Breaking down Week 7 of the 2022 college football schedule

By Amy Daughters -

Week 7 of the 2022 college football schedule marks not only the midpoint of the season but is one of those magical instances where quality trumps quantity and everyone who loves the game wins.

With 27 teams enjoying a bye, Week 7 serves up a season-low 53 total games, six of which are ranked vs. ranked matchups. Two of these gems feature Top Ten teams duking it out. But wait! There’s more! Of the four members of the Top 5 in action this weekend, three are favored by seven points or fewer. And the No. 7, No. 8, No. 15, No. 19, and No. 24 teams are all underdogs in their respective Week 7 matchups.

It all adds up to a crucial turning point in the narrative of the 2022 season when a select group of programs take one bold leap forward towards the CFP bracket while their worthy opponents fade slowly into the background.

Here’s this week’s mental checklist:

(1). The Sun Belt kicks off Week 7 on Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on ESPN2.

(2). Thursday night serves up two games – a Big 12 matchup and an AAC affair – both kicking at 7pm ET on FS1 and ESPN respectively.

(3). Friday night offers two matchups, the more competitive of which airs at 7:30pm ET on ESPN.

(4). While Saturday starts strong with No. 10 at No. 5 at Noon ET on FOX, the midafternoon time slot is a rare Power Hour with No. 3 at No. 6 (CBS), No. 8 at No. 13 (ABC), and No. 15 at No. 18 (ACC Network) all kicking off at 3:30pm ET.

(5). While primetime is headlined by No. 16 at No. 22 on the SEC Network (7:30pm ET) and No. 7 at No. 20 on FOX (8pm ET), don’t sleep on LSU at Florida (7pm ET on ESPN) and (4) Clemson at Florida State (7:30pm ET on ABC).


Wednesday, Oct. 12

7:30pm ET – ESPN2 – Louisiana at Marshall

With starting QB sophomore Chandler Fields (#18) out this week due to injury, the Cajuns will be led under center by the backup junior Ben Wooldridge (#10). While it’s Wooldridge’s first official start as a collegian, the two quarterbacks have rotated all season, Fields going 54-of-94 (56.8%) for 608 yards, seven TDs and three picks and Wooldridge going 48-of-74 (64.9%) for 440 yards, three scores, and one INT. Perhaps sticking with one guy is the key to Louisiana getting back on track after a 2-3 start, its worst beginning since 2018.

Thursday, Oct. 13

7pm ET – FS1Baylor at West Virginia

7pm ET – ESPN – Temple at UCF

Friday, Oct. 14

7:30pm ET – ESPNNavy at SMU

In its last three outings Navy’s defense has successfully contained two of the top passing attacks in the FBS and, in the process, scored its only two wins on the season. In Week 4 it squared off with East Carolina – currently the No. 18 pass offense in the land – giving up 267 air yards to a group that averages 310. Last Saturday it was Tulsa – the No. 9 unit nationally – allowing just 284 yards to a group averaging 327. This week the testing gets one step more difficult vs. SMU, owners of the No. 4 ranked air attack in America, averaging a cool 355 yards per game. Speaking of tests, while it’s no surprise that the Midshipmen’s triple-option attack is ranked No. 12 in rushing offense, did you know that the Mustangs are No. 103 in the nation vs. the run?

8pm ET – CBSSN – UTSA at Florida International

Dial this one up to see UTSA’s offense – quietly ranked No. 6 in the FBS in passing – take on an FIU defense ranked No. 99 vs. the pass. How bad could it get? The Internationals faced another high-powered air attack this year – Western Kentucky (the No. 3 unit in the land, averaging 356 yards per game) – and coughed up 478 passing yards and six scores, the absolute best outing for the Hilltoppers thus far. Keep an eye on the Roadrunners’ dynamic duo of senior QB Frank Harris (#0), the No. 5 passer in the FBS, and senior WR De’Corian Clark (#1), the No. 9 receiver.

