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October 13, 2011

Week 7 primer: Huguenin picks them all

We're already at Week 7, which means a lot of teams are starting the second half of their schedules this week.

While there is no true standout game, there are good ones sprinkled throughout the weekend.

It starts Thursday, with good games in the Mountain West (Air Force-San Diego State) and Pac-12 (California-USC).

Saturday brings one of the biggest games to date in the Big Ten, with Michigan traveling a short distance to play Michigan State, which has won three in a row in the series.

There's also a big one in the ACC, with Virginia Tech playing at Wake Forest - though the game isn't televised (hmm, in this day and age, is a game really played if it's not on TV?).

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In the Big 12, there's the "Lawsuit Bowl" featuring Baylor-Texas A&M. In addition, Oklahoma State visits Texas for the second season in a row and Kansas State again looks to prove it's for real when it plays at Texas Tech.

And the day caps off with a potential preview of the Pac-12 title game when Arizona State visits Oregon. The Sun Devils held the Ducks under 400 yards last season, but committed seven turnovers and lost 42-31.

Here's a look at every game involving a FBS team this weekend.

THURSDAY'S GAMES

San Diego State (3-2) at Air Force (3-2), 8 p.m., CBS Sports Network
THE BUZZ: Neither is going to win the Mountain West title, but in terms of league bowl positioning, it's huge. Air Force's three-game wining streak in the series was snapped last season. Air Force is second in the nation in rush offense, and San Diego State is 117th in rush defense. Air Force's defense has been pitiful, too, ranking last against the run and 106th overall.
THE LINE: Air Force by 6 THE PICK: Air Force 34-31

USC (4-1) at California (3-2), 9 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: This is the second Thursday night game in a row for Cal, which was hammered last week at Oregon. USC has won seven in a row and nine of the past 10 in the series; Cal has scored just 70 points in that seven-game losing streak. This is the 99th meeting between the teams.
THE LINE: USC by 3 THE PICK: USC 30-24

FRIDAY'S GAME

Hawaii (3-2) at San Jose State (2-4), 9 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: This is an important WAC road game for Hawaii, which was the preseason pick to win the league. Hawaii has won in its past four trips to San Jose. The Spartans, meanwhile, beat New Mexico State on Sept. 24 and are trying to win consecutive league games for the first time since 2008.
THE LINE: Hawaii by 6 THE PICK: Hawaii 37-28

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Michigan (6-0) at Michigan State (4-1), noon, ESPN
THE BUZZ: Is Michigan a legitimate contender for the Big Ten title? If the Wolverines win this one over the defense-minded Spartans, the answer is yes. Michigan State has won three in a row in the series; it hasn't won four in a row over the Wolverines since 1959-62. Michigan has outscored foes 114-21 in the second half this season.
THE LINE: Michigan State by 1 THE PICK: Michigan 23-20

Baylor (4-1) at Texas A&M (3-2), noon, FX
THE BUZZ: Baylor QB Robert Griffin against A&M's secondary? Man, that's cruel and unusual punishment for the Aggies. But A&M's offense vs. Baylor's defense is the same the other way. Baylor hasn't won in College Station since 1984. How long ago was that? Both were in the Southwest Conference, and A&M would've laughed at an SEC invitation.
THE LINE: Texas A&M by 9.5 THE PICK: Texas A&M 45-38

Utah (2-3) at Pittsburgh (3-3), noon, ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Both have been disappointments. Utah is having trouble adjusting to the Pac-12, while Pitt is having trouble adjusting to an offensive scheme change. Utah, which won by three over the Panthers last season, is the first Pac-10/Pac-12 team to play at Pitt since Washington State in 1995. Rush defense has been the Utes' lone bright spot, and you can make a case that Pitt's lone bright spot has been its rush offense.
THE LINE: Pitt by 7 THE PICK: Pitt 23-17

Indiana (1-5) at Wisconsin (5-0), noon, ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Wisconsin was off last week and shouldn't have to work up a sweat this weekend, either. This is the second season in a row the teams have met in Madison. Last season, the Badgers won 83-20, which was their sixth consecutive victory in the series.
THE LINE: Wisconsin by 40 THE PICK: Wisconsin 59-17

