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College Football ’18: Week 10 Previews

Each week, The Game Haus will offer previews of every college football game featuring teams in The Associated Press Top 25. We’ll also give an expanded look at three Top 25 matchups especially worth watching.

Here we go with those Top 25 previews for Week 10 (all times Eastern):

Key Games

No. 6 Georgia (7-1) at No. 11 Kentucky (7-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

Scouting the Bulldogs: It’s not the biggest game in the SEC this weekend, but it’s certainly one with serious league implications on the line. Georgia, tied with Kentucky for the lead in the SEC East, has won eight straight over the Wildcats and five in a row at Lexington.

Top 25
Photo by ftw.usatoday.com

Scouting the Wildcats: Following the “Miracle at Missouri,” Kentucky’s special season continues. Without a doubt, this is the biggest game to hit Lexington in years, and one has to believe the atmosphere will be like never before. The Wildcats’ last win over a top-10 team came against then-No. 10 South Carolina in 2010.

Winner: Kentucky

No. 14 Penn State (6-2) at No. 5 Michigan (7-1), 3:45 p.m., Saturday

Scouting the Nittany Lions: James Franklin’s squad is officially too tough to read. They had a loss to inconsistent Michigan State, but a victory over a ranked Iowa team last week. Since 1996, however, Penn State is 2-7 at the Big House.

Scouting the Wolverines: Back after beating Michigan State two weeks ago, Michigan should have a bit of revenge on its mind after losing 42-13 at Penn State last season. However, the Wolverines, fifth in the first College Football Playoff rankings, probably just want to focus on remaining undefeated in the Big Ten.

Winner: Michigan

No. 1 Alabama (8-0) at No. 4 LSU (7-1), 8 p.m., Saturday

Scouting the Crimson Tide: Could this be a potential preview of the national championship game? Perhaps, but that seems unlikely, so the focus stays on how prepared Alabama will be to face the best team it’s seen thus far. The Crimson Tide have won seven straight in the series.

Scouting the Tigers: Their vaunted defense is ready for a shot at Tua Tagovailoa and the Tide’s offense. The key for LSU might be how well it keeps all that adrenaline in check, so it won’t get too excited for this matchup. One mistake, and Alabama can make even the best teams pay – big time.

Winner: Alabama

The Rest

Temple (5-3) at No. 9 UCF (7-0), 7:30 p.m., Thursday

The Skinny: The health status of Knights star quarterback McKenzie Milton remains murky, but the home team is favored to extend its winning streak to 21 games. UCF, 12th in the CFP rankings, still has no reason to take a Tempe squad that’s won three in a row and is also 4-0 in the American Athletic Conference East Division for granted.

Winner: UCF

Pittsburgh (4-4) at No. 23 Virginia (6-2), 7:30 p.m., Friday
Top 25
Photo by washingtonpost.com

The Skinny: Three consecutive victories have the Cavaliers in the Top 25 and atop the ACC Coastal Division. The Panthers, however, are just one-half game behind, so there is plenty at stake in this contest. Virginia hasn’t gone 4-0 at home in the conference since 2002.

Winner: Virginia

 

No. 25 Texas A&M (5-3) at Auburn (5-3), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: Despite a 28-13 loss at Mississippi State last week, the Aggies remain in the Top 25. Auburn has had its own struggles this season, but is coming off a nice win at Ole Miss. Jimbo Fisher versus Gus Malzahn. Are we ready to set the time machine back to the 2014 BCS National Championship Game?

Winner: Auburn

Louisville (2-6) at No. 2 Clemson (8-0), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: Life is good for the Tigers, who are second in the CFP rankings and steaming straight toward the ACC Championship game. The struggling Cardinals face a mighty task against that stellar Clemson defense, which has allowed just two touchdowns over the last three games.

Winner: Clemson

Nebraska (2-6) at No. 8 Ohio State (7-1), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: Who would have thought it’s the Cornhuskers, not the Buckeyes, looking to extend a winning stretch in this one. Nebraska is trying for a third straight win, while the Buckeyes have had two weeks to get over the Purdue debacle. Improving a run game that’s totaled 168 yards in the last two would be a start for Ohio State.