Saturday, Oct. 15

Noon ET – FOX – (10) Penn State at (5) Michigan

Tune in to this one to see the No. 7 running back in the country – Michigan junior Blake Corum (#2) – take on a Penn State defense currently ranked a lofty No. 5 – in the entire nation – vs. the run. On both sides of the equation, this matchup represents the stiffest test so far this season. The highest-performing defense the Wolverines have faced was Iowa, currently No. 26 vs. the run, giving up an average of 111 yards per game. Michigan hung up 172 rushing yards on the Hawkeyes in a 27-14 win two weeks ago. For Penn State, the situation is more extreme, with the toughest rushing attack coming from Auburn – the No. 75 ranked unit in the nation averaging 148 ground yards per game – which it held to 119 yards. Beyond that, the Nittany Lions’ D has earned its high marks vs. the No. 97 rushing attack (Central Michigan), the No. 103 unit (Purdue), the No. 109 guys (Northwestern), and the No. 111 group (Ohio- University not State).

Noon ET – ABCIowa State at (22) Texas

After hanging up a whopping 296 rushing yards on Oklahoma last Saturday this week Texas draws Iowa State. Though the oddsmakers have the Longhorns as 17-point favorites vs. the Cyclones (an upgrade from the 7.5-point favorites they were vs. the Sooners), keep in mind that ISU’s defense represents an entirely different challenge for UT. Where Oklahoma’s D is ranked a dismal No. 122 vs. the run (giving up an average of 215 ground yards per game), Iowa State is No. 13 (allowing only 91). The Cyclones may have fallen to (17) K-State last week, but they held a Wildcat rushing attack averaging 245 yards per game (No. 6 in the FBS) to 131 in a narrow 10-9 decision. This is the Battle Royale nobody’s talking about.

Noon ET – ESPN – Auburn at (9) Ole Miss

Auburn’s defense has given up, on average, 87 rushing yards per game in its three wins vs. 241 in its three losses. And its fresh off its worst performance, allowing 292 ground yards and six rushing TDs in last Saturday’s loss to (1) Georgia, a team that’s averaged 198 rushing yards this season. Cue up Ole Miss – the No. 7 ranked rushing attack in America – and this one could get interesting with the potential for partly ugly. Disclaimer: while the Rebels averaged 281 ground yards in their first four games, that number dropped to 165 in their last two outings, also their first two SEC opponents this season – (22) Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

Noon ET – ESPN2 – (19) Kansas at Oklahoma

This is the first time in 30 years that Kansas has come into its clash with Oklahoma as a Top 25 team while the Sooners play the part of the unranked opponent. It was October 24, 1992, when then (22) Kansas, a 6-1 club, hosted Oklahoma and won 27-10. Those Jayhawks went on to drop their last three regular-season games to finish 7-4 before edging (25) BYU in the Aloha Bowl and landing at No. 22 in the final AP. The Sooners went 5-4-2 that season, the fourth of Gary Gibbs’ six years at the helm.

Noon ET – Big Ten Network – Minnesota at (24) Illinois

After scoring a 9-6 decision over Iowa last Saturday Illinois is 5-1 and ranked for the first time since 2011. This week it’s another old school, down and dirty Big Ten matchup vs. a Minnesota team that shares the same DNA – a grind it out on the ground offense paired with an elite defense. Where the Illini have the No. 2 running back in the country in junior Chase Brown (#2) the Gophers have the No. 4 guy in senior Mohamed Ibrahim (#24) (Ibrahim missed last week’s game due to an ankle injury but is expected back this week). And where Illinois is home to the No. 1 ranked scoring D in the nation, allowing just eight points per game, Minnesota has the No. 2 unit, giving up a mere 8.8. If you’re looking for a break from whomever has the ball last wins, this one is for you.

Noon ET – ESPNU – Old Dominion at Coastal Carolina

At 2-3 Old Dominion looks like an unlikely candidate to snap Coastal Carolina’s nine-game winning streak, the second-longest current run in the FBS ranks. But did you know that ODU has the No. 1 receiver in the country in junior WR Ali Jennings III (#0)? Jennings, who transferred from West Virginia in 2021, is averaging 137.6 yards per game. And – part two of did you know – did you know that the Chanticleers are ranked No. 117 in the FBS in pass defense?

