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Fearless predictions: Week 7

No. 11 Michigan at No. 23 Michigan State (-2.5), 12 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Michigan State has won four straight against the Wolverines. Whether that number goes to five depends on the Spartans ability to contain Denard Robinson. Robinson was a one-man wrecking crew, throwing for 337 yards and two TDs and running for 117 and two scores against Northwestern last Saturday. The Spartans are ranked third in the country in scoring defense, so they should be better equipped to stop Robinson. The Spartans will do the job. Michigan State 31, Michigan 26
Rose’s pick: For those wondering if Michigan is for real and a legitimate threat to win the Big Ten, you’ll get your answer at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Michigan State’s stout defense has the nation’s No. 1 ranking (173.40 yards per game). True, Michigan State hasn’t played a lot of good offenses, but the Spartans held Notre Dame to 275 yards of total offense in a 31-13 loss. The Spartans do have a very solid front four. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is eighth in the country in total offense (341.20 yards per game). Michigan showed a lot by rallying from a 10-point halftime deficit at Northwestern last Saturday night. Michigan State will slow down Robinson just enough to get the victory. Michigan State 27, Michigan 23

No. 20 Baylor at No. 21 Texas A&M (-9), 12 p.m.
Henry’s pick: This it for Baylor, one last shot to prove it is a legit contender for a BCS bowl berth. The problem is the Bears’ 77th ranked defense may not be able to slow down Texas A&M. Robert Griffith III already has 1,520 yards passing and 19 TDs for Baylor. He’ll need to have a 300-plus yard, 4-TD game for Baylor to have a chance to win this one. It will be close, but it’s tough to envision Baylor being able to slow down the Aggies’ two-pronged rushing attack of Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael. Texas A&M 41, Baylor 36
Rose’s pick:
Texas A&M has gotten into some high-scoring games over the past three weeks. In fact, Texas A&M’s defense is ranked 99th in the nation. This week quarterback Robert Griffin III and the high-powered Baylor offense comes to town. The Bears are third nationally in total offense, averaging 562.80 yards per game. Griffin has 18 touchdowns and just 20 incompletions in five games. Texas A&M’s offense is ranked 12th in total offense nationally, so the Aggies can score. The real question is whether Texas A&M’s defense can slow down Griffin enough to win the game. Texas A&M got a good win at Texas Tech last week and played Oklahoma State and Arkansas very tough. Baylor’s other road game was a loss at Kansas State. Texas A&M 40, Baylor 38

No. 1 LSU at Tennessee (+16), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Tennessee will play with a tremendous amount of pride. But that pride might get the Vols through the first quarter. After that it will be all about LSU QB Jarrett Lee and RB Spencer Ware. And we can’t forget about former LSU QB Jordan Jefferson. Jefferson will wear many hats in the LSU offense the rest of the way. Jefferson completed 3 of 4 passes for 61 yards and a score and carried 4 times for 7 yards. LSU will dominate the Vols in a big way. LSU 38, Tennessee 13
Rose’s pick
: Playing LSU’s defense is tough enough. The Vols, however, will go up against one of the nation’s best defenses without starting quarterback Tyler Bray, who is out with a broken thumb on his throwing hand. The Tigers have had no problems going on the road this season and winning at tough venues. Tennessee needed to beat Georgia last week to build some momentum, but didn’t. The Vols will fall to 0-3 in the SEC because LSU’s defense is really good and the offense is playing very well. LSU 34, Tennessee 6

No. 6 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Texas (+7.5), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Texas is still likely to be smarting from that 55-17 thrashing against Oklahoma last week. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, things could get worse. Oklahoma State is averaging over 577 yards per game. It’s unlikely that Texas will be able to slow down Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden. With Weeden feeling it, whoever is running the show for Texas –Case McCoy or David Ash– better not miss. One or two mistakes could lead to an avalanche of points for Oklahoma State. Chances are they will miss. Oklahoma State 43, Texas 22
Rose’s pick: Texas must recover quickly from the 55-17 beating by Oklahoma because Oklahoma State also is a high-scoring offensive machine. The Cowboys have the second-best offense in the nation, averaging 577.40 yards per game. That’s actually better than Oklahoma’s numbers. I liked how Oklahoma State rallied from a big deficit to win at Texas A&M a few weeks back. The Cowboys have that tough road win before making the trip to Austin. Texas is talented, but young. Oklahoma State is a veteran group that is on a collision course with Oklahoma for the Dec. 3 showdown. Oklahoma’s Landry Jones had a big day throwing the ball against Texas and Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden could have an equally strong game. Oklahoma State 38, Texas 16

