Remember, remember November 5th.
Nov. 5 wasn’t circled on many calendars before the start of the college season, but it’s here now — and that’s a dirty word. Week 10 has the biggest game of the season in a timeslot, and it’s followed by a trap game for one playoff prospect and a Louisiana roadtrip for another.
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Maryland at Wisconsin (-5)
The Terps are quietly putting together one of the best seasons in over a decade and come into this game 6-2. A win in their last four would put this year on par with the best since Ralph Friedgen coached the team in 2010. Those two losses also resulted in one possession apiece. Here is Wisconsin though, after a week off and built to play the spoiler. Maryland are used to being victimized there, and they’re not favored in this one on the road, but this season has already been different for them: can it continue? ‘
Game to watch: Maryland on transmissions. Jim Leonhard’s defense can carry dizzying packets of pressure for a quarterback to sift through, and if you get behind the chains, there’s nothing the Badgers would rather do than play. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa will return to action after a knee injury, so Maryland will be as close to full strength as they have been in some time.
Texas Tech at TCU (-8.5)
The Frogs received what they believe was a dose of postseason disrespect on Tuesday. Although undefeated, they were seeded behind an Alabama team by one loss. Well, they’ll have their first chance to prove the committee wrong against TCU. If Tech is to pull off the upset, look for an aggressive game plan that will try to create breaks by getting in on the fourth down.
Game to watch: TCU against slow start. The Frogs have started very slowly the past few weeks, in fact the fact that they were (barely) ahead against West Virginia was a pleasant surprise. Eventually, they’ll have to get up and stay awake in a game or it might come back to bite them.
Florida to Texas A&M (-3)
It’s a game that will go a long way in determining if any of these teams are going to miss a note bowl. That’s not exactly the stakes we thought this game would come in August. But two less than stellar campaigns culminate in College Station. Can either of these teams go out of their way?
Game to watch: Connor Weigman against expectations. The freshman took the reins against Ole Miss and played well, but he will be tested again against Florida now that a team has a film on him. One thing he won’t have to worry about is Florida advantage Brenton Cox, who was fired from the team after the loss to Georgia.
UCF (-3.5) at Memphis, 3:30 p.m.
It’s unclear now who the Knights will start at quarterback, and Memphis will need all the help they can get with a struggling defense coming into this game. UCF will try to jump on the Tigers no matter who plays behind center.
Game to watch: UCF’s defense against Memphis’ attack in the low red zone. The Knights certainly aren’t bad on defense, but they have something of a folding style but don’t break, especially when things are not just inside 20s overall, but inside 10s. Part of that has to do with their efficient D run, which did a lot to make them a tough team to score.
Tennessee at Georgia (-8), 3:30 p.m.
It’s the big one, and the one we’ve all been waiting for ever since it became clear Tennessee was in for real a few weeks ago against Alabama. It’s one of the biggest regular season football games that hasn’t involved Alabama or Ohio State in years, and it’s a huge moment for the Dawgs at Sanford Stadium, which usually doesn’t host huge matchups like this. Tennessee’s offense can’t quite be stopped, but can Georgia’s defense contain it and assert itself in this de facto SEC East championship game?
Game to watch: Georgia vs. Gameplay Script. We saw last year in the SEC Championship that if Georgia were to go on offense, the results might not be great. If Georgia falls behind, how they battle against a less-than-great Tennessee secondary will be a big subplot, especially since receiver AD Mitchell’s health is still in question. Tight end Brock Bowers gives Stetson Bennett tremendous safety cover, but they’ll need more vertical threat if they get behind multiple scores against Tennessee’s capable forward-7.
Freedom in Arkansas (-14), 4 p.m.
Hugh Freeze returns to the SEC again for a game in a place he knows well: Fayetteville, Arkansas. Coincidentally, the team that Arkansas beat last week (Auburn) just fired their coach, and there’s definitely a chance that Freeze will end up with that job in the end if some around the program are successful.
Game to watch: Raheim Sanders against everyone. Sanders is within striking distance of the college football title this season with a stellar campaign. He’s already topped 1,041 on the season averaging 6.7 yards per carry.
Clemson (-3.5) at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m.
Clemson QB DJ Uiagelele returns to where it all began. It was at Notre Dame Stadium in 2020 that he burst onto the scene in what was ultimately a losing effort to replace an injured Trevor Lawrence. When we last saw the Clemson signal caller, he was benched for a backup while struggling. He will start the game, but will he finish it?
Game to watch: Notre Dame’s offensive line against Clemson’s front. It doesn’t matter what happens to Clemson’s offense if the Fighting Irish can’t score. This is a team that desperately needs a playmaker beyond Micheal Mayer and their traditionally loaded offensive line is anything but this season. It’s not good against a Clemson front that is full of talent.
Alabama (-13.5) at LSU, 7 p.m.
This one always has stakes, and as a big chunk in the SEC West championship picture, it’s no different this year. LSU had been left for dead after a poor start to the season with two embarrassing losses to FSU and Tennessee, but the Tigers have improved a lot over the past two weeks. This test will be tough, but they have a rabid LSU Saturday Night crowd behind them in what is sure to be a great environment.
Game to watch: LSU’s offensive line against the Alabama front. LSU’s online situation is no longer bad, but it still leaves a bit to be desired. Texas A&M showed a few weeks ago that if you can’t block Bama, you’re going to have a bad time. The Tigers need to be at their best up front for QB Jayden Daniles to help them track Bryce Young.
Wake Forest (-3.5) at NC State, 8 p.m.
The Demon Deacons just need to put the stench of their bad, bad Week 9 behind them. Six giveaways and two more turnovers on downs made for one of the weirdest losses you’ve ever seen this past weekend.
Game to watch: Wake Forest’s defense against NC State’s offense. With a backup quarterback due to Devin Leary’s injury, the Wolfpack were limited on offense. But they’ll have to find a way to keep up with Wake as long as the Deacs score like they usually do.
Cal at USC (-21), 10:30 p.m.
How about some Pac-12 after dark? To end the evening, relax with action on the west coast. It’s not a trap game in its own right, but USC had a little more trouble beating Arizona than you might expect, so keep an eye out for it before you go to bed.
Game to watch: Both teams compared to the turnover margin. These two teams remain on turnovers at a frankly quite impressive level, so the ball could theoretically bouncing around Cal’s path and making it an interesting game. If not, watch out for trojans that saw them as expected.
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