Week 10 is loaded with great games that will come just days after the first College Football Playoff rankings are revealed on Tuesday. It’s the best weekend of the year to date.
Four games between ranked teams take place this week, each with huge Playoff implications. At 3:30 p.m., have your remote on the swivel. No. 6 Georgia plays at No. 11 Kentucky, No. 12 West Virginia travels to No. 15 Texas and No. 14 Penn State faces No. 5 Michigan. All that sets up the main event between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 LSU at Tiger Stadium at 8 p.m.
MORE: Week 10 bowl projections
After back-to-back tough weeks, we’re ready to get back at it:
Here is a look at our record so far:
Straight up: 136-36, .791 (9-8 last week)
Against the spread: 88-70, .557 (8-9 last week)
Upset picks: 7-8, .467 (2-2 last week)
And now, Sporting News’ picks against the spread for Week 10 (lines reflect Consensus picks according to VegasInsiders.com as of Monday):
Temple at No. 9 UCF (-10.5)
McKenzie Milton’s status is a huge factor here, and the Knights are up against an improving Temple team that won its last three games and hasn’t lost a game by more than 10 points against decent competition. If Milton plays, the Knights should be fine here. UCF wins 42-24.
Louisville at No. 2 Clemson (-37.5)
Take the over, for starters. It’s a giant spread, but the Cardinals have allowed 53.3 points per game in their last three losses as part of a five-game losing streak that continues to raise questions about Bobby Petrino’s future. The Tigers certainly can cover that big number, but perhaps they pull up in anticipation of the showdown at Boston College the following week. Clemson wins 49-14 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Nebraska at No. 8 Ohio State (-20.5)
The Buckeyes have destroyed the Cornhuskers the last two years by a combined score of 118-17, but there might be more questions about Ohio State here coming out of the bye week after the loss to Purdue. Nebraska has won two straight, and Adrian Martinez is playing with confidence. The Huskers are minus-6 in turnover margin. If they don’t turn it over three times, they’ll cover. We just think the Buckeyes comes out a little bit better. Ohio State wins 45-21 and COVERS the spread.
No. 22 Syracuse (-4.5) at Wake Forest
Check out the Orange. Syracuse is in the AP Top 25 and looks ready to make a run at a New Year’s Day Six bid if this keeps up. The line bumped up early, but keep in mind the Demon Deacons won this matchup 64-43 last season. The track meet is on, but we think the Orange get revenge. Syracuse wins 49-43 and COVERS the spread.
No. 25 Texas A&M at Auburn (-6)
Somebody is going to leave this game with four losses and an unhappy fan base. The Tigers had a week to prepare, and that line is a double-take considering their struggles. Auburn’s at home, and the Aggies struggled on the road last week. All that said, we think Texas A&M is the better team. Texas A&M wins 29-28 in an UPSET.
MORE: Week 10 Playoff picture
No. 12 West Virginia at No. 15 Texas (-3)
This is the huge game with Big 12 championship implications, and the Longhorns haven’t lost at home this season. That said, they haven’t faced an offense quite like this either. West Virginia looked in sync after a much-needed bye week, and the Mountaineers have won two of their last three visits in Austin. We trust Will Grier in this spot on the road. West Virginia wins 38-34 in an UPSET.
No. 6 Georgia (-9.5) at No. 11 Kentucky
The Wildcats have their shot at the SEC East championship here, and the line dropped from its initial 10-point perch. Kentucky has the better run defense in this game, and the last time they met in Lexington it was a 27-24 thriller in favor of Georgia. This time, the Bulldogs get the late touchdown to take control of the SEC East. That half-point hook made the decision for us. Georgia wins 27-17 and COVERS the spread.
No. 19 Iowa at Purdue (-3)
The Hawkeyes are a 3-point dog on the road here against an up-and-down Purdue team that couldn’t get going against Michigan State. The Boilermakers gutted out a 24-15 win against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City last year, and they should be able to get some big plays at home. It’s a toss-up, but we’ll go with an “upset” here. Iowa wins 27-24 in an UPSET.
