Dirty Dozen: Crystal Ball Run staff picks for Week 7

Another week in the books and Allen continues to lead the pack when it comes to picking games this season. Allen was the only Crystal Ball Run staff member to correctly predict Notre Dame's victory over Arizona State in Cowboys Stadium, and he took advantage of some down weeks by others to create a little bit of breathing room in our weekly picks. Before we move on to this week's games of interest, here is how our staff stacks up heading in to the weekend.

1. Allen (56-16)
2. (t) David (52-20)
2. (t) Jonathan (52-20)
2. (t) Andy (52-20)
3. Aaron (51-21)
4. (t) Kevin M. (50-22)
3. (t) Tom (50-22)
5. Kevin C. (47-13)
6. Josh (35-12)

No. 8 Louisville vs. Rutgers: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ESPN

Aaron’s Take: A year ago this was the game of the year in the old Big East, and in the new American, it looks to be much the same. Only unfortunately in 2013, I don’t expect it to carry nearly the excitement of a 20-17 thriller in Piscataway last year.

This year, the Cardinals are an offensive juggernaut, averaging a cool 44 points per game in their five wins. And even in a 30-7 victory over Temple last week that didn’t jump off the page, the Cardinals still put up over 500 yards of total offense.

At home and with the bright lights on them, expect the Cardinals to cruise to victory. Too much Teddy Bridgewater. Too much DeVante Parker. Too much Louisville.

Aaron: Louisville 34, Rutgers 14
Allen:  Louisville 30, Rutgers 21
Andy: Louisville 31, Rutgers 27
Dave: Louisville 31, Rutgers 13
Jonathan: Louisville 35, Rutgers 15
Josh: Louisville 45, Rutgers 31
Kevin C.: Louisville 38, Rutgers 24
Kevin M.: Louisville 31, Rutgers 27
Tom: Louisville 44, Rutgers 24

USC vs. Arizona: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Josh’s Take: The key to this game will be if the Pac-12’s best rush defense (USC) can slow down the league’s second-best rushing offense (Arizona). Ka’Deem Carey has topped 100 yards on the ground in seven straight games, and he’ll need another big game to keep the Wildcats in it.

No one is quite sure how USC will respond in its first game under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, but the status of injured All-American receiver Marqise Lee is a much bigger question mark. Lee caught a Pac-12 record 345 yards in last year’s game against the Wildcats, but Arizona won anyway, 39-36. I think the Trojans will play loose and the defense will return to form to help win a low-scoring contest. 

Aaron: USC 20, Arizona 14
Allen: USC 28, Arizona 17
Andy: Arizona 33, USC 23
Dave: Arizona 30, USC 17
Jonathan: USC 25, Arizona 21
Josh: USC 21, Arizona 17
Kevin C.: Arizona 28, USC 20
Kevin M.: USC 23, Arizona 20
Tom: Arizona 24, USC 17

No. 12 Oklahoma vs. Texas: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ABC (Dallas, TX)

Allen’s Take: The Sooners have owned one of college football's best rivalries of late, winning three straight years and demolishing the Longhorns in the last two. Unfortunately for embattled Texas coach Mack Brown, he enters this year's Red River Shootout with one of his worst teams yet. Oklahoma, however, has suffered some key personnel losses on the defensive side of the ball in the last two weeks, which raises questions about the ability of the D to continue to perform at such a high level this year.

The string of blowouts ends this year for Bevo, but the 'Horns will head home from the Cotton Bowl with another loss to their hated rivals.

Aaron: Oklahoma 34, Texas 20
Allen: Oklahoma 27, Texas 17
Andy: Oklahoma 31, Texas 17
Dave: Oklahoma 45, Texas 21
Jonathan: Oklahoma 31, Texas 21
Josh: Oklahoma 38, Texas 21
Kevin C.: Oklahoma 45, Texas 24
Kevin M.: Oklahoma 30, Texas 24
Tom: Oklahoma 35, Texas 20

No. 7 Georgia vs. No. 25 Missouri: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ESPN

Kevin C’s Take: Missouri comes to Athens unbeaten and relatively untested. Georgia comes in tested but beaten up. Can the young Georgia defense shut down a potentially explosive Missouri offense? Last year's match-up was a close game through three quarters but Georgia's depth (and Jarvis Jones) won out. Georgia needs some players to step up in the absence of injured Keith Marshall, Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley (and potentially Todd Gurley). This game rests on the arm of Aaron Murray. Can the senior leader once again lead Georgia to victory?

