B/R Experts Answer Biggest CFB Questions for Week 10

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystNovember 1, 2019

B/R Experts Answer Biggest CFB Questions for Week 10

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    Oregon QB Justin Herbert
    Oregon QB Justin HerbertChris Pietsch/Associated Press

    Will the deluge of colossal upsets continue in Week 10 of the 2019 college football season?

    AP No. 3 Georgia bit the dust against unranked South Carolina in Week 7. Seven days later, No. 6 Wisconsin was knocked off by unranked Illinois. And this past weekend, No. 5 Oklahoma allowed 48 points in a stunning loss to unranked Kansas State.

    The best of the best will be safe this week. Four of the top five teams are on a bye and the fifth (Clemson hosting Wofford) might as well be. But with No. 7 Oregon (at USC) and No. 9 Utah (at Washington) both playing on the road against 5-3 opponents, there's a good chance we'll see a Top 10 team tumble against an unranked foe for a fourth straight week.

    Speaking of AP Top 10 streaks, this will be the fourth time in the past five weeks with an SEC showdown between Top 10 teams with No. 6 Florida facing No. 8 Georgia. Florida beat Auburn in Week 6, LSU beat Florida in Week 7 and LSU took care of Auburn last Saturday. There's also LSU-Alabama next week, Georgia-Auburn in Week 12 and the Iron Bowl in Week 14, so we're just getting started with that trend.

    To help you figure out what to expect in Week 10, though, David Kenyon, Kerry Miller, Brad Shepard and Ian Wharton joined forces to offer predictions on the hottest questions, such as:

    • Who wins the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party?
    • Will SMU keep its undefeated dream alive?
    • Can Clemson score more touchdowns than it allows points?
    • And will Chase Young be a Heisman finalist?

    Our experts are on the case.

Who Wins the Indisputable Game of the Week: No. 6 Florida or No. 8 Georgia?

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    Georgia QB Jake Fromm
    Georgia QB Jake FrommWade Payne/Associated Press

    David Kenyon

    Georgia. This defense is outstanding, and it starts with a tremendous secondary. Georgia ranks fourth nationally with only 5.4 yards allowed per pass attempt. The primary thing causing some doubt was how poorly Jake Fromm played against South Carolina. Florida has plenty of disruptive ability, so this might be another mediocre showing by Fromm against a top defense. But his own defense will bail out the Dawgs.

             

    Kerry Miller

    Georgia's defense has only allowed six touchdowns all season, and one of those was a five-play, eight-yard "drive" after a muffed punt against Notre Dame. The Bulldogs have not yet allowed a single rushing touchdown, either. And even though Florida is averaging 32.5 points and 420 yards of total offense and has scored at least 24 points in every game, I'm just not buying the Gators as an elite offense.

    I'm not saying they're bad. They're clearly well above average. But I don't think they're going to become the first team to put up 21 or more points against this Georgia defense. Meanwhile, I do think Georgia's run game will be able to get a few touchdowns against a Florida front seven that has been porous in recent weeks. Georgia wins 27-17 and takes a gigantic step toward clinching the SEC East.

              

    Brad Shepard

    I don't think offensive coordinator James Coley is a great fit for the Bulldogs. But Fromm is better than what he's shown lately. Florida, on the other hand, has played above its head all year. This is going to be an excellent game, and while I think the Gators will be up to the challenge, UGA will make enough plays in the run game to pull it out. I'm thinking a low-scoring 24-20 type win for Georgia.

                

    Ian Wharton

    This is a coin flip to me, but Florida is my pick. Fromm still hasn't answered the questions about his ability to take over games. Whether that's due to opportunity and system or his talent, we don't know. But Florida will at least give its offense more chances to create big passing plays because Dan Mullen gives Kyle Trask aggressive play calls. It'll pay off with a win.

Will No. 15 SMU Still Be Undefeated After Playing at No. 24 Memphis?

