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Week Seven Preview

by Mike Mitchell
October 6, 2008 (Update 10/9/08)

Highlighting a 52-game schedule is the 103rd Red River Rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas. Their couldn't possibly be more riding on the outcome, given that the Sooners have been the top team in the Congrove Computer Rankings for the past two weeks while the Longhorns have held down the no. 2 spot.

The Sooners won last year after the Longhorns had claimed the two previous meetings. One of these teams has played in the Big 12 championship game every year since 1999 with Texas making three trips while Oklahoma has made six. The computer's preseason forecast gave Texas the edge by 0.03 points, but now favors the Sooners by all of 0.57 points.

Conference games involve 86.5 percent of the schedule with 45 on tap. The week starts Tuesday night with Troy at FAU in a Sun Belt affair. There are two games on Thursday, and one on Friday before we get to the meat of the schedule on Saturday.

One-third of the 15 remaining unbeaten teams reside in the Big 12 conference, but two of those five teams are guaranteed to lose this week because of head-to-head matchups.

The week's second biggest game is also in the Big 12 with undefeated and 3rd-ranked Missouri hosting undefeated and 16th-ranked Oklahoma State.

8th-ranked Texas Tech, also undefeated and ranked 8th, hosts Nebraska. The teams have not met since 2005 and the Red Raiders have won the last two. The last visit to Lubbock didn't go too well for the Cornhuskers as they suffered a merciless 70-10 whipping.

The SEC offers four interesting games, topped off by unbeaten and 6th-ranked LSU's visit to 10th-ranked Florida (4-1) for a battle between the last two national champions. LSU had won two straight in Gainesville before losing the 2006 game. Before that brief run of success, the Bayou Bengals dropped seven in-a-row at "The Swamp".

Georgia hosts Tennessee with the Bulldogs hoping to avoid a third straight loss to the Vols.

South Carolina goes to Kentucky in a series that has been dominated by the Gamecocks with wins in all eight meetings in the 21st century. South Carolina is 6-1 in Lexington since 1994, and Steve Spurrier is 15-0 overall as a head coach against the Wildcats.

Vanderbilt heads to Mississippi State as one of the hottest topics of conversation in the land. The Commodores are the only SEC Eastern Division team that has yet to suffer a setback this season. Vandy is already three wins ahead of the computer's preseason 2-10. The computer labels the 'Dores as a 2.82-point underdog this week, but that's an improvement of more than 8 points over the preseason forecast of an 11.17-point loss.

No. 7 Alabama, the only other undefeated team in the league, is idle this week.

In another SEC game, Auburn will host Arkansas without Tony Franklin serving as offensive coordinator. Franklin was fired on Wednesday and Steve Ensminger, who coaches the inside receivers, was tapped as his temporary replacement. The offense struggled under Ensminger when he called plays for Auburn in 2003, so it remains to be seen if the change will have any positive effect.

In the Big Ten, 5th-ranked Penn State goes to Wisconsin to face a team that's lost two straight games. The Nittany Lions and Northwestern are the only Big Ten teams that are still undefeated overall. The Wildcats host Michigan State.

Topping the list in the ACC is Thursday night's tussle in Winston-Salem between Wake Forest and Clemson. Six ACC teams are idle this week - Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State and Virginia Tech. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech will be the only FBS team facing a FCS school this week when Gardner-Webb visits Atlanta.

A fairly weak PAC-10 slate features Arizona State at 4th-ranked USC. Arizona and Cal are the only teams that have not lost in conference play. The Sun Devils visit Stanford this week, while the Golden Bears are idle.

The only other game involving a top ten team in the CCR Top 120 is 9th-ranked BYU's home date with New Mexico in a Mountain West confrontation.

Rutgers at Cincinnati is as the best game the Big East can supply this week. Three of the conference's better teams - UConn, Pitt and USF are idle while West Virginia hosts lowly Syracuse.

CUSA's league schedule is fairly ho-hum but two of its' better teams will take part in the small handful of interleague games as Boise State (WAC) visits Southern Miss, and East Carolina goes to Virginia (ACC).

Also worthy of watching is Notre Dame's trip to North Carolina.

UNBEATEN TEAMS:
Here are the remaining 15 undefeated teams: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, BYU, LSU, Missouri, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Utah and Vanderbilt.

Only Hawaii made it through the 2007 regular season unscathed, and the Warriors were blown out 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It was the first season since 2002 that no team recorded a perfect record.

Boise State was the only team to finish the entire 2006 season undefeated, while Texas did it in 2005. Auburn, USC and Utah all had unblemished records in 2004.

