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Update: Bryan Underwood is out with an injury. Umm, that's not good.

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College Football 2013: Week 7 Preview
Saturday, 2013 October 12 - 10:50 am
Michigan plays at Penn State; N.C. State plays Syracuse.

Michigan at Penn State
Theoretically, this should be a game Michigan should win. Penn State is playing with an undersized defensive line and a mostly inexperienced linebacking corps; one linebacker is a 200-pound converted defensive back. Penn State also has a freshman quarterback, Christian Hackenberg.

However, Akron and UConn proved that Michigan doesn't always dominate an undersized defense. And while Hackenberg has been erratic at times, at other times he's made some spectacular throws. His main target is Allen Robinson, who is probably a future NFL first-round draft pick.

Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan returns for this game, which should help the pass rush. And the shuffled offensive line has had another week to gel. I think both teams will throw two interceptions, that Michigan will have trouble with false start penalties due to crowd noise, but that Fitz Toussaint will rush for a hundred yards as Al Borges introduces still more wrinkles in the running game. Penn State will hit some big plays over the top, but in the end I think Michigan holds enough times in the red zone to grit out a narrow victory.

Prediction: Michigan 28, Penn State 23.

N.C. State vs. Syracuse
This is certainly not a great Syracuse team. They beat Wagner and Tulane but got beat by Penn State, and got demolished by Northwestern and Clemson. Syracuse benched quarterback Drew Allen after their first two losses in favor of sophomore Terrel Allen. While Allen racked up big numbers against inferior competition, against Clemson he threw three picks and was sacked four times.

The key on both sides of the ball will be the pass rush. If State can get pressure on Allen, it seems like he'll have trouble. Syracuse is a blitz-heavy team on defense too, so State will have to pick that up, and establish a running game as well.

Honestly I'm at a loss to explain State's collapse against Wake Forest last week; I think State bounces back playing in front of a home crowd and pulls out a comfortable win.

Prediction: N.C. State 35, Syracuse 13.

Games to Watch on TV
USC played Arizona on Thursday night; if I'd written this post earlier I'd have recommended that game for the subplots alone. Ed Orgeron took over from Lane Kiffin as interim coach for USC; meanwhile former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez is still trying to establish his program. USC ended up winning a pretty exciting game 38-31.

At noon today you get the Red River Rivalry as #12 Oklahoma plays Texas on ABC. While Texas has struggled at times, Oklahoma hasn't exactly been dominant either. In a rivalry game, you never know what's gonna happen. Meanwhile unbeaten #25 Missouri plays #7 Georgia on ESPN. Indiana plays Michigan State on ESPN2; it'll be interesting to see if Indiana's surprisingly explosive offense can rack up points against Michigan State's stout defense.

At 3:30 PM the N.C. State game against Syracuse is online on ESPN3, or locally on Fox Sports Carolina. #17 Florida plays #10 LSU on CBS. #19 Northwestern plays Wisconsin on ESPN2 or ABC; that should be a fantastic game.

At 4:00 PM #2 Oregon plays #16 Washington on Fox Sports 1. Washington just lost to Stanford but gave them a good game, and I'm still impressed by them. I'll go ahead and call this the Game of the Week.

At 5:00 PM the Michigan game is on ESPN.

Not much to recommend in prime time. Maybe #9 Texas A&M against Ole Miss on ESPN? That's at 8:30. Or maybe, just this once, switch over to Fox to watch the Detroit Tigers against the Boston Red Sox in the American League championship.
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