Aaron: Georgia 34, Missouri 30
Allen: Georgia 35, Missouri 27
Andy: Georgia 34, Missouri 17
Dave: Georgia 33, Missouri 27
Jonathan: Georgia 40, Missouri 20
Josh: Missouri 35, Georgia 28
Kevin C.: Georgia 42, Missouri 35
Kevin M.: Georgia 27, Missouri 26
Tom: Georgia 30, Missouri 13


No. 24 Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ESPNU

Tom’s Take: The Panthers upset Virginia Tech last year after opening the season 0-2. Paul Chryst's team is playing well since getting crushed by Florida State in the opener. If Pitt can do it two years in a row it will be in the driver's seat in the ACC Coastal. But going into Blacksburg and winning is a tough task. The Hokies have won a bunch of close games en route to a 5-1 record.

Aaron: Virginia Tech 14, Pittsburgh 12
Allen: Virginia Tech 9, Pittsburgh 5
Andy: Pittsburgh 24, Virginia Tech 21
Dave: Virginia Tech 19, Pittsburgh 12
Jonathan: Virginia Tech 21, Pittsburgh 15
Josh: Virginia Tech 24, Pittsburgh 14
Kevin C.: Virginia Tech 24, Pittsburgh 14
Kevin M.: Virginia Tech 23, Pittsburgh 20
Tom: Virginia Tech 20, Pittsburgh 14


No. 10 LSU vs. No. 17 Florida: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS

Kevin C’s Take: Tyler Murphy has looked good since taking over for Jeff Driskel but he hasn't faced a hostile atmosphere like he will in Death Valley on Saturday. The match-up in this game features a great Florida defense against a much improved LSU offense. Whoever wins that battle will win this game.

Aaron: Florida 24, LSU 17
Allen: LSU 21, Florida 18
Andy: LSU 27, Florida 20
Dave: LSU 22, Florida 17
Jonathan: LSU 31, Florida 21
Josh: LSU 27, Florida 17
Kevin C.: LSU 30, Florida 24
Kevin M.: LSU 27, Florida 24
Tom: LSU 23, Florida 17
 

Wisconsin vs. No. 19 Northwestern: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN2

Andy’s Take: The Badgers and Wildcats square off in the biggest game of the Big Ten in Week 7. Just a few years ago that statement would've never been typed out, yet it is the truth. Of course it also happens to be one of the strangest matchups of the season because of the Badgers emphasis on the power run game and a passing game that is coming along as the season goes on vs. Northwestern's spread offense that uses the pass to set up the run game.

Both defenses will have to be opportunistic and on their toes to win the game for their teams. Look for the defense that doesn't allow the other team into the red zone to win the game. Give me the Badgers in this one because history says Northwestern at Wisconsin doesn't equal good results. 70-23 anyone?

Aaron: Wisconsin 28, Northwestern 24
Allen: Wisconsin 42, Northwestern 28
Andy: Wisconsin 33, Northwestern 24
Dave: Northwestern 35, Wisconsin 27
Jonathan: Northwestern 25, Wisconsin 21
Josh: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 24
Kevin C.: Wisconsin 34, Northwestern 28
Kevin M.: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 27
Tom: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 28


No. 16 Washington vs. No. 2 Oregon: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Dave’s Take: This underrated rivalry game has new life this season as a vastly improved Washington squad hosts the Oregon offensive machine. The Huskies offense has the potential to score lots as well, though, and the Ducks might find themselves in a fight they were not expecting. Washington, with help from the home crowd, scores the upset to muddle the Pac-12 North.

