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Week 7 College Football Picks: Preview and predictions on Oregon-Washington, USC-Notre Dame and more

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Credit: Oregon athletics

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means: It's time to make some Week 7 College Football picks, BABY!!!!!!

First off, Week 7... WHAT!?

Where did the season go? It feels like just yesterday it was summer and we were wondering things like "Can anyone actually beat Georgia?" And "Can Lincoln Riley's defense stop anything more than a cool breeze?"

Now, here we are in mid-October, wondering.... well, can anyone beat Georgia? And can Lincoln Riley's defense stop anything more than a cool breeze.

Anyway, enough chitter chatter, it's time to get to the Week 7 picks.

As always, the picks are presented by our partners at DraftKings Sportsbook. New customers can bet $5 on any game and get $200 in bonus bets instantly when you use the code "TORRES."

Now, to the picks!

Texas A&M at No. 19 Tennessee (UNDER 55.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Admittedly, there isn't all that much that gets my loins tingling in the early slate, so let's go straight to the 3:30 ET window, where just a week after getting burned by Texas A&M and swearing off betting them ever again... I'm betting the Aggies.

Sort of.

Rather than taking a side in this game, I'm going with the under instead.

The bottom line is that for all the Joe Milton hype, Tennessee has actually made its bones running the football this year. I'm not sure how many people know this, but the Vols have the No. 7 rush offense nationally, and No. 1 in the SEC. All while Joe Milton has been up-and-down, completing 61 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and three interceptions in two SEC games.

Well, that elite Vol run offense will be running right into the Aggies elite run defense, which ranks No. 1 in the SEC, and - for all the criticism A&M took - held Alabama to just 23 yards rushing last week.

Then there's the Aggies' offense. And forgive me, but well, I trust Max Johnson in a big road environment about as much as I trust myself to "stay within my budget" on my trip to Vegas later this month.

Rather than taking a side, I think this game ends up in the 27-24 range, with the under hitting instead.

No. 8 Oregon (+3/ML) at No. 7 Washington: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

I mean what else is there to say other than this game is about to be... AWESOME.

Two Top 10 teams. Two elite quarterbacks. Two teams that could very much make the College Football Playoff.

And what's nice is, after years of the Pac-12 being the punchline of everyone in college football, it feels very much like everyone respects both these teams and programs.

Again, Saturday at 3:30 ET in Seattle is going to be awesome. And I for one cannot wait.

When looking at this game, one thing stands out: While you could argue that Washington passes the ball as well as anyone does anything in college football, I think you could also argue that Oregon is the most complete team in the sport. They are both Top 10 in total offense and total defense, Top 25 in both run and pass defense. Top 20 in sacks and turnover margin.

Therefore, I guess that raises the fundamental question: If you're facing a team that can run and pass the ball, doesn't turn it over, defends the whole field, and gets after the quarterback, how exactly do you beat them?

I'm not sure that Washington can or will on Saturday, honestly.

The truth is, as good as Washington is, they haven't seen a pass defense like this all season. For fun I looked it up, and here are how the pass defenses they've faced so far rank:

  • Boise State - 125th nationally

  • Tulsa - 102th nationally

  • Michigan State - 69th nationally

  • Cal - 117th nationally

  • Arizona - 87th nationally

Now yes, part some of those numbers may come from the fact that all those teams faced Washington. But halfway through the season, it's also proof those teams are probably mediocre in the secondary.

Well Oregon ranks fifth nationally in the same category.

Meanwhile, an Oregon pass offense which ranks in the Top 10 nationally will go up against a Washington pass defense that ranks 93rd in the country as well.

In the end, I still expect this one to be high-scoring and fun.

But give me the Ducks to win outright in Seattle.

Auburn at No. 11 LSU (-11): Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

One thing I love about following Hugh Freeze, is that the Auburn coach is going to tell you exactly how he feels at all times.

And this week he basically said the same about LSU's offense.

“I think to this point — and I haven’t watched the future opponents, so nobody, somebody will use it for bulletin board material,” Freeze said. “But to this point, it’s the best offensive personnel I’ve seen in this league, to this point.”

He also added, this:

“This quarterback, if he’s not in the Heisman discussion, there’s a problem,” Freeze said of Daniels. “But he’s playing at an incredibly high level with dynamic receivers, and there’s not a weakness on that offense. It’s impressive to watch.”

Admittedly, I just added that last part because I've argued that Jayden Daniels should be in the Heisman discussion, and I like looking smart.

But still, it doesn't change the reality of this game: While Auburn is improved this season and coming off a bye, I just don't know how they slow down this LSU offense.

