College Football Picks: Week 10 Predictions for Every Game
Now that the College Football Playoff selection committee has released its first Top 25 of the 2017 season, we can safely say that No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 11 Oklahoma State is going to be the most important Week 10 battle to watch.
For the second consecutive week, the schedule is packed to the rafters with marquee games. Bedlam and LSU vs. Alabama are the big-ticket items, but we've been #blessed with seven ranked versus ranked battles among the 19 (!!!) games between teams with winning records.
No matter how things shake out, it's going to shake up the College Football Playoff picture.
But allow us to let you know what to expect this weekend with our predictions for every single game beginning with Thursday night. (Sorry, Tuesday and Wednesday night #MACtion, but too much research goes into this piece to have it finished early enough in the week to include you.) As you can see below, if you've been betting on my Top 25 picks this season, you're welcome.
Year-to-Date: 123-50 outright; 90-77-6 against the spread
Year-to-Date (Top 25 Games): 52-8 outright; 37-19-4 against the spread
Top Early Games
No. 7 Penn State (7-1) at No. 24 Michigan State (6-2), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Penn State beat Michigan State 45-12 last November
Despite jumping out to a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game at Ohio State last week, Penn State is looking to recover from its first loss of the season. It'll have no time to lick those wounds, though, as the Nittany Lions have to go back on the road to face a stingy Spartans defense. Penn State will get points, though. It just averaged 40.5 in back-to-back weeks against Michigan and Ohio State. The question is: Can the Michigan State offense keep pace against an equally stingy Penn State defense? The answer is: Nope.
Prediction: Penn State 34, Michigan State 20
No. 14 Auburn (6-2) at Texas A&M (5-3), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Texas A&M beat Auburn 29-16 last September
Texas A&M has given up more than 225 rushing yards in four of its last five games. During that same five-week window, Auburn averaged 273.4 rushing yards per game. But that's not the only war in the trenches to watch. Texas A&M ranks second in the nation in total sacks with 30, and the only reason the Aggies aren't No. 1 is Clemson got there by sacking Auburn 11 times back in Week 2. The Tigers have done a much better job of protecting QB Jarrett Stidham since, but that's one thing that could lead to an upset. A&M will get a couple of penetration-fueled defensive stops, but not enough to overcome Auburn's D.
Prediction: Auburn 28, Texas A&M 17
No. 9 Wisconsin (8-0) at Indiana (3-5), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Wisconsin beat Indiana 51-3 in 2013
Indiana does not run the ball well, and Wisconsin leads the nation in defensive QB rating. It's hard to imagine how the Hoosiers will accomplish anything on offense. As long as Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook doesn't give the ball away a bunch of times, this should be an easy victory for the Badgers.
Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Indiana 10
Kansas State (4-4) at Texas Tech (4-4), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Kansas State beat Texas Tech 44-38 last October
Both of these teams desperately need a win to stay in the hunt for bowl eligibility, and we like Texas Tech to get the job done. Despite a poor showing two weeks ago against Iowa State, Nic Shimonek has this Red Raiders offense in a good place, as it's averaging nearly 350 passing yards per game this season with four touchdowns for every interception thrown. And Kansas State's secondary has allowed 359.2 passing yards per game in Big 12 play.
Prediction: Texas Tech 41, Kansas State 38
Syracuse (4-4) at Florida State (2-5), 12:20 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Florida State beat Syracuse 45-14 last November
Morbid curiosity is the only thing making this a top early game. Have things gotten so bad for Florida State that the 'Noles could lose at home to Syracuse? Considering the Orange have averaged 119.4 more yards of total offense per game than Florida State, yes, it's quite possible. This feels like the type of game that will hinge on a defensive touchdown. And with a negative-10 turnover margin on the season, Florida State may be on the wrong end of that play.
