College football Week 7: Storylines for battles of unbeatens, best bets

Wideout Bru McCoy and the high-powered Tennessee offense face a mighty challenge in Alabama's strong defense. Bryan Lynn/USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 regular season featured three games between teams that were each at least 5-0 -- one each in Week 6 (Penn State-Iowa), Week 7 (Georgia-Kentucky) and Week 9 (Michigan-Michigan State). We haven't had two such games in the same regular-season weekend since 2019, and we haven't had three since Week 7 in 1993, a weekend highlighted by one of the greatest Auburn-Florida games ever.

I guess I should say we hadn't had three in one week since 1993. With Alabama-Tennessee, Penn State-Michigan and Oklahoma State-TCU, we've got three unbeaten battles on the docket, plus three other ranked-versus-ranked games. All five power conferences are represented among these six matchups. This is a balanced and bonkers Saturday.

Here's everything you need to follow to get the most out of Week 7. Let's roll.

Can Tennessee end two droughts at the same time?

No. 3 Alabama at No. 6 Tennessee (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

While we're shouting out the 1990s, here's another date for you: Oct. 9, 1999. Current Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel took on Texas for the first time as Oklahoma's starting quarterback (the Sooners lost despite some delightful playbook shenanigans), current Alabama head coach Nick Saban led Michigan State to an upset of No. 3 Michigan and No. 6 Tennessee hosted Quincy Carter and No. 10 Georgia.

The Volunteers were cruising with a 30-7 lead in the third quarter, but a Carter-to-Jevaris Johnson touchdown pass and a Jamie Henderson pick-six suddenly cut the lead to 10 with 12 minutes left. It appeared Tennessee was on the verge of collapse, but track champion Leonard Scott returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, and Phil Fulmer's Vols pulled out a 37-20 win.

That's the last time Tennessee both hosted and won a battle of AP top-10 teams.

On Saturday comes its best shot in a while at ending both that drought and a 15-year losing streak to Saban and Alabama.