The SEC takes center stage this weekend, with No. 1 Alabama traveling to Baton Rouge to try to tame the LSU Tigers. Several other SEC match-ups will impact bowl eligibility and position. Missouri travels to South Carolina, Florida goes to Arkansas and Kentucky will host Georgia. I have my predictions below, including a major upset in the Top 10.
A QUICK LOOK BACK AT WEEK 9
A week ago I wrote about how the Top 25 would suffer a severe shakeup, and in the end, eight Top 25 teams had hit the loss column. The biggest surprise to me was South Carolina’s win 24-21 over Tennessee. The loss by the Vols, opened the door for Florida to win the SEC East. Then on Monday, the Vols lost tailback Jalen Hurd who announced he would be transferring. The loss of Hurd is compounded by the fact that top back up Alvin Kamara is also out with an injury.
The Texas win over Baylor also was a surprise. D’onta Foreman had a career day, as he ran roughshod through the Baylor defense. His 250 yards on 32 carries helped the Longhorns upset the undefeated Bears 35-34. Out West, Wyoming used a safety to break a 28-28 tie with just over a minute left, handing Boise State its first loss of the season. The defeat could be devastating for the Broncos, who were the favorite for the New Year’s Day bowl from the Group of Five. The Western Michigan Broncos are now the front-runner for that honor. South Florida, Troy, Houston and Boise State could still find themselves in a New Year’s Day bowl.
FEATURED GAMES FOR WEEK 10
AIR FORCE 5-3 AT ARMY 5-3 Both teams enter with identical records, with the winner becoming bowl eligible. Falcon quarterback Nate Romine had to leave last week’s game with an ankle injury and is questionable. His backup Arion Worthman filled in nicely, rushing for 102 yards against Fresno State. A win by the Falcons, who beat Navy earlier in the season, will secure the Commander-in-Chief Trophy. The Falcons have won three straight in the series, but will face a much improved Army squad. FLYBOYS TAKE TROPHY FOR THE 20TH TIME, AIR FORCE 30-20.
No. 5 WASHINGTON 8-0 AT CALIFORNIA 4-4 The Huskies should be playing with a chip on their shoulders after getting snubbed by the CFB committee for the fourth spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. Last week, the Huskies used a punt return for a TD, late in the fourth quarter to beat Utah 31-24. This week they face a California, and next week the Huskies will return home to face USC. This is a classic sandwich game for the Dawgs who will be taking on a Bears that will be hungry for a victory over a ranked team. The key to this game will be for the Huskies to pressure Bear QB Davis Webb who will put the ball in the air around 50 times. The Bears snapped a six game losing streak to the Huskies last season 33-24, forcing five turnovers, but it won’t happen this year. DAWGS WIN A CLAW BITER, 41-38.
MISSOURI 2-6 AT SOUTH CAROLINA 4-4 Before the season started I called for the Gamecocks to have a three-win season. The upset over Tennessee on Saturday, surprised many, including myself. Suddenly the Gamecocks are on the cusp of a bowl. A win Saturday over a slumping Missouri squad and win over Western Carolina in two weeks, will secure a bowl invitation. Muschamp has turned to two outstanding Freshmen to ignite a stagnant offense. Jake Bentley is 2-0 since taking over at quarterback, and Rico Dowdle had his first 100 yard day, rushing for 127 yards and a score in the victory over Tennessee. Meanwhile, these Tigers have lost four straight, surrendering 168 points! TIGERS TAMED AGAIN, GAMECOCKS 27-17.
No. 11 FLORIDA 6-1 AT ARKANSAS 5-3 The Gators are 9-1 versus the Razorbacks in the last 10 meetings and the Gators enter this game with the top defense in the country. They have allowed only 82 points all season! Defense and special teams give the Gators a big advantage in this game, but the offense has been poor all season long. Quarterback Luke Del Rio, has returned from injury and should help solidify the offense down the stretch. Arkansas is off a bye week, which has allowed several players to get healthy. Hogs Quarterback Austin Allen will be the difference in this game — his ability to make good decisions will lead to a close upset win by the Razorbacks. WHEW! PIG SOOOOIE 28-23.
GEORGIA 4-4 AT KENTUCKY 5-3 Did you know the Wildcats are actually in the hunt for the SEC East title, now that Tennessee has fallen to 2-3. At 4-2 the Wildcats are only a half a game behind the first-place Florida Gators. I’ve been slow to get on the Kentucky bandwagon, but a victory over the Bulldogs gets the Wildcats bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010. If you ask me, the Bulldogs have gotten away from what made them a very good football team. The Bulldogs have lost four of the last five, and new Head Coach Kirby Smart is starting to feel a little heat. I’ve seen several posts on social media in the last couple weeks, wondering why there hasn’t been an emphasis on the running game. I wonder the same thing. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are two of the better running backs in the SEC, and I think you’ll see a steady diet of that this Saturday. The Bulldogs have won six straight in this series. MAKE IT SEVEN, BULLDOGS MAKE WILDCATS PURR, UGA 28-21.
No. 1 ALABAMA 8-0 AT No. 13 LSU 5-2 For weeks I’ve been saying that Alabama would suffer a loss this season — this is the week. The first quarter will be key in this game. The Tigers need to get off to a good start and play with the lead. Interim coach Ed Orgeron has the Tigers playing loose, and fun football. LSU QB Danny Etling should be able to do just enough in the passing game to get Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice room to run. I give the Tigers an advantage at the skill positions on offense. They will need to play turnover free football, because Alabama leads the nation in turning turnovers into points! Jalen Hurts has been spot on for the Tide all season, but Saturday night, the freshman will face his toughest defense yet, in a very hostile environment. TIGERS GET REBORN ON THE BAYOU, LSU 27-24.
SUPER SIX PACK: SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
No. 10 NEBRASKA 7-1 AT No. 6 OHIO STATE 7-1 Wisconsin hangover paves way for Buckeyes. BRUTUS O SHUCKS HERBIE 31-21.
UTAH STATE 3-5 AT WYOMING 6-2 Cowboys get right back on horse. WYOMING BREAKS AGGIES SERIES WIN STREAK, BROWN 31-28.
OREGON 3-5 AT USC 5-3 Ducks must win to float hope. HAIL HAIL, TROY 47-41.
TEXAS 4-4 AT TEXAS TECH 4-4 D’onta Foreman rushes for 250 again. RED RAIDERS SEE RED, HORNS 52-40.
No. 18 OKLAHOMA STATE 6-2 AT KANSAS STATE 5-3 Wildcats house-broken by Mason Rudolph. COWBOYS 34-27.
IOWA 5-3 AT No. 12 PENN STATE 6-2 Nittany Lions hit a flat spot. RESTED HAWKEYES SEE STRAIGHT, IOWA 22-15.
LAST WEEKS RESULTS
FEATURED GAMES 4-1
SUPER SIX PACK 2-4
UPSET EXPRESS 0-1