WINLESS TEAMS:
Only 2 teams remain winless - North Texas and Washington.

Last season, FIU beat North Texas in its final regular season game to avoid being the only winless team. FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other), and had lost 26 of its last 27 games before winning 35-16 at Toledo last Saturday. FIU won again on Saturday, taking advantage of North Texas 42-10 in Denton.

WINLESS AGIANST FBS:
12 teams have only defeated a FCS school this season: Idaho, Kent State, Louisiana-Monroe, Miami (Ohio), Mississippi State, Ohio, Rutgers, SMU, Syracuse, UAB, Washington State and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
The divisions were re-named late in 2006. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Only 1 FBS vs. FCS matchup takes place this week as Georgia Tech entertains Gardner-Webb.

FBS teams are 81-2 (.976) against FCS teams this season, and 371-37 (.909) since 2003.

Here are the losses by the FBS so far this season:
Cal Poly 29, San Diego State 27 (Week 1)
New Hampshire 28, Army 10 (Week 2)

This year, 82 different FBS teams will participate in a total of 87 games that will pit the FCS against the FBS. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Western Kentucky each play two such games.

ACC teams have more games versus FCS schools than any other conference. Here is the number of FCS games for each conference:

Conference Teams In Conf. Games vs. FCS Avg. Per Team
ACC 12 14 1.167
Big East 8 7 0.875
Big 12 12 10 0.833
Big 10 11 9 0.818
MWC 9 7 0.778
WAC 9 7 0.778
SEC 12 9 0.750
Independents 3 2 0.667
MAC 13 8 0.615
CUSA 12 7 0.583
Sun Belt 9 5 0.555
PAC-10 10 2 0.200
Totals 120 87 0.725

STREAKS:
BYU owns the nation's longest current winning streak at 15 games. The Cougars have also won 17 consecutive MWC games. BYU hosts New Mexico.

Alabama has won 7 straight games. The Tide is idle.

Penn State has won 7 straight games. The Nittany Lions visit Wisconsin.

Texas Tech has won 7 straight games. The Red Raiders host Nebraska.

Utah has won 7 straight games. The Utes visit Wyoming.

Boise State has won 46 consecutive regular season home games, and the Broncos have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (29-0). Overall, they have won 35 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season in the Big West. Boise State visits Southern Miss.

Washington owns the nation's longest losing streak at 7 games. The Huskies are idle.

North Texas owns the second longest losing streak at 6 games. The Mean Green hosts Louisiana-Lafayette.

Idaho has lost 20 straight to FBS schools. The Vandals visit Fresno State.

SMU has dropped 15 straight games to FBS teams. The Mustangs host Tulsa.

Kent State has dropped 12 straight to FBS teams. The Golden Flashes host Ohio.

UAB has a 11-game losing streak against FBS schools. The Blazers visit Houston on Thursday night.

NEW COACHES:
The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team to a bowl game. This year, there are 18 coaching changes.

Two teams have yet to defeat an FBS school - SMU, and Washington State.

Only Baylor, Duke, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Mississippi, Navy, UCLA and West Virginia have defeated a team from one of the "big 6" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-10 or SEC).

Coaching Changes For 2008 Season
TEAM RECORD COACH THIS WEEK
Arkansas 2-3 Bobby Petrino 10/11, at Auburn
Baylor 2-3 Art Briles 10/11, vs. Iowa State
Colorado State 3-2 Steve Fairchild 10/11, vs. TCU
Duke 3-2 David Cutcliffe 10/18, vs. Miami (Fla.)
Georgia Tech 4-1 Paul Johnson 10/11, vs. Gardner-Webb (FCS)
Hawaii 2-3 Greg McMackin 10/11, vs. Louisiana Tech
Houston 2-3 Kevin Sumlin 10/9, vs. UAB
Michigan 2-3 Rich Rodriguez 10/11, vs. Toledo
Mississippi 3-3 Houston Nutt 10/18, at Alabama
Navy 4-2 Ken Nuimatalolo 10/18, vs. Pitt
Nebraska 3-2 Bo Pelini 10/11, at Texas Tech
Northern Illinois 2-3 Jerry Kill 10/11, vs. Miami (Ohio)
SMU 1-5 June Jones 10/11, vs. Tulsa
Southern Miss 2-3 Larry Fedora 10/11, vs. Boise State
Texas A&M 2-3 Mike Sherman 10/11, vs. Kansas State
UCLA 2-3 Rick Neuheisel 10/11, at Oregon
Washington State 1-5 Paul Wulff 10/11, at Oregon State
West Virginia 3-2 Bill Stewart 10/11, vs. Syracuse


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