CFB Staff Picks: Week 7
By WZBC Writers:
Here are our picks for week 7, with guest picker Zack Sluka
Louisville at Boston College
Zack Sluka: Boston College 41- Louisville 17
In what I already believed to be a lopsided affair in favor of the Eagles, Louisville WR Tutu Atwell decided to add fuel to the fire this week, claiming in weekly press conferences that he sees “a lot of slow people” on the Boston College defense. This Boston College team, which came into this week hungry for an ACC win heading into the bye week, just got hungrier as a result these comments. Regardless as to whether it is AJ Dillon (game-time decision) or Ben Glines standing behind Anthony Brown this week, look for even more steps forward from #13 as the Eagles soar to a much needed victory that propels them to a 2-1 record in the conference.
Charlie Whitney: Boston College 28 – Louisville 20
Assuming AJ DIllon is back to health, Boston College should be able to handle the visiting the Cardinals, who clearly aren’t the same without Lamar Jackson, and while the Eagles aren’t exactly world beaters, I fully expect them to have enough gas in the tank to improve to 5-2.
Nic Ferreira: Boston College 42 – Louisville 21
BC may be scuffling, but they have a soft spot in their schedule this week in Louisville, who has had their fair share of struggles thus far. The BC offense is on track for a successful afternoon–the porous Louisville defense is allowing over 400 yards per game, and particularly has had trouble defending the run. Whether it’s AJ Dillon or Ben Glines carrying the ball, the BC backs should have a solid afternoon.
Bryan Bruwer: Boston College 34 – Louisville 17
Whether AJ Dillon plays or not, BC should be able gash a Louisville run defense that allowed 542 yards on the ground last week against Georgia Tech. Expect the Eagles to take care of business against an uninspiring Louisville team.
JD Biagioni: Boston College 35 – Louisville 17
AJ Dillon is still a game-time decision, and that makes a difference. BC’s offense looked lost without him at the end of the Temple game and in the first half of the NC State game. Everyone wants to see AJ play Louisville after his breakout last season. Despite the question marks on offense, there’s not hiding the fact that the Louisville is a mess this year. The offense is the worst that Bobby Petrino has ever fielded. And the defense gave up 66 points to a Georgia Tech team that passed the ball twice (yes, twice). Even if Anthony Brown decides to watch the game from the student section, BC will roll.
#2 Georgia at #13 LSU
Zack: LSU 23 – Georgia 17
A year removed from its first College Football Playoff appearance, the Georgia Bulldogs have established themselves, along with Alabama (of course), as the class of the SEC. Yet, despite their success in critical games away from home last year (at ND, vs Oklahoma in the CFP), the Bulldogs have yet to enter a venue that will be as loud and as rocking as Tiger Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Coming off an upset loss in Gainesville, the Tigers will look to feed off the electric Death Valley atmosphere and earn their third win over an AP Top 25 program. In a game that has huge CFP implications, the Tigers will answer the bell.
Charlie: Georgia 20 – LSU 16
In a week loaded with competitive games, this one stands out to me. Two of the top defenses in the SEC battling it out, and for LSU, a loss probably dooms their chances of a shot at the playoff. Georgia has largely flown under the radar this year but I expect them to put enough points on the board against this star studded Tigers defense. I’ll take the Dogs on the road in a field goal fest.
Nic: Georgia 38 – LSU 31
Georgia has been relentless this season, and though the Tigers are scrappy, Georgia will look to wear them down with their balanced attack. The Bulldogs average almost the same amount of passing yards, and rushing yards, and this has worked well to the tune of over 40 points per game. LSU is going to be tough, but Georgia has looked like the better team
Bryan: Georgia 26 – LSU 13
The Tigers lost a heartbreaker against Florida on the road last week, and they’ll have a chance to redeem themselves this week against a stacked Georgia squad. However, Georgia is just too talented on the offensive side, and Jake Fromm will lead the Dawgs to a huge SEC victory.
JD: Georgia 24 – LSU 20
The Bulldogs have cruised to a 6-0 record but haven’t faced a quality opponents yet. Georgia can validate its #2 ranking with a strong showing in the hostile Death Valley. LSU has been a pleasant surprise, but the Bulldogs are more talented on both sides of the ball. Georgia’s defensive line can neutralize Nick Brossette, and it’s offensive line can open up holes for De’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield. Greedy Williams heads a stout LSU secondary, but Georgia’s deep receiver corps will allow Jake Fromm to find the open man. Skill difference aside, these games are always tight ones.
#7 Washington at #17 Oregon
Zack: Oregon 31 – Washington 24
I’ll admit it: The “PAC-12 After Dark” market pitch by ESPN never induced me to turn on my TV after midnight and watch under-discussed teams such as these. Luckily though, the University of Washington have scheduled well out-of-conference in years past, and coupled with a CFP appearance two years ago, I’ve seen a fair share of the Huskies before the clock strikes 12. Unfortunately for the Huskies though, their performances in primetime (on the East Coast) have been extremely underwhelming, and incline me towards picking the Ducks, who have a 75% chance of debuting a new Nike jersey combo in this one.
Charlie Whitney: Oregon 24 – Washington 23
I feel like Oregon has been just a few plays away from winning some really important games this year, and I think the energy added from this being a rivalry game will help them get over the hump. Being home can’t hurt either, and that’s also why I think the Ducks will establish themselves as real contenders in the Pac 12 North with a win over Chris Petersen Huskies.
