Expert Predictions for Week 10 in College Football

Bleacher Report College Football StaffFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2017

Expert Predictions for Week 10 in College Football

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    Mason Rudolph
    Mason RudolphTim Warner/Getty Images

    Remember a month ago when it felt like there were no marquee college football games to be found? Well, apparently they were all hibernating until Week 10, because we've got Bedlam, LSU at Alabama and five other ranked-against-ranked matchups on tap for this Saturday.

    As was the case last week, we wish you the best of luck trying to figure out which games to watch in the midafternoon slate. No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 11 Oklahoma State is the featured game of that time slot, but there's also No. 4 Clemson at No. 20 NC State, No. 21 Stanford at No. 25 Washington State, No. 1 Georgia hosting South Carolina, No. 3 Notre Dame hosting Wake Forest and No. 6 Ohio State and No. 15 Iowa State playing at Iowa and West Virginia, respectively.

    To recap, that's five of the top six teams and 10 of the CFP Top 25 all kicking off within 30 minutes of each other and all facing opponents with winning records.

    It's going to get wild.

    Bleacher Report's college football experts—Matt Hayes, David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller, Brad Shepard and Greg Wallace—offered up predictions on nine of the hottest burning questions of the week that will almost certainly throw a few wrenches into the College Football Playoff picture.

Which High-Octane Offense Improves to 8-1 in Bedlam?

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    Baker Mayfield
    Baker MayfieldOrlin Wagner/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes (Follow @MattHayesCFB)

    The Oklahoma defense has been awful of late, struggling for the last month in Big 12 games. Now the Sooners get the best offense they’ll face this seasonon the road in a rivalry game, no less. The one X-factor: OU QB Baker Mayfield, who is 12-0 in true road games with Oklahoma. The loser probably won’t play in the Big 12 Championship Game, and they definitely won’t make it to the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma State’s defensespecifically its pass rushhas made great strides since losing to TCU. I’m going with the Cowboys at home, getting more defensive stops and some key throws from QB Mason Rudolph.

               

    David Kenyon (Follow @Kenyon19_BR)

    I'm excited for this one. Rudolph and Oklahoma State should have more explosive plays and be the more entertaining offense, but I like Mayfield's efficiency to provide the difference Saturday afternoon. Oklahoma's success on early downs will lead to manageable third downs, sustained drives and one more touchdown than the Pokes.

               

    Adam Kramer (Follow @KegsnEggs)

    I like Oklahoma State, although this is a game that could very easily swing either way. It would not shock me one bit to see the quarterbacks throw for a combined 800 yards and seven or eight touchdowns. It feels like it's going to be that kind of game. But I just think home field will be an enormous factor, and I also like what I've seen in Oklahoma State's defense in recent weeksnot that we'll ever confuse it with Alabama's D. So give me Oklahoma State by one score in a rivalry game that seems destined to actually live up to the hype, which would be an amazing thing.

               

    Kerry Miller (Follow @kerrancejames)

    This is the part where I'm supposed to wax poetic about some X-factor or relevant trend data, but I truly have no idea what to expect from this game. What I do know is that if you bet the under, you clearly hate fun and we could probably never be friends. Oklahoma State has the better defense, but Oklahoma has the more prolific offense. In what figures to be a shootout, maybe that's more important? Give me the Sooners in a 42-38 thriller.

               

    Brad Shepard (Follow @Brad_Shepard)

    Oklahoma has some major defensive issues, so it's hard to pick a team that flawed. But they've also got the best quarterback in the country in Mayfield, and running back Rodney Anderson is currently playing the way the Sooners hoped he would all season. On the other side, Rudolph and Co. are playing well, too. This game could go either way, but if OU wins, it will set up a huge game the following week against TCU. That's why I'm hoping (and expecting) the Sooners to win—so we'll have two massive Big 12 games in a row. 