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    SMU QB Shane Buechele
    SMU QB Shane BuecheleSam Hodde/Associated Press

    David Kenyon

    No, Memphis gets the win. For the record, I'm hoping there are about 100 combined points in this one. By no means does Memphis have an excellent secondary, but SMU's unit is wildly inefficient. As long as Memphis quarterback Brady White doesn't throw a few interceptions, the Tigers will hand SMU its first loss.

              

    Kerry Miller

    I think the Mustangs find a way to win what should be an incredible, high-scoring affair. SMU has scored at least 34 points in every game, Memphis is averaging 43.0 points over its last seven, and both of these defenses just allowed more than 500 yards in Week 9.

    The one key difference has been the run defense. SMU has been relatively solid in that department, while Memphis has allowed at least 250 rushing yards and multiple touchdowns in three of its last five games. Xavier Joneswho has rushed for 14 touchdowns on the season and at least 100 yards in six of his last sevenwill be the difference-maker in a 45-38 SMU victory.

               

    Brad Shepard

    Yes. Memphis is better than it showed in last week's trap-game survival against Tulsa, but the Tigers aren't as explosive as they have been the past few seasons. It's only a matter of time before the Mustangs' luck runs out—November 23 against Navybut it won't be this weekend. There will be plenty of hype with the GameDay crew in the Bluff City, but I like Shane Buechele's poise to pull out a win in a barnburner.

               

    Ian Wharton

    No. SMU nearly lost last week against an undermanned Houston team. Memphis will be sharp as the home team, and SMU's iffy defense will be exposed. This should be a tremendously entertaining game in which both offenses light up the scoreboard.

Do Both 1-Loss Pac-12 Contenders Win on the Road to Remain on Playoff Fringe?

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    Utah RB Zack Moss
    Utah RB Zack MossRick Bowmer/Associated Press

    David Kenyon

    If both Oregon and Utah were at home, I would feel much more confident in saying yes. Oregon should be able to handle an inconsistent USC defense, although the Trojans are 4-0 at home compared to 1-3 on the road. Washington has struggled mightily on third down, and Utah's defense is outstanding. But if UW is able to sustain a few drives with timely conversions—and perhaps stubbornly, I still believe the talent and coaching are there—an upset is coming.

            

    Kerry Miller

    I'm going to say yes, but wouldn't it be something if USCafter handing Utah its only loss of the seasondelivered the knockout blow to Oregon? The Trojans are 4-0 at home, and the freshman QB-RB combination of Kedon Slovis and Kenan Christon has been better than anyone could have possibly predicted, seeing as how neither afterthought on the depth chart was ever supposed to take a meaningful snap.

                  

    Brad Shepard

    Oregon is going to beat USC at the Coliseum because of all the Trojans' injuries. The Trojans came back for a win against Colorado in Boulder last week, but the Ducks aren't the Buffaloes. After a fortunate win over Washington State, Mario Cristobal will have his team ready to go. This is going to be a shootout between Justin Herbert and Slovis, but Herbert will make fewer mistakes. Turnovers will be the key to a Ducks win.

    Utah, on the other hand, won't have the same fortune. The Jekyll-and-Hyde Washington Huskies are ready to win another big game in Seattle, and Jacob Eason is going to make some plays against the Utes' loaded defense. Inexplicable losses to California and Stanford still sting, but Washington isn't going to fall to 5-4. Chris Petersen will execute his game plan and pull off a nice upset in what has become a rebuilding year.

                

    Ian Wharton

    Yes. Both Oregon and Utah will need to be sharp to avoid an upset, as USC and Washington have the talent to win if they play their best. But Oregon and Utah have been more consistent to this point and have the quarterback and defensive play worth trusting. 

The Most Entertaining Game Not Involving a Ranked Team Will Be...?