Beyond that, I'm not sure I trust Payton Thorne to go on the road and keep things close for four quarters in Death Valley at night.

This one may be close for a half or three quarters.

But LSU ends covering.

No. 10 USC at No. 21 Notre Dame (-3): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Question for you: Do you ever remember a win, that felt more like a loss, than USC surviving last Saturday against Arizona? Every concern that we have about the Trojans came to fruition, ranging from an over-reliance on Caleb Williams, to an abysmal defense, with red zone miscues and pretty much everything else wrapped into one.

Meanwhile, while USC won in their worst effort of the season, Notre Dame is coming off a loss, in what was definitely their worst effort as well. Overall, the Irish turned the ball over five times, while managing just 44 yards of rushing offense. Not good.

So with both teams needing a better effort Saturday, who are we backing?

I'm taking the Irish.

And to me, this feels like a "Styles make fights" game.

The bottom line is that the Irish ran into a wildly underrated run defense a week ago, one which ranked in the Top 20 nationally in that category. Well, USC's run defense ranks a brisk 92nd in the country and is giving up almost 4.5 yards per carry.

Meanwhile, this will also be the best pass defense USC has seen all year, as the Irish rank No. 3 nationally in that category.

Add in what is expected to be lousy Saturday night weather in South Bend (which USC is admirably preparing for) and I like the Irish to win this one, somewhere in the neighborhood of 35-28.

No. 25 Miami at No. 12 North Carolina (OVER 57): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC

You know it's been a weird college football season when we have a Top 10 matchup in the Pac-12 where everyone seemingly respects both teams, which is immediately followed on ABC by a Top 25 ACC matchup that doesn't feature Clemson or Florida State.


That's right, we're talking about Miami-North Carolina, which would sadly be a Top 15 matchup if Mario Cristobal knew how "taking a knee" worked.

Yet while Cristobal has spent the week on the wrong end of people's jokes, here's the truth: He's put himself together a pretty nice squad. I wonder how many people know that coming into this game, Miami ranks in both the Top 10 nationally in both total offense and total defense, with one of the best rushing attacks in the sport?

Honestly, Miami is actually pretty good across the board, but if there is a bit of an area of weakness, it's probably the secondary. Texas A&M was able to throw for 330 yards against them, and overall they rank just 44th in that category Not bad, but not elite. If Drake Maye is as good as many think he is - and I for one, happen to believe that wholeheartedly - than he should have success against this defense. Especially with Tez Walker back in the lineup.

Meanwhile, North Carolina isn't very good on defense anywhere, and definitely not against the run where Miami thrives. The Canes have the No. 1 rush offense in the ACC, averaging almost six yards per carry.

I expect this to be a 35-31 type game either way, so go ahead and give me the over.

No. 18 UCLA at No. 15 Oregon State (UNDER 54.5): Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Since we're getting to the end of this article, I'll be quick, but this total scares me a bit. UCLA has quietly played elite defense this year, with their four games against FBS opponents to date hitting totals of 40, 45, 21 and 42. That includes last week when they held Washington State - one of the most explosive offenses in college football - to just 17 points.

So the fact that this is 54.5 scares me, but it's hard not to take it.

These are two of the best defenses in the Pac-12, and neither quarterback is all that efficient. UCLA's Dante Moore is completing just 53 percent of his passes, while DJ Uiagalelei is completing just 60 percent.

Barring multiple defensive touchdowns, I don't see how this game goes over.

Stay Aways:

Indiana at No. 2 Michigan (-33.5), Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX: Yes, I am the man who is convinced that Michigan is somehow *underrated* as the No. 2 ranked team in college football, and also coined the phrase last week, "We blindly bet Michigan until further notice." But for some reason, it seems like the Wolverines enjoy ripping the heart out of people's throats more on the road than at home, and so because of it I'm staying away. I could easily see Michigan pulling its starters up 35-7 to start the fourth quarter and giving up a garbage time TD late to cost us the cover.

Florida at South Carolina (-2.5), Saturday, 3:30 ET, SEC Network: Nothing screams "My, how Florida has fallen" quite like Florida-South Carolina, being a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff on SEC Network. For me to bet this game, it means I'd actually have to watch this game. And I really have no interest in doing that.

Missouri at No. 24 Kentucky (-2.5), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network: I actually think there's a distinct possibility that Missouri is the better team here. At the same time, they haven't won in Lexington since 2013, and star running back Cody Schrader being banged up gives me enough concern to stay away on this one.

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