Prediction: Syracuse 27, Florida State 24
Other Early Games
Western Kentucky (5-3) at Vanderbilt (3-5), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Vanderbilt beat Western Kentucky 31-30 last September
If there's any team that needs a break from conference games, it's Vanderbilt. The Commodores were limiting nonconference opponents to 198.3 yards and 4.3 points during their 3-0 start, but those numbers have ballooned to 536.4 and 46.6, respectively, in SEC play. Can they get back on track against a Western Kentucky offense that has discovered its A-game over the past three weeks? Vandy will get the win, but it won't be pretty.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 28, Western Kentucky 24
Massachusetts (2-6) at No. 16 Mississippi State (6-2), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Mississippi State beat Massachusetts 47-35 last September
For a 2-6 team with losses to Old Dominion and Coastal Carolina, Massachusetts can do some work on offense, as it's averaged 45.0 points over its past three games. But scoring against Mississippi State will be a much stiffer challenge than the Minutemen have faced lately. Since late-September blowout losses at Georgia and Auburn, the Bulldogs have held each of their last three opponents to 14 points or fewer. They have fixed things on offense, too, becoming arguably the fourth best team in the SEC.
Prediction: Mississippi State 42, Massachusetts 17
Florida (3-4) at Missouri (3-5), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Florida beat Missouri 40-14 last October
With the firing of former Florida head coach Jim McElwain this week, there's no telling which way this game will go. Maybe it'll be the kick in the pants the Gators need and they'll respond by smoking a subpar Missouri team. Or maybe they'll continue down their path of mediocrity and become the third consecutive team that Drew Lock torches through the air. The most likely outcome, though, appears to be a nail-biter played in the mid-20s and won by the team that avoids worsening its already negative turnover margin.
Prediction: Florida 28, Missouri 26
Illinois (2-6) at Purdue (3-5), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Purdue beat Illinois 34-31 last October
Remember earlier in the season when we thought Purdue might be good this year? That was fun, right? The Boilermakers have lost four of their last five games and have been a comedy of errors on offense in most of those weeks. Fortunately for them, they're facing the one team in the Big Ten that has been worse. Illinois has lost six straight and all but one by a multi-possession margin. Purdue should be able to get the job done at home, but this is going to be one of the most unwatchable games of the week.
Prediction: Purdue 24, Illinois 13
East Carolina (2-6) at Houston (5-3), Noon ET
Last Meeting: East Carolina beat Houston 48-28 in 2012
East Carolina has given up 49 points per game in AAC play. Though Houston isn't anything close to the most prolific offense in this conference, the Cougars are more than capable of scoring at will against a defense that ranks dead last in the nation in yards allowed per play with 577.6.
Prediction: Houston 42, East Carolina 23
Baylor (0-8) at Kansas (1-7), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Baylor beat Kansas 49-7 last October
The Big 12 is home to the best game of Week 10 (Bedlam) and the worst game of Week 10 (this hot mess). Neither Baylor nor Kansas has won a game since Labor Day, and they have both spent the entire season oscillating between "competitively bad" and "plain awful." Heck, Baylor hasn't won a regular-season game since blowing out Kansas 12.5 months ago. But if we have to trust in either team to show up for this one, the Bears are the more likely candidate.
Prediction: Baylor 38, Kansas 31
Cream of the Midafternoon Crop
No. 5 Oklahoma (7-1) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-1), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 38-20 last December
As mentioned, this iteration of the Bedlam Series is arguably the best game of the week. It will feature two of the most potent offenses in the nation going blow for blow in the battle for the Sooner State. But Oklahoma State hasn't been great lately, as it's averaging less than 5.0 yards per play over the past two weeks against Texas and West Virginia. Oklahoma has been much more consistent on offense and just played one of its best games of the season in a 49-27 win over Texas Tech. It's going to be a barn-burner, but look for Baker Mayfield to beat the Pokes for a third straight year.
Prediction: Oklahoma 42, Oklahoma State 38
No. 4 Clemson (7-1) at No. 20 North Carolina State (6-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Clemson beat North Carolina State 24-17 last October
This game lost a bit of its luster with North Carolina State's 35-14 loss to Notre Dame last week, but the Wolfpack are still the only undefeated team in league play in the ACC Atlantic Division and could effectively wrap up a trip to the conference championship game with a win here. But that won't happen. Not with NC State's Nyheim Hines banged up with a sprained ankle and Clemson's Kelly Bryant's good form last week in his return from both an ankle injury and a concussion. Had this game been played Oct. 21, I would've been all about a Wolfpack upset. On Nov. 4, though, Clemson ought to win with relative ease.
