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College soccer Week 7 preview: Top-10 showdown in Knoxville, undefeated matchups in Big Ten, Big 12

College soccer followers have reached the cream of the crop of the 2022 faculty soccer season

Week 7 is the loaded baked potato of the season, topped with some BBQ pulled pork as College GameDay travels to Knoxville for a top-10 matchup between No. 6 Tennessee and No. 3 Alabama. 

Bryce Young of the Alabama Crimson Tide cheers on the team during pregame warmups prior to facing the Texas A and M Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium Oct. 8, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. 

Bryce Young of the Alabama Crimson Tide cheers on the group throughout pregame warmups previous to going through the Texas A and M Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium Oct. 8, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. 
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Yes, it’s a dumb analogy, however faculty soccer is enjoyable, people. And you’re going to say that there received’t be a single loaded potato on the 1000’s of tailgates exterior of Neyland Stadium Saturday morning? Please. 

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There are six top-25 matchups on Saturday — the a lot of the faculty soccer season — every matchup extra scrumptious than the following. 

See how we’re sticking with the meals theme? 

Let’s check out a number of video games to pay attention to Saturday as the school soccer season kicks off Week 7. 

No. 5 Michigan vs. No. 10 Penn State – 12 p.m. ET, FOX

It’s time for Michigan to show it’s worthy of a top-5 rating because it welcomes Penn State to the Big House for its first ranked opponent of the season. 

It’s the primary time the 2 faculties have confronted off with each groups within the prime 10 since 1997, and the winner will management its future within the Big Ten. Michigan has not misplaced at residence since 2020, when Penn State got here into the Big House and beat Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines 27-17.

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“Games like this, the place there’s extra nationwide consideration, it is all the time enjoyable,” Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford mentioned. “Games like this, you come to Penn State to play in.”

Sean Clifford of the Penn State Nittany Lions signals to teammates before a play against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second half at Beaver Stadium Oct. 1, 2022, in State College, Pa. 

Sean Clifford of the Penn State Nittany Lions indicators to teammates earlier than a play towards the Northwestern Wildcats in the course of the second half at Beaver Stadium Oct. 1, 2022, in State College, Pa. 
( Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The quarterback conditions couldn’t be extra totally different for the 2 faculties, with Penn State having Clifford, a sixth-year senior, underneath heart, and Michigan going with sophomore J.J. McCarthy.

“He’s younger, however he is skilled” Penn State cornerback Kalen King mentioned. “He’s received like a sure swagger to him that not a number of quarterbacks within the nation have.”

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View of the Michigan Marching Band performing on the field before a game between the Michigan Wolverines and Connecticut Huskies at Michigan Stadium Sept. 17, 2022, in Ann Arbor, Mich. 

View of the Michigan Marching Band acting on the sector earlier than a sport between the Michigan Wolverines and Connecticut Huskies at Michigan Stadium Sept. 17, 2022, in Ann Arbor, Mich. 
( Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)

The key matchup shall be between Michigan’s dashing assault and Penn State’s run protection. Michigan averages 212.3 yards per sport on the bottom, whereas the Nittany Lions’ protection is fifth within the nation in run protection, permitting simply 79.8 yards per sport. 

“We know that most of these video games yearly are important,” Penn State coach James Franklin mentioned, in accordance with ESPN.

No. 6 Tennessee vs. No. 3 Alabama – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

It’s arguably the most important sport of the yr in faculty soccer, as Tennessee appears to be like to knock Alabama off its SEC perch. 

It’s been since 2006 that Tennessee beat Alabama, however Saturday represents its greatest likelihood to flip the script. 

The well being of reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young is a significant story heading into Saturday after Young missed Alabama’s shut win over Texas A&M in Week 6. Young shall be a game-time determination on Saturday, a participant Alabama will desperately have to sustain with Tennessee’s absurdly high-powered offense. 

Alabama will lean on it is SEC-best dashing assault (257.2 yards per sport) because it faces the convention’s second-best dashing protection (89.2 yards allowed per sport). 

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Hendon Hooker of the Tennessee Volunteers looks to throw against the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. 

Hendon Hooker of the Tennessee Volunteers appears to be like to throw towards the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. 
(Donald Page/Getty Images)

Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker has thrown for 10 touchdowns and nil interceptions as Tennessee leads the nation in yards per sport (547.8), is seventh within the nation in passing yards per sport (340.4) and is second within the nation in factors per sport (48.8).

