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The most important weekend of college football thus far in the 2019 season is here. Week 7 promises to deliver fans a plethora of compelling, ranked matchups to enjoy.

It begins with the Miami Hurricanes taking on No. 20 Virginia in primetime television Friday night. The ACC clash serves as the perfect appetizer for Week 7’s even more thrilling battles the next day.

Saturday’s slate can dramatically shake up the College Football Playoff and Heisman Trophy races. Between two SEC foes meeting in a top-10 clash and No. 6 Oklahoma facing No. 11 Texas in the Red River Rivalry, Week 7 offers all the drama fans need.

Given everything at stake for Saturday’s big games, critical factors will play a more significant role in the outcomes. Let’s take a look at CFB’s biggest Week 7 games.

Will QB N’Kosi Perry deliver Miami’s first big win?

Perry came off the bench to nearly deliver a miraculous comeback for Miami against Virginia Tech. He replaced Jarren Williams with a 28-0 deficit in the second quarter and led the Hurricanes’ offense to a 35-35 tie with three minutes left in the game. While it was too late for Miami’s hopes at a win, it showed what he can accomplish.

Now Perry gets a starting opportunity once again with a chance to deliver Miami’s first big win. He looked outstanding throwing the football last weekend with 422 passing yards and four touchdowns. Virginia’s defense will be much tougher to beat, but Perry only needs to make a few big plays for the Hurricanes to win a close game.

Can Texas’ secondary contain Oklahoma’s receiving corps?

The Red River Rivalry will be the most exciting football game this weekend. Oklahoma’s offense is better than ever and if Texas wants any shot at winning, it must find a way to contain this outstanding receiving corps.

It’s a herculean task. CeeDee Lamb is a top-15 talent for the 2020 NFL Draft and sophomore Charleston Rambo is averaging 27.4 yards per catch. Even when defenses find a way to contain both, freshman Jadon Haselwood gets open. If the Texas’ secondary that allowed 471 passing yards against LSU shows up, Jalen Hurts will throw for 500-plus yards with six touchdowns and Oklahoma gets a double-digit win.

Will defensive coordinator change help Washington State’s defense?

The Cougars needed to make a change after allowing 105 points in two losses. So, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys resigned. Now we get to see if the change in leadership and play-calling helps fix this awful defense.

While No. 18 Arizona State enters averaging just 22.8 points per contest, freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels is already flashing outstanding talent. The Cougars’ defense will come into this game with confidence, but shifting players around into different roles and positions comes with risk. If Washington State’s defense comes up short again and drops its third straight, blame will land on Mike Leach’s shoulders.

Can Kellen Mond keep pace with Alabama’s electrifying offense?

Texas A&M’s defense is showing glimpses of brilliance this season, but losses to Clemson and Auburn showed how it could be exploited. Alabama’s offense will attack those vulnerabilities, leaving this up to Mond to try and pull off the upset.

Mond didn’t step up enough in the two losses with only three touchdowns and a 60.4 completion percentage. The Aggies need Mond to deliver more of his “wow” throws from the pocket and on the move to keep Alabama’s defense on its toes. If he eliminates his mistakes and takes advantage of Alabama’s occasional gaffes, Texas A&M can pull off the upset to delight the fans at Kyle Field.

Will this be Clay Helton’s last game at USC?

This isn’t quite how USC imagined its season would go. Losing J.T. Daniels early on served a crushing blow, but Helton’s team couldn’t beat BYU and looked overmatched against Washington. Now the Trojans must battle against No. 9 Notre Dame.

USC isn’t expected to win this game as it enters a double-digit underdog. There’s no shame for the Trojans in dropping a close game on the road, but a blowout might be a different story. If Notre Dame’s offense runs laps around USC’s defense and Helton’s offense struggles, a blowout to a major rival could seal Helton’s fate for boosters and the athletic department.

Is No. 10 Penn State ready for a road battle in Iowa?

The Nittany Lions are dominating this season on both sides of the ball and it played a huge rule in their 5-0 start with four blowout victories. Penn State is obviously riding high, but this is a test unlike any it has faced this season.

Iowa enters with the home-field advantage and one of the best defenses in the country. Penn State averages 47 points per game and opponents are averaging 7.4 points against its defense. However, Iowa is vastly superior on both sides of the ball to everything the Nittany Lions have encountered. If quarterback Nate Stanley eliminates the turnovers that cost him against Michigan, Iowa can win this game.

Will Jonathan Taylor have another Heisman moment?

The bar for this year’s Heisman Trophy keeps getting raised each week. It might be one of the most competitive races in years and that means Taylor must deliver in a tough matchup once again.

Michigan State’s defense enters allowing only 100.3 rushing yards per game to opponents. The Spartans’ defensive front can create penetration, which makes this matchup against Wisconsin so exciting for football fans. The Badgers will feed Taylor often on Saturday and if he delivers 150-plus total yards with multiple touchdowns, it will further solidify his shot at the coveted trophy.

Is Florida’s defense able to stop Joe Burrow in Baton Rouge?

It’s the game that carries the most significant CFB Playoff implications. The Gators are coming off a monumental win over Auburn with their eyes now set on upsetting No. 5 LSU. Of course, Florida will need to do what no one else has to accomplish it.

No player performing at a higher level than Burrow. He will take the field on Saturday with 1,864 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns and a 216.2 quarterback rating. Florida brings an excellent pass rush and is allowing only 183.3 passing yards per game this year. If the Gators can create a few turnovers, that could be all they need to limit Burrow and become a top-four team in the rankings.

Matt Johnson
NFL, MLB & college football writer for Sportsnaut. Graduated from San Diego State University with BA in Journalism, 2019. Grew up in Sacramento, now based in Indianapolis. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection, With the First Pick