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Saturday, 14 October 2017

College Football Week 7 Picks 2017 (October 14th)

Week 6 was a really difficult one for the College Football Picks but I have to say I could have done with a little more luck after seeing Kansas State miss the cover because the Texas Longhorns kicker missed his Field Goal at the end of the game.

A couple of other teams had their chances for the cover which would have turned the week in my favour, but you can't win them all and it is all about trying to bounce back in Week 7.

That is what a number of the teams that were expected to make the College Football Play Offs will be thinking too with Oklahoma and Michigan both upset at home in Week 6. Outside of Alabama and Clemson, and perhaps Washington, it does look the final four is not a clear cut selection this time around.

The Crimson Tide and Tigers have looked dominant, but the Washington Huskies have a tough Conference to negotiate while the Big 12 is almost certainly going to end up being one where teams are going to beat each other through the season.

Ohio State would likely get in if they can win the Big Ten, but that is not an easy Conference either as Penn State will have plenty to say about things as will Wisconsin and that makes the rest of the season extremely interesting for the neutrals. It puts plenty of pressure on the Head Coaches though with some seats beginning to warm up as expectations are not met as expected.

Those issues will be resolved on the field in the weeks ahead, but the focus for me is getting the season back on track with the Week 7 picks from the College Football slate of games.


Connecticut Huskies @ Temple Owls Pick: After an embarrassing loss to the Memphis Tigers in Week 6, the Connecticut Huskies (1-4) will have needed to take a long, hard look in the mirror at themselves and what they have inside themselves. This is a difficult road game for the Huskies at the Temple Owls (3-3) who did snap a two game losing run when beating the East Carolina Pirates on the road in Week 6.

It was going to be a difficult year for the Huskies who are in the first season under Head Coach Randy Edsall who is back in his second go around with Connecticut. While they did bring back a number of starters, the problem is that the team were going to learn a new system that they have not been built for and that has shown up so far in 2017.

They've not been competitive enough for Edsall's liking and Connecticut are in for a challenge at the Temple Owls who have underachieved so far this season, but who are better than they have shown.

A problem for the Huskies has been that they have been a little too one-dimensional when they have the ball in their hands and that has made it easier to game plan against them. Connecticut have really struggled to run the ball with any consistency and that might be a difficulty for them again, even though Temple's Defensive Line has not been as strong as it has been over the last three years.

It just puts a lot of pressure on Bryant Shirreffs who may have 9 Touchdowns and only 3 Interceptions this season but who is also still trying to lead the Huskies to a first win of the season. Shirreffs should have some real success throwing against the Temple Secondary although the Connecticut Offensive Line has not been at their best in pass protection and the Owls should be able to crash the backfield with some consistency.

Being affected by a pass rush is a good way to see drives stalling, but it won't be all going Temple's way as they have had their own issues Offensively. Like Connecticut, Temple have struggled to find any consistent running game to help out their Quarter Back and that does put the pressure on Logan Marchi, although Marchi does have something to prove here.

At one point it looked like Marchi would be signing with the Connecticut Huskies, his home town team, but a change in management meant the commitment was withdrawn and the Quarter Back signed with the Temple Owls. Marchi should be able to find some holes in a Huskies Secondary which has given up close to 400 passing yards per game across their last three games, although Temple's Offense has been anything but consistent themselves.

However Marchi should have slightly more time than Shirreffs behind his Offensive Line and I think the motivation of a Quarter Back who has something to prove to the Huskies can prove to be a difference maker. Temple are 10-1 against the spread in their last eleven games with Connecticut and I do think the Owls can cover in this one.


Kansas Jayhawks @ Iowa State Cyclones Pick: Everything has to be screaming out 'trap game' for the Iowa State Cyclones (3-2) who moved back to 1-1 in Conference play by winning in Norman against the Oklahoma Sooners as a huge underdog. The situation this week sees the Cyclones as a very big home favourite and that change in dynamic has seen many teams fail to lift their play over the history of American Football games.

Coming off an upset win for a team like the Cyclones can also be tough for the players to replicate the effort needed. Like I say, everything points to a trap game.

However I do think the Iowa State Cyclones can cover a big number against the Kansas Jayhawks (1-4) who are simply hoping to improve on their 2-10 record from last season. This may have been one of the games that the Jayhawks would have circled as a possible win, but they have been struggling for the consistency you need and that has seen Kansas lose four games in a row and been beaten by at least 22 points in each of their two Conference games.

