For the season in the predictions department, the head-to-head records sit at — Brad Crawford (42-17 straight up; 31-27-1 against the spread) vs. Chris Hummer (40-19 straight; 27-31-1 ATS). Onto this week's biggest games across college football: ...and more »
ByBrad Crawford 5 hours ago
How many legitimate contenders are rising to the surface in college football at the midseason mark?
We'll get a better idea of who's hot and who's not across three Power 5 leagues in Week 7 — the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12. All of those conferences feature a Top 20 ranked vs. ranked matchup on Saturday that could virtually eliminate the losers from College Football Playoff contention.
For defending SEC champion Georgia, the Bulldogs travel to LSU in the first of four consecutive contests vs. Top 25 competition. As Kirby Smart said this week, there's no time to whine about a treacherous slate when that's exactly what his team will endure in October.
Wisconsin-Michigan and Washington-Oregon are two other showdowns that will go a long way in determining threats the rest of the way.
For the season in the predictions department, the head-to-head records sit at — Brad Crawford (42-17 straight up; 31-27-1 against the spread) vs. Chris Hummer (40-19 straight; 27-31-1 ATS). Onto this week's biggest games across college football:
Colorado +7 at USC
(Photo: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)Hummer: Sorry, Colorado. This is where your really fun early 2018 run comes to an end. USC is the better team despite some questionable results so far this year, and I like the Trojans even more coming off a bye. People should tune in to see Steven Montez, Colorado’s excellent QB. But I like USC in a shootout ... USC 45, Colorado 35.
Crawford: I incorrectly thought Arizona State would hand Colorado its first loss last week and I could be wrong again picking the Trojans here. The Buffaloes are one of 11 unbeatens remaining and the only one in the Pac-12, but surprisingly, has a 0 percent chance to make the College Football Playoff even if they win out. No respect or does that speak bigger to Colorado's powerpuff non-conference slate? This is the first real test for this team out West ... USC 34, Colorado 24.
Pitt +21.5 at Notre Dame
(Photo: Matt Cashore, 247Sports)Hummer: Pittsburgh is playing better post-spankings from Penn State and UCF. But I don’t like the Panthers’ chances to keep this one close in South Bend. Pittsburgh ranks 105th nationally in rushing defense, and the Irish run the ball really well. More importantly, the Panthers have trouble moving the ball … Notre Dame 42, Pittsburgh 20.
Crawford: Notre Dame is a Playoff team. Let's go ahead and get that out of the way now. The Irish are going to win out and they've looked the part since inserting Ian Book into the starting lineup at quarterback. I was impressed, but not surprised, by the throttling of Virginia Tech last week. With that being said — and I may regret this — I'll take Pat Narduzzi and the cover in a rivalry game. Perhaps the Panthers can do something defensively to frustrate Book and Dexter Williams' rhythm ... Notre Dame 41, Pitt 24.
Minnesota +29.5 at Ohio State
(Photo: Joseph Maiorana, USA TODAY Sports)Hummer: Minnesota’s defense has been leaky in Big Ten play, allowing 45 points per game. Don’t expect that to change in Columbus. Ohio State is going to push the 50-point barrier, the only question is if the Gophers can keep up. Without a high-powered passing game, I doubt it … Ohio State 56, Minnesota 24.
Crawford: Prepare your eyes for another Dwayne Haskins field day through the air as he inches closer to Tua Tagovailoa in the Heisman race. I don't claim to be a Heisman handicapper, but it's a two-player race at the moment and it's not particularly close. The Buckeyes would like to solve some of their issues at the back end against the Gophers, something to watch as we enter the second half of the season for one of the final four frontrunners ... Ohio State 52, Minnesota 21.
Baylor +16 at Texas
(Photo: Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports)Hummer: I’ll happily take the points here with Baylor. The Bears can really move the football, and this is a potential let down game for Texas after a monumental win against Oklahoma. I still like the Longhorns to win, but I expect Baylor to hang around. Plus, are we really at the point where we’re giving Texas two-plus touchdowns again? I’m a believer that the Longhorns are better, but let’s slow down a bit … Texas 35, Baylor 20.
Crawford: I'm not sure what to make of this line, considering the Longhorns are coming off an emotional win vs. Oklahoma, the biggest victory in the Tom Herman era. Hummer follows this mid-tier Big 12 teams like the Bears closer than I, so I'll glance at his paper here and piggy-back on the selection. Give me Baylor and the points in a game where motivation could be a small factor for Texas ... Texas 31, Baylor 20.
