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Ken said:
Yeah, we've both had our share of hope and disappointment in this game. Let's just hope for a good b...
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College Football 2021: Week 7 Recap and Week 8 Preview
Monday, 2021 October 18 - 2:49 pm
Michigan and Penn State were on bye; N.C. State wins. Also, #2 Iowa falls in a big upset.

N.C. State 33, Boston College 7
This one was a slog, as expected, with NCSU only rushing for 130 yards while BC managed just 85 at 2.8 YPC. The game was just 10-7 at the half as both teams struggled to move the ball after opening touchdowns.

NCSU exploded in the third quarter, though, after returning a fumble for a touchdown, then getting an interception to set up another touchdown drive, and then getting a three-and-out to set up yet another touchdown on a 79-yard pass. Those sequences effectively ended the game. We're starting to see a little more consistency in the NCSU defense, which is encouraging, and having a couple of playmakers at receiver is helpful for when the running game bogs down.

Now sitting at 5-1, NCSU has six very winnable games remaining, and... wow: it's not out of the question that State could win the ACC outright. I think the loss for Mississippi State and the relative weakness of the ACC schedule probably means the CFP is unlikely, but who knows the way this season is going. On the other hand, the remaining games aren't cupcakes either. I've talked to a few State fans who are just waiting for the inevitable dumb loss that sends the season down the drain, and I gotta say, I get it; we've yet to see the kind of steady and dominant play that defines a conference champion. So I guess we'll have to just wait and see.

#18 N.C. State at Miami, 7:30 PM ESPN2
It's certainly a down year for Miami; they're sitting at 2-4 and giving up 30 points per game on defense. They've lost some close ones though, so the team is not without talent. But Miami's starting QB from the beginning of the season, D'Eriq King, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, so Tyler Van Dyke has been playing for the last few games. It hasn't been a huge drop-off, but he's completing just 52.3% of his passes with two touchdowns and three interceptions, so he's perhaps not the best quarterback NCSU will face this year. Adding to Miami's woes, leading running back Cam'Ron Harris is also out for the season, having suffered a knee injury last week. The Miami starting center, starting left guard, and backup RB are also out for the year.

Meanwhile the defense is young and it shows, with tackling being a problem. The safeties are both true freshmen. Expect Miami to have a lot of problems if the NCSU tailbacks make it to the second level.

It's a night game in Miami, and the crowd will be raucous at the start. It'll be important for NCSU to be steady early and avoid turnovers. I think in the end, State simply has better athletes on both sides of the ball.

Prediction: N.C. State 48, Miami 29.

#6 Michigan vs. Northwestern, 12:00 PM Fox
By all accounts, Northwestern seems like a very bad team this year. They're giving up 411 yards per game on defense. They look slow and unathletic. This ought to be a chance for Michigan to feast.

And yet.

Northwestern is coming off a 21-7 win over Rutgers, You know, the same Rutgers team that Michigan beat 20-13. I'm not saying that Northwestern is better than Michigan, but it just goes to show you, you can't take a week off in the Big Ten, and Michigan can't get caught looking ahead to Michigan State. What worries me is that I expect Michigan to lean heavily on the running game, which could mean a lower-scoring affair that gives Northwestern a chance if a few weird plays go their way.

Then again, Nebraska just crushed these guys 56-7 two weeks ago.

If the universe is operating correctly, Michigan will have both Corum and Haskins rush for over a hundred yards, and defense will completely stifle the NU offense, and we'll be in for a comfortable and boring win. We all know the universe does not always operate correctly, but let's go with it.

Prediction: Michigan 51, Northwestern 10.

#7 Penn State vs. Illinois, 12:00 PM ABC
Okay, even more so than Northwestern, Illinois is a bad team. Coming off a 24-0 pasting by Wisconsin where they just managed 93 (!) yards of offense, this does not look like a team that can do anything offensively. Yes, they beat Nebraska in week 1, but that certainly seems like a fluke. Their only other win this season was against Charlotte.

With starting quarterback (and Michigan transfer) Brandon Peters out with yet another injury, Illinois is trying to find offense behind backup Artur Sitkowski, and... that is not going so well. If Peters is out, it probably doesn't even matter if Sean Clifford is available. I would expect him to be held out of this game, to make sure he's available for Ohio State, and to get more game snaps for backup Ta'Quan Roberson.

It might not be the prettiest game, but it's possible (maybe even probable) that the Penn State defense will outscore the Illinois offense.

Prediction: Penn State 31, Illinois 0.

Notable Results
Well, Iowa, how the turntables... #2 Iowa was beaten thoroughly and definitively, 24-7, by lowly Purdue, who is... maybe not as lowly as we thought? Suddenly Iowa no longer controls its own destiny in the Big Ten West, and is almost certainly going to be left out of the CFP even if it wins out. It was a bad loss: bad for Iowa, bad for Penn State, bad for the Big Ten. The Big Ten West race, while lacking the fireworks of the East, is still going to be intriguing down the stretch, with even Northwestern and Wisconsin (1-2 in conference play) still having a shot to win it.

#9 Oregon needed a late comeback to beat a bad Cal team, 24-17. Oregon beat Ohio State to open the season, so if Oregon is bad, that's some hope that perhaps Ohio State isn't as unbeatable as they've looked lately.

#1 Georgia beat pesky #11 Kentucky 30-13, thanks in large part to limiting Kentucky to 51 yards rushing. #10 Michigan State struggled to beat Indiana, despite being outgained on the day. MSU only had 100 rushing yards on 35 attempts. If not for three Indiana turnovers, this game could easily have gone the other way. #12 Oklahoma State remains unbeaten; they knocked off #25 Texas 32-24. #23 Arkansas was upset by Auburn 38-23. #20 Florida was upset by LSU 49-42; that wasn't enough to save coach Ed Orgeron's job, as LSU announced he would be out after this season.

Minnesota beat Nebraska 30-23. Nebraska just keeps finding ways to lose. Wisconsin struggled to beat Army 20-14; as Michigan well knows, Army can be a nightmare with their option offense and proclivity for low-scoring games.

Games to Watch on TV
Michigan and Penn State both play at noon, on Fox and ABC respectively. Not many national games of interest are on at noon.

At 3:00 PM, Wisconsin plays newly-ranked #25 Purdue on BTN, in what could be a decent game. At 3:30 PM, #10 Oregon plays UCLA on ABC; with Oregon's struggles of late, that could be interesting. Clemson plays #23 Pitt on ESPN; Clemson is an underdog here, and that seems weird.

At 7:30 PM, the #18 N.C. State at Miami game is on ESPN2. #13 Notre Dame plays USC on NBC. USC has struggled, but this famous rivalry is always interesting, and Notre Dame could be vulnerable. Ohio State plays Indiana on ABC; that should be a thrashing, though.
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