Week Ten Predictions
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The matchup we have been waiting for all season long has arrived, and it will be the showcase event, airing prime-time on CBS. The Tide host the Tigers for supremacy in the SEC West, the division that has given us the national champion in three of the last four sesons. LSU vs. Alabama. Let's get it on! Oh yeah, there are a bunch of other good games, as well...Here are my predictions for week ten:
#15 Michigan (7-1, 3-1) at Iowa (5-3, 2-2) - 12:00 - ESPN - Michigan plays good defense. I think that is what folks overlook about this Denard Robinson-famed team. And when you face a tough road test as this one will be, you will need that. Iowa's QB James Vanderberg has had a decent junior season, but will throw a pick if he is pressured hard. He had two INTs against Penn State, who I consider a strong Big Ten defense similar to UM's. This will be a heck of a game, but I think the visitors take it when the smoke clears. Michigan, 30-27.
Texas Tech (5-3, 2-3) at #21 Texas (5-2, 2-2) - 12:00 - FX - As usual, TTU can score, checking in at 38.9 ppg. But they don't play much defense, and that is where I see them losing this game. They are giving up a natiowide 93rd worst 32 ppg. Texas is no juggernaut, but they should handle the 2011 version of the Red Raiders at home. The key could be the rushing attack, where the Horns are churning out an average of 220 yards. Texas, 35-24.
North Carolina (6-3, 2-3) at NC State (4-4, 1-3) - 12:30 - ESPN3.com - The Wolfpack have a shot to turn their season around with a win here. They could get above .500, become one win closer to bowl-eligibility, and gain twelve months of bragging rights and a recruiting boost. But it won't be easy. The Tar Heels are unpredictable, and on a good day they will handle NCSU regardless of location. But the inconsistency is what worries me about UNC. The Pack hasn't done much to impress me, but I feel they ride the home crowd to a win. NC State, 27-21.
Virginia (5-3, 2-2) at Maryland (2-6, 1-4) - 12:30 - ESPN3.com - The ACC is about as predictable as a lightning strike, and these two teams are the very definition. Early on, UVA looked horrible, and Maryland looked to have a decent squad. Now though, the Cavaliers are thinking bowl while the Terps are trying to gain just their third win. I will predict more wackiness in this one. Virginia has a much better record, but I am going to predict a Maryland upset. Maryland, 31-29.
Northwestern (3-5, 1-4) at #10 Nebraska (7-1, 3-1) - 3:30 - B10 Network - I always bring up the Husker defense as somewhat of a measuring stick of how Coach Bo Pelini's squad is doing. So if you would have told me preseason that they would be outside of the top 30 units in the country in week ten (33rd at 22.5 ppg), I would have said the Huskers would have three losses or more. But the offense has bailed them out, scoring 38 points or more five times. In this one, I think they get over 40. Nebraska, 42-17.
Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2) at #6 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1) - 3:30 - ABC - I predicted a week ago in this article, before A&M lost to Mizzou, that the Aggies would reach four losses in 2011. I just predicted wrong that Mizzou would be one of them. In week ten, they will reach my 4-loss prediction earlier than I predicted. OU will hand the Aggies their 23rd loss under Coach Mike Sherman in just four seasons (16 conference losses). If that isn't a coach that should be on the hot seat, I don't know who is (Ok, maybe Rick Neuheisel at UCLA is worse). Oklahoma, 48-24.
#4 Stanford (8-0, 6-0) at Oregon State (2-6, 2-3) - 3:30 - ABC - As the Cardinal motor on towards a potential national title game appearance, this is just a bump in the road. Oregon State has problems at nearly every position and I see Stanford easily taking care of business in this one. QB Andrew Luck's numbers are not blowing people away, so this may be just the big game he needs to boost that. Stanford, 47-21.
