What to Watch: College Football Week 7

Emmett McCarthy

Marquee match ups

Washington Huskies (2-2) @ No. 17 USC (3-1)

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Thursday, 7 p.m. MT – ESPN

Thursday Night Football has actually been really solid this year, but our luck is bound to run out eventually. If this week’s game is a dud, or if you simply don’t have NFL TV, flip the channel to ESPN. It may be a bit personal when Steve Sarkisian goes up against his former team. Chris Petersen, the man who replaced Sarkisian at UW, had actually interviewed for the USC job prior to Sarkisian accepting the position. Will any of this matter during the game? Probably not, but it makes this even more of a must-win for No. 17 USC, and could provide for some fireworks in the post game handshakes and/or press conferences.

No. 13 Northwestern (5-0) @ No. 18 Michigan (4-1)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MT – BTN

It’s more than just two ranked teams; it’s a battle between two top-five defenses. This won’t be an aesthetically pleasing shootout. But if you want a gritty, old-school matchup, you’re in luck. Also, NW’s gothic print uniforms last weekend were sick. Let’s see what they break out against the classic look of the Wolverines.

No. 23 California (5-0) @ No. 5 Utah (4-0)

Saturday, 8 p.m. MT – ESPN

Who would have thought an early October matchup between Cal and the Utes could have such major bowl implications? The Golden Bears are relevant for what seems like the first time since the DeSean Jackson and Marshawn Lynch days, and can become bowl eligible with a win Saturday. Meanwhile, the Utes have a legit chance of being one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff… if they can stay undefeated.

Illinois (4-1) @ No. 22 Iowa (5-0)

Saturday, 10 a.m. MT – ESPNU

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Simply put, Illinois is probably the best unranked team in the country. It’s going to be U of I-on-U of I violence.

Rivalries

No. 10 Oklahoma (4-0) @ Texas (1-4)

Saturday, 10 a.m. MT – ABC

This game has the potential to be really, really fun… except for that Texas is really, really bad.

Miami (3-1) @ No. 12 Florida State

Saturday, 6 p.m. MT – ABC

“The U” hasn’t been relevant in some time, but anyone who grew up watching the ‘Canes understands importance of the rivalry. The ‘Noles don’t have a Heisman winner running the offense anymore and have not been truly tested yet this year, so the upset isn’t out of the question. Let’s hope it happens – college football needs Miami to be relevant again.

Sleeper

Kent State (2-3) @ No. 24 Toledo (4-0)

Saturday, 1 p.m. MT – ESPN3

Aside from an early season upset of then-No. 18 Arkansas, not much about this Toledo team screams “Top-25” but alas, the Rockets find themselves situated at No.24. Kent State’s 2-3 record does not do it justice. The Golden Flashes took a shellacking at the hands of Illinois in their opener, but the other defeats were very respectable. They lost by just a field goal at Minnesota, and in overtime to Marshall. After an exciting win against Miami (OH), they will look to stay undefeated against in-state opponents. The proximity of the teams combined with Toledo’s recent national recognition should bring out the best in Ken State, and could produce a surprisingly exciting match up.

Collegian Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @emccarthy22.