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    TCU WR Jalen Reagor
    TCU WR Jalen ReagorAJ Mast/Associated Press

    David Kenyon

    TCU at Oklahoma State is interesting because OSU still has a shot at playing in the Big 12 title game. After TCU, the Pokes host Kansas and head to West Virginia. They'd need a little help with another Oklahoma loss or a few Baylor losses somewhere, but their wins over Kansas State and Iowa State could be key tiebreakers. Plus, any chance to watch more of Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace, sign me up. But it's worth keeping an eye on Wallace's status, as he underwent an MRI for his knee on Thursday, per Scott Wright of the Oklahoman

                 

    Kerry Miller

    Give me Miami at Florida State. Not because either team has been particularly fun to watch this season, but because it's one of the best rivalries in college football and because it's going to be entertaining to watch one of these fanbases try to come to grips with a 4-5 record. Plus, seven of Miami's eight games have been decided by eight points or fewer, so it seems like a safe bet for some late drama.

               

    Brad Shepard

    This one's easy: TCU at Oklahoma State. These are two of the best unranked teams, fallen victim to the Big 12 beating itself up all year. Max Duggan and Spencer Sanders can fling it around the field, and the Horned Frogs can counter Hubbard with the conference's best defense. There will still be plenty of points scored, and while TCU can get stops, Oklahoma State has the home-field advantage. This is truly a toss-up. 

              

    Ian Wharton

    TCU at Oklahoma State. Both of these teams are good enough to be ranked, but they have had inconsistencies at the worst times. But we have star power on both sides of the field, especially with Hubbard and Wallace going against Jeff Gladney and this TCU defense. I love the chess match between Gary Patterson and Mike Gundy, and that dynamic should lead to a great game.

Higher Total: Wofford Points or Clemson Touchdowns?

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    Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
    Clemson QB Trevor LawrenceRichard Shiro/Associated Press

    David Kenyon

    Clemson touchdowns. Brent Venables has engineered yet another elite defense, and FCS opponents have rarely scored more than seven points on Clemson. In fairness, Wofford was one of the rare outliers with 10 points in 2015. I'm still sticking with Clemson 8, Wofford 7.

                

    Kerry Miller

    Wofford doesn't get shut out. The Terriers have scored at least 10 points in each of their last six games against FBS opponents, which includes the 49-10 loss to Clemson at the beginning of the 2015 season. And while Clemson has yet to allow an opponent to score more than 20 points this season, it has given up at least six points in each game. So I'm expecting a 56-10 type of game, which means Wofford narrowly wins this prop by a 10-8 margin.

                

    Brad Shepard

    Clemson's touchdowns. The defense has been the Tigers' best weapon this season, as it is loaded at all three levels. This Wofford team is 5-2 and has scored 49, 51, 35, 59 and 35 points, respectively, in its last five games. But the Terriers haven't seen anything like what they're going to this weekend. If they get a touchdown, it'll be just the one, and Clemson will put at least eight on the board. 

                

    Ian Wharton

    Clemson touchdowns. Maybe Wofford gets one touchdown, but Clemson will score at least eight touchdowns, even if Trevor Lawrence isn't anything close to perfect (though he probably will be).

Over/Under 17.5 Combined Passing Attempts in Army at Air Force?

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    Army QB Kelvin Hopkins Jr.
    Army QB Kelvin Hopkins Jr.Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    David Kenyon

    I'm going with the over because I expect a hefty Army deficit in the second half. If I may reminisce, though: When Air Force hosted this rivalry in 2017, Army threw zero passes in a 21-0 win. Sure, the Black Knights have only one attempt in several games during the last decade, but that will always be one of my favorite stats.

                 

    Kerry Miller

    Under. Air Force only attempted six passes this past weekend against Utah State, and that actually increased its average to 5.0 pass attempts per home game this season. Army will probably fall behind and eventually resort to trying to move the ball through the air, but the Black Knights are only averaging 7.5 attempts per road game and have only gone above 13 passes once all season. The mutual affinity for running the ball and bleeding the clock will help keep the number of passes to around 15.

                 

    Brad Shepard

    I'll go with the under. Air Force is second nationally in rush offense, and Army is fifth. They're also two of the four worst passing offenses in the nation because they simply don't bother to try. If you love the forward pass, this one is not for you. Army will have to pass a little more late in the game down by several scores, but the teams won't combine for 18.  