                   

    Greg Wallace (Follow @gc_wallace)

    Both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have absorbed conference defeats and sit in a muddled title race, but this is still a vitally important game for the Sooners and Cowboys, and it should be a lot of fun. Oklahoma averages 42.9 points per game and OSU is even better at 44.5. The Pokes had a minor offensive hiccup in a 13-10 overtime win at Texas, but have otherwise chugged along with Rudolph at the controls. With 2,866 yards and 22 touchdowns against five interceptions, Rudolph has slightly superior stats to Mayfield (2,628 yards, 23 touchdowns, three interceptions). But Mayfield is more proven in big games. Expect his leadership and swagger to shine through late in a shootout. OU 42, Oklahoma State 37.

Will No. 19 LSU Snap Its Six-Game Losing Streak Against No. 2 Alabama?

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    Nick Saban
    Nick SabanBrynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    No chance. Well, maybe a chance if one interesting trend continues: LSU’s starting offense has only four turnovers all season. Want to beat Alabama? Don’t be careless with the ball. Andjust as importantforce turnovers. The problem: LSU has forced only nine all season, averaging just about one a game. The Tigers will need multiple turnovers (let’s say four) and for quarterback Danny Etling to play a perfect game. How’s that chance? 

               

    David Kenyon

    Can LSU actually run the ball on Alabama? During this six-game skid, the Tigers have posted better than 3.0 yards per carry once. Once! Alabama has ceded just 2.3 yards per attempt this season, which ranks second in the country. Unless LSU can somehow break off a couple of big runs, the Tide will win a low-scoring matchup. 

               

    Adam Kramer

    I would love to tell you yes. I would love to write about Ed Orgeron's Gatorade bath and how amazing of a moment it would be for that man. I would love to write about LSU's offense striking just the right chord at just the right time, and an upset that was a decade in the making. But I can't do that. Could LSU cover? Certainly. Could the Tigers even keep it relatively close? I could see that. But I would be genuinely shocked if they were able to pull off the upset here. Not because Alabama is some invincible product this year, but because the gap between these two teams feels larger than it has been for some time.

               

    Kerry Miller

    Alabama has won four of its five SEC games by at least a 32-point margin. This one will be more competitive than that, but not by much. Etling has been a fine game manager for most of the season, but does anyone honestly believe he's throwing for 250 or more yards against the Crimson Tide? That's the bare minimum of what it takes to even compete against this team right now, and LSU doesn't have it. Roll Tide 35-10.

               

    Brad Shepard

    Nope. Alabama is a huge favorite for a reason, and though Vegas has this number higher than the Crimson Tide should be comfortable with, it would be one of the biggest stunners (in a year that has been full of them) for the Tigers to actually pull off the upset. Ever since Troy beat LSU, the Tigers have turned it up a notch. But you must have exceptional quarterback play to beat the Tide. The Tigers don't have that with Etling at the helm. Alabama will win this game easily because LSU will have a tough time scoring points. 

                   

    Greg Wallace

    Alabama-LSU is still one of the best, most physical rivalries in football, but it has swung decidedly toward the Crimson Tide in recent years. Alabama has won four of the last six games by at least 10 points, two by shutout. Alabama is No. 2 in the first CFP Top 25 rankings, and the Tide look like the best team in college football. LSU looks, well, inconsistent at best in Orgeron’s first season. Derrius Guice is a special talent, but the Tigers can’t hang with Alabama in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tide win by three touchdowns.

Will No. 10 Miami Still Be Undefeated After Hosting No. 13 Virginia Tech?

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    Malik Rosier
    Malik RosierGerry Broome/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    No chance, part II. I love what Mark Richt is doing at Miami, but the 'Canes were a mess when he arrived and he’s still in rebuilding mode. This is not your typical unbeaten team in November, and we’ll see just how far Miami still has to go over the next two weeks (vs. VT and vs. Notre Dame). Two losses shouldn’t overshadow what Richt is building. The first loss, with a hot Virginia Tech team and quarterback (Josh Jackson), will eliminate all doubt of where Miami is in the process.

