What To Watch For In Week 7

Posted Oct 13, 2012

What matters and what should you watch for in the biggest games?

E-mail Pete Fiutak
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-CFN Fearless Predictions

Texas (4-1) vs. Oklahoma (3-1) Oct. 13, 12:00, ABC
- Game Preview, Breakdown & Prediction

With Malcolm Brown struggling through an ankle injury, Texas has relied more and more on Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron, who had their moments against West Virginia but couldn't quite get going. Gray ripped off 87 yards, but 49 of them came on one play, and while Bergeron ran for four scores, he only averaged 2.6 yards per carry. OU gave up 130 yards and a score to Kansas State's John Hubert, and got torn up for 177 yards by UTEP's Nathan Jeffery. Now it should be Gray and Bergeron who come up with the big numbers.

Oklahoma receiver Kenny Stills hasn't become a Ryan Broyles-like No. 1 target, but he has been a steady, decent playmaker leading the team with 29 catches for 344 yards and three scores. It's not like he has own Texas, but he has been terrific catching five passes for 51 yards and two touchdowns in last season's blowout and made five grabs for 78 yards and a touchdown in the 2010 win. At 6-1 and 190 pounds he has good size and can move, but he has to prove he can be the guy.

Wisconsin (4-2) at Purdue (3-2) Oct. 13, 12:00, BTN
- Game Preview, Breakdown & Prediction

Can Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave continue to be okay? Russell Wilson isn't coming back, and Danny O'Brien was too mediocre, and Stave has been able to help make the passing game work just enough to get by. He struggled against Nebraska to hit on a third down play, but he pushed the ball down the field a little bit more against Illinois being helped out by Jared Abbrederis, who might be one of the Big Ten's most valuable players. When healthy, he's a difference maker catching 20 passes with three scores over the last three games and cranking out three straight 100-yard games.

Who's going to be Purdue's main man at quarterback? Rob Henry and Robert Marve got their chances against Michigan, but Caleb TerBush is still the starter and still the leader the offense will work around. Last year he completed 10-of-19 passes for 103 yards and a score with two picks in the blowout against the Badgers, and this week he has to come up with a sharp, mistake-free game. That might be a problem with at least on pick in each of the last four games.

Kansas State (5-0) at Iowa State (4-1) Oct. 13, 12:00, FX
- Game Preview, Breakdown & Prediction

The Iowa State linebackers and Collin Klein meet again. Cyclone star Jake Knott leads the team in tackles after making 13 stops in the win over TCU, and while he has been a tackling machine over the last two seasons, he had one of his weakest games in last year's loss to Kansas State making just three tackles with a tackle for loss. His running mate, A.J. Klein, also made just three stops in last year's game but came up with ten tackles in the loss two seasons ago. These two have seen and done it all, and this week they need to be dialed in to Klein, who struggled a bit for him in last year's game completing just 7-of-15 passes for 158 yards and a score, but he ran for 86 yards and a touchdown. All three players have been fantastic so far, and all three will be in on play after play this week.

North Carolina (4-2) at Miami (4-2) Oct. 13, 2:30, ESPNU
- Game Preview, Breakdown & Prediction

UNC quarterback Bryn Renner is becoming increasingly comfortable throwing the ball in the direction of true freshman WR Quinshad Davis. After starting slowly, the rookie has caught 18 passes over the last four games. Miami will try to contain an eclectic mix of pass-catchers that includes speedy RB Romar Morris, big-play WR Sean Tapley and sure-handed TE Eric Ebron. Renner prefers to spread the ball around, which keeps his teammates engaged, while keeping the Hurricanes defenders on their heels.

Stanford (4-1) at Notre Dame (5-0) Oct. 13, 3:30, NBC
- Game Preview, Breakdown & Prediction

So, what was Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes' performance in last week's comeback victory, an anomaly or the start of something big? Nunes is coming off his best game of 2012, rallying his team with 365 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. He looked like a completely different player than the one that too often appeared lost in September. However, he was also facing Arizona, one of the Pac-12's worst defenses. Nunes must now show that he can go on the road and complete passes to tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo in the face of one of the nation's premier defenses. A one-dimensional offense comprised of a steady diet of Taylor between the tackles just isn't going to cut it this weekend in South Bend.