The problem I see for the Kansas Jayhawks is I think they may struggle up front when they either have the ball or are playing Defense. Offensively they have been able to run the ball, but the Jayhawks are being faced up by a very good Iowa State Defensive Line which has played well against better teams than the Jayhawks.

Kansas will feel they can throw the ball effectively against the Iowa State Secondary, although that will depend on whether they have found the answer at Quarter Back. Peyton Bender and Carter Stanley both had plenty of time behind Center last week in the loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, but neither stood out.

While they will have their chances to move the chains whoever gets the start at Quarter Back, it will be tough to keep Iowa State from making a few plays in the backfield. The pressure that the Cyclones have generated has led to Interceptions, and that has to be a problem for either Bender or Stanley considering the picks they have thrown when they have been asked to make plays with their arms.

Moving the chains with consistency should not be a big problem for the Cyclones unless they have been reading their press clippings instead of focusing on the game in Week 7. The Cyclones might not have the best rushing numbers just yet, but that might have something to do with the opponents they have faced and the Kansas Defensive Line has had real problems in stopping the run.

That is partly down to the fact the Secondary have given up big plays all season with over 300 passing yards given up and either Kyle Kempt or Jacob Park could have a big passing day. Park missed out with an injury last week so Iowa State may stay with the hot hand in Kempt who helped earn the upset over the Sooners and he could back up his performance with another big passing day here.

Kansas just haven't been able to generate the same kind of pass rush as Iowa State and I think whoever begins at Quarter Back should be given time to throw the ball. I also expect a stronger running day from the team and I do like the Cyclones to win this one and cover a big number.

The home team is 4-0 against the spread in the last four in this series and the Jayhawks are now 4-8 against the spread as the road underdog with David Beaty as Head Coach. I am a little concerned with how the Cyclones will respond to a huge upset that grabbed the national headlines in Week 6, but I think they are clearly the superior team here and I will look for them to pull away from the Kansas Jayhawks in the second half.


Purdue Boilermakers @ Wisconsin Badgers Pick: You might begin to pencil in the Wisconsin Badgers (5-0) for the Big Ten Championship Game if they are able to see off the Purdue Boilermakers (3-2) at home in Week 7. The Badgers may have gone 11-3 last season, but they came into 2017 with even more expectation for the season ahead as they are much more experienced this time around.

A look at the remaining schedule may see Michigan as the only team between Wisconsin and the Championship Game that can prevent the Badgers from being unbeaten going into that one. A crushing win at the home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers should have given Wisconsin plenty of confidence and they should be too good for the Purdue Boilermakers.

Jeff Brohm is clearly doing a good job for the Purdue Boilermakers but it is going to be a work in progress in the first year as Head Coach here. They have played Louisville and Michigan tough already, but it does feel like Wisconsin are better than both of those teams and also have home advantage against them.

Much of the competitiveness for the Purdue Boilermakers have come from how well their Defensive unit have played, but Offensively they have had some real problems. Running the ball has simply not been effective for Purdue and they are unlikely to find too many gaps in the Wisconsin Defensive Line to exploit and that means it will be up to David Blough to show he is worthy of his place as the Purdue starting Quarter Back.

Blough has struggled and was pulled last week as he has been in the losses to Louisville and Michigan, but this time back up Elijah Sindelar did impress in Week 6. That may mean Blough is on a short leash if he does start, but this is a tough Defense to play against as Wisconsin's pass rush should be able to exploit the problems Purdue have had in pass protection.


With a limited rushing attack to complement him, Blough could have a pass rush all around him which could lead to more mistakes from the Quarter Back, and certainly make him throw quicker than he would like when trying to complete third and long spots. It all adds up to Purdue looking to their Defensive unit to try and at least keep this game competitive and stick with Wisconsin.

Much will depend on how much Purdue can limit the impact of Jonathon Taylor at Running Back who has sparked the Badgers Offensive output behind a strong Offensive Line. While the numbers have been decent against the run from Purdue this season, this is a much different test for them against one of the finest Offensive Lines in College Football and I do think Taylor will be established against a Defense that has allowed over 150 rushing yards per game.

Taylor's strong showings on the ground means Wisconsin don't have to lean on Alex Hornibrook at Quarter Back and that has made it easier for him to produce 10 Touchdown passes with 4 Interceptions this season. The turnovers are an issue for Hornibrook if the Badgers are going to perhaps get into the College Football Play Offs, but he has been given time to make plays and will likely be in third and short spots for much of the afternoon.

The Boilermakers haven't found a consistent pass rush which should aid Hornibrook a little more with Taylor likely helping move the chains.

