Week 7 College Football Buffet: All the Saturday Games Worth Consuming

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Week 7 College Football Buffet: All the Saturday Games Worth Consuming

As the season continues to shake out, the Importance Factor for late-season games is becoming clearer and clearer.  While some teams have already faded from the spotlight (ahem, Ole Miss...) and others are likely to do the same this weekend, other teams are staking claim to their spots at the top of the college football heap.  Some of the games in the upcoming weeks have been on our radars for some time but some of them are only starting to take on significance.  Let's take a look at some of the upcoming games that you didn't realize would be important until...right now:

Wake Forest vs. Miami (Nov. 9) - Don't look now but Wake Forest looks like the best team in the Atlantic Division.  This one could be a preview of the ACC Championship.

Miami at South Florida (Nov. 28) - Despite the loss this week, South Florida will have a lot to prove in this one and Miami might very well be playing for

West Virginia at Cincinnati (Nov. 13) - Could end up deciding the Big East title.  Then again...

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (Dec. 5) - ...so could this.

Iowa at Ohio State (Nov. 14) - This and not Ohio State-Penn State might very well be the game that decides the Big Ten.

Kansas at Texas (Nov. 21) - If Kansas can beat Nebraska, this might be Round I with Round II taking place in the Big 12 Championship.

Stanford at USC (Nov. 14) - If the Cardinal can hold off the Ducks in the previous week, this one could be for the Pac-10 title.

Auburn at Alabama (Nov. 27) - Not many expected this game to be competitive so soon again.  The Tigers could be what stands between the Tide and a perfect regular season.

Anyway...it's time to eat. The food trays are piping hot, the bread is warm and flaky, the omelet bar chef is prepped and the butter dish is ice cold.  Let's find out what looks tasty and what might be worth pushing to the side of your plate in this weekend's college football buffet. (All times are Eastern)

GIVE ME A HEAPING HELPING

No. 22 South Carolina (5-1) @ No. 2 Alabama (6-0) - ESPN, 8pm

Can South Carolina stop the Alabama running game?  Or Julio Jones?  And shut down McElroy at QB?  It might be too much to ask.  Stephen Garcia will need a big day to make it happen.

No. 4 Virginia Tech (5-1) @ No. 19 Georgia Tech (5-1) - ESPN2, 6pm

Big game for Georgia Tech.  Not only is it Homecoming but it's a chance to re-inject themselves into the ACC Championship discussion. That this one will be played in primetime only adds to the intrigue.

No. 20 Oklahoma (3-2) vs. No. 3 Texas (5-0) - ABC, Noon

Colt McCoy must have finally made it, he's reached Rick Reilly-coverage status.  But has Texas' offense become too one-dimensional under Colt? Either way, WR Dejaun Miller and the rest of the Sooners are going to need to step it up to prevent falling back to .500 and out of the Top 25.


I'LL HAVE A SCOOP OF THAT, PLEASE

Missouri (4-1) @ No. 16 Oklahoma State (4-1) - ESPN2, 9:15pm

Is Gary Pinkel a master of taking expectations and doing the exact opposite? We'll learn a lot about the Tiger team when they take on Oklahoma State.  Mizzou LB Sean Weatherspoon will be ready...and comfortably warm in his Snuggie.

Pittsburgh (5-1) @ Rutgers (4-1) - ESPN, 8pm (Friday)

Maybe you're aware that Rutgers has beaten Pitt four straight times. Pitt's players certainly are and they're not in the mood to keep that trend going. For the Scarlet Knights, this is their first real game since losing to Cincy in the season opener.

Texas Tech (4-2) @ No. 15 Nebraska (4-1) - ABC/ESPN, 3:30pm

Nebraska fans are celebrating the two-year anniversary of the firing of AD Steve Pederson.   Statistically, the Huskers have the edge on defense but the Red Raiders will have their chances to pull off the upset.

Minnesota (4-2) @ No. 14 Penn State (5-1) - ABC/ESPN, 3:30pm

The Gophers are looking to two main areas of attack against the Nittany Lions.  No. 1, their special teams.  No. 2, their fans' defacement of all Penn State holds dear.

No. 6 USC (4-1) @ No. 25 Notre Dame (4-1) - NBC, 3:30pm

You might have heard...these two teams have a bit of a rivalry.  Unlike past years, USC looks somewhat beatable and it could be a match-up of Resistible Force meets Movable Object. USC will do their best to concentrate on the game instead of on teammate Stafon Johnson.  And slip'n'sliding.

Arkansas (3-2) @ No. 1 Florida (5-0) - CBS, 3:30pm

Should the Gators be worried about the SI jinx? They might want worry about Arkansas QB Ryan Mallet instead. Arkansas fans have the memory of the 2006 SEC Championship on their minds as they head into The Swamp.

No. 11 Iowa (6-0) @ Wisconsin (5-1) - ESPN, Noon

Against Ohio State, Wisconsin held the ball for 42 minutes and out-gain OSU 250-87 in passing yards and still lost.  By a lot.  Things won get easier for the Badgers-Badgers-Badgers (Mushrooms) when they take on the undefeated Hawkeyes.


I'LL TASTE IT FIRST...

Kentucky (2-3) @ Auburn (5-1) - ESPNU, 7:30pm

Auburn's 5-0 start was one of the more surprising stories in college football this season. They might get a chance to tee off against a true freshman at QB this weekend.