“They’re most likely some of the explosive offenses, if not essentially the most explosive offense, within the nation,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban mentioned, in accordance with ESPN.

Led by Will Anderson, Alabama’s protection will face its hardest take a look at of the season and shall be Tennessee’s hardest defensive opponent

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“He’s tall, for one, and he can transfer rather well out and in of the pocket, Anderson mentioned of Hooker this week, in accordance with 247 Sports. “He can prolong performs. But he can also make throws. That’s one in all his greatest skills together with his sport. He can run, however he can even prolong performs together with his arm as effectively.”

The Crimson Tide protection is ranked sixth within the nation in yards per sport (250.8), twelfth in passing yards (166.3 yards per sport), and eighth in dashing yards per sport (84.5). 

But Alabama hasn’t confronted an offense like Tennessee’s or a crowd just like the one which awaits at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Tennessee Volunteers fans coordinate to checker Neyland Stadium during a game against the Florida Gators Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn.

Tennessee Volunteers followers coordinate to checker Neyland Stadium throughout a sport towards the Florida Gators Sept. 24, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn.
(Donald Page/Getty Images)

“The followers are going to be loud. It’s going to be a hostile surroundings,” Anderson mentioned. “We simply should be ready as we all the time do to go in, play our sport, ignore the group, be locked in, have all people do our job and have enjoyable.”

No. 13 TCU vs. No. 8 Oklahoma State – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

With Oklahoma in an absolute free fall, the Big 12 is up for grabs, and Oklahoma State and TCU are hoping to slip in. 

It’s the second sport towards a ranked opponent for the Cowboys and the third in a row for TCU. 

“When you’ve gotten a number of hype, there’s a feeling in pregame warmups that’s totally different than with out that. I nonetheless really feel that,” mentioned Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. “I all the time hear coaches say that is what I coach for, and a few gamers say that is what I play for. I just like the 28-point unfold video games, they are much extra fulfilling for me. When we’re in these video games and get going, the group and the pageantry of school soccer is fairly particular.”

Head coach Mike Gundy of the Oklahoma State Cowboys looks around the field after his 150th career win at OSU with a victory against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Boone Pickens Stadium Sept. 1, 2022, in Stillwater, Okla.

Head coach Mike Gundy of the Oklahoma State Cowboys appears to be like across the subject after his one hundred and fiftieth profession win at OSU with a victory towards the Central Michigan Chippewas at Boone Pickens Stadium Sept. 1, 2022, in Stillwater, Okla.
(Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

It’s offense vs. offense in Fort Worth with each groups averaging 46.4 factors per sport. 

TCU head coach Sonny Dykes has his offense rolling and coming off a 38-31 win over then-undefeated Kansas. The Horned Frogs’ offense ranks third within the nation in yards per sport (530.0) with a balanced assault. 

TCU quarterback Max Duggan leads the Big 12 in touchdowns (14) and has accomplished 73% of his passes. On the bottom, TCU is averaging 230.2 yards per sport with Kendre Miller main the way in which with 474 complete yards and 6 touchdowns. 

Quarterback Max Duggan of the TCU Horned Frogs passes in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium Oct. 8, 2022, in Lawrence, Kan. 

Quarterback Max Duggan of the TCU Horned Frogs passes within the second half towards the Kansas Jayhawks at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium Oct. 8, 2022, in Lawrence, Kan. 
(Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders isn’t any slouch himself, main the Big 12 in yards per sport (327), passing yards per sport (278.8) and complete touchdowns (18).

The final time these two groups met, Mike Gundy’s group crushed TCU 63-17. 

No. 18 Syracuse vs. No. 15 N.C. State – 3:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network

It’s the most effective begin since 1987 for Syracuse, and a matchup with No. 4 Clemson is on the horizon. But Dino Babers and his Orange should get via N.C. State group first. 

It’s a matchup of two stout defenses, with Syracuse tenth within the nation in yards allowed per sport (271.6) and factors allowed (14.0 per sport). N.c. State is available in permitting simply 297.8 yards per sport and fifteenth within the nation in factors allowed (15.7 factors per sport). 

“This is 15 rounds, heavyweight,” Babers mentioned this week, in accordance with 247 Sports. “You’re going to get hit actually, actually arduous. How you deal with that’s going to have an effect on the sport. It’s going to be all people that’s on the market on the soccer subject. It shall be a bodily contest.”