Prediction: Clemson 34, NC State 19
No. 6 Ohio State (7-1) at Iowa (5-3), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Ohio State beat Iowa 34-24 in 2013
Iowa fatally wounded Michigan's CFP dreams last November. Can the Hawkeyes do it to Ohio State? At best, it's unlikely. Iowa has been held to fewer than 20 points in four of its last five games and can't seem to figure out anything on offense lately. The Hawkeyes are 5-3 because they've also held all but one opponent to 21 points or fewer, but no one is slowing down an Ohio State offense averaging 50.8 points over its last six games.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Iowa 17
No. 21 Stanford (6-2) at No. 25 Washington State (7-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Washington State beat Stanford 42-16 last October
Bryce Love is dealing with an ankle injury that caused him to miss last week's game—and that caused Stanford's offense to look like it had never seen a football before. Until we hear otherwise, you've got to assume he'll play this week against a Washington State defense that just gave up 310 rushing yards and 58 points in a loss to Arizona. Unpredictability is par for the course with this Cougars D, though. The unit has held four opponents to 10 points or fewer and has given up at least 37 points three times. Our guess is this will be one of its good days, given Stanford's season-long problems with passing the ball against competent defenses.
Prediction: Washington State 30, Stanford 20
No. 15 Iowa State (6-2) at West Virginia (5-3), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: West Virginia beat Iowa State 49-19 last November
During this four-game winning streak, Iowa State has been nearly impenetrable on defense. Over the last 3.5 games, the Cyclones have allowed a grand total of 27 points—and seven of those came on a TCU kick return for a touchdown. Shutting down Kansas isn't much of a feat, but holding TCU, Texas Tech and Oklahoma (in the second half) to next to nothing is incredible. And while West Virginia is averaging 42.8 points per game on the season, that offense hasn't quite been firing on all cylinders lately. Iowa State's quest for the Big 12 title lives on.
Prediction: Iowa State 28, West Virginia 23
South Carolina (6-2) at No. 1 Georgia (8-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Georgia beat South Carolina 28-14 last October
Though South Carolina went 3-0 in October, it has been more than a month since Jake Bentley threw for at least 200 yards in a game. And the Gamecocks have been anemic in the running game all year, averaging 123.5 yards per game and 3.9 yards per carry. That won't be anywhere near enough firepower to overcome a Georgia team that has won six consecutive games by at least a 25-point margin.
Prediction: Georgia 41, South Carolina 16
Wake Forest (5-3) at No. 3 Notre Dame (7-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Notre Dame beat Wake Forest 28-7 in 2015
I can't imagine I would have picked Wake Forest to win this game regardless, but the Demon Deacons' chances went from slim to virtually none when wide receiver Greg Dortch underwent season-ending abdominal surgery this past weekend. The freshman had been responsible for more than 35 percent of Wake's receptions and receiving yards, and this offense won't be the same without him. Factor in a defense that gave up 427 rushing yards to Georgia Tech in Week 8 and Notre Dame should blow this thing wide open.
Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Wake Forest 17
Solid Midafternoon Matchups
Georgia Tech (4-3) at Virginia (5-3), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Georgia Tech beat Virginia 31-17 last November
Since racing out to a 5-1 start, Virginia has fallen to pieces. The Cavaliers were blown out by Boston College 41-10 and trailed 21-0 against Pittsburgh before doing too little, too late in a second straight loss. And with games remaining at Louisville, at Miami and vs. Virginia Tech, this may be their last realistic shot at becoming bowl-eligible. Over the past several years, Virginia has been one of the few teams capable of somewhat containing GT's triple-option offense. The defense will do enough for QB Kurt Benkert to win the game through the air.
Prediction: Virginia 31, Georgia Tech 24
South Florida (7-1) at Connecticut (3-5), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: South Florida beat Connecticut 42-27 last October
Connecticut has given up at least 38 points five times this season, losing each of those games. And prior to last week's loss to Houston, South Florida had scored at least 30 points in every game for nearly two full seasons. Quinton Flowers and Co. will get back on the right track against this dreadful defense.