Purdue (3-2) at Penn State (5-1), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Penn State's offense isn't much. The Nittany Lions scored 41 points against FCS member Indiana State and 34 against MAC bottom-feeder Eastern Michigan, but they haven't scored more than 16 in any of their other games. Thing is, except for allowing 27 to Alabama, the Nittany Lions haven't surrendered more than 10 in any other game and have given up just 29 in their past four games.
THE LINE: Penn State by 12 THE PICK: Penn State 24-9

Toledo (3-3) at Bowling Green (3-3), noon, ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The campuses are about 30 miles apart, and this is the 76th meeting in the series. The schools announced that the winner will get the "Battle of I-75 Trophy." The trophy replaces the "Peace Pipe Trophy" that had been used in the rivalry since 1980.
THE LINE: Toledo by 7.5 THE PICK: Toledo 35-20

Louisville (2-3) at Cincinnati (4-1), noon, Big East syndication/Sportsnet New York/MASN/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The teams play for the "Keg of Nails" trophy. The trophy is a replica of a keg used to ship nails; it's a replica because the original was lost during a remodeling of the Louisville athletic offices. Cincinnati has won three in a row in the series; that streak comes on the heels of Louisville winning five in a row.
THE LINE: Cincinnati by 16.5 THE PICK: Cincinnati 34-19

South Carolina (5-1) at Mississippi State (3-3), 12:20 p.m., SEC syndication/MSG network/Altitude/Comcast Sports Net California/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Gamecocks are relying on Connor Shaw at quarterback now, and he torched a bad Kentucky defense last week. The going should be tougher this week. But the going also will be tough for Mississippi State's quarterback - whoever it is, Chris Relf or Tyler Russell. This game is important for both - South Carolina because it wants to win the SEC East, Mississippi State because it doesn't want to drop to 0-4 in the SEC.
THE LINE: South Carolina by 3 THE PICK: South Carolina 23-14

Miami (2-3) at North Carolina (5-1), 12:30 p.m., ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Miami, which hasn't started 2-4 since 1997, is 0-4 all-time in Chapel Hill. This is the eighth meeting since UM joined the ACC, and the home team has won each of the previous contests. UM needs to tighten up its rush defense, which ranks 97th nationally.
THE LINE: UNC by 3 THE PICK: Miami 28-23

Buffalo (2-4) at Temple (4-2), 1 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Buffalo leads the series 12-3, but Temple has won the past two. Temple TB Bernard Pierce leads the nation with 15 rushing TDs, and Buffalo is 91st in rush defense.
THE LINE: Temple by 21 THE PICK: Temple 38-14

UNLV (1-4) at Wyoming (3-2), 2 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: UNLV has lost 12 consecutive road games and is 1-11 all-time in Mountain West openers. Wyoming has won five of the past seven in the series.
THE LINE: Wyoming by 11 THE PICK: Wyoming 35-20

Iowa State (3-2) at Missouri (2-3), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Both are 0-2 in the Big 12, and if either has designs on a bowl bid, it would be smart to win this game. Mizzou has won seven of the past eight in the series.
THE LINE: Missouri by 15 THE PICK: Missouri 38-20

Navy (2-3) at Rutgers (4-1), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Navy has lost three in a row, while Rutgers is off to its best start since 2006. Rutgers leads the nation with 22 takeaways. This is the 24th meeting in a series that dates to 1891.
THE LINE: Rutgers by 4.5 THE PICK: Rutgers 31-28

Florida State (2-3) at Duke (3-2), 3 p.m., Fox Sports Florida/Fox Sports South/NESN/Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: FSU might be the most disappointing team in the nation, but losing to Duke would take it to another level. FSU is 16-0 all-time against the Blue Devils.
THE LINE: FSU by 13.5 THE PICK: FSU 40-21

Eastern Michigan (3-3) at Central Michigan (2-4), 3 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the 87th meeting in the series between schools whose campuses are about two hours apart. Eastern Michigan hasn't won as many as four games in a season since 2007 and hasn't won more than four since 1995.
THE LINE: Central Michigan by 13 THE PICK: Central Michigan 35-20

