The ACC and Big 12 are often overshadowed nationally by the much deeper Big Ten and SEC, but two of the biggest games of Week 7 on Saturday are from those two “lesser” conferences with the results potentially playing a role in the College Football Playoff.
At noon ET from the neutral-site Cotton Bowl from Dallas, it’s No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 Texas in the Red River Showdown. While playing a game in Dallas may not sound like a neutral site, exactly half that venerable stadium will be filled with Sooners and half for the Longhorns – it’s quite a sight color-wise.
Behind Heisman Trophy contender Jalen Hurts, unbeaten Oklahoma has been unstoppable offensively in the early going and might be the Big 12’s only realistic College Football Playoff hope again. That’s unless one-loss Texas pulls the upset here and then wins out, ideally beating the Sooners again in the Big 12 title game. UT upset No. 7 Oklahoma 48-45 last year in this game, but then the Sooners got payback for the Big 12 title, 39-27, to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. OU is an 11-point betting favorite on the college football odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com but 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings.
Florida State-Clemson used to be easily the most important game in the ACC every season and one of the biggest in the country. Not so much any longer. While No. 2 Clemson has reached superpower status alongside Alabama, the unranked Seminoles have fallen from the ranks of the national elite. The Tigers have won the past four in the series and embarrassed FSU on its home field a season ago, 59-10. It was the worst home loss in FSU history. Saturday’s game from Clemson kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET and the home side is -27 at betting sites. FSU is 2-9 ATS in its past 11 at Clemson.
That’s not to say there aren’t two big games in the SEC this Saturday. No. 1 Alabama might actually be tested for the first time this season when the Tide visit No. 24 Texas A&M at 3:30 p.m. ET. The Aggies won the first meeting as SEC foes in 2012 thanks to Johnny Manziel, a victory that basically won him the Heisman, but have lost the past six. Bama is a 17-point betting favorite but 2-6 ATS in its previous eight overall.
At 8 p.m. ET, No. 7 Florida continues a murderous stretch with a trip to No. 5 LSU. The Gators won at home against then-No. 7 Auburn this past Saturday, while LSU had it much easier with a home non-conference win against Utah State. The Gators and Tigers are crossover rivals so they play every year. LSU is -13 but has failed to cover the past three in this series.