Prediction: South Florida 54, Connecticut 23
Army (6-2) at Air Force (4-4), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Air Force beat Army 31-12 last November
Call it a hunch, but there will be some rushing plays called in this one. In terms of total rushing yards, Army and Air Force rank No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, each averaging better than 350 yards per game. But Army does so much more efficiently—6.22 yards per carry as opposed to 5.22 for Air Force—and has done a better job of slowing down the opposition's rushing attack.
Prediction: Army 35, Air Force 31
Northwestern (5-3) at Nebraska (4-4), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Nebraska beat Northwestern 24-13 last September
Both of these teams throw the ball a ton, with each averaging better than 270 passing yards per game. They each attempted 50 passes last Saturday and combined for 799 yards through the air. Neither team is particularly great at defending the pass, either, so this one could turn into the rarely seen Big Ten shootout. But a clear upper hand in the rushing game should be enough to carry the Wildcats to bowl eligibility.
Prediction: Northwestern 38, Nebraska 30
North Texas (5-3) at Louisiana Tech (4-4), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Louisiana Tech beat North Texas 45-24 last November
North Texas has quietly put together one of the most potent offenses in the country, averaging better than 300 passing yards and 180 rushing yards per game. The Mean Green's defense hasn't been anywhere near as strong, but it has at least been serviceable outside of the 804-yard, 69-point game against Florida Atlantic. More importantly, Louisiana Tech's defense hasn't been much better. We wouldn't recommend betting on either team in this Conference USA toss-up, but the over (67) seems like a safe pick.
Prediction: North Texas 45, Louisiana Tech 41
Ole Miss (3-5) at Kentucky (6-2), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Kentucky beat Ole Miss 30-13 in 2011
With a healthy Shea Patterson, the pick here would be Ole Miss every day and twice on Sunday, as Kentucky has arguably the worst secondary in the SEC. But with Patterson done for the year due to a knee injury, Kentucky probably will pick up win No. 7. Ole Miss has given up at least 23 points in every game this season and is averaging 44.6 points allowed in SEC play. In particular, the Rebels' rush defense has been atrocious, so expect another big day from Kentucky's Benny Snell Jr.
Prediction: Kentucky 38, Ole Miss 28
Other Midafternoon Games
Rice (1-7) at UAB (5-3), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Rice beat UAB 37-34 in 2013
Rice has scored 12 points or fewer in 75 percent of its games played this season. The Owls might be worse than everyone seemed to think UAB would be in its return to football. As a result, one of the best feel-good stories of the year will become bowl-eligible this week.
Prediction: UAB 29, Rice 13
Appalachian State (5-3) at Louisiana-Monroe (3-5), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Appalachian State beat Louisiana-Monroe 42-17 last November
Appalachian State hasn't looked quite right the past few weeks. The Mountaineers lost to Massachusetts and barely escaped with wins over Idaho and Coastal Carolina. But they get to face a Louisiana-Monroe defense that has allowed roughly an average of 375 passing yards and 200 rushing yards over the past three weeks. This has a chance to become a classic #FunBelt game with both teams scoring in the 50s.
Prediction: Appalachian State 42, Louisiana-Monroe 34
New Mexico State (3-5) at Texas State (2-6), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: New Mexico State beat Texas State 50-10 last November
This Sun Belt game won't have anywhere near as much combined scoring as the one above, considering Texas State hasn't put up more than 27 points in a game this season. But New Mexico State may well run up the score against a secondary that gave up at least 44 points in three straight games earlier this year.
Prediction: New Mexico State 37, Texas State 17
Georgia State (4-3) at Georgia Southern (0-7), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Georgia State beat Georgia Southern 30-24 last November
Georgia Southern ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in both points scored and points allowed, so this winless team hasn't exactly flirted with a W. Both of these schools lost to FCS opponents earlier this season, but Georgia State has rebounded to take four of its last five games. The Panthers aren't great by any means; however, they're good enough to hand the Eagles yet another L.
