Must-See Games This Week

October 7, 2021 by Staff and Rich Cirminiello, Maxwell Football Club

Overall, the schedule is light with 28 teams getting a bye week, but it's speckled with great matchups.

Here are few:

Oklahoma (5-0) vs. Texas (4-1), Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ABC)

The Sooners and the Longhorns renew the Red River Rivalry, the most anticipated Big 12 matchup each regular season. Oklahoma has won three straight in the series, including a quadruple-overtime thriller a year ago. But OU, the six-time defending league champ, looks vulnerable. While the Sooners remain undefeated, all four of their wins over unranked FBS teams have been by a touchdown or less. Meanwhile, the Horns have surged under first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian since losing to Arkansas in Week 2. Texas has won three in a row, and behind RB Bijan Robinson, leads the conference in scoring at 43.8 points per game.

Oklahoma was installed as a 3.5-point favorite at the open and has maintained that spread at virtually all of the sportsbooks. The Congrove Computer Rankings have flipped from liking the Sooners in the preseason to now favoring the Longhorns by a scant 0.22 points.

Georgia (5-0) at Auburn (4-1), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry adds a new chapter this week at Jordan-Hare Stadium. For Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin, however, this will be his first chance to see how important it is to defeat Georgia. And how challenging, too. His Tigers have been resilient, rallying in consecutive weeks to beat Georgia State and LSU in Baton Rouge. But the Dawgs are playing at a championship level, especially on defense. They’ve pitched back-to-back shutouts, last week over a top 10 Arkansas squad. The defense and backup QB Stetson Bennett are playing so well that the staff has the luxury of being patient with banged-up starting QB JT Daniels.

Oddsmakers have Georgia listed as a 14.5-point favorite, but the computer puts the margin at just 4.71 in favor of the visiting Bulldogs.

Penn State (5-0) at Iowa (5-0), Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET (FOX)

This could wind up being the game of the year in the Big Ten, which absolutely no one predicted in the summer. The Lions and the Hawkeyes are top 5 programs, led by salty, big-play defenses and motivated by the goal of swiping Ohio State’s conference crown. The programs are very similar, from defenses ranked among the nation’s elite to offenses that are far more efficient than explosive. This pivotal matchup in Iowa City has all the markings of a low-scoring game that hinges on special teams or a timely takeaway that shifts momentum.

The sportsbooks opened with Iowa as a 3-point favorite, but that had dropped to a single point by early Thursday afternoon. The computer picks have Iowa by a surprisingly comfortable 8.58 points.

Alabama (5-0) at Texas A&M (3-2), Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET (CBS)

Fingers pointed to Week 6 as arguably Alabama’s biggest landmine of the regular season. But while that does not appear to be the case right now, Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M will play with little to lose when the top-ranked Tide visit Saturday night. The Aggies have dropped consecutive games to Arkansas and Mississippi State, dashing hopes of once again being in the playoff discussion. So, a chance to beat Bama and Nick Saban will basically be their de facto playoff game. Following a close call with Florida Sept. 18, the Tide is humming again after thoroughly outclassing a talented Ole Miss team last Saturday.

Texas A&M was the computer's preseason favorite in this game, but that has now flipped with Alabama given a 2.67-point edge. That's well under the oddsmakers who made Alabama a 17.5-point favorite at the open.

Others to Watch include Notre Dame at Virginia Tech, Stanford at Arizona State, Arkansas at Ole Miss, LSU at Kentucky, Michigan at Nebraska, and TCU at Texas Tech.