Aaron: Oregon 41, Washington 31
Allen: Oregon 37, Washington 31
Andy: Oregon 37, Washington 27
Dave: Washington 38, Oregon 34
Jonathan: Oregon 52, Washington 45
Josh: Oregon 63, Washington 31
Kevin C.: Oregon 48, Washington 38
Kevin M.: Oregon 39, Washington 30
Tom: Oregon 45, Washington 35


Penn State vs. No. 18 Michigan: Saturday, 5:00 p.m. ESPN

Kevin M’s Take: Michigan has shown some struggles on their way to a 5-0 start this season, including narrow escapes against lowly Akron and UConn. Now the Wolverines travel to State College for what should be the largest crowd in Beaver Stadium in the early sanction era of the program. Devin Gardner must play better this week against a Penn State defense that is shallow on depth and has been exposed now by Central Florida and Indiana. Look for the Wolverines to test the middle of the defense with a healthy dose of Devin Funchess. How Penn State bounces back will be the key to this game. They came back strong after a loss to UCF earlier this season. Can they do the same after their first loss in program history against Indiana?

Aaron: Michigan 28, Penn State 21Allen: Michigan 24, Penn State 23
Andy: Michigan 27, Penn State 23
Dave: Michigan 34, Penn State 24
Jonathan: Michigan 28, Penn State 20
Josh: Michigan 31, Penn State 17
Kevin C.: Michigan 13, Penn State 6
Kevin M.: Michigan 23, Penn State 20
Tom: Michigan 27, Penn State 13


BYU vs. Georgia Tech: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ESPNU

Tom’s Take: After back-to-back losses, Georgia Tech must now go on the road to BYU. Playing in Provo, Utah, when you aren't used to it is tough. BYU is fresh off a nice win against Utah State and the Cougars could easily be 5-0 right now instead of 3-2. Look for BYU to get the best of the Yellow Jackets in the second half.

Aaron: BYU 17, Georgia Tech 21
Allen: BYU 21, Georgia Tech 10
Andy: Georgia Tech 27, BYU 21
Dave: BYU 42, Georgia Tech 21
Jonathan: Georgia Tech 20, BYU 18
Josh: BYU 20, Georgia Tech 17
Kevin C.: BYU 27, Georgia Tech 17
Kevin M.: BYU 28, Georgia Tech 17
Tom: BYU 38, Georgia Tech 17

Utah vs. No. 5 Stanford: Saturday, 6:00 p.m. Pac 12 Network

Dave’s Take: Coming off of a near loss at home, Stanford hits the road to face a talented but mistake prone Utah team. It is a recipe for disaster for Utah as Stanford takes advantage of Utah's mistakes.

Aaron: Stanford 38, Utah 21Allen: Stanford 23, Utah 20
Andy: Stanford 33, Utah 13
Dave: Stanford 35, Utah 17
Jonathan: Stanford 35, Utah 21
Josh: Stanford 35, Utah 14
Kevin C.: Stanford 34, Utah 20
Kevin M.: Stanford 33, Utah 26
Tom: Stanford 29, Utah 10

Ole Miss vs. No. 9 Texas A&M: Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Jonathan’s Take: Ole Miss has had two painful losses in consecutive weeks: A 25-0 shutout loss to Alabama and a last-second loss against Auburn. Now that they’ve left the crushing confines of the football state of Alabama, they continue their SEC buzzsaw tour when Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M visit Oxford. At least it’s a home game, right? This won’t be an enjoyable experience for the Rebels.

Aaron: Texas A&M 45, Ole Miss 31Allen: Texas A&M 45, Ole Miss 42
Andy: Texas A&M 41, Ole Miss 27
Dave: Texas A&M 45, Ole Miss 42
Jonathan: Texas A&M 42, Ole Miss 30
Josh: Texas A&M 45, Ole Miss 31
Kevin C.: Texas A&M 51, Ole Miss 28
Kevin M.: Texas A&M 49, Ole Miss 38
Tom: Texas A&M 48, Ole Miss 28

Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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