Prediction: Georgia State 27, Georgia Southern 20
Maryland (4-4) at Rutgers (3-5), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Maryland beat Rutgers 31-13 last November
Raise your hand if you're excited to watch two of the three worst Big Ten offenses go up against two of the three worst Big Ten defenses. No one? Well, all right then. Rutgers has given up nearly twice as many yards (2,273) as it has gained (1,191) in Big Ten play. At least Maryland has been respectable on offense when not facing Ohio State, Wisconsin or UCF. Suffice it to say, Rutgers is a step down from that level of competition, and the Terrapins should win easily.
Prediction: Maryland 31, Rutgers 14
Charlotte (1-7) at Old Dominion (2-6), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Old Dominion beat Charlotte 52-17 last October
Both of these teams have terrible season-long offensive numbers—they're tied for 119th in total offense at 319.8 yards per game—but they have also both rushed for at least 200 yards in three of their last four contests. It still won't be an entertaining game, but it should be more palatable than it would have been a month ago. Old Dominion has home-field advantage, and that's good enough for us.
Prediction: Old Dominion 27, Charlotte 23
Coastal Carolina (1-7) at Arkansas (3-5), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: First meeting between these programs
Arkansas finally got back into the win column last Saturday, but not before it fell behind Ole Miss 31-7. At that point, the Razorbacks had been outscored 172-58 over their previous three-plus games. Coastal Carolina is nothing compared to the rigors of SEC play, so this one will be a blowout. But given how the Hogs have looked for the past month, they'll probably give up a few more points than they should.
Prediction: Arkansas 49, Coastal Carolina 21
Louisiana (3-4) at South Alabama (3-5), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Louisiana beat South Alabama 28-23 last September
Louisiana had a couple of good games against Idaho and Texas State, but when its defense has been bad, it has been really bad. Twice already in Sun Belt play, the Ragin' Cajuns have allowed at least 300 passing yards and 250 rushing yards in the same game. And South Alabama had an offensive performance similar to that (317 passing, 232 rushing) two weeks ago against Louisiana-Monroe.
Prediction: South Alabama 35, Louisiana 28
Cincinnati (2-6) at Tulane (3-5), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Cincinnati beat Tulane 38-14 in 2014
Tulane had one offensive explosion against Tulsa about a month ago, but the Green Wave haven't been anything special outside of that game. In fact, in their other six contests against FBS opponents, they have given up nearly 1,000 more yards than they have gained on offense. Cincinnati is basically in the same boat, though, and you have to like Tulane's chances in a matchup where neither team can play defense.
Prediction: Tulane 38, Cincinnati 27
Cream of the Evening Crop
No. 19 LSU (6-2) at No. 2 Alabama (8-0), 8 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Alabama beat LSU 10-0 last November
Though LSU has won three straight to bounce back from that loss to Troy, the Tigers have given up at least 150 rushing yards in five of their last six games. Meanwhile, Alabama has only allowed more than 88 rushing yards once all season and is allowing just 7.6 points per game in SEC play. Combine that with its minimum of 230 rushing yards in seven straight games and this should be the first time in 14 years that this rivalry is decided by more than a 21-point margin.
Prediction: Alabama 35, LSU 10
No. 13 Virginia Tech (7-1) at No. 10 Miami (7-0), 8 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Virginia Tech beat Miami 37-16 last October
Did you know Miami has allowed at least 175 rushing yards in five straight games and was outgained twice in the past month? The Hurricanes have escaped by the skin of their teeth against a bunch of teams that either possibly or definitely will not qualify for a bowl game, but Virginia Tech is a different story. Since giving up nearly 600 total yards to West Virginia in the season opener, the Hokies have had one of the stingiest defenses in the nation. They'll shut down Hurricanes QB Malik Rosier and win an ugly game.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 19, Miami 16
No. 18 UCF (7-0) at SMU (6-2), 7:15 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: UCF beat SMU 53-7 in 2014
There aren't many teams that can keep pace with UCF's offense, but SMU is one of them. The Mustangs have accumulated at least 435 yards of total offense in every game this season and are averaging 41.5 points per contest. But can a defense that ranks 122nd in passing yards allowed per game really be expected to slow down QB McKenzie Milton and the Knights? Take UCF and the over (75).