Stanford (4-2) @ Arizona (3-2) - Versus, 7:30pm

If the Wildcats hope to move on from that insane finish against Washington, they'll have to beat a Cardinal team not too happy with the way they played against Oregon State last week.

California (3-2) @ UCLA (3-2) - ABC, 3:30pm

It's the Stop The Bleeding Bowl!  Just a few weeks ago both of these teams were undefeated and looking like contenders to USC.  Now, they're both in the Pac-10 basement and one of them is about to fall to .500.  Cal fans are wondering just how the Bears are going to perform in the final seven games while the specter of doom following Jeff Tedford around will be magnified if they don't win this one.

North Carolina State (3-3) @ Boston College (4-2) - ABC, 3:30pm

Just in case you forgot, NC State lost to Duke last week. Yikes. That doesn't mean BC fans don't still see the Pack as a threat in the Atlantic Division.

Northwestern (4-2) @ Michigan State (3-3) - ESPN2, Noon

It's "The era of Northwestern being a bad team is over and we should be angry when we play close against bad teams" while Michigan State is coming a very Bachman Turner Overdrive Takin' Care of Business type display against Illinois.  This one is crucial for both teams as they try to find their place in the Big Ten standings.


I'LL KEEP THAT IN MIND FOR THE NEXT TRIP

Washington (3-3) @ Arizona State (3-2) - FSN, 10:15pm

So is Washington back?  Or at least back to the point where they can be competitive on a weekly basis? ASU fans are just happy to know Dennis Erickson is still upright after getting steamrolled on the sidelines last weekend.

No. 9 Miami (4-1) @ Central Florida (3-2) - CBS College Sports, 8pm

A week after beating Florida A&M, this week the Hurricanes continue to cut through the soft underbelly of Florida football. Injuries remain a big concern for the U.

Colorado State (3-3) @ No. 12 Texas Christian (5-0) - Versus, 4pm

TCU isn't going to let the polls distract them.  Good idea.  I mean, look at what almost happened to Boise State.

Wake Forest (4-2) @ Clemson (2-3) - Raycom, Noon

Dabo Sweeney says "We can go from fourth to first in one weekend."   This might be one of those weekends.


I DON'T KNOW...SMELLS KINDA FUNNY...

No. 24 Utah (4-1) @ UNLV (2-4) - MTN, 10pm

The Utes have become the forgotten team in the MWC race for dominance. They'll look to Lucky the Leprechaun to get them the win and move them back into the national spotlight.

Texas A&M (3-2) @ Kansas State (3-3) - FCS Central, 7pm

Not too long ago this was a marquee Big 12 game.  Now it's two middle-of-the-road teams trying to salvage their seasons.  Maturity has been the key for the Aggies maintaining respectability. 

Alabama-Birmingham (2-3) @ Mississippi (3-2) - SEC Network, 7pm

And when they compile the list of most disappointing college football teams of 2009, you can be sure Ole Miss will be near the top.

No. 17 Kansas (5-0) @ Colorado (1-4) - FSN, 7pm

Colorado beat Texas...for two and a half quarters before Texas took over and the Buffaloes' nightmare season continued.  Looking at the tale of the tape, things probably won't get better this weekend for them.

Marshall (4-2) @ West Virginia (4-1) - Big East Network, 3:30pm

West Virginia has won The Friends of Coal Bowl all eight times it's been played. Don't expect much to change this weekend when Noel Devine runs wild.

Louisville (2-3) @ Connecticut (3-2) - Big East Network, Noon

Louisville fans haven't forgotten how...unpleasant the last two meetings with UConn have been.


NO THANKS, PLATE'S FULL

Georgia (3-3) @ Vanderbilt (2-4) - SEC Network, Noon

Mark Richt is doing his best to reassure folks in Athens.  Words won't do as much a win can.  They shouldn't have too much trouble with the worst team in the SEC.

Delaware State (1-3) @ Michigan (4-2) - BTN, Noon

Michigan in the Big House against a FCS team with State in the name.  Where have I heard this one before?  If Michigan doesn't get out of it's own way, will they re-live history? (Not having Tate Forcier could also cause issues)

Illinois (1-4) @ Indiana (3-3) - BTN, 7pm

It's the battle of who's hurting more?  If the Illini want any chance to win games in the Big Ten this season, they have to win this one.

No. 7 Ohio State (5-1) @ Purdue (1-5) - BTN, Noon

Should Jim Tressel make the tough decision to move Terelle Pryor into a different position or does she decide to stay the course with him at QB?  And which one would be the tougher decision to make?  Purdue doesn't much care for Ohio State's problems, they've got enough of their own.

No. 18 Brigham Young (5-1) @ San Diego State (2-3) - MTN, 6pm

Many Cougar fans, much to Mendenhall's dismay, continue to criticize QB Max Hall's performance.  He should be able to quell the voices this weekend.

Virginia (2-3) @ Maryland (2-4) - ESPNU, 4pm

Two programs who were in great shape not too long ago, now fighting it out for ACC tablescraps.  Hey...at least it's almost basketball season, guys.

No. 23 Houston (4-1) @ Tulane (2-3) - CBS College Sports, 3:30pm

The Cougars returned to the Top 25 this week after beating Mississippi State.  They'll try to keep the momentum going against the Green Wave.

Mississippi State (2-4) @ Middle Tennessee (3-2) - ESPNU, 12:30pm

Last week was another game, another loss and another round of costly turnovers for the Bulldogs.  For their sake let's hope they can turn it around this week.  To their credit, when they hold onto the ball, they're competing

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