The leaves are changing color, conference races are heating up and Week 7 could serve as a huge turning point in the 2018 college football season. The week is headlined by three games between ranked teams, including the cross-division showdown between No. 2 Georgia and No. 13 LSU in Baton Rouge and No. 15 Wisconsin’s visit to No. 12 Michigan.
Out west, there’s a key Pac-12 North battle taking place in Autzen Stadium in Eugene between No. 17 Oregon and No. 7 Washington.
Get ready for a busy week with this viewer’s guide.
All times eastern
The biggest games
No. 2 Georgia at No. 13 LSU, CBS, 3:30 p.m.: The Tigers will return home after a loss last week at Florida, while the visiting Bulldogs hope to stay undefeated and put a big road win on their College Football Playoff resume. Two things to keep an eye on: Georgia’s front seven against Nick Brossette and the LSU rushing attack, and how Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart weaves backup quarterback Justin Fields into the game plan to keep Jake Fromm fresh and the LSU defense on its toes.
No. 7 Washington at No. 17 Oregon, ABC or ESPN, 3:30 p.m.: The Ducks will get back on the gridiron after a week off, and absolutely have to spring the upset on the visiting Huskies in order to stay in contention in the Pac-12 North race. From a quarterback perspective, it doesn’t get much better than Oregon’s Justin Herbert vs. Washington’s Jake Browning.
No. 15 Wisconsin at No. 12 Michigan, ABC, 7:30 p.m.: It’ll be a battle of one-loss teams Saturday night in Ann Arbor, and could be an elimination game in the race for the College Football Playoff. If you like old-school football, this one’s for you. Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor going up against the Wolverines defense will tell the tale in a huge Big Ten game.
Other big games
Minnesota at No. 3 Ohio State, FS1, stream on FuboTV (Try for free) noon: The Dwayne Haskins Heisman Trophy campaign continues Saturday against a Gophers defense that’s giving up 324.2 yards per game — third-best in the conference. The Gophers are on a two-game losing streak, and there’s no better time to get back on the winning track than orchestrating a big road upset.
No. 14 Florida at Vanderbilt, ESPN, noon: This game doesn’t exactly move the meter, but it could be interesting if you’re into the gambling side of things. Fresh off a big win over LSU, the Gators are just 7-point favorites over the Commodores. Is there something up that we don’t know about? Because that line seems bizarre.
Pittsburgh at No. 5 Notre Dame, NBC, stream on FuboTV (Try for free) 2:30 p.m.: The road win over Virginia Tech vaulted the Fighting Irish into the top 5, and the middle of the College Football Playoff race. The Panthers just knocked off Syracuse in overtime, and could carry that confidence into their biggest game of the year. Could this be the week that the Fighting Irish get a test from a surprise threat?
Michigan State at No. 10 Penn State, BTN, stream on FuboTV (Try for free) 3:30 p.m.: The Nittany Lions had a week off to recover from the loss to Ohio State, but can’t sleep against a reeling Spartans team that just lost to Northwestern. Trace McSorley was amazing in the second half against the Buckeyes and is facing the Big Ten’s worst pass defense.
Baylor at No. 9 Texas, ESPN, 3:30 p.m.: Will this be the ultimate letdown game for the Longhorns after Tom Herman’s crew sprung the upset over Oklahoma last week? Very quietly, Bears coach Matt Rhule has developed a multi-dimensional running game in Waco that’s hard so slow down. Las Vegas says this is a two-touchdown game, but don’t be surprised if it’s a little closer than that.
Missouri at No. 1 Alabama, ESPN, 7 p.m.: It’ll be a battle between two fantastic quarterbacks in Tuscaloosa when Tigers star Drew Lock squares off against Crimson Tide legend Tua Tagovailoa. Trevon Diggs’ injury left the Crimson Tide secondary relatively thin, which will put a lot of pressure on younger players to slow down Lock and the Tigers. Could this be the game that Tagovailoa actually has to play in the fourth quarter?
No. 6 West Virginia at Iowa State, FS1, stream on FuboTV (Try for free) 7 p.m.: The Cyclones are fresh off an emphatic win at Oklahoma State, and return home with the hopes of upending the Mountaineers and shaking up the Big 12 title race. Will Grier has established himself as one of the top Heisman contenders in the country, and is a big reason why the Mountaineers are in the race for the College Football Playoff. Cyclones signal-caller Brock Purdy will have to have an even better performance than his five-touchdown showing last week.
No. 19 Colorado at USC, FS1, stream on FuboTV (Try for free) 10 p.m.: Colorado has quietly posted a 5-0 record, and a road win over USC would not only look good on its resume, but give the Buffaloes a key win in the race for the Pac-12 South title. The Trojans had a week off after the nail-biter at Arizona, and can’t afford to drop their second conference game of the year.
Keep an eye on …
- Tennessee at No. 21 Auburn, SEC Network, noon
- Nebraska at Northwestern, ABC, noon
- No. 10 UCF at Memphis, ABC or ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.
- No. 22 Texas A&M at South Carolina, SEC Network, 3:30 p.m.
- UCLA at Cal, Pac-12 Networks, 7 p.m.