College Football Week 10: Previews and Predictions for the Top 10 Games
With a lot of high-profile games in Week 9, Week 10 doesn’t quite have the same eye-catching matchups. It will have one of the most hyped matchups of the season, though, as in-state rivals Miami (FL) and Florida State square off in Tallahassee Saturday night.
Week 10 will also consist of an in-state rival matchup between Michigan and Michigan State. The winner of this matchup could be the team representing the Big Ten Legends Division in the Big Ten Championship game in early December.
Georgia and Florida will play their annual game in Jacksonville as well but not as much is on the line from a BCS bowl perspective as both teams have already lost three games.
Lastly, ranked Big 12 foes Oklahoma State and Texas Tech will battle it out in Lubbock in hopes of staying in the Big 12 title race.
With that said, here are the top games to watch in Week 10:
No. 24 Wisconsin at Iowa
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon against Illinois on Oct. 19.
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
No. 24 Wisconsin @ Iowa, 12 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2
Wisconsin has bounced back and forth between the Top 25 rankings this season, but they are still in contention to grab an at-large BCS bowl bid.
Since losing a close one to Ohio State on Sept. 28, the Badgers have demolished their opponents (Northwestern and Illinois) by a combined 53 points.
The Badger rushing attack, led by 1,000-yard rusher Melvin Gordon, has been racking up 296.9 yards per game on opponents this season (eighth in the country). The offense is also averaging 39.9 points per game this season.
Wisconsin, though, will be up against an Iowa team that has already exceeded expectations this season.
The Hawkeye offense has improved with sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock leading the way, and the defense has looked solid by allowing just (201.1 passing yards per game) and holding its opponents to an impressive 18.1 points per game (12th in the country).
Both teams are similar in the sense that running the ball and playing physical defense are key.
The Hawkeyes will keep the game close, but Gary Andersen’s Badgers will make big plays in the fourth quarter, leaving Iowa in hope of winning its sixth game at Purdue on Nov. 9 to become bowl-eligible.
Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Iowa 23
No. 21 Michigan at No. 22 Michigan State
Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
No. 21 Michigan @ No. 22 Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
The Wolverines have looked shaky since taking down Notre Dame on Sept. 7.
Their 13 turnovers and close wins against subpar teams has shown this team's weaknesses and inconsistencies. A Wolverine defense, which has been one of the best in the country since Brady Hoke arrived in Ann Arbor, has given up an average of 45.0 points in its past two games.
Michigan State, on the other hand, continues to cause problems for opposing team's offenses with its physicality. The Spartan defense is first in the country in total yards per game (215.0) and third in the country in points against (12.3). The offense, led by quarterback Connor Cook and running back Jeremy Langford, is still not as strong in the passing game and rely on the run.
Cook has played well since earning the starting job by throwing for 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions. His job has been to basically be a game manager and not turn the ball over.
If Michigan wants any chance of knocking off its in-state rival, quarterback Devin Gardner has to take care of the ball and make good decisions when throwing in the pocket.
The running game will likely struggle against a talented Spartan defensive front, meaning Gardner will be forced to pass the ball to reliable targets Jeremy Gallon and Devin Funchess. With Gardner passing the ball as much as he may be, it sets up Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard to make plays in the secondary.
Michigan failed to score a single touchdown in its 12-10 win over Michigan State last season, and it could turn into a rather defensive game yet again.
The Wolverines have proven they can win even if they don’t win the turnover battle, but the Spartans have been playing well and are in the hunt to play for the Big Ten Championship.
Prediction: Michigan State 27, Michigan 23
Georgia vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
Senior Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Georgia vs. Florida (Jacksonville), 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
It’s always a party in Jacksonville when these two rivals collide, but this matchup is a little bit different than we had anticipated.
What figured to be a matchup between two ranked teams and an elimination game for the SEC East Division has suddenly turned into a fight for survival.
Both teams are unranked and have lost three games, two of which were games in the SEC.
The Dawgs and Gators may already be eliminated from playing in the SEC Championship Game with losses to Missouri, but one more loss for either team would likely eliminate them for good.
The Dawgs have lost their main targets in the receiving corps, as well as running back Keith Marshall for the season but still have gunslinger quarterback Aaron Murray under center. Running back Todd Gurley will likely return to lineup on Saturday after missing the last three games with an ankle injury.
The Gator defense, at this point, has more weight on its shoulders than it ever could have imagined. Being able to hold opponents to an average of 16.3 (eighth in the country) is almost not good enough to win games anymore.
The offense is averaging just 21.1 points per game this season, in part, due to a less-than-subpar passing game. Quarterback Tyler Murphy’s statistics for the past two games against LSU and Missouri consist of a combined 207 passing yards, no touchdowns with one interception and a completion percentage of 53.7.
The Georgia defense hasn’t been particularly good this season, but with Florida averaging just 24.6 pass attempts per game this season, per Team Rankings, it will be rather easy for the Dawgs to sniff out the run the entire game.
Murray and company are going to be able to put up enough points on the Gators to win this matchup for a third consecutive year.
Prediction: Georgia 31, Florida 18
No. 18 Oklahoma State at No. 15 Texas Tech
Oklahoma State senior safety Daytawion Lowe
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
No. 18 Oklahoma State @ No. 15 Texas Tech, 7 p.m. Fox
With Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma still contending for the Big 12 conference title, it’s likely that the loser of this matchup will be eliminated.