Ohio State at No. 16 Illinois (-4), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: This will be a trick game for Illinois. Everything points to the Fighting Illini finally overcoming the Buckeyes in Champaign for the first time since 1991. Problem for Illinois is it hasn’t developed the consistency you’d like to see in a real contender. One week they look like world beaters (see a 41-20 win over Indiana), but another week they look like a middle-of-the-pack team. It took some late heroics to get by Arizona State, Western Michigan and Northwestern. All three games were played in Champaign. Illinois will use its potent rushing attack (226.2 ypg) to run away from Ohio State. Illinois 24, Ohio State 16
Rose’s pick
: Illinois is 6-0 and definitely looking like a contender in the Big Ten. Ohio State is fresh off a second-half collapse at Nebraska. The Buckeyes were up 27-6 in the third quarter, but lost 34-27. The good news is that quarterback Braxton Miller is expected to be back this week. Miller injured his ankle against Nebraska and the Ohio State offense stalled in his absence. Ohio State’s offense definitely showed some life last week with Miller and running back Dan Herron is due back from suspension. Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins has been spectacular this season. He has 46 catches for 815 yards and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is racking up 264 yards of total offense per game. Plus, the Illinois defense is 15th nationally in total defense. I think Ohio State comes out fired up. A loss to Illinois drops the Buckeyes under .500 overall and keeps them winless in the Big Ten. But Illinois has too much and wins at home. Illinois 27, Ohio State 17

No. 19 Virginia Tech at Wake Forest (+7), 6 p.m.
Henry’s pick: No one figured this to be a big game this season. It is now. It’s a huge game for the Demon Deacons, who need a win to keep pace with Clemson in the ACC Atlantic. The Hokies also need the win to stay within shouting distance of Georgia Tech. The difference in this game will be Virginia Tech’s stout defense against Wake Forest’s shaky running game. The Hokies weren’t great defensively in their 38-35 win over Miami last week, but that won’t carry over into this one, especially if QB Logan Thomas does anything close to what he did against Miami. He completed 23 of 25 passes for 310 yards and three TDs. Virginia Tech 27, Wake Forest 21
Rose’s pick:
Wake Forest is 3-0 in the ACC for the first time in school history. The Demon Deacons are coming off a nice win at home over Florida State. The Hokies got shutdown in a 23-3 loss to Clemson two weeks ago, but rebounded with a 38-35 win over Miami (Fla.) last week. Wake Forest is 18th nationally with 304 passing yards per game. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Price has thrown for 1,352 with 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Virginia Tech’s pass defense is 41st in the country (207 yards per game). Wake Forest has allowed 12 sacks in five games so Virginia Tech will have an opportunity to pressure Price. Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas had a breakout game last week, completing 23 of 25 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns. Virginia Tech’s defense and the emergence of Thomas will be enough to win in Winston-Salem. Virginia Tech 24, Wake Forest 17

No. 8 Clemson at Maryland (+7.5), 7 p.m.
Henry’s pick: With 1,742 yards and 15 TD passes from QB Tajh Boyd on the season, Clemson shouldn’t have a problem moving the ball against the Terrapins. There’s the matter of Boyd’s hip, but chances are he’ll play. And don’t worry about Clemson on the road, because the Tigers crushed Virginia Tech in its only road game this season. Expect more of the same on Saturday, especially with Maryland’s non-existent offense. The Terrapins scored just seven points against Temple on September 24 and only 16 points last week in a loss at Georgia Tech. Clemson 24, Maryland 12
Rose’s pick
: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd suffered a hip injury in last week’s win over Boston College, but is practicing this week and appears likely to play on Saturday night. Boyd has thrown for 1,742 yards and 15 touchdowns. Freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins continues to impress with 38 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns. Maryland defends the pass pretty well (210.8 yards per game) and has allowed only one touchdown. The Terps, however, may have a quarterback controversy brewing after starter Danny O’Brien was benched last week. Clemson’s 6-0 start is the program’s best since 2000. Clemson may lose a game along the way, but it won’t be in College Park. Clemson 27, Maryland 16