               

    David Kenyon

    Miami hasn't played a complete game all season. The defense has done an excellent job limiting the damage early before the offense wakes up in the second half. That's not going to cut it against Virginia Tech, and I think the 'Canes will open this critical ACC clash like they understand that. I expect another close fourth quarter where Miami holds off a late charge. 

               

    Adam Kramer

    You know, I'm going to say yes. Despite everyone seemingly jumping off the Miami bandwagon this week, I'm going to jump on for at least one week. No, the strength of schedule isn't exactly beastly. Yeah, Miami is by no means a perfect team. But I just feel like the offense will manufacture enough, even without Mark Walton, and I'll chalk up last week's woeful escape as a true lookahead scenario. This is not a pick I feel all too confident in. Virginia Tech is deep and balanced, and this could very well be the week Miami is exposed. For the sake of making people mad a while longer, however, I'll take the Hurricanes in a close one.

               

    Kerry Miller

    A lot of people were peeved that undefeated Miami debuted all the way down at No. 10 in the initial College Football Playoff Top 25, but it'll make more sense after the Hurricanes lose to Virginia Tech. In terms of yards allowed per play, Miami has yet to face a top-35 defense. The Hokies are No. 11 in that category, and they would be virtually tied with Alabama at No. 2 if we were to remove the season opener against West Virginia. Points will be at a premium, but VT gets a few more of them, winning 19-16.

               

    Brad Shepard

    No. This is the weekend it all comes crashing down for the Hurricanes. This is still going to be a very strong Year 2 for Richt and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz's gold chain gang, but Virginia Tech is the best under-the-radar team in the country. Jackson looks like a star in the making, and Bud Foster will dial up enough pressure on Malik Rosier to make it uncomfortable for the 'Canes signal-caller. The Hurricanes have been winning close and dramatically the last few weeks, but the magic runs out in Miami this weekend. 

                   

    Greg Wallace

    The Hurricanes have won each of their last four games by eight points or fewer and looked mighty shaky in a 24-19 win at 1-8 North Carolina. The next two weeks will determine whether they’re contenders or pretenders. Here’s guessing the low ranking will be validated this week. Virginia Tech allows only 11.5 points per game and has a more-than-competent QB in Jackson (2,032 yards, 17 TD, 4 INT). The Hokies won’t be shaken by Miami’s road environment and look like the more complete team. They’ll handle the 'Canes in a 24-14 win that gives them the upper hand in the ACC Coastal.

Does No. 20 NC State Shake Up the CFP Picture by Defeating No. 4 Clemson?

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    Kelly Bryant
    Kelly BryantAdrian Kraus/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    No. NC State is banged up on the defensive front, which is the key to not only the defense, but also the entire team. When the Wolfpack play well defensively, it allows the offense to play smart and not take chances. Last week, NC State couldn’t stop the Notre Dame run game, the Wolfpack offense had to press and take chances, and quarterback Ryan Finley threw his first interception of the season in a blowout loss. Clemson’s offense is too balanced, and it can run with power, too. A bad sign for the Wolfpack.

               

    David Kenyon

    Scoring touchdowns in red-zone opportunities is critical for the Wolfpack, but they've been relatively average at converting those chances, while Clemson is one of the best at limiting opponents to field goals. Although NC State will make it uncomfortable for Clemson into the fourth quarter, I'm sticking with the reigning champs here. 

               

    Adam Kramer

    I'm torn here. I do feel like NC State will keep this game tight (cough, cover, cough). Coming home will help a ton, and you'll see a far better performance from one of the nation's best defensive lines. But I am not able to fully commit to the upset. It's close, but Clemson's defense is the necessary antidote to avoid the loss, even though I could see the offense struggling some. That being said, it would not be shocking to see the Tigers fall. NC State is still very capable, despite last Saturday.