12:30pm ET – RSN/ESPN3Miami Fla. at Virginia Tech

2pm ET – Pac-12 NetworkCal at Colorado

The only winless team remaining in the FBS, Colorado is a 15-point underdog to score its first victory in 2022. Keep an eye on Cal true freshman RB Jaydn Ott (#6), though it’s been an up and down season he blasted Arizona for 274 rushing yards and three scores in a Week 4 win. This week he’ll face a Buffalo D ranked dead last in the FBS vs. the run allowing an average of 294 ground yards per game.

3:30pm ET – CBS – (3) Alabama at (6) Tennessee

On paper this is one of the best matchups of 2022, pitting two elite offenses vs. a pair of defenses, one with all-world numbers and the other with a lot of success in one area and a blaring weakness in the other. In one corner it’s Tennessee’s offense – ranked No. 7 in the nation in passing and No. 23 in rushing – taking on an Alabama D ranked No. 12 nationally vs. the pass and No. 8 vs. the run. And, in the other it’s the Tide’s offense which has been more successful on the ground (No. 3 in rushing yards per game vs. No. 68 in passing) squaring off with a Volunteer D that’s been far more successful against the run (No. 11 in the FBS) than vs. the pass (No. 128 in the entire nation). Only three FBS clubs – Bowling Green, Vanderbilt, and Ohio – have given up more air yards than has Tennessee. It’s the same unit that in its last two appearances coughed up 453 passing yards to a Florida offense averaging 222 (No. 92 nationally) and 300 to an LSU squad averaging 256 (No. 52). The status of Alabama junior QB Bryce Young (#9) may have a huge impact on the outcome of this game.

3:30pm ET – ABC – (8) Oklahoma State at (13) TCU

Even though Oklahoma State’s defensive line started the season as Phil Steele’s third best unit nationally, the Cowboy’s D – from an overall standpoint – is young, returning only four starters from a group that finished last year ranked No. 4 in the FBS in total defense. Among the losses were six of the top eight tacklers, absences that are reflected in OSU’s current defensive rankings: No. 105 in total D and No. 126 vs. the pass. Cue up TCU’s offense, which is No. 3 nationally in scoring, No. 13 in rushing, and No. 21 in passing and the Cowboys’ quest to remain unscathed in 2022 won’t be easy.

3:30pm ET – ACC Network – (15) NC State at (18) Syracuse

Syracuse is a 3.5-point favorite over NC State to go 6-0 for the first time in 35 years. The 1987 Orange team went 11-0 only to tie (6) Auburn 16-16 in the Orange Bowl to finish ranked No. 4 in the final AP poll.

3:30pm ET – ESPN – Arkansas at BYU

3:30pm ET – SEC NetworkVanderbilt at (1) Georgia

3:30pm EST – Stadium – Charlotte at UAB

This week’s biggest statistical mismatch, tune in to this one to see UAB’s No. 9 ranked rushing attack – headlined by the No. 1 back in the FBS junior RB DeWayne McBride (#22) – take on a Charlotte defense ranked No. 130 vs. the run. Where no player has averaged more yards per game than has McBride’s 160, only one FBS club has allowed more ground yards per game than the 49ers’ 253.

3:30pm ET – ESPN+Western Kentucky at Middle Tennessee

Another Week 7 mismatch, Western Kentucky is ranked No. 3 nationally in pass offense while Middle Tennessee is ranked No. 119 vs. the pass. Where the Hilltoppers have thrown up a whopping 1,257 air yards in their last three outings, the Blue Raiders have coughed up 1,008. One interesting wrinkle – MTSU and WKUs defenses are tied, along with five other units, for the fourth-most interceptions in the FBS. Keep an eye on Blue Raider junior CB Decorian Patterson (#33), with four picks he’s tied for the second-most in the nation.

4pm ET – FOX – Wisconsin at Michigan State    

4pm ET – ESPN+(25) James Madison at Georgia Southern

After five games James Madison, which just joined the FBS at the beginning of the season, is undefeated and ranked No. 25 in the latest AP poll. This week it’ll rev up its offense – ranked No. 6 in the nation in scoring, No. 17 in rushing, and No. 32 in passing – against a Georgia Southern D that is ranked No. 97 in scoring, No. 126 vs. the run, and No. 67 vs. the pass. PS The Dukes (that’s James Madison’s team name) are ranked No. 1 – in the entire nation – in rushing defense, giving up an average of 42 yards per game.

