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College Football Picks 2019: Week Seven

Current Picks Record: 32-16 (3-4 Upset)
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
(#7) Florida Gators @ (#5) LSU Tigers
One week after a huge victory over Auburn at home, Florida must now go on the road and square off with a flaming hot LSU squad. It will be the toughest test of the 2019 season to this point for the Gators, particularly for their offense. While backup quarterback Kyle Trask has been impressive filling in as starter, he has not faced a defense with the speed and playmaking LSU has, particularly on the back-end. Trask will have to face down a secondary that includes Grant Delpit, Kristian Fulton and true freshman Derek Stingley, who has lived up to all the hype surrounding him when he came to Baton Rouge. The Gators have gotten quality production from their wide outs, particularly Van Jefferson and Freddie Swain, who has terrific against Auburn. They'll have to step up and open things up, but expect Dan Mullen to lean on the short-passing attack and the ground game early on. Lamical Perine has been very good, but UF is still going to have to work for every yard. The good news is that the Florida defense is playing at an insane rate right now and completely flummoxed Bo Nix last Saturday. Sure, Joe Burrow and this LSU offense is also rolling at the moment, currently leading FBS football with 54.6 points per game. Burrow has dissected opposing defenses with ease, and it helps that he has some real star power on the outside, including Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and Terrace Marshall Jr. Watching this pass offense go up against the Florida secondary should be worth watching itself. C.J. Henderson and Marco Wilson are both fully healthy at cornerback, while junior Shawn Davis already has three interceptions on the season. This is a matchup that has been a physical, low-scoring affair in the past, but LSU's offensive revolution should really add some intrigue. It will be fascinating to watch how Mullen and UF defensive coordinator Todd Grantham try to contain this aerial offense. The Tigers will have to answer some questions themselves, chief among them: can the offensive line contain a potent Gator pass rush? Jonathan Greenard, Jabari Zuniga and Jeremiah Moon provide relentless pressure, and the LSU offensive front hasn't faced a challenge quite like it in 2019. With that being said, I find it difficult to pick Florida to go on the road and beat this Tiger team. It is their second Top 10 battle in as many weeks, and LSU just seems overpowering at this juncture. I expect them to add to their Playoff resume with a quality victory here.
The Pick: LSU, 35 Florida, 26

(#6) Oklahoma Sooners vs. (#11) Texas Longhorns
The Oklahoma-Texas rivalry has long defined the Big 12, and it once again appears to be the most important game of the conference once again in 2019. Oklahoma enters the matchup undefeated, although they haven't beat anyone of note at this point. Jalen Hurts has been nothing short of terrific, tallying nearly 2,000 yards of total offense and 21 touchdowns. It's hard to imagine him slowing down in this one; while the Texas secondary has loads of talent, it is still incredibly youthful and could have a tough time slowing down this Lincoln Riley offense. Not only will the Sooners feature Hurts, but they have loads of weapons surrounding the Alabama transfer. A three-headed monster at running back (Trey Sermon, Kennedy Brooks, Rhamondre Stevenson) should be able to run all over a beat-up Texas defensive front. On the outside, CeeDee Lamb, Charleston Rambo and true freshman Jadon Hasselwood will aid a unit averaging over 53 points per game. Longhorn DC Todd Orlando is going to have to do something unique to slow down this group, especially with how much Longhorns will be on the sideline for this game. The good news is that Texas should be able to keep up offensively, behind the arm of Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger played superb in this Red River rivalry a year ago, and has already proven he can outplay outstanding defenses, throwing for over 400 yards against LSU earlier on in the year. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the weapons around him that Hurts has, with a beat-up running back situation and a good, but not great, receiver corps. Keontay Ingram could find some gaping holes against an up-and-down Oklahoma defense, and Devin Duvarney will be a factor on the outside. However, this Sooners' defense has looked much improved throughout the 2019 campaign. Granted, they haven't faced elite offenses, but it is still reassuring that they're allowing just 19 points per game on the year. They will have to find a way to slow down the dual threat abilities of Ehlinger, as he killed them at times in last year's duel. Either way, I fully expect this game to still be high-scoring and back-and-forth. Both of these offenses know how to move the ball, and this game features two of the better quarterbacks in collegiate football. This rivalry has also been very competitive, even during UT's recent downturn this past decade. I think this will be a thriller, but the Sooners have to be the smart money. They have a better offense and better health overall, which should be the deciding factor.
The Pick: Oklahoma, 44 Texas, 38

(#10) Penn State Nittany Lions @ (#17) Iowa Hawkeyes
Going into Kinnick Stadium at night is always going to signal an upset watch, and Penn State could certainly be in trouble this upcoming Saturday night. That isn't to say that the Nittany Lions aren't a very strong team, sitting at 5-0 with two dominant victories in their first two Big Ten games. After some early struggles, QB Sean Clifford has played very good football, showing an excellent command of the PSU offense. He is also helped by an offense that has a plethora of weapons, both at running back and at receiver. Journey Brown, Devyn Ford and Noah Cain can all open things up on the ground, and the depth at the position allows them to rotate often and stay fresh. They won't get anything easy against a physical and ferocious Iowa defensive front, but I still expect Penn State to find success on the ground. What will really help the ground attack is K.J. Hamler, who can give defenses real headaches with his game-breaking speed. He's the type of player that could break a game wide open, especially if things stay close deep into the fourth quarter, which I firmly expect them to. While the offense is humming, it seems that the even bigger strength so far for the Nittany Lions has been an aggressive, talented defense. The PSU pass rush has been especially productive, thanks to Yetur Gross-Matos (five sacks), Shaka Toney (five sacks) and Ellis Brooks (three). It could have a real field day in this game, going up against a Hawkeye offensive line that surrendered eight sacks this past weekend to Michigan. That is the biggest mismatch of the game, but the rest of the Penn State defense is going to have to show up. While Iowa QB Nate Stanley isn't a superstar, he has played a lot of Big Ten football, and I think he'll find a way to get this offense going. The Hawkeyes also feature a strong rushing attack, that includes Mekhi Sargent and Toren Young. While PSU can get after the opposing quarterback, I'm not sure if they can completely contain the run. Talent-wise, I do believe that Penn State has an advantage in that department. Yet, you have to factor in the Kinnick factor whenever assessing an Iowa night game. The Hawkeyes came within a hair of beating PSU in 2017, which was a better Nittany Lion team (hello, Saquon Barkley!). I think this could end up being a low-scoring, sloppy duel between long-time Big Ten foes. I think Iowa does just enough on offense to pull off another upset in front of their home crowd.
The Pick: Iowa, 24 Penn State, 21

Other Picks
(#1) Alabama @ (24) Texas A&M: Alabama, 42 Texas A&M, 21
USC @ (#9) Notre Dame: Notre Dame, 31 USC, 27
Hawai'i @ (#14) Boise State: Boise State, 37 Hawai'i, 31
Michigan State @ (#8) Wisconsin: Wisconsin, 23 Michigan State, 14
Upset: Temple, 28 Memphis, 27

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