               

    Kerry Miller

    Before the season began, I thought this was going to be one of the biggest trap games any team in the country had to deal with. A road game against North Carolina State seven days before the marquee showdown with Florida State? Yikes! But Florida State has become a laughingstock, making this the focused effort rather than the trap game, and I just don't see how NC State plans on outscoring Clemson with a healthy Kelly Bryant. Similar to last week against Notre Dame, the Wolfpack keep it interesting early before losing by at least a two-possession margin.

               

    Brad Shepard

    NC State's rebound season is a nice story, especially considering coach Dave Doeren was on the hot seat at the beginning of the year. But while the Wolfpack is good, they aren't among the nation's elite, as they proved in last week's 35-14 loss to Notre Dame. Clemson is among the elite, though, despite that hiccup a few weeks back against Syracuse. Bryant is healthy, and the Tigers are playing well on both sides of the ball. They'll take charge of the Atlantic division with a win over the 'Pack. 

                   

    Greg Wallace

    NC State is significantly improved under Doeren’s watch this fall at 6-2, 4-0 in ACC play. The Wolfpack own wins over Louisville and Florida State and look like the second-best team in the ACC Atlantic. The real test? Beating Clemson, whom they played to the wire in an overtime loss last fall in Death Valley. The Wolfpack have a nasty defensive line and a capable quarterback in Finley, but they don't possess Clemson’s overall talent level. With Bryant healthy at quarterback, a bevy of speedy skill players and the nation’s best defensive line, the Tigers are built to handle road tests like Carter-Finley Stadium. NC State will test the Tigers, but Clemson wins 38-21 and all but wraps up the Atlantic.

Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin All Play on the Road: Any Losses?

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    J.T. Barrett
    J.T. BarrettNati Harnik/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    No, but those are three dicey games against three offenses that just don’t have enough to win an important Big Ten game. A natural letdown game for Ohio State only adds to the attention of play at Iowa. But the Hawkeyes don’t have enough offensively to beat an Ohio State unit that is playing better than it ever has under J.T. Barrett. Penn State and Michigan State are two desperate teams, and the most intriguing moment of the weekend is seeing how the Lions respond to their first regular-season loss since September 2016.

               

    David Kenyon

    No, no and no. Barrett is throwing the ball extremely well right now, and his mobility adds a dimension Iowa won't be able to fully control. Defense should win the day for both Penn State and Wisconsin, though neither will be blowouts. Michigan State is particularly stingy defensively at home, and Wisconsin rarely overwhelms Big Ten foes on the road—even if the outcome is scarcely in doubt. 

               

    Adam Kramer

    I could see all three of these games being weird. We've already seen what Iowa is capable of at home, and Ohio State is in the ultimate letdown spot. Penn State has to pick itself up off the mat, on the road, against a good Michigan State group. And Indiana could very well fire off one of those home specials. And yet, while these could all be tight games, I think all three teams will come away unscathed. Penn State seems like the most likely candidate to come undone, but I believe the Nittany Lions just ran into a really rough defensive quarter and will rally. Close, but not close enough will be the theme.

               

    Kerry Miller

    All three should be safe. Michigan State doesn't have the offense to go toe-to-toe with Penn State's, Wisconsin takes an elite pass defense against an Indiana team that doesn't run well, and I can't imagine Iowa shutting down a red-hot Ohio State. But if any of these is going to get weird, a Buckeyes hangover at Kinnick Stadium seems most likely.

               

    Brad Shepard

    This is an important week to watch for the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes after last week's dramatic 39-38 win by OSU. A game like that takes a lot out of you, and now both travel to face decent teams. While Wisconsin should handle business in a closer-than-expected game against Indiana, the other two are worth putting on upset alert. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions need to be sharp offensively against good defenses. All three of those games could be interesting, but all three favorites will win.

                   

    Greg Wallace

    The Spartans will challenge the Lions, but Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley are too powerful offensively. Wisconsin has played the worst schedule of any Power Five unbeaten, and that won’t change at Indiana. The Hoosiers have played with spirit (each of their last three Big Ten losses have come by eight or fewer points), but they also are dealing an inability to close the deal when it matters. They can’t hang with the Badgers.

