College Football 2010: Week 10 Marquee Matchups and Predictions
It's already Week 10 in college football, and the games just keep better and better. There are five bouts between Top 25 teams. To say the least, this week in college football will be a fan's dream.
There is a lot on the line this weekend, as there are games with major conference title implications in the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Mountain West and Pac-10. Who's up for contender? Who's a pretender? We'll find out in a slew of sensational college football games this weekend.
Here are this weekend's Top 10 games and predictions.
Northwestern at Penn State
Joe Paterno seeks his 400th career victory
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This game is not going to decide the Big Ten race. It is not a matchup of two great teams. But it will be an interesting game to look out for this weekend.
Northwestern has been solid all year, now at 6-2. Dan Persa has been the heart and soul of Northwestern's offense.
This weekend, he and his Wildcats will have a tough task as they enter Beaver Stadium to face the Nittany Lions of Penn State and the whiteout crowd. Despite the struggles of Penn State throughout the 2010 season, they will play with a little extra drive in this game.
The reason why? They want to get Joe Paterno his 400th career win—a milestone that has never been reached in the ranks of college football.
In the end, I see the Nittany Lions taking care of Northwestern with the help of their 12th man—the intimidating crowd.
Penn State 17 Northwestern 14
North Carolina at No. 24 Florida State
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In this game lies a premiere ACC Quarterback matchup—TJ Yates and Christian Ponder two of the top QB's in the conference.
Following a streak of four quality wins, the Tar Heels of North Carolina have looked awful the past two weeks, losing to Miami 33-10 and coming back late to sneak past William & Mary. They will be looking to regain their respect and what better way to do it than against a ranked foe?
On the opposing sideline, Florida State looks to remain major ACC title contenders following a heart-breaking loss at North Carolina State. They need this win to have a good shot at the ACC Atlantic Division, as NC State now has the tie breaker if they were to finish with identical conference records.
I'm giving everyone a spoiler alert here, as UNC will upset Florida State on the Seminoles home turf.
North Carolina 24 Florida State 21
No. 11 Oklahoma at Texas A&M
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On paper, this is a sure win for Oklahoma but don't be surprised if this one is a barn-burner.
Texas A&M looked incredible behind new starting QB Ryan Tannehill, who threw four touchdowns in his first game in place of struggling Jerrod Johnson. They were up by as many as 25 points in a convincing win over Texas Tech. With poor quarterback play by Johnson, being the culprit of all three Aggie losses, the emergence of Tannehill could spell success for Texas A&M.
For Oklahoma, Landry Jones leads as good an offense as you will see in the nation. It doesn't hurt that he has Biletnikoff Award-candidate Ryan Broyles to throw to. Although they have a sensational offense, their defense is suspect, so this game should be a shootout.
At the final whistle, Texas A&M will make a major statement and bring down overrated Oklahoma in a high-scoring affair.
Texas A&M 45 Oklahoma 42
Maryland at Miami
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Maryland is a surprisingly major contender in the ACC Championship race. They are 6-2 and show no signs of slowing down after a 62-14 shellacking of Wake Forest. This game will show us if the Terps are contenders or pretenders.
They face an inconsistent, yet talented Miami squad. The Hurricanes don't have Jacory Harris, but that could be a blessing in disguise. Harris countless interceptions have been the main reason why Miami has struggled at times. Last week, Stephen Morris came in for Harris and lead three touchdown drives, all within six minutes. He did throw a couple of interceptions, but those were most likely caused by nerves.
In a key ACC battle, I see Maryland continuing their success and remaining in the chase for the BCS with a win at Miami.
Maryland 31 Miami 24
No. 2 Boise State at Hawaii
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Boise State was yet again jumped in the polls, as they dropped to No. 4 despite their undefeated record. The Broncos face a formidable opponent this week. They might be looking ahead Hawaii, so this could a trap game.
Hawaii has been playing some good football—winning six straight games, scoring over 40 points in five of them and beating Nevada in the other. The experienced Boise State defense will have their hands full with the explosive Rainbow Warriors' offense.