No. 14 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan (-10)
This is one of the more-difficult games to pick because of the contrast in styles. Michigan won 49-10 in 2016, and the Nittany Lions returned the favor in a 42-13 blowout last year. Trace McSorley had three rushing touchdowns in that game. The Wolverines are 4-1 against the spread at home this year, but the Nittany Lions don’t make it easy. Michigan wins 31-23 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 24 Boston College (-2.5) at Virginia Tech
The Hokies lost by three touchdowns to Georgia Tech and had the weekend to stew about it. Boston College got a boost from the return of AJ Dillon, who rushed for 149 yards in his return against Miami last week. The Hokies are at home, but that didn’t matter last week. Go with the team with more to play for. Boston College wins 30-24 and COVERS the spread.
MORE: Bama-LSU headlines Playoff-deciding games in Week 10
No. 13 Florida (-6) at Missouri
Both teams are coming off tough losses, so it will be a question of motivation. Florida still has more to play for, and the Gators have a defense that can pressure Drew Lock. The Tigers rank 11th in the SEC in sacks, so Feleipe Franks will have time to hit a few deep shots in the passing game. Florida wins 31-23 and COVERS the spread.
No. 16 Utah (-7) at Arizona State
Utah is one of the best second-half stories of the season, a team that has found its offense and has scored 40 or more points in each of its last four games. The Sun Devils have lost all four of their games by seven points and are coming off a win against USC. The Utes change that trend. Utah wins 41-27 and COVERS the spread.
No. 17 Houston (-13) at SMU
Houston ranks second in the FBS with an offense that averages 49 points per game. That finally got noticed in the blowout victory against South Florida. D’Eriq King is legit, too. SMU has seen UCF and Michigan this year. Can Houston pour it on even more? Houston wins 48-28 and COVERS the spread.
No. 3 Notre Dame (-8) at Northwestern
Huge game from a perception standpoint for both teams. Notre Dame can beat another Big Ten team, one that might represent the Big Ten West in Indianapolis in a few weeks. Northwestern has won the last two meetings with the Irish, and this is another chance for Pat Fitzgerald to win a big game. There will be a lot of people that put the Irish on upset alert this week. We’re not quite there. Notre Dame wins 34-24 and COVERS the spread.
Louisiana Tech at No. 21 Mississippi State (-21)
Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald silenced the critics in a victory against Texas A&M, but they can’t look ahead to Alabama with Louisiana Tech coming to Starkville. Louisiana Tech’s biggest loss of the season is 21 points — and it wasn’t against LSU. Mississippi State wins 34-21 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
MORE: SN’s updated Power Rankings
Pittsburgh at No. 23 Virginia (-7.5)
The Cavaliers look like a team capable of winning the ACC Coastal Division, and that’s because of their steady play through a three-game win streak. The Panthers are an unpredictable team: They’re 0-3 on the road, but have also won the last three meetings against the Cavs. This will be a tight game. Virginia wins 28-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 1 Alabama (-14) at No. 4 LSU
What are we supposed to do here? We know Alabama has won the last three meetings in Baton Rouge by an average of seven points per game, but we also know the Crimson Tide hasn’t had an offense quite like this. This is the biggest game between the two since 2012, and the Tigers will empty out all their tricks. If they can survive the first half without star linebacker Devin White, then the second half could get interesting. We can’t bet against the Tide right now. Alabama wins 34-17 and COVERS the spread.
No. 7 Oklahoma (-10) at Texas Tech
The last time these two teams hooked up, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes put on a record-setting show. The Red Raiders have a chance to play spoiler with Alan Bowman, but how does Texas Tech plan on slowing down Kyler Murray? The Sooners are dropping another 50 here. Oklahoma wins 52-31 and COVERS the spread.
No. 20 Fresno State (-24.5) at UNLV
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion has 18 touchdowns and two interceptions this season, and he’s up against a UNLV defense that has allowed 40 or more points in its last four games. Jeff Tedford’s defense has been pretty good too — allowing 33 combined points the last four weeks. Fresno State wins 45-17 and COVERS the spread.
Cal at No. 10 Washington State (-10.5)
The Cougars will have revenge on their minds after last year’s blowout loss at Cal, and the Golden Bears will be playing with confidence after knocking off Washington. We still like Washington State to win behind another performance by Gardner Minshew, but this will be close. Washington State wins 35-27 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 18 Utah State (-18) at Hawaii
The midnight kickoff is for the die-hards, and the Aggies made a big jump up the top 25 rankings heading into this showdown with the Warriors. Hawaii has lost three in a row in blowout fashion, and Utah State quarterback Jordan Love leads an offense that ranks third in the FBS with 49.4 points per game. They keep it rolling. Utah State wins 56-34 and COVERS the spread.
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