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College Football Picks 2021: Week Seven

Bijan Robinson, Texas


Current Picks Record: 35-19

Upset: 3-3

Superdogs: 5-1


(#11) Kentucky Wildcats @ (#1) Georgia Bulldogs

The SEC East is on the line this weekend, as the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs welcome the SEC's biggest surprise, Kentucky. The Wildcats are 6-0 and eager to secure their first victory over a No. 1 overall team since 2007, when they toppled LSU. Georgia has become the National Title favorite, but they still have injury concerns on both sides of the ball.

After missing the last few weeks due to injury, the expectation is that QB J.T. Daniels will be back and ready to go for the Bulldogs. Although backup Stetson Bennett has filled in admirably, Daniels give this Georgia offense a different element down the field. The Bulldog receiver corps has also been beat up for most of the season, but that has allowed new faces to shine through. Tight end Brock Bowers has emerged as one of the best true freshmen in the nation, Ladd McConkey has been a revelation and when healthy, Jermaine Burton is an All-SEC wide out. One pass-catcher to watch in this one is tight end Darnell Washington, who made his season debut against Auburn last weekend. The 6'7" monster tight end is a complete matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and Kentucky has absolutely nobody on their defense that can hang with him. I'll be curious to see how Georgia chooses to use his services in this game. Of course, the Bulldog rushing attack will also test the Wildcats, even if this defense has put up good numbers against the run in 2021. UGA can rotate in four different tailbacks without much drop-off between them in Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh, and Kendall Milton. In a college football landscape where transfers have become the norm, it really is impressive how this staff has managed to keep that quartet together and humming along. Although there's not a true superstar of the four, it may be one of the most talented backfields in recent college football history.

Kentucky has long played tough defense under head coach Mark Stoops, but the reason for their jump this fall has been a vastly improved offense, all thanks to new OC Liam Coen. Coen still leans heavily on a physical rushing attack, like his predecessors before him under Stoops, but his offense has introduced more flow and creativity than past Wildcat units. It also helps that there are some legitimately fun players to watch on this offense, including Nebraska transfer Wan'Dale Robinson and powerful tailback Christopher Rodriguez Jr. Rodriguez has been a workhorse all season, with 768 yards on 120 attempts so far, but he has yet to face a defensive front like Georgia's. The Bulldogs are fast, athletic and deep, with All-American defensive tackle Jordan Davis headlining their rush defense. The fact of the matter is, Kentucky is going to have to throw the ball more in this game than their past six. Will Levis has been an improvement over what UK trotted out last season, but he's been awfully inconsistent. It doesn't help that the Georgia secondary is also getting back to full strength, as star safety Tykee Smith made his debut last week and is nearing 100 percent. There's still a chance Kentucky could strike a few deep and Robinson's explosiveness will be huge, but I'm not sure who UGA fears on the perimeter beyond him. Senior Josh Ali, who is just behind Robinson in every major receiving category, is not expected to play in this game. That means UK is going to have to create some magic against a dominant defense without a key piece to the puzzle. It's a lot to ask, even with the job Coen has done since taking over play-calling in Lexington.

2021 is starting to feel like 2007 again with all the chaos and intrigue that has occurred in college football this season. Does that mean Kentucky will repeat history and topple a No. 1 team again? This team will be a tough out, but I just don't see how they go into Sanford Stadium and come out victorious. The Bulldogs have just been so good this year, and it's likely they'll only get better as they become healthier. The Wildcats put up a fight, but they're no match over four quarters.

The Pick: Georgia, 34 Kentucky, 20


(#12) Oklahoma State Cowboys @ (#25) Texas Longhorns

One week after a heart-wrenching loss to Oklahoma in the Red River Showdown, Texas welcomes the other Oklahoma school to Austin in a comeback spot. On the other hand, Oklahoma State is 5-0 and hoping to truly assert themselves as a Big 12 Title frontrunner. They have two consecutive wins against Top 25 teams and would love to add one more against the Longhorns.

Although they may have come up short against OU, there is no question that Texas' offense did their job, tallying 48 points. Since taking over starting quarterback duties for Hudson Card, Casey Thompson has been tremendous, showcasing an impressive command of the offense and real confidence throwing the ball. It also helps that he just happens to have one of college football's best players with him in the backfield, as Bijan Robinson continues to awe. With that being said, those two could be in for a challenge against Oklahoma State's defense. This is not the Mike Gundy defenses of old; this may be the best defensive group in the Big 12. They have good size and discipline in the front seven and are led by one of the nation's top linebackers in Malcolm Rodriguez. This Cowboys team plays significantly more physical than past editions, which could be a real test for Texas. The last time they faced a defense similar to this was against Arkansas, when they couldn't get anything going offensively (albeit with a different QB). It doesn't help UT that they lost their top wide out, Jordan Whittington, who is likely done for the year. Whittington was the type of do-it-all wide receiver that every offense covets, but his absence means increased opportunities for Xavier Worthy and veteran Joshua Moore. Worthy has possibly been the best true freshman receiver in the country, but Moore has to show up after a quiet start to the 2021 campaign. 

