The college football regular season will be halfway over when this week is complete. Week 14 is reserved for conference title games and Week 15 belongs to Army vs. Navy. The season is flying by and hopefully you’ve gotten a lot of good nuggets from us here at VSiN.
We have some good ones to share this week, including some intriguing situational spots. Some teams are in tough spots as they’re dealing with quarterback injuries, and some games have been made trickier by the schedule.
Here are some games to think about for Week 7:
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at Marshall Thundering Herd (-10.5, 47.5)
Weeknight #FunBelt action returns this week with Louisiana and Marshall. Neither team has played since Oct. 1, so they are on equal footing from a rest standpoint, but this is Marshall’s first season in the Sun Belt Conference, so it’s far from accustomed to these weekday matchups. Louisiana played four games on either Tuesday or Thursday last season and a Wednesday game against Coastal Carolina in 2020. College athletes aren’t the same creatures of habit that NFLers are, but it is still a unique scenario.
Navy Midshipmen at SMU Mustangs (-13.5, 57.5)
Will SMU be able to get back on track as a two-touchdown favorite against Navy? The Middies just scored a huge blowout win over Tulsa on the heels of an emotionally-draining 13-10 loss to Air Force in the first leg of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy series. SMU looked ill-prepared for UCF after the game was moved from Saturday to Wednesday because of Hurricane Ian. The Mustangs have dropped three in a row and have some players sitting out to preserve a year of eligibility, which could be a sign of what’s happening with the transition from Sonny Dykes to Rhett Lashlee. With Cincinnati on deck, there are a lot of factors working against SMU in a big favorite role.
North Carolina Tar Heels (-7, 67.5) at Duke Blue Devils
The Victory Bell has been spray-painted Carolina Blue each of the last three seasons, and the last two games have been blowouts. North Carolina has won the last two meetings 94-31, so Duke has triple revenge and will look to erase a lot of embarrassment, including the 56-24 loss in Durham back in 2020. Before that, Duke had won three of the last four at Wallace Wade Stadium. Regardless of the result, Duke is probably a fade next week at Miami. North Carolina has a bye next week.
Northern Illinois Huskies at Eastern Michigan Eagles (-2.5, 66)
Ohio Bobcats at Western Michigan Broncos (-1, 60)
The first leg of the Michigan MAC Trophy series went to the Eagles last week by a resounding score of 45-23 against Western Michigan. Eastern Michigan is in a tricky spot here against Northern Illinois off of that win. The Huskies have lost four in a row and just lost 52-32 to Toledo with two pick-sixes for the Rockets. Desperation may very well set in for the Huskies here, who have not beaten an FBS opponent this season.
On the other side of the Michigan MAC rivalry, Western Michigan got blown out by EMU last week. QB Jack Salopek wasn’t very good and neither was the defense. Western Michigan has allowed at least 30 points to all five FBS opponents this season and now faces an Ohio team that can put up points with the best of them. I always look for hangover spots in these small-conference rivalries. Trophies and hardware for conferences, divisions and rivalries are the only goals that these programs can have, so they mean a lot.
New Mexico Lobos (-6.5, 37.5) at New Mexico State Aggies
The Rio Grande Rivalry pits the two teams from the Land of Enchantment head-to-head on an annual basis. The schools are connected by I-25 and a lot of history. This is the 112th meeting between these teams, and New Mexico has won three in a row. New Mexico is 7-5 in the last 12 installments, but the Lobos have dominated since the ’70s. Maybe New Mexico State was guilty of looking ahead in its 21-7 home loss to Florida International, but you can see why New Mexico is nearly a touchdown favorite here. This is New Mexico State’s Super Bowl, so we’ll see how the Aggies respond.
Wisconsin Badgers (-7, 48.5) at Michigan State Spartans
Coaches are starting to get fired at a higher rate in college football and Wisconsin just fired Paul Chryst before last week’s game. It seems like a message was sent because Jim Leonhard’s Badgers obliterated Northwestern. Now Wisconsin has a chance against a limping Spartans team that has been one of the nation’s biggest disappointments. A one-week bump with an interim head coach makes sense. Sustaining that intensity into the next week is a little tougher, especially because the players have to be talking about Lance Leipold returning to Madison after the season. It’s a big distraction, to say the least.
Central Michigan Chippewas (-13.5, 58.5) at Akron Zips
Akron can’t afford to look past anybody, but this is yet another throwaway season in the Rubber City. First-year head coach Joe Moorhead knew it was bad, but it’s fair to wonder if he knew it was this bad. In any event, the Zips will face Kent State next week in the Battle for the Wagon Wheel. The Golden Flashes have won that game three straight seasons by scores of 26-3, 69-35 and 38-0. The Zips may be bad enough for us to not really recognize this as a look-ahead spot, but the Kent State game is their Super Bowl.
Arkansas Razorbacks (-1.5, 63) at BYU Cougars
A real head-scratcher of a scheduling spot here for Arkansas. In the middle of SEC play, the Razorbacks will go to the altitude in Provo to take on BYU. It’s safe to say BYU has been a real disappointment, especially from an ATS standpoint. Arkansas has lost to three ranked opponents and played the toughest schedule in the nation, per Sagarin. This is a brutal spot for Arkansas, but a couple of blowout losses and the return of KJ Jefferson may be enough to overcome.