Prediction: UCF 58, SMU 31
Texas (4-4) at No. 8 TCU (7-1), 7:15 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: TCU beat Texas 31-9 last November
I don't know if Texas will win this game, but that seems to be a far more likely outcome than a TCU triumph in a blowout. The Longhorns have been rock-solid on offense for the past month, and the defensive numbers are impressive, too, once you factor in the inflation of playing back-to-back games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. A lot of people stopped paying attention to this team after it lost the season opener against Maryland, but head coach Tom Herman has turned Texas around in a hurry. A win over TCU's defense on the road, though, might be asking too much.
Prediction: TCU 24, Texas 20
Solid Evening Matchups
Colorado State (6-3) at Wyoming (5-3), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Wyoming beat Colorado State 38-17 last October
This should be a fun battle between polar opposites. Colorado State loves big-strike plays and frequently gets beaten by them, but Wyoming would rather play a game of inches. The average Wyoming game has 2.0 plays from scrimmage go for at least 30 yards. Colorado State's feature 4.9. But Wyoming leads the nation in turnover margin, thanks in large part to five interceptions and two fumble recoveries in last week's rout of New Mexico. And Colorado State threw three interceptions last week, so that could be the story of this one.
Prediction: Wyoming 31, Colorado State 27
Minnesota (4-4) at Michigan (6-2), 7:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Michigan beat Minnesota 29-26 in 2015
Minnesota's passing game has been bad, and it's getting worse. The Golden Gophers have yet to complete more than 50 percent of their pass attempts against a Big Ten opponent. They couldn't even manage 35 percent in either of the past two weeks. And the last thing you want to be against a Jim Harbaugh defense is one-dimensional—particularly if that dimension is rushing the ball, since the Wolverines barely allow 100 rushing yards per game. If Brandon Peters plays well for the second straight week, this one could get ugly.
Prediction: Michigan 32, Minnesota 6
Southern Miss (5-3) at Tennessee (3-5), 7:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Tennessee beat Southern Miss 39-19 in 2007
Like the earlier game between Syracuse and Florida State, this one is mildly intriguing just because of morbid curiosity. It is possible the Volunteers are bad enough to lose at home to an average Conference USA team? Probably not, but the spread in this one (Tennessee minus-6.5, per OddsShark) is, what, 27 points closer than it would have been two months ago? If the Golden Eagles can get Ito Smith going against this awful rush defense, they just might pull off the upset.
Prediction: Tennessee 24, Southern Miss 21
Colorado (5-4) at Arizona State (4-4), 9 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Colorado beat Arizona State 40-16 last October
Let's have a moment of silence for Arizona State's defense, which was outstanding in wins over Washington and Utah before crashing back to earth in a 48-17 loss to USC. Sensational Sun Devils secondary, we barely had the chance to get to know you, but those times we shared sure were fun. With Colorado throwing for 353 yards and three touchdowns last week and throwing for 10 touchdowns without an interception in its past five games, it could be another long night for Arizona State's D.
Prediction: Colorado 37, Arizona State 25
Other Evening Games
Oregon State (1-7) at California (4-5), 5 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Oregon State beat California 47-44 last October
Oregon State has been much more competitive in the two games since its coaching change, particularly on defense. Meanwhile, California has put forth two consecutive defensive efforts without any heart. This is absolutely a game Oregon State can win by getting Ryan Nall involved early and often.
Prediction: Oregon State 27, California 24
Utah State (4-5) at New Mexico (3-5), 5:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: New Mexico beat Utah State 24-21 last November
New Mexico has been smashed by at least a 38-point margin in two of its last three games. But Utah State gave up 370 passing yards last week and 375 rushing yards the previous week, so the Aggies aren't exactly flying high, either. Turnover margin will be the deciding factor here. USU is plus-two on the season and has forced 20 in nine games. UNM is minus-12 and has only forced four in its last six games combined. Bold prediction of the week: Utah State wins because of a Jalen Davis pick-six early in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Utah State 33, New Mexico 25
Hawaii (3-5) at UNLV (3-5), 6 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: UNLV beat Hawaii 41-38 last October
A viable pick for highest-scoring game of the week, Hawaii and UNLV are two of just eight teams both gaining and allowing at least 6.1 yards per play. Both offenses had a disappointing showing in Week 9 against MWC title candidates, but against each other, get ready for a scoring bonanza. We're giving a slight edge to Hawaii because it can rack up yards either on the ground or through the air. UNLV is much more dependent on the run game, and the Hawaii rush defense is marginally less awful than its pass defense.
