Week 7 of the college football schedule features two matchups between ranked teams.
No. 1 Georgia meets No. 11 Kentucky in a battle of unbeaten teams in the SEC East. The Wildcats remain huge underdogs heading into Sanford Stadium for a 3:30 p.m. matchup. No. 12 Oklahoma State travels to No. 25 Texas in the other game between ranked teams, a matchup with Big 12 championship implications. Can the Cowboys stay unbeaten and keep pace with No. 4 Oklahoma?
Those are the highlights of a schedule with seven ranked teams on a bye week.
Each week, Sporting News picks each Top 25 matchup by the spread.
- Straight up: 89-27 (15-5 in Week 6)
- Against the spread: 54-60 (9-9 in Week 6)
- Upsets: 5-4 (0-1 in Week 6)
With that in mind, a look at this week’s picks:
Week 7 picks against the spread
Friday, Oct. 15
Cal at No. 9 Oregon (-14.5) (10:30 p.m., ESPN)
Both teams had a bye week to prepare, and the Golden Bears are 2-0 ATS as an underdog this season. Oregon needs to bounce back after a loss to Stanford, and the loss of running back CJ Verdell is another concern. The last two meetings have been defensive struggles. That said, Oregon needs to flex in order to stay in the CFP race.
Pick: Oregon wins 34-17 and COVERS the spread.
No. 24 San Diego State (-8.5) at San Jose State (10:30 p.m., CBSSN)
The Aztecs continue to roll in Mountain West Conference play, and they are 4-1 ATS this season. Greg Bell leads a potent rushing attack, too. The Spartans have played better at home, however, and that line jumped up a point.
Pick: San Diego State wins 27-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Saturday, Oct. 16
UCF at No. 3 Cincinnati (-20.5) (12 p.m., ABC)
The Bearcats are three-score favorites at home in what has been a testy series with the Knights. Cincinnati has won the last two meetings by three points. All of UCF’s games against FBS opponents have been one-score games, and we expect Gus Malzahn to empty the playbook here. It’s just not going to be enough against Desmond Ridder and Jerome Ford.
Pick: Cincinnati wins 34-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 10 Michigan State (-3.5) at Indiana (12 p.m., FS1)
Is this a trap game for the Spartans heading to a bye week before a potential battle of unbeatens against Michigan? Maybe, but the Spartans are 3-1 ATS when it is single digits, and the Hoosiers haven’t been the same team this season.
Pick: Michigan State wins 27-20 and COVERS the spread.
No. 12 Oklahoma State at No. 25 Texas (-5.5) (12 p.m., FOX)
The Longhorns are coming off an emotional loss but remain favorites against the Cowboys, who had a bye week to prepare for the matchup. The teams have split the last four meetings, and all of those games have been decided by seven points or less. We expect a wild win.
Pick: Texas wins 34-31 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Auburn at No. 17 Arkansas (-3.5) (12 p.m., CBS)
Both SEC West teams are coming off losses, and if it comes down to motivation the Tigers have a five-game winning streak in the series. Auburn also has a better run defense, and that could make it interesting if Bo Nix is on point. We just like the Razorbacks a little more at home.
Pick: Arkansas wins 30-24 and COVERS the spread.
No. 20 Florida (-9.5) at LSU (12 p.m., ESPN)
This spread has jumped from its open, and Florida could easily roll here given the struggles LSU has had on both sides of the ball. That said, the Gators are 0-2 ATS on the road. This series typically brings out close games and memorable finishes. This will be more of the same with the Tigers in desperation mode.
Pick: Florida wins 31-26 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 21 Texas A&M (-8.5) at Missouri (12 p.m., SEC Network)
What a difference a week makes for the Aggies. Texas A&M upset Alabama last week and now travels to Missouri, a team that is 0-5 ATS this season against FBS opponents. The Tigers allow 286.8 rushing yards per game. The Aggies will feast on that.
Pick: Texas A&M wins 38-21 and COVERS the spread.
No. 11 Kentucky at No. 1 Georgia (-23.5) (3:30 p.m., CBS)
This is a huge spread for a game of this magnitude, but the Bulldogs have won 11 straight games in the series and have allowed just two offensive TDs all season. Both teams are 5-1 ATS, however, and Kentucky has only been blown out in one of the last five meetings. Give the Wildcats a chance to cover.
Pick: Georgia wins 35-13 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Purdue at No. 2 Iowa (-11.5) (3:30 p.m., ABC)
Is this a trap game? Purdue has won three of the last four meetings, and all of those games have been decided by nine points or less. The Hawkeyes are coming off an emotional victory, and Purdue had an extra week. Iowa wins, but the Boilers make it interesting.
Pick: Iowa wins 24-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 19 BYU at Baylor (-4.5) (3:30 p.m., ESPN2)
BYU is coming off a loss at Boise State, and now they turn around for another tough road game at Baylor. The Bears average 227.7 rushing yards per game and can control the tempo. This is bad news for the Cougars.
Pick: Baylor wins 31-28 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 5 Alabama (-17.5) at Mississippi State (7 p.m., ESPN)
Could Alabama actually lose two games in a row? We doubt that, but the Bulldogs had an extra week to prepare and have played in four games decided by three points or less. There is no in between with this game, and we think Mississippi State is catching Alabama at the absolute worst time.
Pick: Alabama wins 44-21 and COVERS the spread.
TCU at No. 4 Oklahoma (-11.5) (7:30 p.m., ABC)
The Sooners’ string of one-score victories continued, but quarterback Caleb Williams’ arrival could change the dynamic of the season. Oklahoma has won seven in a row in this series, and the Horned Frogs are 1-4 ATS. The Sooners roll at home.
Pick: Oklahoma wins 44-31 and COVER the spread.
No. 13 Ole Miss (-3.5) at Tennessee (7:30 p.m., SEC Network)
Lane Kiffin makes his return to Knoxville, and that alone makes this game worth the price of admission. The Vols hammered South Carolina and Missouri the last two weeks; a sign of things to come under Josh Heupel. Kiffin, however, has a better offense in what should be a wild matchup.
Pick: Ole Miss wins 41-34 and COVERS the spread.
No. 22 N.C. State (-2.5) at Boston College (7:30 p.m., ACC Network)
This has been a trouble spot for the Wolfpack in the past. Boston College has won four of the last six home meetings, and the ACC race is as unpredictable as ever. This feels like another one of those moments.
Pick: Boston College wins 26-23 in an UPSET.
No. 18 Arizona State (-0.5) at Utah (10 p.m., ESPN)
The Sun Devils can win the Pac-12. Arizona State has the top scoring defense and third-best rushing attack in the conference, and those are handy on the road. Arizona State covers for the fourth straight game since that loss to BYU.
Pick: Arizona State wins 24-20 and COVERS the spread.