Welcome to Week 7 of the always unpredictable 2020 college football season.
We know there are big games happening! We just don’t always know who will be playing in them.
Speaking of, the biggest game of the young season is upon us Saturday as No. 3 Georgia visits No. 2 Alabama at 8 p.m. ET
In the meantime, we’ll keep tabs on all of that for you right here along with the big plays, the turnover doodads and the mascots.
Top 25 games
All times Eastern; lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
No. 5 North Carolina (-13.5) at Florida State, 7:30, ESPN/ESPN App
No. 3 Georgia at No. 2 Alabama (-5), 8, CBS
Boston College at No. 23 Virginia Tech (-13), 8, ACC Network/ESPN App
No. 11 Texas A&M 28, Mississippi State 14
The Aggies’ 28-14 victory over Mississippi State didn’t come easily, but they’ll take it against old nemesis Mike Leach. The defense was the star, never allowing the Bulldogs to threaten and holding them to just 217 total yards, including minus-2 yards on the ground on 20 attempts. A week after Kellen Mond torched No. 4 Florida, he completed just 13 of 23 passes for 139 yards, but the backfield duo of Isaiah Spiller and Ainias Smith carried the day. The two combined for 205 total yards with three touchdowns — Spiller with a pair of short scoring runs and Smith with a receiving TD. — Dave Wilson
No. 4 Notre Dame 12, Louisville 7
It was an uninspiring result on offense for Notre Dame, but credit Louisville’s defense for making everything difficult for the Fighting Irish. After putting up 52 and 42 points the past two weeks, the Irish were held to 12 points Saturday. It’s not going to get much easier next week when Notre Dame has to play Pitt, which has an excellent run defense, allowing only 61.5 rush yards per game this season. The good news is Notre Dame’s defense was able to hold the visiting Cardinals to 234 yards and only seven points, but the offense needs to get back on track. — Tom VanHaaren
South Carolina 30, No. 15 Auburn 22
The Tigers got away with a win against Arkansas last week, but couldn’t escape South Carolina in a 30-22 loss. Auburn quarterback Bo Nix didn’t play like the good version of himself, going 24-of-47 passing for 272 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. There was a lot of potential for Auburn coming into this season, and right now, that potential isn’t producing results many expected. It was an all-around bad performance for Auburn, and a loss to this South Carolina team is one of the lowest of lows. — Harry Lyles Jr.
No. 1 Clemson 73, Georgia Tech 7
Trevor Lawrence threw his first interception in a year (gasp!) but that was the only thing that went wrong for the Tigers in an absolutely dominant performance against Georgia Tech. Lawrence finished with the gaudiest numbers he has ever posted in a half: five touchdown passes (the most he has thrown in a half in his career) and 404 yards passing (the first 400-yard passing game of his career). Lawrence played one drive in the second half before calling it a day, for good reason. Clemson scored 52 first-half points, tied for the second most by an ACC team in conference play. — Andrea Adelson
No. 13 Miami 31, Pitt 19
Miami used several big-play touchdowns to beat Pitt, a week after losing handily to No. 1 Clemson. There is plenty of good news there, because the Hurricanes did not let their disappointing performance a week ago beat them again. But it was an uneven offensive performance outside those big-play touchdowns (three of the four went for 35-plus yards). Part of that is because they did not have their top receiving target in tight end Brevin Jordan. But the other part is the Hurricanes had problems establishing their running game, and D’Eriq King threw two interceptions. — Andrea Adelson
Kentucky 34, No. 18 Tennessee 7
It felt as though the Volunteers never had much of a chance after Jarrett Guarantano threw two interceptions for touchdowns early in the second quarter against the Wildcats, and they didn’t. After the Vols got thrown around in the second half against Georgia last week, Kentucky continued to pile on Tennessee in the first half of Saturday’s game. Things aren’t going to get any easier, as Tennessee welcomes Alabama to Knoxville next week. At this point, the bar for what you’d want to see as a Vols fan is improvement. — Harry Lyles Jr.
Coastal Carolina 30, No. 21 Louisiana 27
The Ragin’ Cajuns had close calls their previous two weeks against Georgia State and Georgia Southern, and it finally caught up with them against Coastal Carolina, which is now 4-0. Louisiana didn’t play a particularly bad game; this was simply one of those games in which whoever had the ball last was going to win, and Coastal had it last. Though Louisiana’s dreams of going undefeated are gone, there’s still plenty of season left for it to finish atop the Sun Belt. — Harry Lyles Jr.
No. 17 SMU 37, Tulane 34
An all-or-nothing performance produced just enough alls — seven gains of 30-plus yards — for Sonny Dykes’ Mustangs to remain undefeated. SMU overcame four different deficits, and both teams missed long field goals in the final minute of regulation before Brandon Crossley’s overtime interception set up the game-winning field goal. Four different receivers caught at least one 40-yard pass, and three finished with at least 100 yards. It was a heck of a by-committee performance in the absence of injured star receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. — Bill Connelly
No. 14 BYU 43, Houston 26
BYU’s win was three distinct games in one: BYU bolted to a 14-3 early lead, Houston took control with a 23-0 run in the middle quarters, and BYU outscored the hosts 22-0 in the final 15 minutes. The BYU defense completely shut down an explosive Houston offense over its last four possessions, and even without star wide receiver Gunner Romney for much of the game, Zach Wilson went 25-for-35 for 400 yards and four touchdowns. This BYU team is for real. — Bill Connelly
Lane Train feels some pain
Arkansas had the best reaction following its 33-21 win over Ole Miss with a priceless dig at Lane Kiffin.