Prediction: Hawaii 44, UNLV 39
Texas-San Antonio (5-2) at Florida International (5-2), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: UTSA beat FIU 16-13 in 2014
On the season, FIU has given up 25 more rushing yards and 22 more passing yards than it has gained. It is also negative-three in turnover margin and has been outscored by 26 points. It's continuously baffling that the Golden Panthers have a winning record. UTSA, on the other hand, has out-gained its opposition by more than 1,000 yards and has an average scoring margin of 13.7 points. San Antonio should easily win this battle of initials.
Prediction: UTSA 35, FIU 23
Nevada (1-7) at Boise State (6-2), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Boise State beat Nevada 51-46 in 2014
These teams are relatively comparable on offense, but the defenses aren't anywhere close. For the season, Nevada is allowing nearly 200 more yards per game than Boise State. Over the course of their last four games, the Wolf Pack have actually ceded more than twice as many yards (2,180) as the Broncos have (1,082). Boise State has turned quite the corner since that ugly home loss to Virginia, and it should obliterate Nevada in this game.
Prediction: Boise State 59, Nevada 13
UTEP (0-8) at Middle Tennessee (3-5), 7:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: UTEP beat Middle Tennessee 24-21 in 2014
A healthy MTSU would win this game by four touchdowns. However, its star receiver (Richie James) is doubtful to play due to a shoulder injury, its starting QB (Brent Stockstill) has been sidelined for more than a month with a sternum/collarbone injury and its backup QB (John Urzua) is questionable with concussion-like symptoms. It's the exact perfect storm that UTEP needs to win a game this season, and it still might not be enough.
Prediction: MTSU 17, UTEP 14
Saturday Night Games
Oregon (5-4) at No. 12 Washington (7-1), 10 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Washington beat Oregon 70-21 last October
Oregon has averaged 90.4 passing yards over its last five games, and Washington leads the nation at 2.18 yards allowed per carry. Pray tell, how is Oregon going to move the ball on offense? Better yet, how does a defense allowing more than 250 passing yards per game intend to slow down Washington? This could get almost as ugly as last year's game.
Prediction: Washington 49, Oregon 14
San Diego State (7-2) at San Jose State (1-8), 10:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: San Diego State beat San Jose State 42-3 last October
Speaking of games potentially getting out of hand, Rashaad Penny against San Jose State's rushing defense (277 yards allowed per game) is going to be incredible. Unless you're a San Jose State fan, in which case it's going to be a little more miserable than every other game you've suffered through this season.
Prediction: San Diego State 56, San Jose State 19
No. 22 Arizona (6-2) at No. 17 USC (7-2), 10:45 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: USC beat Arizona 48-14 last October
It's the preseason front-runner for the Heisman (Sam Darnold) against the up-and-coming star everyone has fallen in love with (Khalil Tate). Because Tate missed two games and barely played in two others, it's unlikely he comes anywhere close to actually winning the Heisman. But if he has yet another ridiculous game this week against USC, that might change.
The big variable to watch in this one is Arizona's defensive TD-INT ratio. The Wildcats have allowed more than 300 passing yards per game, but they have 14 interceptions against 11 passing touchdowns allowed. Darnold has had more than his fair share of interception woes this season, but he should lead the Trojans to victory in this one.
Prediction: USC 42, Arizona 37
BYU (2-7) at Fresno State (5-3), 10:45 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: BYU beat Fresno State 52-10 in 2015
BYU's offense is finally waking up. It had 421 yards two weeks ago against East Carolina and exploded for 598 yards and 41 points last week against San Jose State. But those are two of the worst defenses in the country. Fresno State, on the other hand, has held opponents not named Alabama or Washington to 258.2 yards, including four games allowing 10 points or fewer.