    That leaves us with No. 6 Ohio State at 5-3 Iowa. Kirk Ferentz’s team is limited offensively but yields just 17.4 points per game, tied for No. 12 nationally. The Hawkeyes play ranked foes tough in Kinnick Stadium; ask Michigan (a 14-13 victim last year) or Penn State, which needed the final play to pull out a 21-19 victory earlier this year. Iowa’s run game gets going, the Hawkeyes corral Barrett, and they deal the Big Ten’s playoff hopes a huge blow with a stunning 17-16 victory in Iowa City.

How Does Newly Ranked Arizona Fare at No. 17 USC?

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    Khalil Tate
    Khalil TateRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    As long as Khalil Tate is under center, Arizona can beat anyone in the Pac-12. The Wildcats are 4-0 since Tate replaced Brandon Dawkins, and last week they scored 58 points on Washington State, which has one of the three best defenses in the Pac-12. It's not just that Tate has rushed for 840 yards and eight touchdowns in those four games. It’s that he has also completed 71 percent of his passes with another six scores. USC’s defense, spotty and sloppy for much of the season, is in big trouble.

               

    David Kenyon

    Lost in the deserved excitement for Tate is Arizona's 9-of-29 mark on third down over the last three games. Yes, that doesn't matter as much when big plays propel the offense, but that explosiveness isn't necessarily sustainable. Can the Wildcats steadily, consistently work the ball down the field? I'm going with no, and a USC win. 

               

    Adam Kramer

    First, a word of advice: watch Tate. He's actually not buried on a network most people don't have this week, and you should take advantage of it. He a video game cheat code brought to life. Every dropback could be a touchdown, and I implore you to watch more of him than you are right now. That being said, I like USC here. That doesn't mean Tate won't still be great. (He probably will be.) But the Trojans at home—finally looking a bit like the team we thought we were getting heading into the year—seem poised to build off of that success. I'll take the Trojans in a wild, wild game. 

               

    Kerry Miller

    If you're still betting on Sam Darnold and betting against Tate, it's time to get better acquainted with the 2017 college football season. That said, my gut says USC ekes out a home win in a game that approaches 80 combined points scored. As great as Tate has been, Arizona's defense has given up 38.3 points per game during this four-game winning streak, and the Wildcats just allowed 602 passing yards in a game against Washington State. USC wins a close one, 42-37.

               

    Brad Shepard

    It may look funny on paper, but the Wildcats are the best team in the Pac-12 right now. Yes, they're even better than Washington. It's hard to believe coach Rich Rodriguez had a dynamic, game-changing athlete like Tate on the bench and didn't know what kind of impact he'd make this year. With him running and throwing at will, he changes the landscape of the conference. The Trojans, meanwhile, have muddled aimlessly through the wilderness of the season. There will be a lot of points scored in this game, but Arizona is going to continue to surge.

                   

    Greg Wallace

    Tate is one of the biggest surprises and revelations of the 2017 season, and he likely saved Rodriguez’s job. He has 926 rushing yards and eight touchdowns despite getting significant playing time in just four games, and Arizona’s offense has been potent, averaging 45.0 points per game. However, the Wildcats defense has been porous, allowing 30.2 points and 300.6 passing yards per game. That could be trouble against USC and Darnold. He won’t win the Heisman, but he still has a strong arm capable of shredding the Wildcats secondary. He’ll do that this week. While Arizona will get its share of points, Darnold will carry USC to a 45-29 win.

Does No. 15 Iowa State Win at West Virginia to Remain Atop the Big 12?

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    Kyle Kempt
    Kyle KemptCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    No. West Virginia won’t get two consecutive poor games from its offense, nor from its line in pass protection. The Mountaineers will bounce back with big games from quarterback Will Grier and receiver David Sills V (both held to their worst games of the season in last week’s loss to Oklahoma State) to throw another twist into the Big 12 race.

