NCAAF: Games to Watch - Week 10
NCAAF: Games to Watch - Week 10
Games to Watch - Week 10
By Chris David
Saturday's slate features two big games that have conference and national championship implications at stake, plus a handful of other key matchups on tap as well. Even though this week lacks a lot of drama, Week 11 will pick up the slack with some solid battles on deck, including TCU at Utah, Alabama at LSU, California at USC and Texas Tech at Oklahoma State.
Florida vs. Georgia from Jacksonville
The game that has been known as "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" has major implications this Saturday when Georgia and Florida meet from Jacksonville. The winner will more than likely earn a trip to the SEC Championship and possibly get a shot at the BCS Championship. The Bulldogs (Alabama, 41-30) and Gators (Ole Miss, 31-30) both suffered their only losses of the season on Sept. 27 but each school has rebounded with three straight wins. Florida's overall team speed has helped the team own the best scoring offense (42 PPG) and defense (11.8 PPG) in the SEC. The Gators QB Tim Tebow (17 total TDs) hasn't had to carry the load this year, getting help from playmakers like Percy Harvin (26 catches, 6 TDs) and RB Jeffrey Demps (357 yards, 4 TDs). Georgia isn't short on talent offensively either, boasting a dangerous trio of QB Matthew Stafford (1,946 yards, 12 TDs), RB Knowshon Moreno (926 yards, 12 TDs) and WR A.J. Green (662 yards, 5 TDs). In a game that could be tight the all important turnover battle gives the edge to Florida, who is ranked first in the SEC and third nationally with a turnover margin of plus-10.
Florida has owned the recent meetings against Georgia, winning 15 of the last 18 and eight of the previous 10. However, it was the Bulldogs that celebrated a 42-30 victory over the Gators last year in Jacksonville which was punctuated with the UGA team touchdown dance after its opening score. Moreno ripped up Florida's defense for 188 yards and three scores, plus Stafford added three touchdowns through the air. Tebow passed for 236 yards but was held to minus-15 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs are 1-3 ATS in their last four games, while the Gators have covered three in a row and are 5-1-1 ATS on the year. The 72 points scored in last year's meeting was the highest output between the two schools in the last 10 years. The 'under' has gone 6-4 in the previous 10 meetings.
Texas at Texas Tech
Once again, the Big 12 takes center stage on Saturday as No. 1 Texas travels to the hostile confines of Lubbock for another tough test against No. 6 Texas Tech. The Longhorns go as QB Colt McCoy (2,697 total yards, 28 TDs) goes and he's been on fire this year. The dual threat gun slinger can beat you with his legs or toss it to a pair of underrated receivers in Jordan Shipley (737 yards, 10 TDs) and Quan Cosby (56 catches, 688 yards). Texas was held to 28 points last week in its win over Oklahoma State, which was 17 points (45 PPG) below its season average. Texas Tech's offense is averaging 48 PPG and 556 YPG of total offense behind QB Graham Harrell (3, 147 yards, 28 TDs) and WR Michael Crabtree (60 catches, 794 yards, 14 TDs). Most would expect the ball to be in the air often in this matchup considering Texas (69 YPG) and Texas Tech (101 YPG) have both been run stuffers. The Longhorns' defense has also been able to pressure the quarterback this season, notching 29 sacks through eight games, which is ranked second nationally.
Texas has won five straight against Texas Tech including a 59-43 shootout victory in Austin last season. McCoy rallied the Longhorns past the Red Raiders 35-31 in Lubbock two years ago with 256 yards and four touchdowns. T-Tech led 21-0 after the first quarter and held a 31-21 lead at the break in this matchup but was outscored 14-0 in the final 30 minutes. Harrell passed for 519 yards but the team couldn't convert late in the game. Five of the last six have gone 'over' the total. Texas had its perfect record against the spread come to an end last week, but 7-1 isn't anything to cry about. T-Tech has gone 3-3 ATS but is 0-2 ATS at home. The Red Raiders have gone 4-4 ATS as home 'dogs under head coach Mike Leach and that includes a 34-27 upset over No. 3 Oklahoma last season as seven-point pups. Even if T-Tech pulls the upset, it could be short lived with Oklahoma State coming to town the very next week.
Other Games to Watch
West Virginia at Connecticut
The Big East has been up and down this year, but the winner of this game will put themselves in a good position to win the conference. Connecticut is 4-0 at home this year and WVU has suffered setbacks in its two road trips. The Mountaineers have owned the Huskies, winning and covering all four of the previous meetings by double digits.
Northwestern at Minnesota
This battle could've been listed above if Northwestern didn't tank it against Indiana (21-19) last Saturday. Minnesota has done a complete 180 this year after going 1-11 in 2007. The Golden Gophers have been perfect at home with a 4-0 record both SU and ATS. Last season, NW nipped Minny 49-48 in a back-and-forth overtime battle.
Tulsa at Arkansas
Is this the week that Tulsa (8-0) goes down? Arkansas has won 16 straight against the Golden Hurricane but the oddsmakers believe that streak could come to an end this Saturday. The Razorbacks have dropped five of six but Bobby Petrino's team has been competitive in the last two losses, losing by a combined three points.
Pittsburgh at Notre Dame
Notre Dame hasn't been ranked all year but a victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday could push Charlie Weis and company closer to the polls. The Irish are 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in South Bend this season and the offense gets to face a Pitt defense that just gave up 54 points to Rutgers.
Oregon at California
The Ducks earned an impressive victory at Arizona State last week and appear to be back on track. We'll find out when they travel this week to California, who bounced back with an easy win over UCLA (41-20). Since Oregon was drubbed 44-10 by USC on Oct. 4, it appears that the Golden Bears are the only legit Pac 10 school remaining that can defeat the Trojans.
Florida St at Georgia Tech
Don't look now but the Seminoles are starting to heat up and they picked a great year to do so considering the ACC is awful. The wins haven't been pretty for Bobby Bowden's squad but they're winning. The two schools haven't met since 2003 but FSU has won 12 straight against Georgia Tech.