Wisconsin are 10-1 against the spread in the last eleven games in this series and the last nine wins have come by at least 17 points per game. The Boilermakers have been a solid road underdog to back in recent seasons, but Brohm's WKU were only 3-5-1 against the spread in that spot and I will back the Badgers to highlight their power on both sides of the ball at the line of scrimmage to help them win and cover the number.


Auburn Tigers @ LSU Tigers Pick: The SEC is not looking as powerful as it usually does with only three teams that people would commit behind when picking potential winners and in a position to make the Play Offs. There is a chance that two teams could make the Play Offs from this Conference, and one of the leading schools has to be the Auburn Tigers (5-1) whose sole loss to the Clemson Tigers hardly is one that will go against them.

Since that loss Auburn have been in fine form and they have blasted three of the weaker teams in the SEC. While that does mean there are bigger tests to come for Auburn, the LSU Tigers (4-2) may not be one of the stronger teams in the Conference despite winning at the Florida Gators in Week 6.

It is always a tough task for any team to travel to Baton Rouge and beat the LSU Tigers here, but the Auburn Tigers look to be the superior team and will be expected to show that off.

One surprise has to be the way the LSU Defensive Line has struggled to stop the run this season and this is an area where the Auburn Tigers should be able to use their Offensive Line to dictate things. Kamryn Pettway may have been the stand out Running Back for Auburn at the start of the 2017 season, but he has been hit by injuries and even that has not slowed down the Tigers which means they should be able to establish the run in this game.

Establishing the run is important in a couple of ways for Auburn- they will be keen to keep Jarrett Stidham in third and short situations and it will also be able to slow down the LSU pass rush which has been a strength for them. Being able to run the ball against this Defensive unit has helped the LSU Secondary numbers, but Stidham will feel he can make enough plays to keep the Auburn Offense moving forward.

LSU may have won last weekend, but the Offensive unit continues to be stuck in first gear and they could have a really long day trying to stay with Auburn if the latter play as well as they can Offensively. The home team has been able to run the ball this season, but Derrius Guice is banged up at Running Back and the Auburn Defensive Line have proven to be one of the better ones out there as they have stopped teams getting going on the ground.

That is a key battle to the outcome of this game- if Auburn are able to slow down the LSU rushing Offense they will feel they can very much dictate the way this game goes, while the home team will know they can't rely on an inconsistent passing Offense if the run is stuffed.

Danny Etling has helped LSU barely average over 200 passing yards per game and now face an Auburn Secondary that have used the strength of the Defensive Line to restrict what teams have been able to produce against them. Stopping the run and playing tight coverage has worked for Auburn, although they would love to get a pass rush going to force Etling into tougher throws.

Even if they can't, Auburn have to feel they have the Secondary to prevent this LSU team from having a huge day through the air. This is a LSU team who have been really struggling Offensively all season and when Etling has been forced to throw from tough spots it has also led to Interceptions.

The home team are 7-1 against the spread in the last eight in this series, but Auburn look the stronger team can can break that trend. Auburn are also 6-3 against the spread as the road favourite under Gus Malzahn and I like the road team to cover this number as I pick yet another favourite in Week 7.


Oklahoma Sooners v Texas Longhorns Pick: The Red River Rivalry is always going to be a big game for the Oklahoma Sooners (4-1) and the Texas Longhorns (3-2), but it could be a huge one when it comes to determining the College Football Play Off final four. The Sooners were expected to be one of those teams after beating Ohio State in Columbus, but a huge upset loss to the Iowa State Cyclones has put them in a precarious position.

The Big 12 Conference has added a Championship Game to try and boost their Conference chances of making the Play Offs, but that also means the Sooners being 1-1 in Conference play is a difficult position to be in already. Lose to the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma are not only 1-2, but seeing their rivals move to 3-0 in the Conference which simply will not be acceptable to the fans.

Both teams have first year Head Coaches going into this rivalry game and it won't be lost on either as to how much is on the line. Baker Mayfield will be looking to guide the Sooners to back to back wins over the Texas Longhorns, but the Quarter Back may be the first to admit that he hasn't always had his best football for Texas.

Mayfield will be hoping the Sooners can win the battle on the line of scrimmage as they try and find a way to establish the run against a Texas Defensive Line that has been performing at a high level. It hasn't just been the ability to stop the run, but the Longhorns have been able to produce an effective pass rush which is what they will like to show off here, although the Oklahoma Offensive Line has certainly been performing to the level that many expected of them in pre-season.

