CFN Final Thoughts Before Week Seven
Georgia Tech RB Orwin Smith
Georgia Tech RB Orwin Smith
Posted Oct 14, 2011

It's Prove It Weekend for several teams. Is Georgia Tech ready to blow up?

Final Thoughts 

Before The Week 7 Games

- Final Thoughts  2010 | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
- Week 6
- 2011 Fearless Predictions

- Final Thoughts, Week 7, Part 2

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- There's a lot of complaining going on that this week doesn't have much zip. It's true, but keep an eye on the Big 12 games. Baylor at Texas A&M is going to be as fun as any game this weekend; Iowa State and Missouri will be competitive between two desperate teaks; Oklahoma State at Texas will be a big story one way or another; and for the sheer car-crash pleasure of it all, watch Oklahoma put up a bazillion points on Kansas.

- Call this the Prove It weekend. It's time to see if Michigan or Michigan State is really ready to make a run at the Big Ten title. It's time to see if Illinois can handle the spotlight at home against Ohio State. It's time for Wake Forest to keep showing this great start isn't a fluke by beating Virginia Tech at home. It's time to see just how good Kansas State really is on the road at Texas Tech.

- It's time for college football to be better. This season hasn't been good enough …

- Yet.

- It's unfortunate, though, when an entire season revolves around two games. If the LSU-Alabama winner and the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State winners are unbeaten, the entire BCS race exercise is a waste of time.

- That sucks.

- It's time to put a theory to the test. I've been told by a few different coaches that when Georgia Tech's offense is humming like it is now and like it was two years ago, it's impossible to stop it with just one week to prepare. This isn't the NFL; the college kids don't get the film and on-field practice time needed to properly get how disciplined a defense needs to be to stop a perfectly executed option attack. Georgia Tech has lost its last six bowl games, and the last few under Paul Johnson came when defenses had weeks to prepare. Virginia has had two weeks off.

- There's no truth to the rumor that Auburn is going to hold a We Get To Keep Everything celebration before the Florida game. There will, however, be a banner.

- And a photo op at a local Wal-Mart.

- Ohio State is in an interesting spot. Buckeye fans, be honest; there has to be a part of you hoping for a train wreck of a season just so it gets the Urban Meyer question answered sooner than later. If Luke Fickell goes on a run and Ohio State gets hot, then what? Let's say the Buckeyes beat Illinois and stun Wisconsin over the next two weeks, and then rolls over Indiana and Penn State at home and Purdue on the road before facing Michigan. How do you fire Fickell then?

- Ohio State isn't going to beat Illinois and Wisconsin, and it's not going to beat Michigan, either.

- And Urban Meyer is going to end up at Penn State.

- Don't laugh. Lane Kiffin, Coach of the Year. If you disagree, look at the fun Ohio State is having without any of the restrictions Kiffin has had to deal with. Fine, so beating Minnesota, Utah, Cal, Arizona, and Syracuse isn't any big deal, but the loss to Arizona State was closer than the 43-22 final score and Kiffin has his team playing hard with nothing at the end of the rainbow.

- If USC beats either Notre Dame next week or Stanford the week after, then you really will hear Coach of the Year talk.

- USC won't beat Notre Dame or Stanford.

- The No. 3 Sign Your Football Program Might Not Be Big-Time. This Saturday, October 15th, is Florida Atlantic's first home game of the season.

- Before the season began it seemed like Georgia's Aaron Murray was being named the First Team All-SEC quarterback only because everyone else sucked. As it turns out, with the exception of Arkansas' Tyler Wilson, that's actually the case.

- Talk about a flaming bag of hot mess, check out the SEC's bizarre quarterback situations. From injuries at Florida and Tennessee; to the ineffectiveness at Kentucky, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt; to the Kiehl Frazier/Barrett Trotter debate at Auburn; to the Chris Relf/Tyler Russell question at Mississippi State; it's amazing that a league with so much talent is so screwed up at the most important spot. AJ McCarron is settling in at Alabama, but LSU is going to have the Jordan Jefferson distraction all year long.

- And then there's South Carolina.

- Why do I still believe Stephen Garcia will be back at some point?

- "I wish I knew how to quit you."

- No player in college football has more pressure on his shoulders than Connor Shaw against Mississippi State. South Carolina should win the SEC East in a walk, and if it doesn't, Shaw will probably get the blame.

- Little tip, Connor. The guy with the No. 1 jersey. Throw it to him.

- A lot.

- It's not exactly Florida playing Alabama and LSU in back-to-back weeks, but no one has a tougher month, at least on paper, than Purdue. Its next four opponents – at Penn State, Illinois, at Michigan, and at Wisconsin – are a combined 22-1. The reward for getting through that stretch is Ohio State, and the Buckeyes might finally have their spit together by mid-November.

- Speaking of schedules, why is it the first time since 1982 that a Florida team isn't in the top 25? Simple. Florida lost its quarterback and had to play the two best teams in America in back to back weeks. If Alabama and LSU aren't the top two, then Oklahoma is in there. Florida State lost its starting quarterback against the Sooners and still made it a game before losing to an unbeaten Clemson and a decent Wake Forest. Miami's loss to Maryland isn't a plus, but there's no real beef about losing to an unbeaten Kansas State or at Virginia Tech.

- Florida and Florida State are two of the 25 best teams in America, and South Florida probably belongs in the poll, too.

