The college football season is halfway done. Seven weeks down, seven weeks left (not counting the Army-Navy Game). There are so many more big games to be played, but there is also a growing body of work from various teams and enough games to create a slightly clearer picture of division and conference races. Let’s get an overview of the week that was in college football, focusing on the 10 most important developments throughout the sport in terms of real-world and the NCAA odds.
Georgia Will Win SEC East
This always seemed obvious, but now it’s beyond clear: Top-ranked Georgia is in fact the best team in the SEC East. The Bulldogs will not be caught by anyone else this season. They hammered Kentucky while Florida lost at LSU. Georgia has a one-game lead over Kentucky plus the head-to-head tiebreaker, which means Georgia essentially has a two-game lead in the division. The Dawgs could lose a game and still be in first place in the East, and Kentucky has to win out just to continue to keep pace and have a chance to capitalize. Georgia lost the SEC East to Florida last year but is about to take it back.
Oklahoma a New Team With Williams
The Oklahoma Sooners with Caleb Williams at quarterback, replacing Spencer Rattler, are a completely different team. Those who bet online saw it. No. 3 Oklahoma scored 52 points against TCU on Saturday and delivered the blowout victory many people had been expecting from the Sooners on a relatively regular basis. Oklahoma’s offense has Williams’ rifle arm and noticeable running ability. Williams’ willingness to run the ball makes him doubly hard for defenses. Rattler wasn’t nearly as willing or able to make big plays as a runner. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley was clearly prepared for Williams’ emergence. He is maximizing Williams’ skill set and enabling the Sooner offense to roar. This is the Oklahoma team we thought we were getting at the start of the season.
Pittsburgh Best Team In ACC Coastal
The Pittsburgh Panthers went on the road to Blacksburg, Va., and crushed the Virginia Tech Hokies 28-7. With Miami losing to North Carolina after the Tar Heels lost to Virginia Tech earlier in the season, Pittsburgh has a substantial lead over its nearest pursuers in the Coastal Division. If Pitt can beat Clemson this weekend, it would have a seemingly clear path to the Coastal Division title and a spot in the ACC Championship Game. Speaking of that topic, let’s look at the other half of that possible matchup below.
Wake, N.C. State Prepare For Showdown
Wake Forest and North Carolina State won’t meet for a few more weeks. However, after North Carolina State beat Boston College 33-7 on the road, it is becoming increasingly more likely that when the Demon Deacons meet the Wolfpack in mid-November, that game will be for the ACC Atlantic Division championship and a spot opposite Pitt in the ACC Championship Game. North Carolina State is taking care of business, while Wake Forest keeps winning close games. Those two teams are on a collision course and their game should be one of the more exciting ones of the ACC season. It could also be quite tricky for college football picks.
Iowa Not Ready for Prime Time
The Iowa Hawkeyes beat Penn State a week ago, but Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford was injured in that game. It turns out that Iowa really needed that injury. The Hawkeyes played a full-strength Purdue team in Week 7 and were shredded by the Boilermakers 24-7. Purdue receiver David Bell smoked the Iowa secondary for 240 receiving yards. Iowa never had answers for Bell, but what was even worse was how poorly Iowa’s offense played. The Hawkeyes managed just seven points. They missed a field goal. They turned the ball over in Purdue territory. They could not hit big plays in the passing game. Their offense was horrible, and that offense is likely to cost the Hawkeyes at least one more game, if not more.
Michigan State Continues to Find a Way
It wasn’t pretty, but Michigan State fought past struggling Indiana for a 20-15 win. Michigan State isn’t dominant or overwhelming, but the Spartans haven’t yet fallen off the ledge this season. They are great at surviving. Pretty soon, though, the schedule gets tougher: Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State still await on the schedule.
Arizona State Exposed at Utah
The Pac-12 South Division was Arizona State’s to lose, and on Saturday the Sun Devils very likely lost it. Utah is not a shoo-in for the South title after beating the Sun Devils 35-21, but the Utes certainly gained leverage and the inside track. Utah has to play UCLA later in the season, but even if it loses that game, the Utes still have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Arizona State. ASU led 21-7 at halftime but didn’t show up in the second half, allowing 28 straight points and getting dominated in every facet of competition. It’s a bitter defeat for coach Herman Edwards, who has to be wondering if his job is safe for 2022, given the NCAA investigation into a recruiting scandal in Tempe.
Oklahoma State, Iowa State on Rise
The Oklahoma State Cowboys came from behind on the road to beat Texas 32-24 and stay unbeaten. Iowa State hammered Kansas State 33-20 on the road. The Cowboys and Cyclones meet in Week 8. Last week’s wins make their meeting that much more important as the two sides try to dethrone Oklahoma as Big 12 champion. The Sooners have won six straight conference titles. Baylor in 2014 is the last team other than Oklahoma to win the conference.
Mountain West Conference Up for Grabs
The San Diego State Aztecs remained unbeaten with a 19-13 overtime win at San Jose State, but they didn’t look good. San Diego State scored just six points in regulation and has serious problems with its passing game. Nevada and Fresno State can both beat San Diego State in the Mountain West’s West Division. Meanwhile, the Boise State Broncos just lost to the Air Force Falcons. Boise State is in big trouble in the Mountain Division. Several teams could walk away with the conference title.
UTSA, UTEP Become Big Stories
The Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners and the Texas-El Paso Miners both scored big wins on Saturday. UTSA (7-0) is unbeaten and UTEP is 6-1. Their meeting later in the season could help decide the Conference USA championship .