This game will result in one of two ways:
1. A Boise State rout of Hawaii, or
2. A close shootout
I'm thinking this game will go to Boise State, but in what fashion, is unclear to me.
Boise State 57 Hawaii 40
No. 22 Baylor at No. 19 Oklahoma State
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This game has major Big 12 implications, despite false preseason notions. This might end up being the Big 12 South Division Championship.
The Baylor Bears are on a tear as of late. They have one of the most dangerous players in the country in Robert Griffin. He has been engineering a high-powered Baylor offense.
It's too bad they face the top offense in the country in Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are also shocking people, going 7-1 to this point. Their offense has been second to none with their balanced run-pass offense. There's no doubt they will put up lots of points in this game.
As much as I would like to see Baylor continue their run, I see the Cowboy's offense overmatching the Bear defense.
Oklahoma State 48 Baylor 41
No. 17 Arkansas at No. 18 South Carolina
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If this game is No. 4, you know that this weekend will be awesome in College Football.
Anyway, this game is a key game in the SEC.
South Carolina will be looking to maintain their lead in the SEC East. They have shown that they can be a great team. They took down then No. 1 Alabama. In that game, Stephen Garcia played like a Heisman candidate. Therefore, we saw that the Gamecocks ride on the play of their QB Garcia.
For Arkansas, we don't have to worry about their quarterback play. Ryan Mallet brings it week in and week out. They will just need to play some solid defense, something they could not do against Auburn. If they slow down the South Carolina offense, they will be in good shape.
The difference in this game will be which defense can hold the opposing offense in check. South Carolina's defense will hold up and the Gamecocks will pull this one out in front of their home crowd.
South Carolina 34 Arkansas 31
No. 5 Alabama at No. 12 LSU
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Alabama seeks to keep their National Championship hopes alive as they travel to LSU.
LSU has is 7-1 with their only loss to No. 3 Auburn, but they could have looked much more impressive in their wins. They barely escaped struggling Tennessee on a lucky play and let some teams stay way too close. They did play Auburn tough in a one-score game, so Alabama has to take care of business and not look ahead to Auburn.
The Crimson Tide have looked great outside of their loss to South Carolina. They can still win the SEC if they win out, and that will most probably give them a ticket to the national title game.
With so much on the line for Alabama, they will win a close, hard-fought game over LSU.
Alabama 27 LSU 21
No. 13 Arizona at No. 10 Stanford
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Lady's and gentlemen, the Pac-10 second place game. I mean c'mon. No one is going to beat Oregon, so this will be for the team right behind the Ducks.
Stanford looked great last week, beating Washington by a score of 41-0. Andrew Luck, the top QB in the country, anchors this good-looking offense. As long as he is in the game, the Cardinals will always have a chance to score. That is evident as they have not scored under 30 points all season.
Arizona has also been playing good football throughout the season. They beat early season title contender Iowa in Week 3. After a disappointing loss to Oregon State, the Wildcats have not lost a game, and are sitting at 7-1.
Stanford has simply been more impressive, as they only lost to the top team in the country in Oregon, while Arizona's loss came to solid but not great Oregon State.
Stanford 41 Arizona 34
No. 4 TCU at No. 6 Utah
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This is surely the game of the year to this point. It will determine the Mountain West Champ, which is suddenly an enormous honor. Both teams in this matchup have looked sensational from the get-go.
Utah has two BCS victories, which is impressive in itself. They beat Pittsburgh in Overtime to start the season, but they were most impressive against Iowa State. They won by an astounding score of 68-27. This Iowa State team isn't even bad. The Cyclones have solid wins over Texas and Texas Tech, so beating them by 40 is an impressive feat.
The Utes will face by far their top opponent of the season in TCU. Statistically, the Horned Frogs have the top defense in the country. But they also have a very productive offense to go along with their shutdown defense behind veteran QB Andy Dalton. The proof is in the pudding, as they have scored 30+ points in all but one game.
Their signature wins are slightly more impressive than Utah's. They beat Baylor by 35, and the Bears have proven to be a great team. They also took down Oregon State in their first game.
In this thriller of a game, I just have a feeling Utah will use their home field to their advantage and take down TCU in an epic game.
Utah 24 TCU 21