               

    David Kenyon

    For chaos' sake, I would love for Iowa State to win out and make the College Football Playoff committee think hard about a two-loss team with two (maybe three) wins over top-10 teams. However, I think the dream dies in Morgantown. Grier tossed four interceptions last week, but they were poor throws into man coverage. He should be more efficient against the zone defenses Iowa State calls.

               

    Adam Kramer

    I've been all aboard the Iowa State train, but this feels like a potential stumbling block. West Virginia has been a disappointment, albeit against some really good teams, but I still love Grier and that offense. I also worry a bit about the emotional state of the Cyclones going into one of the nation's most hostile venues. As weird as it might sound, a victory here might be even more challenging than last week against No. 4 TCU, at least in some ways. It can be hard, especially when you are unaccustomed to the feeling, to respond to really good things in this sport. I think WVU takes advantage of that and comes away with a win here.

               

    Kerry Miller

    Iowa State has only allowed 27 points in its last 14 quarters playedseven of which came on a kickoff return. And West Virginia's once-great offense has been mortal in recent weeks against Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech. In particular, the Mountaineers have forgotten how to run the ball, which should make for an adventure against a Cyclones secondary that has held the opposition to 128.7 passing yards per game with four interceptions and no touchdowns over the past three weeks. Iowa State wins 28-23.

               

    Brad Shepard

    The biggest question for me is can the Cyclones bottle up some of those Ames flames and take them on the road? I think the answer is yes. The Mountaineers are capable of being one of the best teams in a strong conference, but they're inconsistent, and ISU may be the best defense they've played outside of TCU this season. It's going to be an interesting game because it's in Morgantown and because Grier is capable of throwing up some massive numbers. But you'd be crazy to bet against what Matt Campbell has going right now. Iowa State will get it done.

                   

    Greg Wallace

    Iowa State is coming off the best month in program history. We expected Campbell to turn the Cyclones around eventually, but this quickly? With two Top Five upsets in a month’s time? No, few people saw this happening. ISU has an excellent defense (allowing 18.8 points per game) and very competent quarterback play from walk-on Kyle Kempt. Can the magic survive a trip to Morgantown? Grier has 2,752 passing yards with 28 touchdowns against nine interceptions, but ISU’s defense has handled prolific passing attacks in Oklahoma, TCU and Texas Tech. What’s one more in a magical season? The Cyclones keep a great story going with a 38-24 win over WVU.

Which Team Pulls off the Most Surprising Upset of the Week?

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    P.J. Fleck and Jim Harbaugh
    P.J. Fleck and Jim HarbaughUncredited/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    Everything will go as planned this weekend. No upsets of significance. One game to watch: Wake Forest at Notre Dame. I want to see how the Irish respond after winning back-to-back big games, and how the Deacons' underrated offense prepares for its former defensive coordinator, Mike Elko.

               

    David Kenyon

    Cal couldn't do anything to stop Arizona and Colorado over the last two weekends, and Oregon State has actually shown up on defense after the coaching change. The Beavers are 7.5-point underdogs, but I like them to contain Cal's passing game and steal an outright win on the road. 

               

    Adam Kramer

    I can't believe I am typing this, but Kansas wins this week. Granted, it will come against Baylor, but a Kansas win feels bold enough for this category. The Jayhawks are coming off their best performance of the year against Kansas State, and that will serve as a building block. (Or at least I can tell myself this as I grease myself up for this selection.) And with Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State on deck, two of those games on the road, it better come here or it likely won't come at all.

               

    Kerry Miller

    Last week, five of the six of us made correct picks on this upset question. Clearly, my competition has increased and I must step up my game. Let's go big or go home: Give me UTEP +17.5 over Middle Tennessee. UTEP's offense has been downright awful all season long, so the Miners certainly aren't going to win a game played in the 30s. But MTSU's offense is all sorts of banged up right now and might be held to 10 or fewer points for what would be the fourth time this season. UTEP finally gets in the win column in a hideous 14-13 game.

