Road to Glendale 2011: Five Marquee Matchups Headline Week 10

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Road to Glendale 2011: Five Marquee Matchups Headline Week 10
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As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011.″

Let’s move on to a jam-packed week ten filled with huge matchups around the country.

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech: Thursday Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m. ET

Despite losing four marquee names from the team that won the ACC title last season, Georgia Tech seems primed to make another run at the conference crown in 2010.

However, standing squarely in their way are the Hokies of Virginia Tech. Shut out of the ACC Championship Game last season, the Hokies are the prohibitive favorite in the 12-team conference and will start the season ranked among the best in the nation.

Both teams have simple conference schedules before this game and could very easily be undefeated in the ACC when the square off for a Thursday night battle in Blacksburg.

The Hokies will be hoping that the game will serve as a sort of passing of the guard from the Yellow Jackets to themselves, as a win here could send either on the fast track to the ACC Coastal Division crown and a berth in the 2010 ACC Championship Game.

The game could also be an opportunity for both teams’ quarterbacks — the Hokies’ Tyrod Taylor and Yellow Jackets’ Josh Nesbitt — to state their case for ACC Offensive Player of the Year, as both will be preseason favorites for the award.

TCU at Utah: Saturday Nov. 6, 3:30 p.m. ET

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What has become an annual conference battle that oftentimes tops the pressure and excitement of some BCS conference rivalries will make its final appearance in 2010 as Utah is headed to the Pac-10 in 2011.

And there’s no doubt — this rivalry could go out with a bang in 2010.

Both teams have high aspirations this year, conference championship and a BCS bowl game bid included. However, this game might end up being an elimination style battle for both opportunities.

TCU quarterback Andy Dalton will look to pick apart a young Utes defense that only returns four of its 11 starters from the 2009 team that finished 10-3. Utah will counter with Jordan Wynn, who started 2009 on the bench but took over for Terrance Cain midway through the season.

Alabama at LSU: Saturday Nov. 6, 8:00 p.m. ET

For a preseason national title favorite, the Alabama Crimson Tide will have a terribly difficult time returning to the BCS National Championship Game with the caliber of opponents on their schedule.

Week 10 will be no different for the Tide, as they head to Baton Rouge to face off against the Tigers of LSU in another classic SEC matchup.

By now you know the story of the defending champion Crimson Tide — returning most of the core that brought them their first national championship in 2009 since 1992.

The Tigers are looking to improve upon an underwhelming nine-win season in ’09 with a team full of potential, but a schedule that could prove daunting for a team that will rely on a defense that only returns four starters and an unsure quarterback situation.

Both teams could be undefeated when the early November meet up occurs, or they could both have two losses — the SEC schedule is that tough and unpredictable. No matter what the records are when the game rolls around, you can definitely expect fireworks and high quality football.

Washington at Oregon: Saturday Nov. 6, TBA

Depending on who you ask, any of four (or even five) teams seem to hold the preseason position as Pac-10 favorite for 2010.

Both Washington and Oregon are among those teams, and when they meet up for this Pacific Northwest battle in Week 10, both will likely be gunning for a Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl bid.

Despite both receiving some preseason national praise, the quarterback situations in Eugene and Seattle could not be more different.

Washington returns preseason Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year favorite Jake Locker after the senior quarterback decided to forgo the NFL draft and stay with the Huskies one final year. The Ducks, on the other hand, lost their star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli after he was kicked off the team and transferred to Ole Miss.

Offense will be a key in this matchup. Locker will be tested against an experienced and skilled Ducks defense. The Ducks will contend with a less than spectacular Washington defense, which has especially large holes at defensive line and in the secondary.

Arkansas at South Carolina: Saturday Nov. 6, TBA

If the Alabama-LSU matchup is the game of the week in the SEC, this battle is a close second.

Both teams finished distant fourth places in their respective SEC divisions in 2009, but look to 2010 as a year to break out and make some real noise in the nation’s toughest conference.

South Carolina is looking to take advantage of an unusually open East Division in the SEC and make a surprise run at the SEC Championship Game. They will need quarterback Stephen Garcia and the offense to perform at a high level to have a shot.

Arkansas has a Heisman hopeful in quarterback Ryan Mallett and could be a surprise contender in the West Division if they can survive a daunting early-season schedule.

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