               

    Ian Wharton

    Under. These two teams have combined for just 160 attempts on the year, which is about as many as Anthony Gordon attempts in a given three-week stretch for Washington State. This will be a battle of who wants it more on the ground and assertion of dominance. For the record, this was my second choice for the "most entertaining game of the week" question, since I enjoy trench play. 

Does Chuba Hubbard Reach at Least 115 Rushing Yards for a 7th Consecutive Game?

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    Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard
    Oklahoma State RB Chuba HubbardCraig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

    David Kenyon

    Yes, though mostly as a product of volume. He is actually averaging 34.3 carries in losses; the Pokes' reliance on him only increases as a game gets tighter. And if they're winning, it likely means he ripped off a 60-yard touchdown anyway.

                

    Kerry Miller

    TCU has the best rush defense in the Big 12. Iowa State was the only team to rush for more than 126 yards against the Horned Frogs, and quarterback Brock Purdy was responsible for 102 of the Cyclones' 189 yards in that one. Thus far, that QB was the only player to rush for at least 80 yards against TCU. That said, I cannot bet against Hubbard. It might take him 30 carries to get to 115 yards, but Oklahoma State has not been shy about giving him that many touches in a game. He'll keep the streak going.

               

    Brad Shepard

    Absolutely. Hubbard is the best running back in the country, and, no, I haven't forgotten about Jonathan Taylor. This is going to be a stiff test for him against a TCU rush defense that's first in the Big 12 in yards allowed per game. Oklahoma State has more balance than any other team in this conference, leading the league in rushing yards, thanks to Hubbard. He'll run for 120-plus in a critical win.

               

    Ian Wharton

    TCU allows an average of 104 yards per game on the ground, ranking 15th in the nation. The Horned Frogs are also good for 19th in the country with a mark of 3.21 yards per carry. As impressive as these numbers are, it's easy to see Hubbard doing just a little bit better than the average back has done against TCU. He'll hit the 115 mark again and continue his hot streak.

Will Ohio State's Chase Young Be a Heisman Finalist?

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    Chase Young
    Chase YoungCharles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Per Heisman.com, the number of finalists varies from year to year:

    "There will always be at least three finalists invited in a given year, though the total did rise to as high as eight invitees in 1989 (though only four actually attended). Since 1982, the most common total to have been invited is five (11 times), followed by four (10 times) and three (nine times). In 1994 and 2013, there were six finalists invited to the ceremony. To date, there has never been more than six finalists to actually attend a ceremony."

    David Kenyon

    As long as he's in the 18-20-range of sacks, I'm confident about a yes. There will be enough support over the final month-plus to warrant a finalist spot. Young will receive plenty of votes, including a fair share of first-place nods. Will he win? No. But if he sustains this dominant form—which I fully expect—send him to New York.

                

    Kerry Miller

    Fair or not, at some point we'll need to reach some sort of consensus on whether Young or Justin Fields (and don't forget about J.K. Dobbins) is most responsible for Ohio State's success. With Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa in great shape for the stiff-armed trophy, the Buckeyes can't have a split vote and expect to place a defensive lineman in the top five.

    But thanks to his four sacks against Wisconsin, the "Chase Young 4 Heisman" bandwagon reached a tipping point this past weekend. He is the star of a defense leading the nation in points allowed per game, and he's likely to have a few more huge performances with Maryland and Rutgers up next on Ohio State's schedule. I think that's enough for him to get an invitation to New York City.

               

    Brad Shepard

    This is a tough one. There are just so many elite offensive players on the board with Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Chuba Hubbard, Jonathan Taylor, Sage Surratt and even two on the Buckeyes with Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins. But with Taylor falling off recently and Tagovailoa hurt, the door is open. And there hasn't been a better defender than Young in years. If he continues to rack up the sacks, he belongs. I believe he'll wind up in the final four. Right now, I'd vote him second behind Burrow.

               

    Ian Wharton

    He certainly needs to be. He's easily the best player in the country this year, and his stats are completely backed up by dominant film. He's putting up one of the best defensive seasons this decade, so hopefully voters recognize his value to a much-improved Buckeyes defense and send him to New York.