College Football Week 7 Games to Watch: Red River Rivalry Commences

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Everything will change this Saturday.

Four Top 25 matchups are spread throughout Week 7, each influencing the College Football Playoff as we approach the reveal of the first rankings next month.

Last week, we saw Florida manhandle an undefeated Auburn side, 24-13, to advance to 6-0 on the season and Michigan outlast Iowa, 10-3, in a heated Big 10 matchup.

So, what’s at stake this week?

Here are the must-watch games of Week 7 of the 2019 college football season. 

NO.6 Oklahoma vs. No.11 Texas

SATURDAY, 10/12 — 12:00 P.M. ET

Two of the top quarterbacks in the nation, and two Heisman trophy contenders, go head-to-head in the next chapter of the Red River Rivalry on Saturday afternoon at the Cotton Bowl. 

Oklahoma's College Football Playoff chances ride on the performance of quarterback Jalen Hurts, while Texas is trying to push itself back into the postseason conversation with a win over a Top 10 rival. 

Hurts hasn't missed a step since his move from Tuscaloosa to Norman, leading the country in passing efficiency rating (231.3) and passing yard per attempt (14). He's also top in the Big 12 currently with 2022 total yards and 21 total touchdowns. Hurts struggled to get going in Oklahoma's 45-20 victory over Kansas on Saturday, but two passing and rushing touchdowns a piece. 

This is a big moment for Ehlinger and Texas head coach Tom Herman. Their Week 2 shootout loss to LSU proved that Texas can hang on the big stage once again, but they'll need to start winning big matchups to be considered truly "back". Ehlinger and company have been playing terrific football since the loss, though, with the junior quarterback currently leading the Big 12 with 17 passing touchdowns. 

With two elite offensive programs going at each other, expect more fireworks within the Cotton Bowl than at the neighboring Texas State Fair. 

NO.1 Alabama @ No.24 Texas A&M

SATURDAY,  10/12 — 3:30 P.M. ET

There's no slowing down for Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M. After early season losses to Clemson and Auburn, plus a scare against Arkansas at "Jerry World", the Aggies  welcome Nick Saban and the top-ranked Tide to College Station. 

Alabama comes into this game as a heavy favorite off a bye week, but still have room for improvement. The 23 points allowed against South Carolina and the 31 points given up against Ole Miss have raised red flags for Saban and his staff as they stated that defense was their main priority heading into the bye week. They'll have a chance to show that improvement against Kellen Mond and the Aggies offense. 

Tua Tagovailoa will also look to continue his Heisman Trophy campaign — he leads the nation in passing touchdowns (23) and is first in the SEC in passing yards per attempt (11.6), passing efficiency rating (225.1) and total touchdowns (25). 

Michigan State @ No.8 Wisconsin

SATURDAY, 10/12 — 3:30 P.M. ET

You could argue that Jonathan Taylor is the best player in college football right now and nobody would look at you like you're crazy. Given the elite talent around the country behind center, it's been a treat to see Taylor run rampant on opponents throughout five games. The Badgers are one of the few top teams in the country to stay evangelical about a run-first philosophy, and it could be what propels them to the Big 10 title game in December. 

Taylor is currently on pace to rush for just under 2,000 yards this season, marking a potential third consecutive year where he rushes for over 1900 yards. 

This game comes down to a battle of rushing defenses. Wisconsin currently holds the second best rushing defense in the country, allowing only 1.8 yards per carry from their opponents. Before last week, Michigan State held the fourth best rushing defense in the country but fell apart against Ohio State, giving up 323 rushing yards in a blowout loss. 

Will the Spartans defense get back on track in Madison or will the nation's top back expose them for the second week in a row?

NO.10 Penn State @ No.17 Iowa

SATURDAY, 10/12 — 7:30 P.M. ET

Penn State has its eyes on a berth in the Big Ten title game, but a trip to Iowa City is no easy test. An undefeated Michigan side fell to the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium near the end of the 2016 season and Ohio State suffered the same fate in 2017. 

Iowa is coming off a 10-3 defeat to Michigan that put a big dent into their hopes of claiming the Big Ten West crown. The loss exposed several of the flaws in quarterback Nate Stanley's game as the senior went 23-for-42 with three interceptions and was sacked eight times. 

This will be Penn State's first real conference test of the season after the Nittany Lions disposed of Maryland and Purdue by an average of 43.5 points. 

NO.7 Florida @ No.5 LSU

SATURDAY, 10/12 — 8:00 P.M. ET

If the Red River Rivalry wasn't enough to make this a can't-miss week of college football, Saturday night will be capped with a Top 10 showdown in the SEC. 

Undefeated Florida and LSU sides meet in Baton Rouge under the lights of College Gameday with the fate of the SEC hanging in the balance. 

LSU's new pass-first offensive system has bore an exponential amount of fruit through five games as the Tigers have the nation's top scoring offense (54.6 points per game) behind quarterback Joe Burrow. 

But the Tigers will meet their toughest defense of the season against the Gators. Florida is allowing only 9.5 points per game and is coming off a 24-13 win over previously undefeated Auburn. The Gators are thriving under backup quarterback Kyle Trask, but it is the defense that has the heralded program back into the College Football Playoff discussion. 

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