               

    Brad Shepard

    I think Texas is a team to watch against TCU, but that game being in Fort Worth makes me think the Horned Frogs wind up eking it out. So, I'll go with P.J. Fleck getting a resounding upset against Michigan in the Big House. The Big Ten had better get to Fleck now, because his team is nowhere close to what it's going to be in the near future. Fleck will win with the Golden Gophers if he sticks around, and this will be the type of win that he can sell to recruits. The Wolverines are still overrated, and it's hard to believe they're 15.5-point favorites in this game. Gophers will pull it out. 

                   

    Greg Wallace

    Iowa has been in every game it has played this season, with its three losses coming by a combined 16 points, with one on the game’s final play and another in overtime. The Hawkeyes are limited offensively but have a nasty defense with linebacker Josey Jewell and cornerback Josh Jackson leading the way. They help shut down Ohio State and J.T. Barrett and score the latest in a recent series of Kinnick Stadium surprises.

Who Will Be the Heisman Front-Runner After Week 10?

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    Saquon Barkley
    Saquon BarkleyJay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    The same guy who is at the front of the class now: J.T. Barrett. That is, unless Baker Mayfield has a huge game and Oklahoma beats Oklahoma Statethen it’s all Mayfield, all the time. That head-to-head win for the Sooners over the Buckeyes will factor into the Heisman race, too. As long, that is, as the teams continue on course.

               

    David Kenyon

    The polls are set to undergo serious changes following this weekend, but I think the Heisman race stays generally the same. Though this is a key "Heisman moment" opportunity for Mayfield (and Jalen Hurts, for that matter), Saquon Barkley, Bryce Love and Barrett basically just need to hold steady. Barkley holds a narrow lead for me, and I see it staying that way. 

               

    Adam Kramer

    This is tricky. I'm going to stick with Barkley, but this will by no means be a runaway. I do feel like he'll muster up a big week against Michigan State, but there will be others near him. Love is working back from injury, so we'll wait and see. I could also see Barrett and the winning quarterback from Bedlam closing the gap with a strong win. Is it just me or is this one of the most fun, compelling Heisman races in years? It will likely get even more complicated in Week 10. 

               

    Kerry Miller

    Love is coming off an ankle injury and facing an above-average Washington State defense. Barkley is barely averaging 100 rushing yards per game and is facing a stingy Michigan State front seven. Even Barrett has a tough game at Iowa, which didn't allow a passing touchdown in October. Thus, I suspect it'll be moving day for Notre Dame's Josh Adams. He's averaging 8.9 yards per carry and has been unstoppable for more than a month. He'll light up Wake Forest's defense for around 180 yards.

               

    Brad Shepard

    Everybody has been on the Barkley train all year, and he's had a great season. But he's a running back, and his rushing numbers are not all that exceptional. Watch for the rise of Barrett. He's exactly the kind of late-surging player who can wind up winning it if the Buckeyes make the College Football Playoff. Also, the most intriguing player out there is Arizona's Khalil Tate, who'll keep moving up the ladder. But I'm going with Mayfield over Barrett and Barkley this week. When the Sooners beat the Cowboys in Bedlam behind Mayfield's monster game, everybody will take notice. 

                   

    Greg Wallace

    Last week, Barkley started strong with a 97-yard kickoff return touchdown at Ohio State, but he managed just 67 combined yards rushing and receiving. Still, his body of work remains the best among Heisman candidates, with Mayfield and Love nipping at his heels. Love’s value was displayed by Stanford’s sluggish 15-14 win at Oregon State with him watching from the sidelines with an ankle injury. If he’s healthy, he’ll be ready to rip off more highlight-reel runs, while Mayfield has a huge spotlight against Oklahoma State. Michigan State has a solid defense, but Barkley should be motivated following an off week in the Horseshoe. He puts together 225 yards of total offense in an easy Penn State win and solidifies his spot atop the Heisman list.