Rice (2-3) at Marshall (2-4), 3 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is homecoming for Marshall, which has played three of its past four games on the road. It's never too early to talk about bowls, as in the loser of this one isn't going to get a bid. Heck, the winner of this one is a long shot to get a bid.
THE LINE: Marshall by 5 THE PICK: Marshall 34-27

Oklahoma State (5-0) at Texas (4-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: Texas leads the series 22-3, but Oklahoma State won last season. That game also was in Austin; the teams are playing at Texas again because of the departure of two Big 12 teams after last season. Texas' secondary was torched by Oklahoma last week. Can Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden torch the unit again?
THE LINE: Oklahoma State by 8.5 THE PICK: Oklahoma State 38-28

Ohio State (3-3) at Illinois (6-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: This is the second season in a row Ohio State is playing in Champaign, and the Buckeyes have won in each of their past eight trips to Illinois. The Buckeyes haven't lost four games in a season since 2004 and haven't started 3-4 since 1988. Illinois last was 7-0 in 1951.
THE LINE: Illinois by 4 THE PICK: Illinois 24-17

LSU (6-0) at Tennessee (3-2), 3:30 p.m., CBS
THE BUZZ: Tennessee can't run the ball, meaning it's all about the pass for the Vols. Uh-oh - starting QB Tyler Bray is going to miss at least a month, and Matt Simms is getting the start. Mr. Simms, meet Tyrann Mathieu, Ryan Baker, Morris Claiborne, Mike Brockers and a bunch of other LSU defenders who are going to make Saturday extremely uncomfortable for you.
THE LINE: LSU by 15 THE PICK: LSU 31-7

UCF (3-2) at SMU (4-1), 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: The game of the week in Conference USA - and it may be a preview of the league title game, as well. UCF is 3-0 all-time against the Mustangs, including a victory in last season's C-USA title game. UCF has thrown just one TD pass this season. The flipside: The Knights are the only team in the nation that hasn't allowed a TD pass.
THE LINE: SMU by 3 THE PICK: SMU 21-20

Georgia Tech (6-0) at Virginia (3-2), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Tech is 3-0 in league play and squarely in the ACC title hunt. The Yellow Jackets' rush defense is shaky, but it's hard to imagine UVa's offense having more success that Tech's.
THE LINE: Georgia Tech by 7.5 THE PICK: Georgia Tech 42-31

Western Michigan (4-2) at Northern Illinois (3-3), 3:30 p.m., Comcast Sports Net Chicago
THE BUZZ: This is the biggest game in the MAC this week. Western is in the hunt for the West Division title, while defending division champ Northern Illinois needs to win this to have a shot at another crown. This is homecoming for NIU, which has won seven of the past 10 in the series and 12 in a row at home overall.
THE LINE: Western Michigan by 1.5 THE PICK: Western Michigan 38-34

Ball State (3-3) at Ohio (4-2), 3:30 p.m., SportsTime Ohio/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Ohio is coming off an upset loss at Buffalo and can't afford a loss to another less-than-stellar MAC team if it hopes to legitimately contend for the East Division crown. Ball State is having trouble consistently moving the ball.
THE LINE: Ohio by 14.5 THE PICK: Ohio 37-21

USF (4-1) at Connecticut (2-4), 3:30 p.m., Big East syndication/Sportsnet New York/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: USF is coming off a bye week that followed a beatdown at the hands of Pitt. UConn has won four of the past six in the series. USF coach Skip Holtz was coach at UConn from 1994-98.
THE LINE: USF by 8 THE PICK: USF 31-21

Colorado (1-5) at Washington (4-1), 3:30 p.m., ROOT Sports
THE BUZZ: Washington has scored at least 30 points in each of its first five games, just the third time in school history that has happened (1924 and 1991 were the others). The Huskies never have scored 30 points in each of their first six games. Colorado's pass defense is bad, which has to make Washington QB Keith Price (17 TD passes) mighty happy.
THE LINE: Washington by 14.5 THE PICK: Washington 42-23