7pm ET – ESPNLSU at Florida

This is the first time since 2014 that LSU and Florida have clashed as unranked opponents. That game was also played in Gainesville, a 30-27 win for a Tiger team just two years away from parting with head coach Les Miles. For the Gators, it was the final installment of the four-season Will Muschamp experiment.

7:30pm ET – SEC Network – (16) Mississippi State at (22) Kentucky

Ranked No. 16 nationally vs. the pass, Kentucky’s defense is the toughest unit Mississippi State’s high- powered offense (ranked No. 5 in the FBS in passing yards per game) has faced since scoring a win over Texas A&M in Week 5. The Bulldogs hung up 329 air yards on an Aggie D allowing an average of 176 – A&M was No. 10 vs. the pass coming into the game but has since slipped to No. 17. For Kentucky, MSU is, by far and away, the best passing attack it’s faced in 2022, the stiffest previous test coming vs. Ole Miss, the No. 66 unit in the land. The Rebels hung up a season-high 213 air yards on Kentucky in what was the first of back-to-back losses for the Wildcats. This matchup has “intriguing” written all over it.

7:30pm ET – ABC – (4) Clemson at Florida State

Despite its 6-0 start and No. 4 ranking, mighty Clemson is only a 3.5-point favorite over the 4-2 Seminoles. Keep in mind that while yes FSU has dropped two straight, the losses were a 10-point decision to the current No. 14 team in the country and a two-point defeat to the No. 15 squad.

7:30pm ET – NBC/Peacock – Stanford at Notre Dame

7:30pm ET – Big Ten Network – Nebraska at Purdue

Nebraska’s defense, currently No. 106 nationally/No. 11 in the Big Ten vs. the pass, has only faced two passing attacks ranked in the Top 30 nationally – Northwestern (No. 26) and Georgia Southern (No. 11). The Huskers gave up 314 passing yards to a Wildcat offense averaging 282 and a season-high 409 to an Eagles unit averaging 322, both losses. Though they’ve shown improvement, including holding an Indiana attack averaging 266 air yards per game (No. 40 in the FBS) to 223 in a win two weeks ago, Purdue offers a bigger challenge. The Boilermakers are currently the No. 20 ranked passing attack in the country/No. 3 in the Big Ten and are led by the No. 10 QB in the FBS in senior Aidan O’Connell (#16) and the No. 11 receiver in senior Charlie Jones (#15).

7:30pm ET – ESPNU Memphis at East Carolina

8pm ET – FOX – (7) USC at (20) Utah

USC’s offense has only faced two defenses ranked in the top half of the FBS in scoring this season – Washington State (No. 34) and Oregon State (No. 76). It’s no coincidence that the two games resulted in the lowest number of points the Trojans’ offense (ranked No. 15 nationally in scoring) have scored this season and two of the three lowest margins of victory for USC. This week it’s a Utah defense ranked No. 29 nationally/No. 2 in the Pac-12 in scoring, allowing only 19-points per game. This matchup is a great barometer for how far Lincoln Riley has come with the Trojans’ offense through seven weeks of football.

8pm ET – ACC Network – North Carolina at Duke

9pm ET – Pac-12 Network – Washington State at Oregon State  

10:30pm ET – CBSSN – Air Force at UNLV

10:45pm ET – FS2 San Jose State at Fresno State


  • American: (21) Cincinnati, Houston, Tulsa
  • ACC: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Pitt, Virginia, (14) Wake Forest
  • Big Ten: Iowa, Northwestern, (2) Ohio State, Rutgers
  • Big 12: (17) Kansas State, Texas Tech
  • Mountain West: Boise State, San Diego State, Wyoming
  • Pac-12: Arizona State, (12) Oregon, (11) UCLA
  • SEC: Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M
  • Sun Belt: Appalachian State, Georgia State


  • Arkansas at BYU

REUNITED…And it feels so good

  • UConn at Ball State (last played in 2002)
  • (25) James Madison at Georgia Southern (last played in 1992)


