teams had high hopes with dynamic quarterbacks entering the season, but atrocious defense and missing pieces on offense have left them mid-pack in the ACC. Now they face each other with the Tar Heels coming off a deflating home loss to Florida State, and possessing a defense that looks to be a slump buster for any opposing team trying to get its running game going.
Florida State 35 vs. North Carolina 25The Seminoles get the W in Chapel Hill!@ACCFootball @FSUfootball @GEICO pic.twitter.com/DvQmBy35fZ— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) October 10, 2021
Florida State 35 vs. North Carolina 25The Seminoles get the W in Chapel Hill!@ACCFootball @FSUfootball @GEICO pic.twitter.com/DvQmBy35fZ
Statistically, North Carolina is better than Miami in almost every metric, but this team is a shell of what it was in previous seasons, so motivation may be an issue in what should be a back-and-forth affair.
Oklahoma just keeps playing with fire, and while they somehow manage to find the extinguisher just in the nick of time before burning down the house, a loss feels almost unavoidable at this point.
In their incredible 21-point comeback win last week against Texas, the Sooners were gashed on the ground by likely All-American Texas running back Bijan Robinson. Now they face a TCU team that can rush the ball even better as a team, averaging six yards per rush in 2021.
Neither of these teams can stop the run well, and both run it far better than average, so expect a lot of long run plays through huge holes. However, TCU head coach Gary Patterson is a clever underdog, and will surely have a few tricks up his sleeve in this one. Expect Oklahoma to have yet another opponent fire their best shot of the year at the division champs.
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