College Football’s Winners and Losers: Week 7

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College Football’s Winners and Losers: Week 7

Georgia can still carve out a spot in the College Football Playoff if they win the SEC.

Georgia can still carve out a spot in the College Football Playoff if they win the SEC.

Tammy Anthony Baker

Georgia can still carve out a spot in the College Football Playoff if they win the SEC.

Tammy Anthony Baker

Tammy Anthony Baker

Georgia can still carve out a spot in the College Football Playoff if they win the SEC.

Nate Marrero, Sports Writer

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In what has so far been a spotty season, week seven was by far the best that college football had to offer. We got three Top 25 matchups and some clarity as to who are the legitimate playoff contenders, and who is destined for a noon bowl game announced by ESPN’s C team.

 

Winners

No. 2 LSU Tigers

It may be time to talk about the LSU Tigers being ranked number one when the first college football rankings come out on November 5. 

Facing their toughest test to date, the Tigers passed with flying colors with a home win against Florida Gators, 42-28 in a battle of undefeated SEC teams. 

After falling behind, 28-21 with 10:54 left in the third quarter, LSU scored 21 unanswered points.  Joe Burrow strengthened his case as the Heisman frontrunner with 21 completions on 24 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns against a Gator defense that allowed just 9.5 points per game.  

Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a huge day on the ground with 134 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns, Ja’Marr Chase caught seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, and Justin Jefferson had 10 catches for 123 yards with one touchdown. 

With their offense now out of the stone age, this feels like the best chance LSU has had in a long time to knock No. 1 Alabama off their SEC pedestal.

Even if the Tigers were to lose to Alabama when they play on November 9, they will still have a chance to get into the CFP with the resume they’re building. 

No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions 

Despite a less than stellar outing by the offense, Penn State’s defense stepped up for their biggest win of the season over the 17th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes, 17-12.  

The Nittany Lions defense forced two turnovers and didn’t give up a touchdown until there was 2:37 left in the game. Sean Clifford threw for just one touchdown and 117 yards while Noah Cain stepped up on the ground with 102 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

Coming off of their best win of the season, Penn State will have a chance to one-up what they did against Iowa against an even better team next Saturday when they host the No. 16 Michigan Wolverines. 

No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners

Scoring has never been an issue for the Sooners in the Lincoln Riley era. But now, they actually have a defense that could just be good enough to hang with the elite of the elite in College Football. 

In their 34-27 win over the Texas Longhorns, the Sooners racked up nine sacks and held the Texas offense to just 305 total yards. The defense’s turnaround under new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch looks to be astounding.

And the offense is still as potent as ever.  Jalen Hurts overcame two early turnovers to throw for 235 yards and three touchdowns. Ceedee Lamb showed why he’s going to be top-five pick 2020 draft with 10 catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns. 

The AAC

Even in a year where UCF seems down and out, this feels like the most depth the AAC has ever had—and the Temple Owl’s 30-28 win over the Memphis Tigers proves that. 

After handing Memphis their first loss of the season, Temple now moves into first place in the East ahead of the Cincinnati Bearcats. 

There are four teams in each in the East and West who have a chance to win their side of their conference, and nine AAC teams currently sit at .500 or above.

Losers

No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs

The first big upset of the year came at the expense of the Georgia Bulldogs with their 20-17 loss in double overtime to the South Carolina Gamecocks in Athens. 

It felt like everything that could have gone wrong went wrong for Georgia, which may be a perfect encapsulation for Bulldog football this century.

Despite their offensive struggles, the Bulldogs still had a chance to tie the game with a field goal in double overtime, but Rodrigo Blankenship missed wide left.

Jake Fromm had one of the worst games of his career with three interceptions.

The silver lining is that Georgia still controls its own destiny if it wins out its SEC schedule, including a showdown with the No. 9 Florida Gators on November 2. If they can win the SEC than their national title hopes are still intact.

Virginia Cavaliers 

The ACC Coastal is messy and lives for drama.

Virginia seemed like a clear cut favorite to win the division, and then they went and laid an egg on the road against the Miami Hurricanes in a 17-9 loss – after which they dropped from No. 20 to unranked.

In a game where the Cavaliers ran 20 more plays, had 21 first downs to Miami’s 14, and outgained them 318 yards to 265.  

Now they find themselves tied with the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina for the right to lose to the Clemson Tigers in the ACC championship game. 

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Wake Forest had been one of the more pleasant surprises of the season, right up until they forgot how to play defense and lost to the Louisville Cardinals 62-59. 

It would have been a fun storyline if the Demon Deacons were able to stay unbeaten heading into their November 16 matchup against Clemson. On the bright side, they face a relatively easy schedule of Florida State, North Carolina State, and Virginia Tech before then.

Looking Ahead

No. 7 Penn State vs No. 16 Michigan

The Wolverines have bounced back nicely since their 35-14 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers with three straight wins as they try to correct the course in the Big Ten.

With both offenses struggling whenever they’ve played stiff competition, expect a defensive battle with the winner setting themselves up nicely as the runner-up in the Big Ten East. 

No. 25 Washington vs No. 12 Oregon

In a huge Pac-12 matchup, Oregon will be looking to earn a signature win when they go on the road to take on the Washington Huskies. 

The Huskies bounced back nicely from a 23-13 loss to Stanford last week with a 51-27 shackling of the Arizona Wildcats, and Oregon took Colorado’s lunch money in a 45-3 game that is currently listed as an atrocity by the United Nations.

With Oregon being the only unbeaten team in conference play, and every other team with two losses, falling in Seattle wouldn’t ruin their hopes of a conference title but it would their ability to make the playoff.