Ari Wasserman, David Uben and Seth Emerson preview the biggest games of Week 7 of the college football season through Saturday on the podcast. The trio discussed the week’s biggest games, and picked Oregon against the spread at Washington, USC at Notre Dame, Miami at North Carolina and more.
Below is an edited, condensed version of their discussion of several Week 7 games. Ohio State at Purdue (-19.5), Oregon State at UCLA (-3.5), Wyoming at Air Force (-10.5), Iowa at Wisconsin (-10), Texas A&M at Tennessee (-3.5) and more in the full episode.
Listen to the full episode here.
Oregon at Washington (-3)
Upen: I was looking at some numbers this week and they confirm a lot of what I’ve seen watching these two teams. That’s Oregon’s most complete team. I know it’s a lot of fun to see Washington. I have a lot of respect for Washington, but this is a team that doesn’t really try to run the ball, doesn’t care about running the ball.
When you don’t run the ball or don’t want to run the ball, those are the kinds of games that catch you. This Oregon team is currently ranked third nationally in defensive yardage. You can talk about the schedule all you want, but at the end of the day, it’s more interesting. And they’re No. 1 nationally in yards per carry. Oh, and they have a Heisman candidate at quarterback in the Bo Knicks.
I think Oregon will win this game. But, Ari, we’ll get to the top of it, my lock of the week is on this ballgame. Below 67.5.
Wassman: What?! That’s the lock for my week. Are you serious?
Upen: Yes. Games like this are rarely track meets, and both of these teams have better defenses than people realize. I checked it and I believe more than 90 percent of the money is gone and the line hasn’t moved.
Wassman: I don’t see that you did. We’re not usually like that. There are many things you can choose from. It’s kind of scary that we’re both in it. I don’t want people to be in it.
Daughter: I think Oregon’s defense is built to stop a lot of drives from Washington, and they’re really going to make them one-dimensional. This is where Michael Benix has to show that he is better than he has been in the past in these situations against these types of opponents. I think the Ducks are a great team. Now the game is in Washington. The Huskies will be gunned for it, but I think they could be put out pretty quickly with a very talented Oregon offense.
Wassman: I see this very simply. Part of the reason I’m ranked lower is because Oregon’s defense is so underrated nationally. They are fifth in the nation in total defense in yards per game. If you look at Washington’s defense, they’re somewhere in the 60s.
I see two good teams, they’re going to play a very close game, and what does it usually come down to? Which team gets the most stops?
As you said Dave, Oregon, I hate to agree with you, it’s weird to agree with you so early in the show, but I think Oregon is going to win this game outright and probably comfortably.
USC (-2.5) at Notre Dame
Daughter: I like USC. USC’s defense is a big problem. We know that, and it will keep them from winning the national title and possibly the Pac-12 title as well. But I don’t know if I can afford Notre Dame’s offense. You’re going to score Notre Dame often, but they can’t keep up with what USC can do. They can get into the game late, but I think Caleb Williams is built for this type of game. I think he’s going to stretch the field even if it’s in the South Bend. You may even get some rough weather. But I think this is the game where Caleb Williams is going to put himself back in the Heisman Trophy conversation.
Upen: I think this is a continuation of last week. I didn’t like what I saw from Notre Dame and I didn’t like what I saw from their offensive line in the run game. I think two things. Notre Dame lacked the ability to take advantage of USC in their weak secondary. USC’s front is okay. They are not adults. They got good bodies up front. They cope a little better. The secondary is that the problems we’ve seen a little too much from them and Notre Dame can’t use it.
Again, I think this is a tired Notre Dame team, and I’m not sure that’s going to change when you get into a game like they did last week. And for better or worse, I don’t think anyone is going to rally for that team. But it’s still a physical ball game and a pressure ball game.
USC feels like their season has built in many ways to this start and to this point, and they could be a little freshened up. Arizona is a bad matchup for Notre Dame, whether it’s looking to exploit USC’s weaknesses or look forward or whatever. I think USC will win this one outright.
Wassman: I think we have to agree that Arizona might have one of the best receiver duos in the country.
Upen: We hit it last week. Tetairova McMillan is a bowler. Jacob Cowing is doing it.
Notre Dame doesn’t have a good receiver, I’d say a pass catcher as good as the two that Arizona took advantage of. So it’s a bad fit for Notre Dame. I guess the Bear is still coming to USC, but it’s not this week. They won and took a 7-0 lead.
Wassman: Yes, I’m with you on this one. This podcast has stuck with all the deals so far.
Upen: Whenever we all agree, I get really nervous.
Wassman: Maybe we’re all wrong, but there’s no conflict. And entertainment is a conflict.
I think it’s very easy to pile on at USC when things aren’t going well. Has anyone not noticed that things are getting really bad for Notre Dame?
I understand the game is on the road, but if Notre Dame uses Audrey Estime, the only thing that scares me about this game is that they will limit USC’s possessions and roll through USC’s defense. The way Utah got to them last year. However, USC scored a ton of points in those games. I really, really, really don’t think Notre Dame is offensive enough on skill level players. Listen, they’ve got a big hit. I think they can run the ball. Joe Ault is one of the best, if not the best offensive lineman in the country. They don’t have enough offense to be like me, and here comes a game that gives USC 58 points. I didn’t see it. And I don’t know if Notre Dame can keep up with how much scoring Caleb Williams is this team.
Here the over-under is 60.5. Do we think Notre Dame scored 38 in this game? Not me. So I’m going to take USC. As Dave said, the bear is coming. I think the bear comes more than once. I don’t think it’s here. I think this happens even in the sport they love.
Miami at North Carolina (-3.5)
Wassman: It should be a game between two undefeated teams. Miami’s players, unfortunately, did everything they could to win a football game last week, and their coaches took that opportunity away, so it’s 4-1.
Upen: It’s tough because we don’t know how Miami will respond. I’m very interested after a game like this and an event like that, that kind of transcends the game, you live it. You are very disappointed and frankly, your coaches cannot be held responsible if it is clear what happened. So the answer will be interesting to me. But when you’re talking about Vegas, a team that looks as good as North Carolina last week and as bad as Miami last week, I think the general public overreacts to that. Generally, Vegas stripes reflect that. I like to look at the whole picture, and when I look at the whole picture, I think Miami can win this ballgame, and the spread is huge. However, I think Miami totally wins this one.
Daughter: Give me the Tar Heels on this one, cause I want to see what the mood is in Miami. I’d say it’s pretty unstable with all the portal guys they’ve had in the last few years. When you see what your coaching staff did, the abuse it did at the end of the game, Mario Cristobal walks into that locker room every day and says, ‘I’m behind you. We’re all in this together.’ I do not know. I really don’t.
North Carolina played really well last week and I could totally see the -3.5 number here and I gotcha number. I don’t like buckles much, but I do like tar heels. I love Drake May and I’m not sure Miami can mentally come back and face that adversity knowing what happened last week.
Wassman: I think the Tar Heels are going to win this game over 3.5. I think I would break down emotionally if I was on Miami’s team.
Miami doesn’t know how to get mental health right. No no. After that, I never try. It’s like your coach betrayed you.
(Photo by Michael Benix Jr. and Rome Oduns: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)