The College Football Playoff has been announced, and the top four teams are Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma.
The college football week 7 is the start of the college football season. This week has a total of 12 games, all of which are on Saturday.
6:00 a.m. ET
When highly rated Penn State teams visit Iowa, Kinnick Stadium has been a source of both joy and heartbreak.
No. 3 Penn State came at 9-0 in 2008, hoping to make its first participation in the BCS title game. The Nittany Lions led by nine points going into the fourth quarter, but Iowa’s Daniel Murray scored a 31-yard ( goal as time expired to tie the game at 23.
With 1:42 remaining in the game, No. 4 Penn State was behind 19-15 when quarterback Trace McSorley drove the offense downfield and found Juwan Johnson for the game-winning touchdown.
Since 1996, there have been nine one-score games, two of which went to overtime, including the memorable 6-4 final at State College in 2004. However, Saturday’s game between No. 3 Iowa and No. 4 Penn State will be the schools’ first top-five matchup, as well as the first top-five matchup at Kinnick Stadium since No. 1 Iowa defeated No. 2 Michigan in 1985.
“Doesn’t Penn State play in a lot more of them than we do?” Kirk Ferentz, Iowa’s coach, said. “It’s what you’re aiming towards. When the chips are on the table, it’s a lot of fun.”
Several coaches described Iowa as the league’s most difficult environment for visiting teams at Big Ten media days in July.
Penn State coach James Franklin stated, “What makes it difficult is the magnitude of the audience, the passion of the fans.” “The sides are close, they’re right on top of you; at our stadium, you have supporters who have had season tickets for a long time, so you start to have a connection with them; you know their names, and they know a lot about you.”
“It’ll be a challenging atmosphere, but we’re excited about it.”
Iowa and Penn State have two of the top defenses in a college football season when defenses are finally flexing again. Iowa has the most interceptions (12), takeaways per game (3), and points off turnovers in the country (75). Iowa had four takeaways in a victory against Iowa State in Week 2 and seven in a win over Maryland last week, the most since 1982. Riley Moss leads the Big Ten with three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Penn State has nine interceptions, which is a decent number, but it excels in the red zone, where it has allowed five touchdowns on 15 drives and has stopped scores on seven occasions. Last week, PSU shut out Indiana and hasn’t given up more than 20 points in a game all season. The defense is solid and seasoned, with several standouts on all three levels.
Scoring opportunities will be scarce.
“Their system enables them to profit from errors more often than not because they have their eyes on the quarterback, perhaps more than anybody in college football,” Franklin said. “And they clearly do an excellent job of coaching, drilling, and teaching it.”
Oklahoma is ranked No. 6 while Texas is ranked No. 21. (noon ET, ABC)
After playing at the Cotton Bowl last year in the midst of a canceled State Fair of Texas in what OU wide receiver Drake Stoops described as a “ghost town” rather than one of the most intense rivalries in sports, the Red River Rivalry is back to normal this year. The teams will meet for the 117th time, although Steve Sarkisian will be making his debut appearance.
Sarkisian said, “I’m pumped up for the game.” “College football has a lot of pomp and circumstance, which I like. I like the nostalgia and the history. We put in a lot of effort throughout the week so that we can enjoy the game on gameday.”
In this one, familial connections are constantly put to the test. Charles Thompson, the father of Texas starting quarterback Casey Thompson, was an Oklahoma assistant coach under Barry Switzer. OU coach Lincoln Riley and Longhorns quarterback Drake Stoops have known one other for years.
“It’s our opponents, so you never wish them too much well,” Riley said. “But it’s been enjoyable for me to see Casey succeed. It’s not unexpected to see him stick it out, do a good job, and take advantage of his chances.”
Since 2014, the series’ seven regular-season meetings have all been decided by one score, the most in the nation between two FBS teams in that time. Another close game may be in store, with Bijan Robinson leading the Texas attack on the ground and Spencer Rattler and Oklahoma adopting a more ball-control approach than normal. David Wilson is a writer.
No. 2 Georgia takes on Auburn, which is ranked No. 18 in the country (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
Georgia coach Kirby Smart is unsure when quarterback JT Daniels will return to the field, but the Bulldogs are seeking guidance from other teams dealing with similar ailments, including the Dallas Cowboys.
Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys missed a month of training camp with a similar lat issue in his right shoulder, but his might have been worse. As he attempts to get back on the field, Daniels has been restricted to soft-tossing in practice.
“You want to keep doing whatever that doesn’t irritate it,” Smart added. “As a result, he was able to go outside and perform some gentle toss without it bothering him. They followed the same procedure with Dak. It’s not a total blackout. There are workouts in our training room that he can perform with bands and tossing movements that won’t harm him. He is unconcerned about them. As long as it doesn’t upset him, we feel like we’re making progress, although slow progress.”
In Saturday’s game against No. 18 Auburn, senior Stetson Bennett IV is slated to earn his second consecutive start and third of the season.