Nic: Washington 35 – Oregon 28
Oregon is averaging 500 yards per game on offense, so if they win this game, they’re going to have to run Washington out of the building. That won’t be easy, given the stingy Washington defense that has allowed 13.7 points per game. Don’t forget that Washington has a prolific offense of their own, lead by Jake Browning. It’ll probably be a shootout, but that Washington offense, combined with timely defensive stops, should be enough to put the Huskies over the top.
Bryan: Washington 24 – Oregon 21
Although Justin Herbert and Oregon are at home in this one, Washington is battle-tested and equipped to handle a hostile environment. Senior quarterback Jake Browning will make some timely throws and Myles Gaskin will head a strong ground game that will enable Washington to pick up a huge road win.
JD: Oregon 31 – Washington 21
Oregon should be 5-0. The Ducks were on the verge of a 31-10 lead over Stanford, but in a crazy turn of events it ended up 24-21 a few minutes later. The only time Oregon trailed was when Stanford ended the game 38-31 in OT. This game will establish the only team that still has a shot at a CFP appearance. Justin Herbert hasn’t faced a defense like Washington’s, but he has had no problem picking apart other quality defenses thus far.
#15 Wisconsin at #12 Michigan
Zack: Wisconsin 14 – Michigan 10
Hoping that the Irish would be eliminated in Week 1 from CFP contention, I donned my gold, screamed “Go Blue”, and hoped that the coach in khakis would deliver an opening week win in South Bend. As the game progressed, my affection for the Wolverines went rapidly into decline. QB Shea Patterson struggled incredibly to stay on the field, the offensive and defensive lines were manhandled, and ND QB Brandon Wimbush (now a second stringer) moved the ball with ease against the Wolverine defense. With some garbage-time points, the Wolverines were able to make the score-line a lot better than it ought to have looked. In its first game against a ranked team since that abysmal performance in South Bend, I am inclined to pick to a team that has not let me down in the spotlight. Give me a gritty upset victory by a Wisconsin program that has only trended upwards in the previous few seasons.
Charlie: Wisconsin 17 – Michigan 10
I thought this game was going to be tough to pick, and I wanted to give Michigan the advantage at home, but then I remembered Jim Harbaugh doesn’t win big games. He just doesn’t. The Wolverines’ defense looks great as always but still not sold on Shea Patterson or the offense as a whole. I envision Jonathan Taylor and gang doing just enough to get by in a classic Big 10 battle.
Nic: Michigan 31 – Wisconsin 21
Neither team has been tested all that much, yet Wisconsin still has a blemish on their resume after a close loss to BYU. Both teams possess tons of offensive talent, but the Wisconsin defense hasn’t done enough to convince me that they can pull of a win against a strong Michigan team. The Badgers rank outside the top 50 in turnovers gained, while ranking 15th in turnovers lost. That could be the difference in this one.
Bryan: Wisconsin 23 – Michigan 21
Although Michigan is at home and currently boasting the #1 defense in the country, Wisconsin is a team that is equipped to win on the road. Anticipate a slobber-knocker of a football game and a Wisconsin upset led by a big day Jonathan Taylor.
JD: Wisconsin 17 – Michigan 10
Michigan finally has an offense. After a disappointing opening-week loss to Notre Dame, the Wolverines have averaged 42.4 points per game. But that came during a very weak stretch of opponents. Wisconsin possesses an elite offensive line and one of the top running back in the nation in Jonathan Taylor. Under Harbaugh, Michigan has performed poorly against the Big 10’s best teams; that trend may continue Saturday night in Ann Arbor.
Pitt at #5 Notre Dame
Zack: Pitt 27 – ND 20
After coming out of Blacksburg, VA with a season-defining win against the Josh Jackson-less Hokies, the Irish are certainly now buying into their chances of reaching their first-ever CFP appearance. As a perennial Notre Dame hater and someone who revels in the disappointment of Irish fans nationwide, I say that it’s time to pump the brakes. Into South Bend comes a Pitt team that, while being mediocre at best in the ACC the past few seasons, has the propensity to pull major upsets. Last year, #2 ranked and 10-0 Miami walked into Heinz Field with its sights set on a perfect season and a trip to the CFP, but ended up falling to the Panthers behind a magical performance from freshman QB Kenny Pickett. Although Pickett hasn’t had the start to the season that he would’ve liked, a memorable performance in South Bend against a stiff Irish defense from Pickett can make Pitt fans believe in their future prospects again. Since you will never see me pick the Irish on this segment, I say Pickett brings the magic this week.
Charlie: Notre Dame 34 – Pitt 17
I’m really starting to buy into Notre Dame. Ian Book looks awesome and is just the quarterback Miles Boykin needed to take his game to the next level. I smell a blowout as the Irish continue to make an increasingly legitimate push towards the playoff.
Nic: Notre Dame 49 – Pittsburgh 14
Notre Dame has passed every test they’ve faced so far, and this week shouldn’t be too hard for the Fighting Irish. Pitt is coming off of a nice overtime win against a scrappy Syracuse team, but they simply don’t have the talent to hang with Notre Dame.
Bryan: Notre Dame 38 – Pitt 13
Notre Dame has proved me wrong as of late, especially with their domination of Stanford. I’m done picking against the Irish, who should be able to avoid trouble against a feisty Pitt team.
JD: Notre Dame 35 – Pitt 20
The Panthers have been good for an upset over a top-ranked team each of the past two seasons. In 2016, they knocked off then #3 Clemson. In 2017, it was #2 Miami who fell to Pitt on the final week of the season. That said, Notre Dame has been rolling since Ian Book took over. If the Irish could hang 45 on Virginia Tech in the toughest road environment in college football, Pitt in South Bend shouldn’t be a problem.