Alabama (5-0) at Missouri (3-3) Oct. 13, 3:30, CBS
- Game Preview, Breakdown & Prediction

It's Corbin Berkstresser's Missouri offense to run. The redshirt freshman is a dart-thrower with a crisp, accurate throwing motion and nice mobility, but can he match the playmaking ability of James Franklin, the starter who went down with a knee injury against Vanderbilt? Berkstresser was awful off the bench against Vanderbilt, completing 9-of-30 passes for 189 yards and a score, and now he has to prove he can make every right decision and every right play against the best defense in the game.

West Virginia (5-0) at Texas Tech (4-1) Oct. 13, 3:30, ABC
- Game Preview, Breakdown & Prediction

5-9, 187-pound sophomore Andrew Buie showed that West Virginia was more than just Geno. The speedster's 82-yard, two score day against Baylor flew a bit under the radar because of all the other fireworks, but last week he took center stage, gashing the Texas D for 207 yards and two scores, while taking three passes 66 yards. He has been good enough to force Texas Tech to worry; anything taking away from concentrating on the passing game is a problem.

Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege has to cut down on his interceptions. The senior has thrown 14 picks in his last nine Big 12 games giving up three last week against the Sooners and two in the win over Iowa State. The Mountaineers don't pick off a slew of passes with just four on the year and one in each of the first four games. It's not like they need a bunch of easier chances, but they could get them if Doege is pressing and isn't making the right reads.

South Carolina (6-0) at LSU (5-1) Oct. 13, 8:00, ESPN
- Game Preview, Breakdown & Prediction

Outside of a cramping problem, LSU middle linebacker Kevin Minter came up with the best defensive performance of 2012 cranking out 17 solo tackles, 20 stops in all, with three tackles for loss and two sacks with a forced fumble against Florida last week. Usually there's nothing flashy about his game, but he's great against the run and last week he showed he could get behind the line time and again.

As good as Minter has been, and with all due respect to Sam Montgomery, South Carolina end Jadeveon Clowney will the defensive star of the show. The sophomore has more than lived up to the hype with 6.5 sacks so far and enough pressures to throw off everyone off. Too quick off the ball, he demands double teaming on a line full of player who need extra blocking.

Tennessee (3-2) at Mississippi State (5-0) Oct. 13, 9:00, ESPN2
- Game Preview, Breakdown & Prediction

Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson hasn't done too much as a receiver with 21 catches for 290 yards and two scores, but he has been one of the SEC's most dynamic all-around players running eight times for 157 yards and two scores including a brilliant weaving touchdown against Georgia and averaging 28 yards per kickoff return. The coaching staff has several different plays designed to get him on the move, and when he has the ball with his hands in the open field, he's proving to be a gamebreaker. He and Justin Hunter will go against Mississippi State corners Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay in an NFL caliber matchup that scouts will break down over and over before next April.

Texas A&M (4-1) at Louisiana Tech (5-0) Oct. 13, 9:00, ESPNU
- Game Preview, Breakdown & Prediction

6-0, 211-pound true freshman Kenneth Dixon was supposed to help boost up the running back depth, but he has done more than that for the Bulldogs running for 113 yards and three scores against Rice and coming up with 102 yards and four scores against UNLV. With a good blend of power and speed, he can do a little of everything and he showed against the Rebels that he could put the game away with three second half runs. With Dixon combining with quarterback Colby Cameron, who has yet to throw a pick, the offense can do a little of everything.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has shown he can do a little bit of everything, and last week against Ole Miss he proved he could come up in the clutch. The Rebels were giving A&M all it could handle helped by picks given away by Manziel. Down ten late, Manziel took off for a tough 29-yard touchdown dash, and finished off the game a few minutes later with a 20-yard scoring strike to Ryan Swope. At the moment, no SEC quarterback is playing better.