“Stetson is an experienced vet,” Smart added. “He knows defenses, he’s bright, and he’s had to learn a lot of football from other quarterbacks by sitting back and watching them play. I believe he appreciates the chance to go out and accomplish the things he has.”
Bennett earned his first career start against Auburn last season, going 17-for-28 for 240 yards and one score in Georgia’s 27-6 triumph. Smart isn’t averse to resuming his previous walk-on role.
No. 10 BYU hosts Boise State (3:30 ET, ABC)
The quarterback situation for BYU is a huge issue, as starter Jaren Hall (ribs) and backup Baylor Romney (concussion) are both working their way back, with Hall looking like he’ll be ready to play against Boise State. Romney began for Hall against South Florida and threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns on 80 percent of his attempts.
In last week’s victory against Utah State, Jacob Conover took over for Romney and looked nervous in his first few series before leading the team to two fourth-quarter scoring drives.
BYU coach Kalani Sitake told ESPN last week, “We knew Jaren was something unique, we knew Baylor was something special, and we still have a lot of faith in our third-string quarterback.” “There are only so many reps to go around, so having a guy like Baylor come in and be able to start a game without feeling restricted in the playbook is a huge plus. It’s been great having quarterbacks who can play, as well as players who aren’t constantly wanting to be the starter. Everyone is aware of their position, the competition, and is supportive of one another.”
BYU’s quarterback and other positions have been thin this season, as the Cougars lost five players to the NFL draft, including quarterback Zach Wilson (No. 2 overall) and offensive lineman Brady Christensen (third round), as well as eight undrafted free agents. The offense isn’t as dynamic as it was in 2020, but Tyler Allgeier leads a strong power run game for BYU. In five games, the defense has only allowed two throwing touchdowns.
Sitake noted the coaches were able to get more young players exposure since the 2020 calendar didn’t feature BYU’s usual September/October gauntlet of Power 5 opponents.
“This kind of scheduling has harmed our depth for years since it forces players to play P5s early in the season,” Sitake remarked. “Everyone is affected by the season, but no one does it like we do.” People complained about our schedule last year, but if Zach Wilson had stayed in, we might have had higher statistics. But we knew we needed him off to keep him healthy, and we also wanted to make sure that we gave a lot of repetitions to the newer members of our team. For me, it was a big plus.
“Last year’s schedule cost us some points, but this year it’s assisting us in winning games.”
Following Boise State, BYU will play three Power 5 opponents in a row: Baylor (on the road), Washington State (on the road), and Virginia (on the road) (home). — Richard Rittenberg
Wake Forest hosts Syracuse at 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2/ESPN app).
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson stated many times over the summer that he felt good about the experienced squad he brought back, but living at a tiny ACC school sometimes means having a hard time convincing people outside of Winston-Salem to pay attention. In the preseason poll, Wake Forest was predicted to finish fifth in the Atlantic Division.
Despite this, the Demon Deacons remain the only unbeaten team in the ACC, with a 5-0 record heading into their game against Syracuse. The return of Sam Hartman has gotten a lot of notice, but it’s what Wake Forest has done in the running game that truly jumps out.
Three running backs rotate almost equally for Wake Forest: Christian Beal-Smith, the starting running back, has 65 runs for 312 yards and four touchdowns, while Justice Ellison has 50 carries for 242 yards and three touchdowns, and Michigan transfer Christian Turner has 51 carries for 205 yards and two touchdowns. Wake Forest is the only school in the nation with three running backs who have rushed for at least 50 yards and 200 yards. Missouri was the final club to accomplish it after five games in 2018.
“We were hopeful it might become a three-man position when we added Christian Turner in midyear,” Wake Forest offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero told ESPN. “Christian stepped in and took over straight immediately, allowing all of those players to play. They all understood coming into the season that this would be the case. They’ve all been team players who understand that the objective is for us to win while remaining healthy in the long run, and they’ve all bought into that.”
No. 16 LSU at. No. 16 Kentucky (7:30 ET, SEC Network)
LSU’s defeats continue to mount. The Tigers are just two games ahead of after going undefeated and won the national title in 2019. 500.
The defeat to Auburn last weekend seemed like a possible turning point. A third defeat to Kentucky on Saturday will stoke the fires even more given that coach Ed Orgeron is on the hot seat.
The offensive is his greatest issue.
Orgeron stated on Monday that LSU has to recommit to the rushing game, which isn’t something you’d expect from an LSU coach. However, in terms of running yards, the Tigers are dead bottom in the SEC.
Even yet, a productive line is required for the running game to succeed, which hasn’t been the case. Sure, they’ve had injuries, which explains why they’ve had some difficulties. It was also an unexpected blow to lose position coach James Cregg. Nonetheless…
“We won a national title with two players on that offensive line,” Orgeron remarked. “I assumed that would be one of our football team’s strengths, but it isn’t.”
As a result, LSU is failing to run the ball and block, and the playcalling has been called into doubt. Max Johnson, the quarterback, has struggled to get signals in from the sideline. Calls are either taking too long or being changed at the last minute. As a consequence, the offensive is unable to move quickly.
