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College Football Games To Watch: Week 7

Notre Dame kicks off at 2:30 PM (Eastern) today as it looks to improve to 4-0 when it hosts the Louisville Cardinals.

There are other big games this weekend that don’t involve Notre Dame, at least not directly. When you are competing for an ACC title, and possibly a College Football Playoff berth, there are other games that will have a big impact.

Overall it’s a light weekend, but there are matchups that could have a big impact on Notre Dame’s season-ending destination.

Here are the other matchups I’ll be watching this weekend.

Pittsburgh Panthers (3-2) at #13 Miami Hurricanes (3-1)

Time: 12:00 PM (Eastern)
TV: ACC Network
Line: Miami -13.0

This game could have major implications for Notre Dame, especially if Pittsburgh wins. Obviously, if the Panthers win they will have a better chance at being ranked at the end of the season. Should Pitt lose, however, they are looking at losing at least five games, as the Panthers still would play Notre Dame, Clemson and Virginia Tech.

That would certainly negatively impact Notre Dame’s overall strength of schedule.

Miami gets North Carolina at home to end the regular season, and they don’t play Notre Dame. The Hurricanes don’t have an easy schedule remaining (road games against NC State and Virginia Tech happen in November), but let’s say it’s manageable between now and the North Carolina game on Dec. 5.

Notre Dame needs Miami to lose, giving it a second conference loss. The last time Miami was ranked going into a Pitt game (#2 in 2017), the Panthers pulled off a 24-14 upset victory.

#5 North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0) at Florida State Seminoles (1-3)

Time: 7:30 PM (Eastern)
TV: ABC
Line: North Carolina -13.5

Right now, Notre Dame’s toughest competition for a matchup against Clemson in the ACC title game is North Carolina. The Tar Heels are coming off a convincing win over Virginia Tech, but the defense struggled a bit. Florida State’s offense started to heat up against Jacksonville State and Notre Dame, but do the Seminoles have enough firepower to hang with North Carolina? We’ll see.

The concerning matchup here for the Seminoles is their defense against the high-power North Carolina offense. Florida State has talent on defense, but it doesn’t look like the best players are being put in position to thrive. Can the Seminole staff get things corrected this weekend? I doubt it, but if they do they could hang with, and possibly upset the Tar Heels.

Boston College Eagles (3-1) at #23 Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1)

Time: 8:00 PM (Eastern)
TV: ACC Network
Line: Virginia Tech -13.0

This is a big game for Notre Dame. A Boston College win all but eliminates Virginia Tech from ACC title game contention. It also likely vaults BC into the Top 25, and would certainly enhances Notre Dame’s resume, which other than Clemson and North Carolina looks soft. Boston College being ranked come November means the Irish are in position to play three straight ranked teams that month, which would certainly boost its national profile.

Virginia Tech’s defense has been struggling all season, but can Boston College finally get its ground game going, which would take some of the pressure off talented quarterback Phil Jurkovec? That’s what needs to happen for the Eagles in what will likely be a shootout. Boston College’s defense will compete, but they just aren’t overly talented. Stopping the potent Hokie ground attack could be a challenge.

The Irish Breakdown staff dove into this matchup and made predictions, which you can read HERE.

#3 Georgia Bulldogs (3-0) at #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0)

Time: 8:00 PM (Eastern)
TV: CBS
Line: Alabama -5.0

This is the biggest matchup of the weekend, and will be one of the biggest of the season. Simply put, Notre Dame needs the SEC to beat itself up. Alabama might be tough to beat, but the ideal scenario for Notre Dame is that no more than one team in the league has one loss or less.

With a neutral site game against Florida, and road games against Kentucky, Missouri and South Carolina, there’s a better chance that Georgia loses one more time before the SEC title game. The worst case scenario for an 11-1 Notre Dame team that doesn’t win the ACC title is a 9-1 Georgia team beating a 10-0 Alabama team in the SEC title game, or vice versa. They need at least one of those teams to have two losses.

The Irish Breakdown staff dove into this matchup and made predictions, which you can read HERE.

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