College football is nine weeks into what is shaping up to be a great season. Now that more is known about all teams involved, fans can know what to watch for in the coming weeks. This list will narrow it down to five things to watch for in week 10.
1. Can LSU stop Tua?
The biggest game of the week features a home game at night in Death Valley. It will be an electric crowd and hopefully a great game featuring LSU and Alabama.
Both these teams have great defenses, so the competitive advantage in this game is Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The sophomore quarterback has thrown for 2,066 yards, 25 touchdowns and no interceptions on 70.4% completion. Tagovailoa helps the Alabama offense rank first in the nation at 54.1 points per game. No one has been able to stop him, or the Alabama offense yet.
LSU’s defense only allows 15.1 points per game, which ranks seventh in the country. They have future pros all over the secondary including corner Greedy Williams. Linebacker Devin White is one of the best in the country, but is out for the first half after being ejected for targeting against Mississippi State in their last game. It was questionable, but the ruling stands. The Tigers will have to survive without their leader for a half.
No one has been able to stop Alabama’s offense yet, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
2. Who will win the SEC East?
The SEC East will be decided this weekend when Georgia visits Kentucky. That is not a typo. Can Kentucky pull off the upset or will Georgia stay on top?
Georgia comes into this game after beating Florida in Jacksonville. They have only lost to LSU this season and are still the team to beat after winning the SEC Championship last season. Quarterback Jake Fromm has led the offense with 1,649 passing yards and 16 touchdowns. The running game is also productive ranking 27th in the country in yards per game. Georgia’s defense is 12th in the country in points allowed per game, making them a complete team.
Kentucky is the most surprising team in the country at 7-1. They lost to Texas A&M in overtime and have wins over Florida and Mississippi State. The Wildcats have been fueled by their defense and running game. They allow just 13 points per game which is tied for first in the country. Benny Snell leads a rushing attack that averages 214 yards per game.
For Kentucky to win they’ll need quarterback Terry Wilson to make a lot of plays, otherwise, Georgia will stack the box and be able to take the game easily.
3. Texas vs. West Virginia: Winner to the Big 12 Championship Game?
The Big 12 has three teams at the top who will be fighting each other to get to the Big 12 Championship Game. The format pits the two best teams in the conference against each other rather than splitting the conference into divisions. That means it is anyone’s guess as to the two teams who will make it, but Texas and West Virginia will play a crucial game this weekend, as they both have one conference loss.
Texas enters this contest after losing in Stillwater to Oklahoma State. While the Longhorns won’t blow anyone away in any one category they battle hard and come away with wins. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger protects the football with 13 touchdowns to two interceptions on the season. He will be the key to this matchup because against the Mountaineers, Texas will have to put up some points to win the game.
The Mountaineers put up 58 points against Baylor in their last outing. They are a high-powered passing attack that averages 39 points and 331.3 passing yards per game. Quarterback Will Grier is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and has been finding his receivers easily this season. The Longhorns will have their work cut out for them keeping up with this attack.
With a lot on the line, this will come down to which team can make a few key stops.
4. Can Penn State hurt the Big Ten’s CFP chances?
As it sits right now, Michigan holds the Big Ten’s best chances of making the CFP. The only other team that could make the CFP out of the conference is Ohio State, but they have a bad loss to Purdue holding them down. If Penn State upsets Michigan this weekend, the Big Ten could be on the outside looking in of the CFP for the second straight season.
Penn State lost two straight games, one to Ohio State and one to Michigan State, which threw their season off track. They are still a good team though and sport a great offense. Quarterback Trace McSorley is a Nittany Lion legend and has led the offense to a 41.3 point per game output. He has plenty of experience playing in big games and can wreck Michigan’s CFP hopes with a win.
Michigan won two big games in a row before having a bye week. Jim Harbaugh has won big games and beaten rivals this season already, which has been a huge knock on him in his tenure at Michigan. Quarterback Shea Patterson is the best player that Harbaugh has had at the position since returning to his alma mater. He makes the offense diversified, while the defense has been elite. They allow just 14.4 points per game and have playmakers at every level.
While the Wolverines do have some solid wins, Wisconsin and Michigan State aren’t as great as many originally thought. Penn State is fully capable of winning this game so the Wolverines will need to play well.
5. Texas Tech’s upset chances over Oklahoma?
The Sooners are in the thick of a push for the CFP, but have to face a Texas Tech team that could exploit their weaknesses.
Oklahoma has one of the best offenses in the country, but they have struggled on defense. They are the fourth-best scoring offense, but allow 25.6 points per game. They fired defensive coordinator Mike Stoops a few weeks ago and now Ruffin McNeil has taken over. The Sooners were burned against Texas and might very well get burned by someone else.
The Red Raiders have had to start three different quarterbacks this year due to injury and have still put up points. They average 376.8 passing yards and 42.3 points per game. Kliff Kingsbury has the offense rolling and with a home game against a defense that isn’t very good, might be able to pull off the upset.
Make sure to check out our college football page for more updates and rankings.