What to watch: Title chances in play throughout Power Five
Halfway through the season, it might be time for some college football playoff elimination games.
Ranked matchups between undefeated teams in the Big Ten, Big 12 and Southeastern conferences all have huge CFP implications this weekend.
Michigan’s No. 5 heads to Penn State’s No. 10, with the winner hoping to keep pace with third-ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten.
Oklahoma State No. 8 visits TCU No. 13, with the winner remaining among the top 12 teams in contention for the league title game.
The biggest game of all might be in the SEC where No. 3 Alabama goes to No. 6 Tennessee. Neither wants to stumble with many ranked opponents remaining on the schedule.
The Pac 12 undefeated No. 6 Southern Cal against No. 20 Utah, the conference’s best bet for a CFP berth at the start of the season.
In total, there are six ranked vs. ranked matchups in Week 7, including No. 15 North Carolina State at No. 18 Syracuse and No. 16 Mississippi State at No. °22 Kentucky.
The recap of what to watch for Week 7 of the college football season, brought to you by Regions Bank:
No. 3 Alabama at No. 6 Tennessee. Nick Saban’s defense against Josh Heupel’s attack. QBs Bryce Young and Hendon Hooker in a display case. This one seems to have it all
Alabama and No. 1 Georgia have traded places at the top of the SEC in recent years. But Heupel and the Vols make a run at both. They could take a big step by beating Saban and the Crimson Tide, who have won 15 straight in the series.
The game is expected to feature two promising Heisman Trophy quarterbacks in Alabama’s Young and Tennessee’s Hooker. Saban is optimistic Young, the Heisman Trophy winner last season, will be back this week. Hooker makes 70% of his shots to lead the SEC’s most scoring offense.
On defense, Will Anderson Jr. tears up opponents Alabama while Byron Young does the same for Tennessee. Anderson has five sacks this season and Young is right behind with 3.5.
Caleb Williams, QB, Southern Cal, The sophomore’s decision to follow Coach Lincoln Riley out West looks better and better every week.
Williams threw for 1,590 yards and 14 touchdowns against just one interception. The Trojans’ closest call was a 17-14 victory at Oregon State two weeks ago, where Williams’ late pass to Jordan Addison was the difference.
If Williams can get past Utah, he could close the gap on Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, widely seen as Heisman’s main challenger.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
8.0 — Points per game Illinois’ No. 24 has led the nation this season. Ilini’s defense has allowed just three touchdowns in six games, which also leads the nation.
12 — No. 4 Clemson’s winning streak since the end of the season, the longest winning streak in Division I. The Tigers travel to Florida State on Saturday night.
14 — Years since No. 19 Kansas was bowl eligible, which he can accomplish for the first time since 2008 this weekend with a trip to Oklahoma.
44 – Seasons since a team in its first year transitioning from FCS to FBS was ranked in the AP Top 25. Sun Belt Conference No. 25 James Madison is 5-0.
.958 — The percentage of trips inside the 20-yard line that the No. 18 Syracuse has scored this season. The Orange have scored 23 out of 24 times in the red zone this season. The only time they didn’t was when they took a knee there three times to cap off a 59-0 win over Wagner.
UNDER THE RADAR
Arkansas (3-3) at BYU (4-2).
What a difference a month makes. Three weeks into the season, the Razorbacks were ranked 10th and the Cougars 19th. Three weeks later, both teams are out of the ballot, with Arkansas having lost three straight and BYU losing two of its last four.
It looks like Arkansas will reunite with quarterback KJ Jefferson after missing last week’s loss to Mississippi State.
Bryan Harsin, Auburn
It looks like Harsin has held the next ticket to the deli counter for the past few weeks as Auburn’s season has evolved.
The Tigers are 3-3 after a 42-10 loss to No. 1 Georgia. They face another juggernaut in the No. 9 Ole Miss this week as they try to avoid a third straight loss of the SEC.
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