Oh dear pic.twitter.com/KISwt1qzCv
— Arkansas Razorbacks 🐗 (@ArkRazorbacks) October 17, 2020 Which TD catch was better?
Thayer Thomas made a heads-up play to somehow get the score for NC State.
Bailey Hockman’s pass to the end zone is tipped by a Duke defender, but Thayer Thomas reels in the deflection with one hand against his helmet for a touchdown.
Elsewhere, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks made this incredible catch in the end zone.
Treylon Burks reels in the one-handed 7-yard touchdown catch at the back of the end zone.
We’ll let you decide which play was more impressive.
Just call it, already
With Clemson up by 66 points, this fan decided he had seen enough for one day.
‘He wants that bone!’
The most recent incentive for causing a turnover? NC State’s turnover bone.
NC State LB Payton Wilson picks off a pass and then hurries over to the sideline to be rewarded with the Wolfpack’s “turnover bone.”
West Virginia’s Darius Stills, a 285-pound defensive lineman, dives for the interception.
West Virginia’s Darius Stills makes an incredible diving interception on a deflection vs. Kansas.
A low blow
Tennessee’s Ramel Keyton “decided to go Diego Maradona” on Kentucky’s J.J. Weaver after being tackled.
You got Moss’d! TWICE!
South Carolina’s Shi Smith goes way up to haul in the TD on a free play for the Gamecocks.
5-foot-10 and go get it!
South Carolina takes the lead vs. No. 15 Auburn 👀 pic.twitter.com/rl7XQjbpvD
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 17, 2020
And early in the fourth quarter, Smith added another incredible catch to his highlight reel.
Shi Smith makes a ridiculous grab to advance South Carolina up the field.
Notre Dame honors McClure
Notre Dame left an empty seat in the press box to pay tribute to Vaughn McClure, ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter, who died this week at his home. McClure previously covered Notre Dame football for the Chicago Sun-Times.
A tribute to Vaughn McClure, a seat in Notre Dame’s press box today. pic.twitter.com/7jzeFxPNYr
— Tim O’Malley (@timomalleyND) October 17, 2020 The final countdown
We’re a week from the Big Ten’s return, so here are some cool Nebraska alternates celebrating the “Blackshirts” tradition of the Huskers’ defense.
The Legend of the Blackshirts ☠️
Available in stores 10/26 🎈
Worn by the Huskers in ’20 ???
Stay Tuned…#TeamAdidas x @AdidasFBallUS pic.twitter.com/nD6rutO4fd
— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) October 13, 2020
And while we’re on the topic, let’s all appreciate the ‘stache on Kurt Warner’s son, Cornhuskers wide receiver Kade Warner.
This is Kade Warner. He is a Nebraska football player. And he has the best mustache in America. #Huskers
“I don’t think it looks good. I just think its funny.” pic.twitter.com/u49rSfM4nU
— Kevin Sjuts (@kevinsjuts) October 15, 2020 Kick it into gear
Cincinnati made a little TikTok-esque video unveiling its road unis.
First road look of the season.#Bearcats pic.twitter.com/DtvGDBuioo
— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) October 14, 2020
Unfortunately, the Bearcats’ game this week at Tulsa has been postponed due to COVID-19 cases, so they will have to wait to break these out on the field.
Make yourself at home
Georgia Southern was to wear its white road uniforms at home for the first time Saturday when it faced UMass, which was playing its first game of the season, because the Minutemen’s away uniforms hadn’t arrived yet from Adidas.
Last-minute change for a last-minute game … we’re wearing white to help out @UMassFootball, whose full away uniform set hasn’t come in yet!#HailSouthern pic.twitter.com/cBYseH9NvH
— Georgia Southern Football (@GSAthletics_FB) October 15, 2020 A tribute to Tom
Last month, Tom III, the beloved mascot of the Memphis Tigers, died, but his presence is felt at the Liberty Bowl once again thanks to a new billboard.
New billboard on Central outside Liberty Bowl. pic.twitter.com/DSFh4v0uyL
— Mark Giannotto (@mgiannotto) October 16, 2020
Tom III’s last game was a win over rival Cincinnati in late 2019.
Respect the game
Following a 4-0 start to the season, including a big win over a ranked Louisiana team on Wednesday, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers have become a media darling.
Several media members on Twitter have started the hashtag #RankCoastal, and ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt even gave the Chants a shoutout on SportsCenter.
The national attention hasn’t gone unnoticed at the program.
“RANK ‘EM, #RankCoastal, #RankCoastalCarolina.
– @GoCCUSports pic.twitter.com/jnazSF6AWQ
— Coastal Carolina Athletics (@GoCCUsports) October 15, 2020 Keeping the streak alive
Tulane announced earlier this month that fans would not be allowed for Friday night’s game with SMU, but it did little to deter Paul Layne.
The SMU superfan made it to his 525th straight Mustangs game on Friday. He was the only fan in attendance at Yulman Stadium.
The streak is a alive!! … Paul Layne with 525 straight SMU games #PonyUpDallas
SMU at Tulane
Total attendance: 1 pic.twitter.com/WiSXxxpvTn
— Thaddeus D. Matula (@thadfilms) October 17, 2020 A rivalry never ends
Oklahoma’s dramatic 53-45 victory in the fourth overtime against Texas might have been a week ago, but the Sooners are still not over it. Just ask Brian Bosworth, Barry Switzer and Roy Williams.
Two OU Defensive Greats where in Norman today! @GotBoz44 @roywilliams31 pic.twitter.com/rOGIEVcdqC
— Barry Switzer (@Barry_Switzer) October 16, 2020