Remember, this season was meant to be a return to Joe Brady’s offensive approach, which included a lot of pace. For that reason, Orgeron appointed Brady disciple Jake Peetz as offensive coordinator. But five games into the season, giving the playcalling duties to a rookie isn’t working.
Despite this, Orgeron said that he believes in Peetz.
“All we have to do now is calm down,” he added. “I believe we get into the majority of our issues when we call the play and let them go instead of trying to alter it.”
Fixing those issues will be difficult, as Kentucky boasts one of the top defenses in the SEC, allowing the third-fewest yards in the league. Alex Scarborough’s remark
The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide visits Texas A&M. (8 ET, CBS)
Despite all of the discussion about Texas A&M’s offensive problems, the Aggies have struggled to stop the run this season, which is unexpected considering their defensive line prowess. On Saturday at Kyle Field, it will be one of the important locations to keep an eye on.
Alabama’s offense has progressed considerably in recent years, and first-year starting quarterback Bryce Kelly has shown to be a capable passer. However, one aspect of Alabama’s offensive that hasn’t altered is the Tide’s ability to run the ball when the circumstance requires it, which is particularly true now that Bill O’Brien is calling the plays.
The Tide’s overall running statistics aren’t very impressive, but they’ve only played one tight game. Last week’s performance against Ole Miss, with Brian Robinson Jr. running for 171 yards on 36 attempts, should serve as a caution to the Aggies. If they don’t stop the run early in the game, it may slip away quickly, particularly with Alabama’s offensive balance.
Stanford vs. No. 22 Arizona State (ESPN/ESPN App, Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET)
It’s been a musical chairs game to figure out who the real favorite is in the Pac-12 South. Utah was immediately kicked from the team. USC was unable to hold on. UCLA’s excitement evaporated soon. For the time being, Arizona State is on its own.
The Sun Devils are aiming to go 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 2012 after a convincing 42-23 victory against the Bruins. This isn’t surprising given that ASU returned almost every starter, including one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Jayden Daniels, but there was still a “seeing is believing” mentality heading into the season. So far, everything has gone well.
ASU wishes it could have a do-over in its 27-17 defeat to BYU, but it has won four of its other five games by at least three touchdowns. Given that three of those games were against really poor teams (Southern Utah, UNLV, and Colorado), there is still a lot to prove, and Stanford offers a great chance to do so.
The Cardinal have already defeated two ranked opponents, USC and Oregon, and have won six of the last seven meetings with ASU. Stanford coach David Shaw said after his team’s dramatic 31-24 overtime triumph against Oregon, he emphasized one thing to his players: build on the victory, not be content.
Stanford has proven to be a difficult squad to anticipate. After losing 24-7 to Kansas State, the Cardinal went on to defeat USC and Vandy, lose to UCLA, and then beat Oregon.
“Now that you’ve shown you can rise to the occasion, it’s up to you to play that well in the next game,” Shaw told ESPN. “We don’t want to be the stock market squad that is always up and down. The Pac-12 North is a race, as I told the guys. We’re competing against Oregon. We overtook them, but we haven’t yet won the race. Oregon State is in front of us. So we’re pursuing Oregon State, trying to get away from Oregon, and there in front of us is the Pac-12 South’s top squad. As a result, we won’t be able to have up-and-down performances. We need to go out there and play.” Kyle Bonagura and Adelson
A new rivalry trophy has been released.
The Campbell Fighting Camels and Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs will battle for the Hog Trophy in the first East/West Barbecue Bowl on Saturday in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.
The Hog Trophy is the most recent addition to Gardner-and Webb’s Campbell’s new rivalry. Athletics at Gardner-Webb
The two colleges, which are approximately 200 miles apart (Campbell is in Buies Creek, North Carolina), initially met in 1929 and have only met twice since becoming four-year universities in the 1970s, in 2019 and 2020. In the FCS, they’re now Big South rivals.
The loser of the game will provide the winner with a barbecue buffet that represents their hotly contested regional styles from each team’s end of the state. On the Western side, Gardner-Webb chose Red Bridges Barbecue in Shelby, North Carolina, for its dinner, while Campbell chose White Swan Bar-B-Q in Smithfield for the East. Bob Garner, a television personality and author of two books on North Carolina barbecue, will present the big ol’ pig trophy. In a Gardner-Webb press release, Garner highlighted the differences between the two approaches.
“White Swan is whole hog barbecue with both dry white meat from the loins and hams and juicy dark meat from the shoulders, diced together and anointed with a simple eastern pepper-vinegar sauce and served with yellow-white coleslaw,” Garner said. “Red Bridges includes delicious, juicy pork shoulders pit-cooked for hours over live coals, served with a warmed vinegar sauce thickened somewhat by the addition of a tiny quantity of tomato to make it slightly thicker than other versions, and fiery red ‘BBQ’ coleslaw.”
At 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, the teams will try to bring home the bacon. Wilson, Dave
The college football week 5 is the first college football game of the season. The game was played on September 16th and featured two teams from the SEC conference.
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