Top 5 Games: Week 7

The Tide has reigned over the Third Saturday in October for 15 years, can the Vols revolt this year?

This week has some big-time matchups this weekend but the undercard of the day has some very intriguing matchups that I think will provide the day with plenty of chaotic drama.

#3 Alabama vs #6 Tennessee

This is THE GAME of the weekend and very well could be game of the year material. A bitter rivalry with a losing streak on the line and the best team you’ve had in years at home with all the nation’s attention fixed on the scene. The Third Saturday in October has until recently been a measuring-stick game for both teams on top of being a heated rivalry. During Alabama’s current streak, that designation went to LSU for the Tide. Now this game means something and I hope the nation can see why this game means so much to both schools.

It should be an amazing contest. Alabama has the fifth-best passing efficiency defense and Tennessee has the seventh-ranked passing offense. Defensively, the Volunteers may be without DB and team captain Jaylen McCullough, who was arrested for felony aggravated assault earlier this week. No announcement about any disciplinary actions has come and McCullough is practicing with the team.

Many Tide fans are nervous about the game, some so nervous they’re inventing ghosts to chase.

This game is a personal favorite of mine. People talk about the recent lopsidedness don’t know the rivalry’s history. It’s full of streaks. Say what you want about other rivalries but not everyone smokes cigars after victories in those. This year’s game could go down as a defining moment in the series. Now let’s all gather together to suffer through Gary Danielson. Everyone says he loves Bama but we don’t want him so make him B1Gary already.

#8 Oklahoma State vs #13 TCU

A massive Big XII tilt is going down in Fort Worth on Saturday. Oklahoma State has perpetually been a kinda-close-but-not-quite program for years under Mike Gundy. Meanwhile, Sonny Dykes could be resurrecting the Horned Frogs. This game is vitally important to not only this season but for the future of the conference.

The Horned Frogs are 21st in passing offense while the Cowboys are 17th. TCU and Oklahoma State are ranked 52nd and 57th, respectively, in scoring defense. The Horned Frogs have the nation’s third-best scoring offense

One Oklahoma State fan doesn’t think TCU has been tested much on the field and BAH GAHD THAT’S KANSAS’ MUSIC!!!

The ball will be in the air and points will be scored. This will be an exciting one for sure.

#7 USC vs #20 Utah

USC’s balanced offense will test Utah’s defense, but the home team has the numbers to give them hope. The Trojans are 28th in passing offense (278.5 ypg) and 42nd in rushing (183.3 ypg) while the Utes are 18th in passing ypg allowed (179.3) and 58th in rushing defense (136.5 ypg). If Utah’s able to make USC one-dimensional by locking up the passing game, it will give the Utes’ balanced offense (27th in rushing at 201.5 ypg and 54th in passing at 256.3 ypg) a great chance to stay in the game against the Trojan’s defense, ranked 45th in total defense and giving up an average of 351.5 ypg.

This matchup, being played in prime time on Fox Sports, should be one of the PAC-12’s showcase games. Utah isn’t a bad team by any means but it’s underperformed so far by preseason standards and it’s weakened the conference in the eyes of some in the media. This USC fan, whose team is bolting for the B1G soon, says the quiet part about the move out loud. Also, I highly discourage anyone from taking up this offer.

This game features two of the five ranked teams playing Saturday night. It should attract more eyeballs as the games progress because I don’t believe the others will be very competitive. It’s not exactly PAC-12 After Dark but it’s a game the conference needs. I think it’ll meet the moment.

Minnesota vs #24 Illinois

Look, I know what you’re thinking: two nice, competent teams but top-game worthy? Uh, yeah. Minnesota is 14th in total offense which leans heavily on the run with an average of 244.4 yards per game. Illinois meanwhile has the nation’s third-best rushing defense, giving up an average of 67.2 yards per game. Minnesota is sixth in rushing defense

We really should take a moment to appreciate Illinois being ranked and undefeated halfway through the season. Good for you Illini!

Illinois has a tough-nosed approach to the game under HC Bret Bielema and the faithful appreciate it.

One unstoppable force, one immovable object. It doesn’t sound sexy but it should be a battle.

#15 NC State vs #18 Syracuse

The Wolfpack goes into the JMA Wireless (still Carrier to me) Dome at 4-1 with quality wins over Texas Tech, Florida State and a tough one at East Carolina. Syracuse comes in at 5-0 with the big wins against Louisville, Purdue and Virginia. Resume-wise, NC State gets the nod.

Syracuse still feels out of place despite nine years in the ACC but it’s sort of weird seeing an NC State fan gatekeeping for the conference considering they’re the antithesis of UNC fans who are generally considered as high-falutin’ rich folk by their counterparts.

Syracuse is 40th in total offense while the Wolfpack is 90th. It’ll be a defensive battle so don’t expect big numbers but fans of old-school football should enjoy a close game.

The beautiful insanity of college football will grace us with its presence yet again this week. Strap in and enjoy.

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