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N.C. State quarterback Devin Leary’s standing is unsure after injuring his shoulder towards Florida State in Week 6. 

“Devin is tremendous robust, and he’ll grind,” Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren mentioned Monday, in accordance with ESPN. “It might be this week, or it might be six weeks.”

Devin Leary of the North Carolina State Wolfpack looks to pass in the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium Oct. 1, 2022, in Clemson, S.C. 

Devin Leary of the North Carolina State Wolfpack appears to be like to cross within the second quarter towards the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium Oct. 1, 2022, in Clemson, S.C. 
(Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Backup QB Jack Chambers, who transferred from Charleston Southern in May, changed Leary towards Florida State, trying only one cross. 

“Jack’s had 400-yard passing video games earlier than. He can throw the soccer,” Doeren mentioned. “If we will get right into a sport and should chuck it round, we really feel nice about him. But all people’s on deck as we get Devin able to play.”

Saturday’s sport would be the first {that a} ranked Syracuse group has welcomed a ranked group to the Carrier Dome since 1998. 

No. 22 Kentucky vs. No. 16 Mississippi State – 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Mississippi State must win to maintain tempo with Ole Miss and Alabama within the SEC West, and Kentucky merely must cease the bleeding. 

Mike Leach’s Bulldogs have received three straight since dropping to LSU in mid-September, and the offense has averaged 42.3 factors per sport in the course of the stretch. They’ve accomplished it behind the highest passer within the SEC – Will Rogers – who leads the convention in passing yards (2,110) and touchdowns (22). 

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He earned excessive reward from Leach after Mississippi State’s win over Arkansas in Week 6. Leach informed reporters Rogers belongs within the Heisman dialog. 

Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers (2) passes during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks Oct. 8, 2022, at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss. 

Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers (2) passes throughout a sport towards the Arkansas Razorbacks Oct. 8, 2022, at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss. 
(Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire through Getty Images)

“I don’t suppose there’s any query in any way,” Leach mentioned, in accordance with Saturday Down South. “I’m extraordinarily curious who someone thinks is forward of him. (Somebody) simply selects the most important group they’ll consider, and a few of them will simply randomly stick a man on an inventory.”

Kentucky has dropped two straight since climbing as excessive as No. 7 within the nation. It misplaced to unranked South Carolina in Week 6 with out the providers of quarterback Will Levis, who was out with a foot damage.  

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops offered constructive information on Levis earlier this week. 

“I really feel like, barring any setbacks, he must be good to go,” Stoops mentioned, in accordance with 247 Sports. “He was on the market Monday and Tuesday, and we observe this afternoon, and we count on he’ll be on the market [Wednesday]. We hope he is at or close to full power.”

Kentucky operating again Chris Rodriguez Jr., who made his season debut in Week 5, rushed for 126 yards on 22 carries towards South Carolina. 

No. 20 Utah vs. No. 7 USC – 9 p.m. ET, FOX

In his first yr in Los Angeles, head coach Lincoln Riley has USC off to its greatest begin since 2006, however Utah presents the primary ranked opponent of the season for the Trojans. 

The Utes are coming off their second lack of the season – a 42-32 loss to UCLA – however will nonetheless be a harmful group for undefeated USC. 

Utah has the highest protection within the Pac-12 (315,8 yards per sport) with a cross protection that’s first within the convention in yards allowed via the air (179.3). They’ll be trying to shut down the connection between USC quarterback Caleb Williams and large receiver Jordan Addison. 

USC Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison during a game against the Arizona State Sun Devils Oct. 1, 2022, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. 

USC Trojans large receiver Jordan Addison throughout a sport towards the Arizona State Sun Devils Oct. 1, 2022, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. 
(Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire through Getty Images)

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Addison, who transferred from Pittsburgh in the course of the offseason, leads the Trojans with 32 catches for 479 yards and 6 touchdowns. 

“He’s accomplished a pleasant job for us,” Riley mentioned of Addison, in accordance with 247 Sports. “I imply, we had a few actual alternatives to get to him the opposite evening. And he’s clearly had a extremely good first half of the season, however I believe he’s primed to play rather well for us right here ultimately.”

Utah has received 12 straight video games at residence. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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