Picking Every Game: College Football Predictions, Week 7 (Update)

Game of the Week

Alabama (6-0) at

Tennessee (5-1)

3:30 p.m. EST
Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
CBS
Alabama -13 — O/U 55.5

Long before Tennessee developed an annual rivalry with the Florida Gators, this was THE game. The third Saturday in October. Alabama – the team the Volunteers always wanted to beat. It’s a series that Alabama has always tended to dominate, even from the very beginning, In fact, Tennessee has only had the series lead for a single year following its win over the Tide in 1960.

Even so, the series has been streaky. Alabama dominated the series in the 1970s. Tennessee roared back in the mid-1990s with wins in 10 of 12 games. And Alabama has won all nine games since 2007.

But these are the 2016 Tennessee Volunteers, the ones that have fought back in four of their five wins. Of course, that was because Tennessee fell behind early in all four of those games, as well as in its only loss to Texas A&M.  Yes, the Vols are a determined bunch, and there’s no team I’d want to play less in the second half. But in the first half, there’s no team I’d rather play more.

In their first six games, the Vols have lost the first quarter 63-17, but rebound in the second quarter 41-36. Conversely, Tennessee owns the second half, 135-55. The problem is that you can only tempt fate so often before it turns around and bites you. That happened last week when Tennessee’s luck ran out against the Aggies in double overtime. And it’s likely to happen again this week in Knoxville against Alabama.

The Tide has feasted on virtually all comers this season, with only Ole Miss coming close. Alabama has been incredibly consistent, which is only surprising because a true freshman is leading the offense. QB Jalen Hurts is playing more like a seasoned veteran than an inexperienced youngster, and his consistency has led the Tide to totals of 34 or more points in every game. Meanwhile, Alabama’s defense can be exploited, as it was by Ole Miss (43 points) and Arkansas (30 points). The Tide has been more opportunistic than good, but they’ve been more than good enough, especially with the offense clicking the way it has been.

On the other side, Joshua Dobbs should be the cool and collected quarterback leading his offense to victory. He does have the play of the year (the Hail Mary on the last play against Georgia), but his struggles during the first half have been a big part of why Tennessee has to come back in the second half. If Dobbs every put together a complete game, Tennessee’s offense could prove to be close to unstoppable. Instead, it’s mainly a potentially formidable weapon that is primarily dangerous when the game looks out of hand. The Vols’ greatest chance to win rest on the legs of two runners – Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. Hurd is the team’s leading rusher, though he’s been much less dominant than expected. Kamara, meanwhile, picks up around 7 yards every time he gets the ball, so Tennessee should try and send it his way as much as possible.

Alabama will not be fazed by the Tennessee crowd, and will build a decent lead by halftime. Tennessee is too good to let the game get out of hand, and the Vols might even stage another of their patented second-half comebacks. But the Tide’s greater talent, experience and leadership will ensure the win in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: Alabama 37, Tennessee 27

Result: Alabama 49, Tennessee 10

Record:
Last week: SU – 33-21; ATS – 31-21; O/U – 33-21
Overall: SU – 313-90; ATS – 156-145-4; O/U – 161-138-6

Upsets are bold underlined
(Results in parentheses; wins are underlined; losses in italics)
* – Picks with extreme confidence ATS
^ – Picks with low confidence ATS