Washington -3.5 at Oregon
(Photo: Icon Sportswire, Getty)Hummer: This is the toughest game of the week to pick for me. I just need to go with my gut in this case, and my gut says the Huskies are better. Justin Herbert is a star for Oregon under center, but Washington is one of the few teams with a secondary good enough to take him away. Expect Jake Browning to make the difference in this one … Washington 31, Oregon 24.
Crawford: I like this game a lot for Oregon, a team coming off an open week knowing their backs are against the proverbial wall after previously falling to Stanford in one of these show-me games in Eugene. Justin Herbert moves back in the Heisman race with an impressive performance against the best defense he'll face all season ... Oregon 34, Washington 24.
Tennessee +16.5 at Auburn
(Photo: Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)Hummer: After six weeks you get to know what a team is. In Auburn’s case, it’s an above average defense with an offensive unit that struggles. Tennessee, for its part, isn’t great. But the Vols aren’t horrible on defense and are getting better week by week. Auburn wins a needed bounce-back game but Tennessee covers … Auburn 28, Tennessee 17.
Crawford: This feels like a lot of points for the Vols, doesn't it? Maybe I'm missing something here, but Auburn's offense has been horrendous and at least we know Tennessee is going to play tough (as long as Jarrett Guarantano and that offense doesn't get turnover happy). Vegas seems to know something with this line, so I'll go with the linesmaker and pick the Tigers to cover. Not that I'm feeling good about it ... Auburn 34, Tennessee 16.
Michigan State +13.5 at Penn State
(Photo: Steve Manuel)Hummer: Michigan State is doing very little well early the season. It can’t run the ball effectively, Brian Lewerke’s become turnover prone and a once stout passing defense has holes. Penn State, especially coming off a bye, has no such problems. I like a motivated Penn State off a loss to the Buckeyes by at least two touchdowns … Penn State 38, Michigan State 21.
Crawford: This line continues to swell as kickoff approaches in Happy Valley and with Penn State coming off an open week itching to erase that L to the Buckeyes, I've got to go with the Nittany Lions big. The Spartans aren't who we thought they would be this season despite a veteran core of leadership. Maybe Michigan State turns it around in a big way? I doubt that will happen against a team that's more talented and the nation's best 1-loss squad in my opinion ... Penn State 41, Michigan State 24.
Mizzou +27.5 at Alabama
(Photo: Wesley Hitt, Getty)Hummer: I’ve picked Alabama to cover every week this season, but that changes today. Missouri is the type of offense that will test even elite defenses. Drew Lock is the best QB the Tide have faced all season, and he can make some throws other QBs simply could not. Alabama is going to score, almost at will. But I expect this to be one of those odd high-scoring games (at least from Alabama’s perspective) … Alabama 49, Missouri 24.
Crawford: I feel for ESPN this week, trying to hype up this prime-time game as one to watch this weekend. This one feels like a backdoor cover all the way for the Tigers, especially considering Alabama will be playing its first game without Trevon Diggs starting at corner. Mizzou won't keep it close, but a late score from Drew Lock will win you some money if you take the 27.5 ... Alabama 52, Mizzou 26.
Wisconsin +7.5 at Michigan
(Photo: Daniel Bartel, Getty)Hummer: I’m a believer in Michigan as a top 10 team. But man, that’s a big line against a quality Wisconsin outfit. I’ve also yet to see anything early this year that shows the Badgers are a championship-quality unit in 2018. Michigan will make a statement at home in a night game the entire nation will be watching. Expect Shea Patterson to have the best game of his Wolverines’ career … Michigan 35, Wisconsin 27.
Crawford: I've leaned toward a Badgers outright victory for a couple days, but walking away from the Big House — at night — with a win is extremely challenging. I'll take the half-point though when Jonathan Taylor is at my disposal and a solid Wisconsin defense. This game means more to the Wolverines, especially Jim Harbaugh, and I think Michigan plays up to its potential with its biggest win of the season over a quality opponent ... Michigan 31, Wisconsin 24.
Georgia -8 at LSU
(Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports)Hummer: We’re going to find a lot about Georgia this week. Yes, the Bulldogs have faced some tests – on the road against Missouri and South Carolina – but nothing like what they’ll get against the Tigers. LSU is what it is. The Tigers are a stingy defense with an offense that will struggle against the nation’s best teams. At home, however, I like the Tigers to make this close one. Eight points are generous, and I’ll take the cover … Georgia 28, LSU 21.
Crawford: The one-point hook on this line worries me and the fact Georgia hasn't been tested this season is another reason to pick LSU with the points. But the Tigers, at times, get into periods of confusion on offense and if that happens Saturday, the Bulldogs will take advantage. What I saw during the loss to Florida was two teams pounding each other at the point of attack and I think the same thing happens this weekend. With that, Georgia has the edge and the better quarterback in Jake Fromm ... Georgia 27, LSU 16.
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