That will be a battle up front, but the Sooners will feel the Offensive Line can do enough to give Mayfield the time when he does step back to throw and to keep the team in third and manageable spots for much of the afternoon. Mayfield has had his difficulties against the Longhorns before, but he should be comfortable against a team that have given up almost 300 passing yards per game in their last three games. The Quarter Back will have to be careful about the Interceptions that the Longhorns have picked up, although it does feel Oklahoma can move the chains with some consistency.

It does feel like Texas may be a little more one-dimensional than the Oklahoma Sooners having struggled to run the ball all season. They won't find a lot of room up front against this Defensive Line and that is an issue when you think the Longhorns could have to play Sam Ehlinger, the freshman, for a second game in a row. Shane Buechele missed out on the win over Kansas State last week with an injury which means Ehlinger could be the Quarter Back again.

He was very good in the win over the Wildcats in Week 6, but this would be a huge test for Ehlinger in a huge rivalry game that won't be lost on the freshman. The Sooners should be able to bring some pressure up front if the Longhorns are unable to establish the run as expected, but they have also allowed almost 300 passing yards per game over their last three games which has to be encouragement for whoever begins at Quarter Back.

Ultimately the fact that Texas have struggled to run the ball much more than Oklahoma is likely to make the difference in this game. However it has been a rivalry game that has been close and competitive in recent years and it is Texas who have covered the last four times in the series.

It also Texas who have played better in the neutral site games in recent years compared with the Sooners. As much as I think Oklahoma will want to come out to prove a point after their upset home loss in Week 6, I also think Texas will be encouraged by recent wins and I will take the points with the underdog in this one.


Toledo Rockets @ Central Michigan Chippewas Pick: Only an outstanding year from the Western Michigan Broncos prevented the Toledo Rockets (4-1) from reaching the MAC Championship Game and that means two years in a row they have barely come up short. This year the Rockets have what many consider to be the best team in the MAC, but they do have to beat out the defending Champions Western Michigan to get to the Championship Game.

It doesn't give the Rockets much room to falter in Conference play as they have found the last couple of years when perhaps having the best team. Conference losses can be devastating when it comes to the tie-breakers at the end of the regular season, but this is a big test for Toledo when they visit to the Central Michigan Chippewas (3-3).

The Chippewas are only 1-1 in the Conference which means they can't really afford another loss if they have a genuine belief they can win the Championship. However Central Michigan have shown they are perhaps not quite good enough to compete with the very best teams they face and that may be the case again in Week 7.

Central Michigan did snap a three game losing run with an upset win over Ohio last time out, but this is another big test for them. Being able to attack Toledo at the line of scrimmage may be the key to the game for the Chippewas as both teams have perhaps underachieved when it comes to running the ball/stopping the run.

The Rockets certainly were hoping to be stronger on the Defensive Line, but there are questions as to whether this Central Michigan team are good enough to expose the holes that Toledo have on the Defensive Line. If the Chippewas can do that, they will be able to set up Shane Morris to attack a Secondary that have played well.

Morris has 11 Touchdown passes and helps Central Michigan average 275 passing yards per game, but that doesn't tell the full story for the Quarter Back. He has also thrown 9 Interceptions in that time and the Toledo Secondary have been a ball-hawking one that have managed to create turnovers which could be important for them.


I would expect Toledo are going to be much more confident with their own ability to run the ball against Central Michigan and Terry Swanson should be able to have another solid outing for the road team. Swanson's task is to make sure Central Michigan respect what he is able to do on the ground which will slow down any pass rush and also bring the Safeties up a little closer to the line of scrimmage, both good pieces of news for Logan Woodside at Quarter Back.

Woodside is considered the best Quarter Back in the MAC and he has helped Toledo average almost 325 passing yards per game while throwing 11 Touchdown passes and 1 Interception so far this season. The Chippewas Secondary have made some big plays to turn the ball over, but Woodside should be able to have a big game along with Swanson at Running Back which should give Toledo the balance to win this one on the road.

Toledo have covered the last seven times these teams have met in the series and they are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games as the road favourite. Add in the fact that Central Michigan are just 3-10 against the spread as the home underdog and I think the balance of the Toledo Rockets can help them win and cover this one on the road.


I've added three more picks below.

MY PICKS: Temple Owls - 9.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Iowa State Cyclones - 22.5 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Wisconsin Badgers - 17 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Auburn Tigers - 7 Points @ 1.86 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Texas Longhorns + 9 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Toledo Rockets - 7.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Alabama - 31.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
South Florida Bulls - 24 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
UCLA Bruins - 2.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)

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