Wednesday, Oct. 12      
Matchup Time (ET) TV Coverage Prediction (Result)
Appalachian State (-10) at Louisiana-Lafayette (O/U 49) 8 p.m. ESPN2 Appalachian State, 34-21
(Appalachian State, 24-0)
Friday, Oct. 14      
Matchup Time (ET) TV Coverage Prediction (Result)
Duke (+35.5) at Louisville (O/U 71) 7 p.m. ESPN Louisville, 66-20
(Louisville, 24-14)
Memphis (-11.5) at Tulane (O/U 54.5) 8 p.m. ESPNU Memphis, 31-17
(Memphis, 24-14)
San Diego State (-17) at Fresno State (O/U 55) 10 p.m. CBSSN San Diego State, 41-21
(San Diego State, 17-3)
Mississippi State (+7) at BYU (O/U 53) 10:15 p.m. ESPN BYU, 27-17
(BYU, 28-21 2OT)
Saturday, Oct. 8      
Matchup Time (ET) TV Coverage Prediction (Result)
Illinois (-3) at Rutgers (O/U 55.5) Noon ESPNews Illinois, 27-14
(Illinois, 24-7)
Iowa (-12.5) at Purdue (O/U 48.5) Noon ESPN2 Iowa, 27-17
(Iowa, 39-35)
Kansas State (+10.5) at Oklahoma (O/U 64) Noon ESPN Oklahoma, 48-28
(Oklahoma, 38-17)
Lafayette (NL) at Army Noon CBSSN Army, 41-10
(Army, 62-7)
Minnesota (+4.5) at Maryland (O/U 55.5) Noon ESPNU Maryland 27-21
(Minnesota, 31-10)
NC State (+17.5) at Clemson (O/U 56.5) Noon ABC Clemson 41-20
(Clemson, 24-17)
Vanderbilt (+14.5) at Georgia (O/U 42.5) Noon SECN Georgia 27-13
(Vanderbilt, 17-16)
West Virginia (-1) at Texas Tech (O/U 83) Noon FS1 West Virginia, 45-38
(West Virginia, 48-17)
Georgia Southern (+10.5) at Georgia Tech (O/U 47) 12:30 p.m. RSN Georgia Tech, 31-17
(Georgia Tech, 35-24)
Pittsburgh (-3) at Virginia (O/U 60) 12:30 p.m. ACCN Pittsburgh, 37-30
(Pittsburgh, 45-31)
Eastern Michigan (+6.5) at Ohio (O/U 57.5) 2 p.m. ESPN3 Ohio, 31-24
(Eastern Michigan, 27-20)
Kent State (PK) at Miami (Ohio) (O/U 43) 2:30 p.m. ESPN3 Kent State, 27-24
(Miami, 16-14)
Western Kentucky (+2.5) at Middle Tennessee (O/U 71) 2:30 p.m. ESPN3 Middle Tennessee, 37-30
(Western Kentucky, 44-43)
Alabama (-13) at Tennessee (O/U 58.5) 3:30 p.m. CBS Alabama, 37-27
(Alabama, 49-10)
Ball State (-10.5) at Buffalo (O/U 48) 3:30 p.m. ESPN3 Ball State, 31-17
(Ball State, 31-21)
Bowling Green (+30) at Toledo (O/U 72) 3:30 p.m. ASN Toledo, 44-24 ^
(Toledo, 42-35)
Central Michigan (-2.5) at Northern Illinois (O/U 65.5) 3:30 p.m. ESPN3 Central Michigan, 31-27
(Central Michigan, 34-28)
Georgia State (+17) at Troy (O/U 56.5) 3:30 p.m. ESPN3 Troy, 31-17
(Troy 31-21)
Kansas (+35) at Baylor (O/U 67) 3:30 p.m. FS1 Baylor, 45-14
(Baylor, 49-7)
Louisiana Tech (-15) at Massachusetts (O/U 61) 3:30 p.m. ASN Louisiana Tech, 35-23
(Louisiana Tech, 56-28)
Nebraska (-4) at Indiana (O/U 55.5) 3:30 p.m. ABC/ ESPN2 Nebraska, 30-20
(Nebraska, 27-22)
New Mexico (+14.5) vs. Air Force (O/U 59.5) (at Dallas) 3:30 p.m. ESPNews Air Force, 34-17
(New Mexico, 45-40)
North Carolina (+7) at Miami (Fla.) (O/U 63) 3:30 p.m. ABC/ ESPN2 Miami, 34-31
(North Carolina, 20-13)