UTEP (2-3) at Tulane (2-4), 3:30 p.m., Fox College Sports Central
THE BUZZ: It seems a safe bet that the loser of this one will finish last in the West Division of Conference USA. This is the second of three consecutive home games for the Green Wave, who finish the season with four of five on the road.
THE LINE: Tulane by 1 THE PICK: Tulane 43-38

Miami of Ohio (1-4) at Kent State (1-5), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Miami is coming off its first win of the season, over Army, and will be going against a punchless Kent State offense. This is homecoming for Kent State.
THE LINE: Miami by 3.5 THE PICK: Miami 21-16

BYU (4-2) at Oregon State (1-4), 4 p.m., Fox College Sports Pacific
THE BUZZ: Oregon State is coming off its first win, over Arizona (coincidentally - or maybe not - Arizona fired coach Mike Stoops on Monday). BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall is a former Oregon State safety/linebacker, and was team captain as a senior in 1987. This is BYU's first road game since Sept. 10.
THE LINE: Oregon State by 2 THE PICK: Oregon State 24-20

Western Kentucky (1-4) at Florida Atlantic (0-5), 4 p.m.
THE BUZZ: The hounds make their way to Boca Raton for the dog of the week. There are two noteworthy things, though: FAU is the last FBS team to play a home game this season, and this game will be the first in FAU's new 30,000-seat, $70-million on-campus stadium.
THE LINE: FAU by 3 THE PICK: FAU 28-23

New Mexico (0-5) at Nevada (2-3), 4 p.m.
THE BUZZ: New Mexico has lost 17 consecutive road games and Nevada has won 13 in a row at home. There are 10 Mountain West-WAC games this season, and this is one of two left. The record is tied at 4-4.
THE LINE: Nevada by 30 THE PICK: Nevada 48-10

North Texas (2-4) at Louisiana-Lafayette (5-1), 5 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is homecoming for ULL, which is off to its best start since 1988. The Ragin' Cajuns have won five in a row since opening with a loss at Oklahoma State, and they haven't won six in a row since 1993 (Jake Delhomme's freshman season). ULL has won five of the past six in this series.
THE LINE: ULL by 8.5 THE PICK: ULL 35-31

Alabama (6-0) at Ole Miss (2-3), 6 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Last week, Alabama played Vanderbilt; this week, the Tide gets Ole Miss. In SEC parlance, that's known as "back-to-back open weeks." Alabama leads this series 44-9-3.
THE LINE: Alabama by 25.5 THE PICK: Alabama 27-7

Boise State (5-0) at Colorado State (3-2), 6 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: This is Boise's first conference game in Mountain West play. Boise State QB Kellen Moore has thrown multiple touchdown passes in 18 consecutive games.
THE LINE: Boise State by 32 THE PICK: Boise State 49-14

Virginia Tech (5-1) at Wake Forest (4-1), 6:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This has become one of the biggest games of the season in the ACC - but it's not on TV. Tech already has one league loss, and it likely has no shot at a division title if it loses another conference game. Wake is one of two unbeatens in the Atlantic Division and wants to keep pace with fellow unbeaten Clemson. Wake (79 miles as the crow flies) is Virginia Tech's nearest ACC rival.
THE LINE: Virginia Tech by 7 THE PICK: Virginia Tech 31-21

Kansas State (5-0) at Texas Tech (4-1), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: These teams last met in 2009, when Tech won 66-14. K-State hasn't won in Lubbock since 1999. This is the first game in a four-game stretch in which K-State plays three road contests; the home game in there is against Oklahoma.
THE LINE: Texas Tech by 3 THE PICK: Texas Tech 37-31

Florida (4-2) at Auburn (4-2), 7 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Both have quarterback issues. Florida again will be forced to go with a true freshman, either Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel. As for Auburn, coach Gene Chizik gave a shaky thumbs-up to incumbent starter Barrett Trotter, but true freshman Kiehl Frazier almost certainly will play. Florida is hoping to avoid going 0-3 against SEC West teams for the second consecutive season.
THE LINE: Florida by 2 THE PICK: Auburn 27-21

Northwestern (2-3) at Iowa (3-2), 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: This could end up being an important game in the Big Ten bowl pecking order. Northwestern has won five of the past six meetings with the Hawkeyes.
THE LINE: Iowa by 6.5 THE PICK: Iowa 23-20

