Last week was better. Much better. There is a tasty slate of right-in-the-thick-of-it conference race games this weekend, too. Saturday will have some great matchups, but there is at least one fantastic Thursday night game out west this week. Let’s break ‘em down.
All game times in Eastern Daylight Time.
DK’s 2015 Week 7 CFB Game Picks
UCLA @ Stanford (Thursday, October 15th, 10:30 p.m., ESPN)
UCLA got kicked at home in its last game week-before-last, but has had ample time to put together a better game plan for this tilt. The problem? Stanford has had the same amount of time and has looked great since losing its opener to a better-than-anticipated Northwestern team. Additionally, David Shaw is 4-0 against Jim Mora at UCLA. Until Mora beats him, I’ll take the Cardinal.
Pick: Stanford 35, UCLA 30
Iowa @ Northwestern (Saturday, October 17th, 12:00 p.m., ABC/ESPN2)
Iowa is somewhat enigmatic, but it is also very undefeated. The aforementioned Wildcats were destroyed last weekend in the Big House by resurgent Michigan. Northwestern has been a different team at home under Pat Fitzgerald, and expect that stellar defense to rise to the challenge this Saturday.
Pick: Northwestern 21, Iowa 10
Mississippi @ Memphis (Saturday, October 17th, 12:00 p.m., ABC/ESPN2)
Memphis has been very good early in 2015, and welcomes in an Ole Miss team that is hard to understand. The Rebels looked like world-beaters in taking down Alabama in Bryant-Denny stadium, but were made to look quite pedestrian by Florida in Gainesville. Do I have the stones to pick the unbeaten Tigers to knock off a good SEC West team in mid-season, though? Yes. Yes, I do.
Pick: Memphis 42, Mississippi 31
Louisville @ Florida State (Saturday, October 17th, 12:00 p.m., ESPN)
Louisville has been a disappointment so far in 2015, and Florida State has had some near misses, but the Noles have managed to keep a bagel in the loss column thus far. I think Louisville is better than its record, but I know that this game is being played in Tallahassee. The home team will roll.
Pick: Florida State 38, Louisville 17
Alabama @ Texas A&M (Saturday, October 17th, 2:30 p.m., CBS)
The SEC West champion may be decided in this game, which is a real show-me test for both teams. Will the Alabama team who lost to Ole Miss travel to East Texas, or will it be the Bama team who destroyed Georgia in its own building? The Aggies have had an extra week at home, and they get the Tide at Kyle Field. They also have that John Chavis defense to harass Jake Coker. All. Day. Long. The Aggies get the win.
Pick: Texas A&M 24, Alabama 20
Oklahoma @ Kansas State (Saturday, October 17th, 2:30 p.m., ABC)
The Sooners were shocked last week in the Red River Rivalry, and look to rebound to stay in the Big XII race. Kansas State plays as an underdog for the second straight week, which is rare at home under Bill Snyder. The Wildcats will demonstrate characteristic grit, but will just not have the talent to handle Oklahoma, who should be spitting mad after last week.
Pick: Oklahoma 42, Kansas State 31
Arizona State @ Utah (Saturday, October 17th, 10:00 p.m., ESPN)
Utah sits at #1 in the LWOS Top 25 rankings, and with good reason. The Utes beat Michigan in their opener, which is a more attractive win with each passing week. Arizona State has been up and down, but was definitely up for the past two weeks, easily handling PAC-12 South foes UCLA and Colorado. Utah is the most complete team in the conference, though, and stays undefeated through Week 7.
Pick: Utah 42, Arizona State 30
Michigan State @ Michigan (Saturday, October 17th, 3:30 p.m., ESPN)
This looked to be a marquee matchup between to in-state rivals…in 2016. The future got here more quickly than anticipated, as Jim Harbaugh has his alma mater playing at an extremely high level, particularly on defense. Michigan is unlikely to get its fourth straight shutout, but look for the Wolverines to grind out a tough, low-scoring win at home.
Pick: Michigan 21, Michigan State 14
Florida @ LSU (Saturday, October 17th, 7:00 p.m. ESPN)
Here’s another Top 10 matchup between SEC foes, who have put together impressive resumes so far this season. One of them will suffer its first loss this weekend. Florida figures to be shaken by Will Grier’s season-ending suspension, and Death Valley will be positively rocking Saturday night. Look for Heisman-frontrunner Leonard Fournette to add to his gaudy season totals again, despite Florida’s strength on defense.
Pick: LSU 27, Florida 21
USC @ Notre Dame (Saturday, October 17th, 7:30 p.m. NBC)
The Domers ground out a fairly impressive win over long-time rival Navy last week, which typically bodes poorly for the Fighting Irish in their next game. Luckily, USC has had a historically difficult week, with the leave and eventual firing of head coach Steve Sarkisian. The Trojans have played surprising well through turmoil over the past few years, and figure to have the talent to give Notre Dame a good game this Saturday. The Irish should prevail at home, in a close one.
Pick: Notre Dame 31, USC 28