Prediction: Fresno State 30, BYU 13
Odds provided by OddsShark.
Northern Illinois (6-2) at Toledo (7-1), 6 p.m. ET Thursday
Last Meeting: Toledo beat Northern Illinois 31-24 last November
Midweek #MACtion is usually a battle between teams going nowhere fast, but this is sneakily one of the 10 best games of Week 10. Toledo has racked up at least 600 yards of total offense three times this season, and Northern Illinois has held every opponent to 403 yards or fewer. However, the Huskies have been beatable through the air, and Toledo's Logan Woodside has the sixth-best QB rating in the country at 171.33. A high-octane offense will beat a stingy defense in this one.
Prediction: Toledo 34, Northern Illinois 28
Ball State (2-6) at Eastern Michigan (2-6), 7 p.m. ET Thursday
Last Meeting: Eastern Michigan beat Ball State 48-41 last November
Now that's more like it. Two teams at 0-4 in MAC play, battling to decide which one effectively becomes ineligible for the postseason. But don't let the identical records fool you. Eastern Michigan is the superior team on both sides of the ball. The Eagles just haven't had any (good) luck over the past six weeks against quality opponents. Ball State doesn't fit that description.
Prediction: Eastern Michigan 37, Ball State 16
Navy (5-2) at Temple (3-5), 8 p.m. ET Thursday
Last Meeting: Temple beat Navy 34-10 in 2016 AAC championship
Temple has already played three games this season against top-10 rushing offenses. In those battles with Notre Dame, South Florida and Army, the Owls gave up an average of 327.3 rushing yards per game, 6.3 yards per carry and 12 total touchdowns. Temple lost each of those games. And Navy averages more rushing yards per game than any other team (376.1). Put the Midshipmen down for about 400 yards on the ground and just enough defense to turn this into a win.
Prediction: Navy 42, Temple 31
Idaho (3-5) at Troy (6-2), 9:15 p.m. ET Thursday
Last Meeting: Troy beat Idaho 34-13 last October
Troy laid an egg against South Alabama in its first game after upsetting LSU earlier this year, but the Trojans have bounced back in a big way the past two weeks. They have averaged 7.7 yards per play on offense while allowing just 4.2 on defense, defeating Georgia State and Georgia Southern by a combined margin of 72-26. And if the Trojans plan on taking the Sun Belt crown, this is the type of opponent one would hope they can defeat in dominant fashion.
Prediction: Troy 41, Idaho 17
Marshall (6-2) at Florida Atlantic (5-3), 6 p.m. ET Friday
Last Meeting: Marshall beat Florida Atlantic 27-21 last October
Take out the first two games against Wisconsin and Navy, and Florida Atlantic has been an unstoppable force of nature. The Owls have averaged 47.2 points and 370.2 rushing yards over their last six games, scoring at least four rushing touchdowns in each one. Meanwhile, Marshall just gave up 41 points to Florida International, which is more than it allowed in the previous five weeks combined. It'll likely be a lower scoring game than Lane Kiffin's guys are used to, but look for FAU to run to victory at home.
Prediction: Florida Atlantic 27, Marshall 23
No. 23 Memphis (7-1) at Tulsa (2-7), 8 p.m. ET Friday
Last Meeting: Tulsa beat Memphis 59-30 last October
Both of these teams can move the ball, but Tulsa's defense (or lack thereof) will be the story. The Golden Hurricane have shown a bit of improvement the past few weeks, but they still rank dead last in the nation in yards allowed per play with 7.6. Against a Memphis team averaging 42.5 points per game, that, uh, won't go well.
Prediction: Memphis 54, Tulsa 35
UCLA (4-4) at Utah (4-4), 9:30 p.m. ET Friday
Last Meeting: Utah beat UCLA 52-45 last October
Utah has yet to average more than 4.4 yards per carry against an FBS opponent this season, but there's no time like the present, as UCLA ranks dead last in the nation in rushing defense at 307.1 yards allowed per game. And with Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen still recovering from a minor injury to his non-throwing hand, it's unlikely UCLA will have the offensive firepower to overcome its atrocious defense.
Prediction: Utah 35, UCLA 21