Clemson (6-0) at Maryland (2-3), 7 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: The health of Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, who suffered a hip injury in last week's win over Boston College, has taken center stage. He is expected to start. Maryland looks to have quarterback issues of its own, as Danny O'Brien has not played well and backup C.J. Brown provided a spark last week in a loss to Georgia Tech.
THE LINE: Clemson by 9 THE PICK: Clemson 35-24

Georgia (4-2) at Vanderbilt (3-2), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Florida/Sun Sports/Fox Sports South/Fox Sports Southwest/Fox Sports Houston/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Despite opening 0-2, Georgia is in good shape in the SEC East. Losing to Vandy, though, would not be good for the Bulldogs, who have won 15 of their past 16 against the Commodores.
THE LINE: Georgia by 11 THE PICK: Georgia 23-10

Louisiana-Monroe (1-4) at Troy (2-3), 7 p.m., Sun Belt syndication/Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: The home team has won seven in a row in the series. That's good news for Troy; the Trojans lost to Louisiana-Lafayette last week and can't afford another Sun Belt loss if they want to win at least a share of their sixth consecutive league title.
THE LINE: Troy by 9 THE PICK: Troy 35-24

East Carolina (1-4) at Memphis (1-5), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: ECU was hammered last week by Houston and needs to start winning some games if it hopes to go bowling again. Memphis is a nice opponent to have if you need a win: The Tigers have lost 21 of their past 22 against FBS opponents.
THE LINE: ECU by 15.5 THE PICK: ECU 48-24

Stanford (5-0) at Washington State (3-2), 7:30 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: Stanford finishes off the first half of its schedule, which is a lot easier than the second half. The Cardinal have won 13 in a row, which is the nation's longest winning streak. Stanford has won on four of its past five trips to Washington State.
THE LINE: Stanford by 21 THE PICK: Stanford 45-21

UAB (0-5) at Tulsa (2-3), 8 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: UAB is the only school in the nation that hasn't thrown a TD pass this season. Tulsa has won eight of its past 10 games against Conference USA foes. Former Michigan and West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez is on the broadcast team, and it will be interesting to get his take on Tulsa's version of the spread offense.
THE LINE: Tulsa by 22.5 THE PICK: Tulsa 51-24

Idaho (1-5) at New Mexico State (2-3), 8 p.m., Altitude2/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Idaho has won three in a row and six of the past seven in the series. But the Vandals enter this one on a four-game losing streak overall. New Mexico State, though, is riding a four-game home losing streak and a five-game WAC losing streak.
THE LINE: New Mexico State by 1.5 THE PICK: Idaho 28-23

Oklahoma (5-0) at Kansas (2-3), 9:15 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Oh, my, this could get ugly. Kansas coach Turner Gill was 3-0 against OU as Nebraska's starting quarterback from 1981-83. The problem: Those Nebraska teams would whip this season's Kansas team - and those Huskers players are in their mid- to late-40s now.
THE LINE: Oklahoma by 34 THE PICK: Oklahoma 62-24

Utah State (2-3) at Fresno State (2-4), 10 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Fresno State has won four in a row in the series, and Utah State hasn't won in Fresno since 1980 (nine losses and one tie). Despite its record, Utah State has been better than expected, and this is a chance for the Aggies to prove they should be in the mix for the WAC title.
THE LINE: Utah State by 3.5 THE PICK: Fresno State 39-34

Arizona State (5-1) at Oregon (4-1), 10:15 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: This could be a preview of the Pac-12 championship game. Arizona State looks like a safe bet to win the South, while Oregon's Nov. 12 game with Stanford likely will determine who wins the North. Oregon has won 19 in a row at home overall and 14 in a row at home in conference play. In addition, Oregon has won 14 consecutive league games. Arizona State has lost 15 in a row to top-10 teams.
THE LINE: Oregon by 16 THE PICK: Oregon 38-27

LAST WEEK

41-11 straight up, 26-26 against the spread.

YEAR TO DATE

297-77 straight up, 133-150-1 against the spread (no spread on games involving FCS schools)

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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