Here are three games worth watching in Week 7.
Game of the week: No. 17 Stanford Cardinal (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) at No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, (5-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., WICU (NBC).
Pregame rant: The Irish have an offensive-minded coach in Brian Kelly, but have relied on their defense to win games. Allowing 7.78 points a game, Notre Dame is second only to top-ranked Alabama in scoring defense.
The Irish are first in touchdowns allowed with three.
However, Stanford has the type of offense that can grind it out and impose its will on a defense. Stepfan Taylor is 15th in the nation in rushing with 560 yards and five touchdowns. If the Cardinal can consistently block Irish senior stud linebacker Manti Te’o, who has 48 stops, Taylor will have room to run.
If not, it will be business as usual for Te’o and the Irish defense.
No. 3 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0 SEC) at No. 9 LSU Tigers (5-1, 1-1 SEC), Saturday, 8 p.m., ESPN.
Pregame rant: The ol’ ball coach, Steve Spurrier, has the Gamecocks rolling. They’ve won 10 straight games dating back to last season, smashed Georgia by 28 points last week and have given up just six touchdowns in six games.
A loss Saturday to LSU could put an abrupt end to their so far dreamy season. A win will set up a to-good-to-be-true match-up at Spurrier’s former team – No. 4 ranked Florida – next week.
As for this week, South Carolina is facing an LSU offense ranked 76th nationally in total offense. If the Tigers can’t run the ball, it’s going to be a long day for quarterback Zach Mettenberger as the Gamecocks are fourth in the nation in sacks with 25.
No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies (4-1, 2-1 SEC) at No. 23 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (5-0, 0-0 WAC), Saturday, 9 p.m., ESPNU.
Pregame rant: Weeks after having their initial game postponed due to Hurricane Issac, the Aggies and Bulldogs can get it on Saturday.
Truth be told, it’s a better match now than it would have been to open the season. The Bulldogs are unbeaten and the Aggies have won their last four since falling to now No. 4 Florida.
If the Bulldogs can pull off the upset, they’ll be on their way to becoming the Boise State of 2012.
Snooze on these, though.
No. 18 Louisville Cardinals (5-0, 0-0 Big East) at Pittsburgh Panthers (2-3, 0-2 Big East), Saturday, 11 a.m., ESPNU.
Pregame rant: The last time I said this about Pitt, it wound up upsetting Virginia Tech, which was ranked at the time.
With the way the .500 Hokies are playing now, maybe it wasn’t that big of an upset. Regardless, Pitt will have its hands full with the Cardinals, who are coming off a bye week.
Louisville has won its last three games against North Carolina, Florida International and Southern Miss by a total of 16 points. The Cardinals have won close games, but like Virginia Tech, their luck could run out against the Panthers.
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at Missouri Tigers (3-3, 0-3 SEC), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., WSEE (CBS)
Pregame rant: In the SEC, you’re going to get several chances to get major wins because the league is that good. So although Missouri is winless in SEC play, it has a chance to pick up its first SEC win and send shockwaves throughout college football with an upset of the defending national champions.
The Tide are coming off a bye and just licking their chops to remind Missouri it’s now playing in a big-boy league like Georgia did.
Illinois Fighting Illini (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten) at No. 25 Michigan Wolverines (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., WJET (ABC) or ESPN.
Pregame rant: The only reason to watch this game is to see how many yards Heisman Trophy candidate Denard Robinson piles up.
The Illini are a modest 38th in rushing defense. That’s not bad, but their offense is 101st nationally. So if Michigan can force a few 3-and-outs, Robinson will get more than his share of possessions to make plays.
Eventually, he’ll break loose and if it happens early, it will happen often.