Northwestern (+5) at Michigan State (O/U 42) 3:30 p.m. BTN Michigan State, 20-17
(Northwestern, 54-40)
USC (-8) at Arizona (O/U 62) 3:30 p.m. FOX USC, 31-27
(USC, 48-14)
Wake Forest (+21) at Florida State (O/U 53) 3:30 p.m. ESPN Florida State, 37-23
(Florida State, 17-6)
Western Michigan (-10.5) at Akron (O/U 68.5) 3:30 p.m. CBSSN Western Michigan, 44-30
(Western Michigan, 41-0)
Virginia Tech (-19.5) at Syracuse (O/U 65) 3:45 p.m. ESPNU Virginia Tech, 41-17 ^
(Syracuse, 31-17)
Missouri (+13.5) at Florida (O/U 48) 4 p.m. SECN Florida, 28-10 ^
(Florida, 41-14)
Utah (-9.5) at Oregon State (O/U 50.5) 4 p.m. Pac-12N Utah, 34-21
(Utah, 19-14)
New Mexico State (+5) at Idaho (O/U 67) 5 p.m. ESPN3 Idaho, 38-35
(Idaho, 55-23)
FIU (-5.5) at Charlotte (O/U 59.5) 6 p.m. CUSA.TV FIU, 35-28 v
(FIU, 27-26)
FAU (+13.5) at Marshall (O/U 63.5) 7 p.m. ASN Marshall, 31-24
(Marshall, 27-21)
Iowa State (+13.5) at Texas (O/U 69) 7 p.m. LHN/Cyclones.tv Texas, 41-31
(Texas, 27-6)
Ole Miss (-7.5) at Arkansas (O/U 65.5) 7 p.m. ESPN Ole Miss, 34-27 v
(Arkansas, 34-30)
South Alabama (+5) at Arkansas State (O/U 51.5) 7 p.m. ESPN3 South Alabama, 27-24 ^
(Arkansas State, 17-7)
Texas State (+7) at ULM (O/U 64.5) 7 p.m. ESPN3 ULM, 31-27
(ULM, 40-34)
Tulsa (+21) at Houston (O/U 70.5) 7 p.m. ESPN2 Houston 45-27
(Houston, 38-31)
Connecticut (+19.5) at USF (O/U 52.5) 7 p.m. CBSSN USF, 35-21
(USF, 42-27)
UTSA (-3) at Rice (O/U 57.5) 7 p.m. beIN Sports UTSA, 27-20
(UTSA, 14-13)
Southern Miss (+25.5) at LSU (O/U 56) 7:30 p.m. SECN LSU, 31-14
(LSU, 45-10)
Stanford (+3) at Notre Dame (O/U 51) 7:30 p.m. NBC Notre Dame, 30-24
(Stanford, 17-10)
Temple (+3) at UCF (O/U 55) 7:30 p.m. ESPNU Temple, 31-28
(Temple, 26-25)
Arizona State (+13.5) at Colorado (O/U 62) 8 p.m. Pac-12N Colorado, 35-27
(Colorado, 40-16)
Ohio State (-10.5) at Wisconsin (O/U 45.5) 8 p.m. ABC Ohio State, 27-20
(Ohio State, 30-23 OT)
Colorado State (+31) at Boise State (O/U 58.5) 10:15 p.m. ESPN2 Boise State, 38-17
(Boise State, 28-23)
Nevada (+1.5) at San Jose State (O/U 53.5) 10:30 p.m. CBSSN Nevada, 27-24
(San Jose State, 14-10)
UCLA (+5) at Washington State (O/U 52) 10:30 p.m. ESPN Washington State, 35-24 ^
(Washington State, 27-21)
UNLV (+7.5) at Hawaii (O/U 57.5) 11:59 p.m. Oceanic PPV Hawaii, 35-24
(UNLV, 41-38)
Copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt
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About Douglas Blaine

Capnpen is a writer who was a newspaper and magazine journalist in a previous life. A college journalism major, he now works as an administrator, but gets his writing fix by blogging about a variety of topics, including politics, religion, movies and television. When he's not working or blogging, Capnpen spends time with his family, plays a little golf (badly) and loves to learn about virtually anything.
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