Cincinnati (6-1, 2-0) at Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-1) - 7:00 - ESPNU - The more I get into it, this should be one heck of a game. But I am calling it early, Cincy takes it. The Bearcats are 11th nationally in points for and 19th in points against. That is a good balance of offense and defense. I have a feeling if one is off, the other will step up. Or they both will show up and Pitt gets waxed. It worries me that Cincy gave up 43 points to a cruddy Tennessee offense, but that was six weeks back and I think they have improved. Cincinnati, 33-24.
Missouri (4-4, 2-3) at Baylor (4-3, 1-3) - 7:00 - Of all of the games this week, this may be the toughest one to pick. Neither team has done too much to impress, though Baylor started off real hot. The Bears are still one of the nation's top offenses, so at home with that, I think I will pick them. Missouri has had a good squad for several years, but with four losses already, I feel the same vibe doesn't exist on this year's Tiger sideline. Baylor, 42-27.
#9 South Carolina (7-1, 5-1) at #7 Arkansas (7-1, 3-1) - 7:15 - ESPN - Everybody is knocking Arkansas right now because of their close call at Vanderbilt a week ago. But I am not one to buy into that. Vandy is better than folks think, and I am not surprised it was close. My guess is that the Razorbacks come out ready to prove to people that they belong in the top ten. With running back Marcus Lattimore playing, I would predict an instant classic type of game. But since he is out, I don't think USC has the weapons to hang with a high-powered Arkansas offense (36.9 ppg). Arkansas, 38-24.
#19 Arizona State (6-2, 4-1) at UCLA (4-4, 3-2) - 7:30 - Versus - Jeez. Would someone just put Bruin Coach Rick Neuheisel out of his misery? The dude's record at his alma mater is terrible (18-25, 10-20), yet he remains. I would like to see the Devils hang 40+ on UCLA and get Neuheisel seriously on the way out the door. I just cannot stand to see coaches who obviously cannot cut it continuously get to stick around and make millions of dollars. Arizona State, 40-20.
Notre Dame (5-3) at Wake Forest (5-3, 4-2) - 8:00 - ABC - When it comes to name power in college football, these two teams couldn't possibly be at further ends of the spectrum. The Irish, though fielding poor teams for years now, still get the media's attention with any glimpse of goodness. Wake Forest, on the other hand, has to play in the dang Orange Bowl for folks to know who they even are. In this one, I want to cheer for Wake, so therefore I will pick them. Besides, I honestly think they are better. Wake Forest, 35-28.
#14 Kansas State (7-1, 4-1) at #3 Oklahoma State (8-0, 5-0) - 8:00 - ABC - The Wildcats had a nice run, jumping out to a 7-0 start and top ten ranking. But back-to-back losses from teams from the state of Oklahoma will end all that fun. OSU is the absolute real thing, and I expect them to put this one away with ease. The Cowboys are 2nd in the nation in points for at 49.9 ppg. It may be close early, but expect a massacre by the time 60 minutes are up. Oklahoma State, 50-17.
#1 LSU (8-0, 5-0) at #2 Alabama (8-0, 5-0) - 8:00 - CBS - This isn't just a battle of #1 vs. #2 in the BCS rankings. It is also a battle of #1 vs. #2 in the battle for the nation's top defensive ranking. LSU only surrenders 11.5 ppg. That is tough. But Alabama kicks that stat to the curb, allowing just 6.9 ppg. The Tide also boast a better rushing attack, with Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy combining for 1,154 yards and 22 TDs so far. We all know LSU is perhaps the most physical, athletic team in America. But I just can't bet against an Alabama team that is this good and this well-coached and at home. Alabama. 26-20.
#8 Oregon (7-1, 5-0) at Washington (6-2, 4-0) - 10:30 - The Ducks continue to hang around the edge of the elite teams, looking for their shot to pounce up into the top five and perhaps national title game talk. In this one, they win big, setting up a showdown next week with Stanford. If they win both, they will be at 9-1 and in the top five - still alive for a berth in what Duck fans call "The Natty." Oregon, 48-21.
* All times EST, all rankings BCS
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