Winner: Ohio State

No. 22 Syracuse (6-2) at Wake Forest (4-4), Noon, Saturday
Top 25
Photo by democratandchronicle.com

The Skinny: A home win over previously ranked North Carolina State has the Orange in the Top 25. But this will not be an easy test, especially since Wake has scored at least 51 points three times this season. Then again, it’s also yielded 41 or more three times.

Winner: Wake Forest

No. 19 Iowa (6-2) at Purdue (4-4), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: The Hawkeyes put up a fight in their loss at Penn State last weekend, and now look to avoid being the latest Top 25 opponent to fall at West Lafayette. The Boilermakers last beat three Top 25 teams over a season in 2004.

Winner: Iowa

No. 12 West Virginia (6-1) at No. 15 Texas (6-2), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: It’s the marquee matchup in the Big 12 between two of the three teams tied for the league lead. Texas will try to rebound from a tough loss at Oklahoma State, while the Mountaineers look to do better than their last conference road game (a 30-14 loss at Iowa State on Oct. 13.)

Winner: Texas

No. 24 Boston College (6-2) at Virginia Tech (4-3), 3:45 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Boston College is back in the Top 25, following consecutive wins over Louisville and Miami. Both schools are struggling at the moment, and while the Hokies are, too, winning at Blacksburg will be tough. The Eagles have dropped three straight in the series.

Winner: Virginia Tech

No. 16 Utah (6-2) at Arizona State (4-4), 4 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Utah’s offensive improvement is impressive. It averaged 41 points while going 4-0 in October, compared to 22.3 in splitting its first four games. The Sun Devils are coming off of a much-needed win at USC, so expect this one to be tight.

Winner: Utah

Missouri (4-4) at No. 13 Florida (6-2), 4 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: This might not be an easy bounce-back game for the Gators after the Georgia loss, but they will be at home. Missouri could still be reeling from its last-second defeat to Kentucky that dropped the Tigers to 0-3 against Top 25 teams in 2018.

Winner: Florida

No. 17 Houston (7-1) at SMU (3-5), 7 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: College football fans know Ed Oliver, but they really should be aware of Cougars quarterback D’Eriq King, who has thrown for 28 touchdowns and rushed for another 11. Is he the next Andre Ware? SMU hopes that is not the case.

Winner: Houston

No. 3 Notre Dame (8-0) at Northwestern (5-3), 7:15 p.m., Saturday
Top 25
Photo by onefootdown.com

The Skinny: Talk about some Midwestern fun. Northwestern fans have had this game circled on their calendars for months. The Wildcats will try for a fifth consecutive win. The Irish? Well, they can’t let being fourth in the initial CFP rankings distract them from the matter at hand.

Winner: Notre Dame

 

Louisiana Tech (6-2) at No. 21 Mississippi State (5-3), 7:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: A step out of conference does not guarantee an easy time for the Bulldogs. Louisiana Tech has won three in a row and is pushing leader UAB in the Conference USA West Division. However, Mississippi State’s defense continues to play well, allowing an average of 13.5 points in the last four contests.

Winner: Mississippi State

No. 7 Oklahoma (7-1) at Texas Tech (5-3), 8 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: The Sooners have won both of their true road games within the Big 12 this season. They’ve also averaged 49.8 points during a six-game winning streak over the Red Raiders, and scored at least 41 in the three on the road during that run.

Winner: Oklahoma

No. 20 Fresno State (7-1) at UNLV (2-6), 10:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Fresno is a blown fourth-quarter lead at Minnesota away from being undefeated, but instead it will try for a seventh consecutive victory. UNLV has lost 20 in a row against Top 25 teams since winning at then-No. 15 Arizona State in 2008.

Winner: Fresno State

California (5-3) at No. 10 Washington State (7-1), 10:45 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Wazzou is alone atop the Pac-12 North Division following a wild, late victory at Stanford. Cal, however, just knocked off Washington, but that was at home. The Cougars have won 11 in a row and 16 of their last 17 in Pullman.

Winner: Washington State

No. 18 Utah State (7-1) at Hawaii (6-4), 12 a.m., Sunday

The Skinny: The Aggies are in the Top 25 for the first time since 2012, but were not part of the CFP rankings. That’s OK, this is the hottest team in the Mountain West (seven straight wins), averaging 49.4 points and trying for a fourth consecutive win over Hawaii.

Winner: Utah State

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