- This might say something about the Sunshine State's issues. Florida State is dead last in the nation in penalties, sinning 9.4 times per game for 81.2 yards. Florida State is 119th committing 9.17 penalties for 70.83 yards per game.

- Gut feeling. The loss of LaMichael James means nothing and Oregon beats Arizona State by at least three touchdowns. The players run the system, but the system makes the player.

- Speaking of which, take a look and see what Utah State does against Fresno State. After destroying Wyoming last week, this Aggie offense might be good enough to win the WAC.

- Utah State junior Robert Turbin has 599 rushing yards and ten scores in the first five games and has scored 12 touchdowns total.

- Northwestern needs to beat Iowa this week or it officially gets put on the list of the nation's most disappointing teams. No one thought the Wildcats would go to the Rose Bowl, but it might not go to any bowl if the defense isn't night-and-day better.

- Northwestern has beaten Iowa five of the last six times and is 9-5 in the series since 1995. Northwestern winning six of the last seven against Indiana is one thing, but Iowa?

- Forget the joke about a great team playing the Little Sisters of the Poor. This week I came across the real thing. In 1904, Texas A&M started out its season with a 49-0 thumping of … wait for it … The Texas Deaf School. The following year, A&M was able to get out of the home-and-home by opening up the slate with a 29-0 pasting of the Houston YMCA. However, two of the losses in 1905 came to Texas, and … wait for it … Transylvania.

- Speaking of cupcake schedules, this won't be a factor when those dopey BCS computer formulas come out, and it should. Beyond Western Michigan at Northern Illinois being the best matchup you're not going to watch, take note of what the Huskie offense does. So far this year, NIU has put up 40 points or more in five of its first six games. The one blip was against Wisconsin, who held the high-powered NIU attack to seven points.

- As all the midseason All-America lists come out, immediately dismiss any that don't have Western Michigan's Jordan White either on the first of second team. It's not a pretentious stat selection; the sixth-year senior has caught 12 passes or more in five of his six games with his four-catch, 67 yard day coming in a blowout against Nicholls State when the offense got others involved. He made 12 catches 119 yards in three quarters against Michigan, made 14 catches against Illinois, and cranked out 12 catches for a buck-73 and two scores against Connecticut.

- Yes, several big things are going to happen over the next six weeks, but Wisconsin, you're in a BCS beauty contest with Stanford, Boise State, and Oklahoma State. If you have the chance to hang 83 again on Indiana, go for 93. You're allowed to run up the school if you're in the chase for a national title.

- If you were my close, personal friend and you were going off to Vegas to legally "invest" what little money you might have left, I'd suggest taking a look-see at Pitt -6 over Utah, Auburn -2 over Florida, Rutgers -3.5 over Navy, and my Five-Star, Master Lock Pick Of The Millennium For This Week, LSU -16 over Tennessee.

- By the way, I went 8-18 against the spread with these picks over the first six weeks. Again, as I keep saying, if you're a true pro, all you want from a prognosticator is to be really far one way or the other. 

- America, there's no excuse this week not to brush up on the Pac-12. Stanford at Washington State and Arizona State at Oregon are the late games. They might be blowouts, but to all the pollsters who don't actually watch games from the West Coast, here's your chance. 

By Richard Cirminiello 

Penn State might be the least sexy 5-1 team from a major conference in America. The offense is brutal, compounded by the injury to top receiver Derek Moye, but the D has done all it can to keep the program afloat.

Get ready for the hype surrounding Michigan to go into hyperdrive if it wins in East Lansing this Saturday. It's good for college football that these two schools are playing a meaningful game in October.

Michigan QB Denard Robinson vs. the surprising Michigan State defense is one of the top matchups of Week 7. The Spartans lead the country in total D, but are they the genuine article?

I've yet to make up my mind whether Cincinnati is truly a contender in the wide-open Big East. Unfortunately, nothing the Bearcats do versus Louisville this weekend will tip the scales on this mental exercise.

Since I don't know South Carolina QB Connor Shaw, I'll be really interested to find out in the coming weeks whether he's hurt or helped by not having recently dismissed Stephen Garcia peering over his shoulder.

If Florida State wants to locate rock bottom during this disappointing season, it'll lose to Duke, which has never happened in 16 meetings between the schools.

The can't-miss matchup of Week 7 that only a handful of people will see? June Jones' run-and-shoot attack versus a UCF secondary that has yet to allow a touchdown pass in 2011.

Georgia Tech's trip to Charlottesville this weekend has a bear trap feel to it. Virginia won't win, but head coach Mike London will make sure the Yellow Jackets break a sweat in getting to 7-0.

Few players in America need a big game this week more than Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas. Crisp for the first time in last Saturday's thriller over Miami, the sophomore must prove that performance was no fluke.

The game between Florida and Auburn might look like an Elite 11 camp. As many as three former blue-chip true freshmen, Tiger Kiehl Frazier and Gators Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel, could make appearances Saturday evening.

If Oklahoma ran its regular offense and played its starters for 60 minutes, it might hang 100 points on the toothless Kansas defense this week.

The only knock on Andrew Luck is that he's so good that he's overshadowing the play of the Stanford defense. The Cardinal is No. 7 nationally in sacks, and is yielding just 10 points a game.

Isn't it time for Oregon's Chip Kelly to finally unleash star CB/ST Cliff Harris? The coach has played the junior sparingly since a return from a high-profile suspension a month ago.

- Final Thoughts, Week 7, Part 2