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Fearless Rick's 2011-12 College Football Week 7 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | October 13-15, 2011

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, October 13

8:00 pm San Diego State at Air Force (-6, 58 1/2) - Both teams are 3-2 and looking for some wins to become bowl eligible, because in the Mountain West, Boise State is running away with the conference title and these two have already suffered a loss to 4-2 TCU.

The Aztecs have lost two straight while not scoring much in back-to-back losses at Michigan (28-7) and TCU (27-14), while the Falcons were simply outscored by Notre Dame, 59-33, last Saturday. The series is tied 5-5 over the last ten annual meetings, but recent form has San Diego St. at 1-4-1 in its last 6 road games, while the Falcons love the home turf - 11-2 SU, but only 1-4 ATS at home recently.

Look for the Aztecs to press defensively and score just enough points to pull off the upset.

Prediction: Aztecs 27 Falcons 24

9:00 pm USC (-3, 58) at California - The Trojans are 4-1 and coming off an impressive offensive showing against Arizona in a 48-41 win, while the Golden Bears have lost their last two, 31-23 at Washington and 43-15 at Oregon.

While USC has been depleted defensively over the past two seasons by the draft and player desertions, QB Matt Barkley has found the touch and should overwhelm Cal with midrange and deep throws.

Prediction: Trojans 34 Golden Bears 21

Saturday, October 15

12:00 pm Baylor at Texas A&M (-9, 75) - Even though Baylor is 4-1 and the Aggies have lost two of their last three, A&M shows up as a heavy favorite at home, having beaten the Bears 8 of the last 10 and five straight times at home.

Noting the abnormally high O/U line, this game looks like a shootout between Baylor's Robert Griffin III and the Aggies' Ryan Tannehill, who has thrown for 1327 yards and 7 TDs, but has been picked five times.

Baylor's defense should wear down enough in the second half to slow the Aggies free reign in the second half knocking Baylor out of the ranks of the undefeated.

Prediction: Aggies 47 Bears 34

12:00 pm Michigan at Michigan State (-1 1/2, 48 1/2) - a battle for state-wide bragging rights and also a shot at the Big Ten championship pits the Wolverines against the Spartans in an early Saturday contest.

Michigan's Denard Robinson has been putting together a fine Heisman resume, averaging 188.3 yards passing and 114.3 yards rushing per game and will be the focus of the Spartan defense.

Michigan State has had an additional week of preparation heading into this showdown after their 10-7 win at Ohio State. Home field and a containing, frustrating defense should carry the day for Michigan State.

Prediction: Spartans 31 Wolverines 28

12:00 pm Purdue at Penn State (-12, 39 1/2) - Very quietly, Penn State has compiled a 5-1 record, their only loss coming a few weeks back, to Alabama. 3-2 Purdue was embarrassed, 38-10, in a home loss to Notre Dame, but bounced back to open their conference schedule with a rousing, 45-17, win over Minnesota. The Purdue offense can score, at 32.6 ppg, but against Penn State, they're unlikely to achieve their average.

The Nittany Lions have had to depend on its defenders thus far as the offense is just averaging 21.5 ppg, and, if unable to get things going against the Boilermaker defense, may find themselves behind without hope of coming back. The Lions may win this one, but it's going to be an ugly one.

Prediction: Nittany Lions 24 Boilermakers 20

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12:20 pm South Carolina (-3, 47) at Mississippi State - South Carolina lost a tough one to Auburn, 16-13 on October 1, but bounced back in a big way at Kentucky last week, 54-3, as Connor Shaw was inserted at QB over ineffective and often-criticized Stephen Garcia. Shaw was 26-39 for 311 yards and four TDs. The team finished with 639 yards of offense.

The Gamecock defense held the Wildcats to six first downs and forced six turnovers.

The Bulldogs are just 3-3, and have lost three tough games in the SEC - 41-34 at Auburn, 19-6 to LSU and 24-10 at Georgia. QB Chris Relf was lifted in the second half of last week's game at UAB for Tyler Russell, who threw three TD passes in the 24-10 win.

Even though Carolina got a boost on offense, the Bulldogs are not to be taken likely and will keep this one close.

Prediction: Gamecocks 28 Bulldogs 26

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12:30 pm Miami at North Carolina (-3, 51 1/2) - No surprise that the Tar Heels are 5-1 and vying for the Coastal division of the ACC. Miami is 0-2 in the conference and in need of a win just to keep hope alive.

Since joining the ACC in 2004, the Hurricanes have won three of seven from the Tar Heels, but have never beaten them on home soil. The two conference losses for the Hurricanes have both come on the road, but they were in both games until the end, losing 32-24 to Maryland on opening weekend and falling just short to Virginia Tech, 38-35 last week.

While the North Carolina defense is solid, they are somewhat banged up and Miami is a desperate team that will be all out for a win. Expect a bit of trickery from Jacory Harris and his offense.

Prediction: Hurricanes 34 Tar Heels 27

2:00 pm Navy at Rutgers (-4, 54) - Rutgers hammered Pitt last weekend, 34-10, and look like one of the class teams of the Big East. Meanwhile, the Middies have rung up a three-game losing streak with losses to South Carolina, Air Force and last week being swept off the field by Southern Miss., 63-35.

Navy is usually a tough draw with their triple option offense, but the Scarlet Knights seem to be on their way to better things, their only loss a 24-22 squeaker at UNC back on September 10.

Prediction: Scarlet Knights 38 Midshipmen 21

2:30 pm LSU (-17, 48 1/2) at Tennessee - LSU has been ripping people apart all season, last week demoralizing the Florida Gators, 41-11, though Florida was without their regular starting QB, John Brantley. Even discounting that, the Tigers have handled all opposition and run up a 6-0 record and the #1 ranking in the AP poll.

The Vols lost their second SEC game last week, losing 20-12 to Georgia, also losing QB Tyler Bray to a broken thumb. That would seem to make the big line look about right, but the Vols are at home and even though they've lost four straight to LSU and five of their last seven, the games are usually close, the biggest LSU margin of victory being in 2001, in the SEC championship game, when the Tigers won, 31-20.

Prediction: Tigers 31 Volunteers 20

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2011, 2012, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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