Week 10 college football viewers’ guide: Trouble lurking for two unbeaten teams on Saturday
Fifth-ranked Michigan State and No. 10 Wake Forest are on upset alert, playing on the road against dangerous opponents.
Six undefeated teams remain in FBS as we enter Week 10 in college football, and two of them could be on upset alert Saturday.
No. 10 Wake Forest at North Carolina (-2 ½), noon, 6ABC
The Demon Deacons (8-0, 5-0 ACC) are the underdogs heading into Chapel Hill. Under head coach Dave Clawson, a former offensive coordinator at Villanova, they rank in the top 10 nationally in points (43.4 per game, sixth) and total offense (495.4, ninth). Quarterback Sam Hartman has accounted for 11 touchdowns (eight pass, three run) in his last two games.
However, the Tar Heels (5-3, 3-3) can keep up on the offensive side behind quarterback Sam Howell, who has thrown for 2,192 yards and 19 touchdowns. Wake Forest allows an average of 421.5 yards per game (99th in FBS) so expect a shootout.
Even though both teams are ACC members, this game will not count in the ACC standings. They agreed on a home-and-home non-conference series in 2015 because they don’t play each other as often as a result of the league’s scheduling rotation.
Prediction: Wake Forest 49, North Carolina 44
No. 5 Michigan State (-3) at Purdue, 3:30 p.m., 6ABC
Who would have thought that the final remaining unbeaten team in the Big Ten would be the Spartans (8-0, 5-0), who went 2-5 last season? They stepped into a class by themselves with last week’s 37-33 win over intrastate rival Michigan, and their reward was a No. 3 ranking in the season’s first College Football Playoff ranking.
Kenneth Walker III thrust himself into the No. 2 position in the Heisman Trophy odds (4-1, according to Bet Online) by rushing for 197 yards and five touchdowns. Still, this is a dangerous game given that Michigan State is on the road and that the Boilermakers (5-3, 3-2) defeated second-ranked Iowa last month, their ninth win as an unranked team over a No. 2.
Purdue has played good defense, ranking fifth in the Big Ten at 313.8 yards allowed per game, but they must be stronger against the run than they were two weeks ago when Wisconsin rushed for 290 yards and three TDs. Wide receiver David Bell leads the Big Ten with 786 receiving yards on 53 catches.
Prediction: Michigan State 26, Purdue 24
No. 12 Auburn at No. 13 Texas A&M (-4 ½), 3:30 p.m., CBS3
The Tigers (6-2, 3-1 SEC) must win three more games for their Nov. 27 regular-season finale against archrival Alabama to be for the SEC West championship. Quarterback Bo Nix last week ran for two touchdowns and passed for one, the ninth time he has had a TD pass and a TD run in the same game.
The Aggies (6-2, 3-2) have a good pair of running backs in Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane, each of whom has posted three 100-yard rushing games this season. They’ll be testing an Auburn defense that has allowed just 121 yards per game on the ground.
Texas A&M gives up an average of 16.1 points per game. The Tigers average 34.1 points scored.
Prediction: Auburn 27, Texas A&M 24
Tulsa at No. 2 Cincinnati (-22 ½), 3:30 p.m., ESPN2
The Bearcats (8-0, 4-0 AAC) felt disrespected after landing in the No. 6 spot in the first CFP rankings behind three one-loss teams. Considering that their last four opponents are a combined 16-16, they will need some help to become the first Group of Six team to make the playoffs even if they remain undefeated.
Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell downplayed the ranking, saying, “[T]he reality is that’s where you are. We know we’ve got a long way to go, we’ve got some things we need to prove, maybe to college football, but to ourselves as well.”
The Golden Hurricane (3-5, 2-2) will seek to end the Bearcats’ 24-game home winning streak, second to Clemson among active teams.
Prediction: Cincinnati 45, Tulsa 17
Louisiana State at No. 3 Alabama (-28 ½), 7 p.m., ESPN
The Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1 SEC) came in at No. 2 in the first CFP rankings, while three undefeated Power Five teams were behind them, as if routs the past two weeks over Mississippi State and Tennessee washed away the stain of their upset loss to Texas A&M.
The Tigers (4-4, 2-3) usually play Alabama tough, with eight of their last 10 games since 2005 being decided by seven points or less, with three overtimes. But most LSU players who were part of the 46-41 upset of Alabama two years ago are now playing in the NFL, and this year’s team has an injury-depleted secondary that will struggle against Heisman Trophy front-runner Bryce Young.
Prediction: Alabama 48, LSU 24
No. 7 Oregon (-6 ½) at Washington, 7:30 p.m., 6ABC
The Ducks (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12), coming in at No. 4 in the CFP ranking, are trying to hold on to their lead in the Pac-12 North. The Huskies (4-4, 3-2) had to pull out of last year’s meeting because of COVID-19 issues in their program and would love nothing more than knock their border rival out of first place.
Oregon has a strong rushing attack but a weak pass defense, which allows 261 yards per game. Washington, however, has challenges on offense, finishing below 350 total yards in six of eight games and standing 104th in FBS in scoring offense (22.8 points per game).
Prediction: Oregon 21, Washington 17