It's hard to know what to expect from this Oklahoma State offense week-in, week-out. This is a program known for explosive offenses, but they just haven't shown up this year. Veteran quarterback Spencer Sanders missed the start of the season and since returning, has been good, but far from great. He has a huge arm that should test the Longhorn secondary over-the-top, but turnovers and accuracy issues continue to persist. It doesn't help that his receiver corps has been banged up all year, resulting in the lack of a true No. 1, although a healthy Tay Martin is likely the player that strikes the most fear into UT DC Pete Kwiatkowski. It's likely the Cowboys lean heavily on the ground attack, as Jaylen Warren has been one of the Big 12's biggest surprises. He has 512 yards and six touchdowns on the year and after Kennedy Brooks ran all over Texas last week, there should be plenty of space for him to work with. In general, I'm really curious to see how the Longhorn defense responds after the way they played in the second half last Saturday. It wasn't just one particular unit or group that had a bad end to the game; the D-Line couldn't get pressure, the linebacker group was gouged by the run, and the secondary let up a bunch of huge plays. This Cowboy offense is not as good as Oklahoma's is at full strength, but they can still move the ball.

Oklahoma State has been a good story in 2021, winning a bunch of close games and transforming the program's identity. But I think the undefeated season comes to a close this weekend. I'm not sure if they have the offensive firepower to keep up with Texas, even if they're able to slow down Bijan. Casey Thompson's continued emergence makes the Longhorns extremely dangerous and the defense doesn't even have to play particularly well to get the job done.

The Pick: Texas, 37 Oklahoma State, 27


TCU Horned Frogs @ (#4) Oklahoma Sooners

After their thrilling win last Saturday, could Oklahoma be in for a letdown spot against a sneaky TCU team? It's happened before and even in Norman, the Sooners need to be on upset alert against the Horned Frogs.

The biggest question for the Sooners starts at the game's most important position: has Caleb Williams officially supplanted Spencer Rattler as the starting QB? Lincoln Riley has shied away from officially naming who will start this weekend, even going as far as cancelling all media availability for the week. However, you would assume that Williams will be the guy going forward after what he did last Saturday, leading a Sooner offense that has all the tools to be dominant. It also helps that Oklahoma appeared to find their ground game a week ago, as Kennedy Brooks played tremendously. When 100 percent, Brooks is among the most talented backs anywhere in the nation, and he'll be a real problem for a TCU rush defense that is far below past Gary Patterson units. The Horned Frog secondary is talented, but it will be interesting to see how they fare against this Oklahoma receiver group. Marvin Mims had a real coming out party against Texas, but he's only one of a loaded corps that includes Drake Stoops, Theo Wease, Jadon Hasselwood, and dynamo Mario Williams. Williams was pretty quiet last weekend, but he's the type of playmaker that can break open games. I have a feeling that Riley and the rest of the offensive staff will work to get him the ball on Saturday.

The TCU offense has put up solid numbers this year, but they are fairly one-dimensional, relying heavily on the ground attack. It's understandable why that is; sophomore back Zach Evans is one of the most talented anywhere in the nation and has four straight games with over 100 yards. However, Evans is listed as questionable for this one after taking a beating against Texas Tech, which could really spell trouble for the Horned Frogs. Backup Kendre Miller has been a great story this fall, but he simply isn't the type of game-changer that Evans is. Quarterback Max Duggan is a dangerous dual threat who has shown improved passing numbers this fall, with a higher completion percentage and a cut in turnovers. But, is Duggan going to be able to take advantage of a shaky Oklahoma secondary? TCU has never leaned on him to throw the ball consistently but this is the type of game you'd like a veteran QB to show up in. He does have some interesting weapons to work with, including versatile Taye Barber and rock-solid Derius Davis, but there's concerns here as well. Home run threat Quentin Johnston missed the Texas Tech game and is also listed as questionable. Without him, TCU might not have the down-the-field playmaking to keep up with the Sooners.

If this was a road game for Oklahoma after the emotional win over Texas, I would really like TCU's upset potential. This is a good football team with veteran experience across the offense, but the defense has been killed by the big play all season. It's tough to imagine them going into Norman, with both Evans and Johnston hurt, and coming away with a Top 5 win.

The Pick: Oklahoma, 41 TCU, 24


Other Picks

(#19) BYU, 28 Baylor, 24 -- Even though this is a road game for BYU, I really like their chances. The offense should be able to find its rhythm after a down week and the defense is better than what they showed against Boise. They win the Jeff Grimes bowl this year (Grimes was the BYU OC last fall, now currently in the same position at Baylor).

(#13) Ole Miss, 49 Tennessee, 38 -- The scoreboard operators are going to be busy in this one. Both offenses are absolutely flaming hot entering Saturday, but Matt Corral gives Ole Miss the clear edge.

(#5) Alabama, 35 Mississippi State, 20 -- The Tide have plenty to figure out on both sides of the ball, but I don't see them dropping to another unranked SEC West foe. Mississippi State has no answer for Jameson Williams and John Metchie on the perimeter.

(#3) Cincinnati, 34 UCF, 17 -- Prior to the season, UCF looked like Cincinnati's greatest threat inside the ACC. But, that was before the Knights lost star QB Dillon Gabriel, which has left their offense searching for answers. It's hard to see them scoring enough to pull off the massive upset at this spot.

Upset: Utah, 28 Arizona State, 23 -- Since making the change to Cam Rising at quarterback, Utah's offense has looked significantly improved. They're a tough out no matter what, but in Salt Lake City? This feels like a classic "Pac-12 After Dark" upset.

Superdog (covers > 21 spread): UL-Monroe (+32.5) vs. Liberty -- I was successful in picking Louisiana-Monroe as a superdog earlier in the year against Troy and I like them to cover in this one. Liberty has one of the nation's best QBs in Malik Willis, but what are the other offensive pieces that scare you? The Warhawks will lose, but that's a big number.

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