No. 17 Kansas State at Texas Tech (-3), 7 p.m.
Henry’s pick: There are still some who are not convinced Kansas State is a BCS-bowl caliber squad. They’ll get a chance to prove all the doubters wrong on Saturday. But that will only happen if the Wildcats can slow down Texas Tech’s offense. The Red Raiders are averaging 45.8 points per game. Tech has scored 40 or more points in four of its five games. Seth Doege has 1,706 yards passing, 17 TDs to just one interception. Can’t see the Wildcats pulling one out on the road against such a high powered offense. Texas Tech 37, Kansas State 29
Rose’s pick
: Kansas State is unbeaten and ranked, but will be the underdog in Lubbock. Texas Tech has a high-flying offense: ranked sixth nationally in passing offense (354.60) and eighth nationally in scoring (45.80 points per game). Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege has thrown for 1,706 yards and 17 touchdowns (with just one interception). Kansas State is ranked 17th nationally in total defense (298.80 yards per game). The Wildcats are also averaging 208.60 rushing yards per game. Texas Tech likes an up-tempo game, while Kansas State wants to slow it down and grind it out. Kansas State has had some nice wins this season, but needed a late interception to beat Baylor and held on last week to beat Missouri. Texas Tech 30, Kansas State 24

Florida at No. 24 Auburn (+2), 7 p.m.
Henry’s pick: There were some who though Auburn was back on track after a 16-13 win at South Carolina two weeks ago. The Tigers came back to earth last week after a 38-14 beating at the hands of Arkansas. There is also the matter of Auburn’s disappearing offense. The Tigers have scored 30 points in their last two games. Part of that is due to the poor play by QB Barrett Trotter. Florida’s offense has been worse. To be fair, the Gators are fresh off back-to-back games against Alabama and LSU. Florida also has a quarterback question. Will Jacoby Brissett get the nod or Jeff Driskel? The Gators’ issues at QB will cancel out any problems Auburn has at QB. Auburn 22, Florida 13
Rose’s pick
: Florida got beat up pretty good against Alabama and LSU. This week’s game at Auburn is going to be another tough one. The Gators scored just 21 combined points in the losses to Alabama and LSU. Auburn’s defense is ranked 105th nationally so Florida should generate some much-needed offense. It’s uncertain which true freshman quarterback Florida will start – Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel. One thing Florida definitely needs to do is re-establish its running game with Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. The Gators had 128 rushing yards combined in the losses to Alabama and LSU. Auburn head coach Gene Chizik appears to be going with embattled starter Barrett Trotter again this week. Auburn’s strength is its running game. Florida, however, is only giving up 115 rushing yards per game. Florida 23, Auburn 20

No. 18 Arizona State at No. 9 Oregon (-16), 10:15 p.m.
Henry’s pick: If LaMichael James (dislocated elbow) can’t play, Oregon will have a big problem. Arizona State’s offense (35.3 ppg) is just too potent to deal with if an opponent can’t move the ball. The Sun Devils also play good enough defense (19.5 ppg) to hang with most teams. Outside of 30 points the Sun Devils gave up in a 37-30 OT win over Missouri, it’s been tough to hit pay dirt against them. If James (852 yards rushing, 8 TDs) doesn’t play, Arizona State will roll. Even with James, this game has upset written all over it. Arizona State 24, Oregon 23
Rose’s pick: The big question heading into this Pac-12 showdown is whether Oregon star running back LaMichael James will play. James dislocated his right elbow in a win over California last Thursday night. The good news for the Ducks is that Kenjon Barner or De’Anthony Thomas are more than suitable substitutes for James. Plus, quarterback Darron Thomas is a good running threat and has 15 touchdown passes. Arizona State is a dangerous team and unbeaten in the Pac-12. The Sun Devils have just one loss (a 17-14 setback at Illinois) and wins over USC, Missouri and Utah. Quarterback Brock Osweiler has been solid this season with 1,677 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. Oregon’s pass defense isn’t great (230.80 yards per game). This game will be close. But I don’t see Oregon losing at home. Oregon 40, Arizona State 30
 

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