Mike Gundy’s squad never seems to struggle to put points up, but it’s been the defense that’s been the big surprise this season.
Texas Tech’s undefeated season ended last week at Oklahoma. Now it's up to Kliff Kingsbury's team to bounce back and make it through the rest of their Big 12 schedule.
The Red Raider offense is putting up astounding numbers with 412.9 passing yards per game and 537.1 total yards per game. The problem with this explosive offense, though, is the amount of times they’ve turned the ball over. They currently are tied for ninth in the country with 19 turnovers.
The offenses will put points up in this game, but defense will be a key factor. If the Pokes continue to cause turnovers on defense—and the rushing attack with Desmond Roland is as lethal as it was last week at Iowa State—they will come out with their fifth straight win over Texas Tech.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 35, Texas Tech 28
No. 7 Miami (FL) at No. 3 Florida State
Florida senior defensive back Lamarcus Joyner
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
No. 7 Miami (FL) @ No. 3 Florida State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
It’s back! The rivalry between the "The U" and the ‘Noles has national implications for the first time since the 2003 season when the two faced off in the Orange Bowl.
Miami heads into Tallahassee after two close calls against North Carolina and Wake Forest. The Canes in their last two games have needed last-minute touchdowns to keep their undefeated season intact.
Morris has thrown just one touchdown and four interceptions in Miami’s last two games. Turnovers are what hurt Clemson significantly in a 51-14 loss against Florida State on Oct. 19.
Johnson, who's averaged 145 yards in his past three games, needs to make a big impact in the backfield to take some of the load off the passing game. If the physical Florida State defense led by Lamarcus Joyner shuts down the Miami rushing attack, it will be difficult for the Canes to keep up.
With an already talented defense, the Florida State offense has been stellar with quarterback Jameis Winston under center. Winston leads the 11th-best passing attack in the country (341.4 yards per game) and has the offense scoring 52.6 points per game.
The ‘Noles are currently in a battle for the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings with Oregon. A win over the No. 7 team in the country could help them jump in front of the Ducks again.
Miami will try to pound the ball with Johnson, but it won’t be enough to keep up with one of the best offenses and defenses in the country. Jimbo Fisher’s team wins big in this one.
Prediction: Florida State 42, Miami (FL) 24
The Other Five
Oregon State junior wide receiver Brandin Cooks against Stanford on Oct. 26.
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Friday: USC @ Oregon State, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The Trojans have lost their last three meetings in Corvallis, the biggest loss being in 2008 when they were ranked No. 1 in the country.
USC struggles to score and relies heavily on their defense. The Trojan defense, though, will be in trouble as it gets the task of trying to shut down Sean Mannion, the leading passer in the country, and Brandin Cooks, the top receiver in the country.
USC may keep the game close early, but Oregon State will run away with the game in the second half.
Prediction: Oregon State 31, USC 16
Northwestern @ Nebraska, 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Both teams come into Saturday’s game after difficult losses.
Northwestern was supposed to be a threat in the Big Ten this season but has literally fallen off the radar by losing its last four games. The most recent was a 17-10 overtime loss at Iowa.
Nebraska ran into trouble up in Minneapolis, where the Cornhuskers lost to Minnesota, 34-23, for the first time since 1960. Starting quarterback Taylor Martinez, again, suffered an injury, this time a hip pointer. It’s likely that redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong will get the start.
The Huskers are very much still alive in the Big Ten Legends Division race, but can they get past a stumbling Wildcat team that’s given them problems the past two years?
Prediction: Nebraska 35, Northwestern 24
No. 11 Auburn @ Arkansas, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The Tiger rushing attack with Tre Mason (753 yards and nine touchdowns) and Cameron Artis-Payne (510 yards and five touchdowns) are going to cause all sorts of problems for a Hog defense surrendering 30.6 points per game.
Prediction: Auburn 52, Arkansas 14
Tennessee @ No. 9 Missouri, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Missouri’s undefeated season was snapped last week against South Carolina on a missed 24-yard field goal in overtime. Now it must bounce back against Tennessee, which will be without starting quarterback Justin Worley due to surgery on his right thumb.
The Tigers still lead the SEC East Division by one game and are currently in the running for a BCS bowl bid.
Missouri has played well defensively, especially defensive end Michael Sam, who is tied for first in the country with 10.0 sacks.
Maty Mauk will also likely get the start under center again with James Franklin still questionable with a separated throwing shoulder.
The Vols had a setback at Alabama last weekend and will suffer another one this week at Missouri.
Prediction: Missouri 38, Tennessee 24
Nevada @ No. 16 Fresno State, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Fresno State was seconds away from losing its chance at a BCS bowl bid, but a blocked field goal, as time expired in the fourth quarter against San Diego State, kept their hopes alive, as they forced overtime. In overtime, the Bulldogs, led by quarterback Derek Carr, scored a touchdown and then held the Aztecs out of the end zone on fourth down to win, 35-28.
Now Fresno State will take on a Nevada squad that comes in on a three-game losing streak. The Bulldog offense has been dangerous through the air and are putting up 44.3 points per game this season.
This game won't even be close, as Fresno State runs all over the Wolf Pack.
Prediction: Fresno State 48, Nevada 24