7: Georgia Southern has won 7-straight over (25) James Madison (only-ever loss in 1985)

8: Washington State has won 8-straight over Oregon State (last loss in 2013)

10: Troy has won 10-straight over Texas State (only-ever loss in 1997)

12: Toledo has won 12-straight home games over Kent State (last loss there in 1977)

15: (3) Alabama has won 15-straight over (6) Tennessee (last loss in 2006)

17: Oklahoma has won 17-straight over (19) Kansas (last loss in 1997)


  • Baylor has NEVER won AT West Virginia (0-5)
  • (25) James Madison has NEVER won AT Georgia Southern (0-4)
  • UConn has NEVER beaten Ball State (0-3)
  • Texas State has NEVER won AT Troy (0-7)


THE 100 MILES OF HATE – Western Kentucky at Middle Tennessee Saturday, 3:30pm ET, ESPN+ – series started in 1914 and is deadlocked at 35-35-1, but WKU has won three-straight.

Located precisely 100-miles apart, Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee have shared conference membership at both the FCS (Ohio Valley) and FBS (Sun Belt and now C-USA) levels. They met consecutively from 1952 to 1985 and resumed playing annually in 2014. The trophy itself is a whopper, a golden transportation-themed tribute to hating your nearest neighbor.

THE GANSZ TROPHY – Navy at SMUFriday, 7:30pm ET, ESPN – series started in 1930 – Navy leads 13-10 but SMU has won two-straight.

First awarded in 2009 the Gansz Trophy honors Frank Gansz, a highly regarded, longtime special teams coach in college and the NFL. Gansz played at Navy from 1957-59, was an assistant coach there from 1969-72 and then was the special teams coach at SMU from 2008 until he passed away in 2009. Navy won the first six Gansz’s but SMU has won three of the last four.

THE LEGENDS TROPHY – Stanford at Notre DameSaturday, 7:30pm ET, NBC/Peacock – series started in 1925 – Notre Dame leads 21-13 and has won three-straight.

The Legends Trophy honors the first-ever game between the Cardinal and Irish – the 1925 Rose Bowl, a 27-10 win for Notre Dame that earned it its second national title. Counted among the legendary that day were Knute Rockne, the Four Horsemen, Pop Warner, and Ernie Nevers.

THE VALLEY CUP TROPHY – San Jose State at Fresno StateSaturday, 10:45 ET, FS1 – series started in 1921 – Fresno State leads 43-38-3 and has won three of the last four.

The Valley Trophy, quite literally a giant metallic “V”, was established in 2013 to “acknowledge the rivals that represent the Silicon Valley and San Joaquin Valley, respectively.” The Spartans and Bulldogs have each won the big “V” four times.

THE VICTORY BELL – North Carolina at DukeSaturday, 8pm ET, ACC Network – series started in 1888 – the Tar Heels lead 62-41-4 and have won three-straight.

One of nine bells awarded in FBS rivalries, Duke and North Carolina’s version of the Victory Bell was established in 1948 by a cheerleader from each program to “foster friendly relations and eliminate vandalism between the two neighboring schools.” Originally, the winning team also earned the right to paint the cart which holds the Bell. That lasted until 2014, when the Tar Heels took the Bell back from the Devils after a 45-20 win in Durham and painted not only the cart Carolina blue but slathered the hue all over both the visitor’s locker room at Wallace Wade and Duke’s practice field. The cart is now permanently painted to honor both schools. UNC has earned possession of the Victory Bell 48 times vs. the Blue Devils’ 25. The 1975 game ended in a tie.


Though Arkansas is 4-0 all-time against teams hailing from the state of Utah, this Saturday’s roadie at BYU (3:30pm ET, ESPN), marks the first time it’s ever visited the Beehive state for football purposes. The Razorbacks are 3-0 vs. Utah State, 1-0 vs. FCS Weber State and have never previously played BYU nor Utah.

Also of note is that this is Arkansas’ first-ever matchup against one of the seven current independent programs other than New Mexico State, which it’s faced six times winning on each occasion.

Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference-College Football and Statistics courtesy of Odds courtesy of

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