Some of the top teams have a bye in college football Week 10, but there’s plenty to look forward to for fans around the nation.
This weekend’s schedule is highlighted by two ranked-versus-ranked matchups, one of which pits No. 8 Georgia against No. 6 Florida — the indisputable biggest game of the week.
So what else has our attention? These are the top storylines we’re focused on in college football Week 10.
Meaningful games Thursday night
A couple of undefeated teams are hosting games on Thursday night. No. 12 Baylor is going to be taking on West Virginia in a nationally televised game on ESPN (8 p.m. ET), while at the same time No. 20 Appalachian State will host Georgia Southern on ESPNU.
Both of these teams have been impressive all year long and will be a fun watch for those not interested in the NFL game featuring the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.
The more surprising of the two is certainly Baylor, which has taken off under the leadership of third-year head coach Matt Rhule. The Mountaineers and Bears both put up a ton of points and can shut down opposing offenses with defenses that allow 19 points per game. Give them a watch.
Wake hopes to keep climbing
One of the biggest games early on Saturday, No. 23 Wake Forest hopes to continue its climb up the national rankings with a home matchup against NC State. The Demon Deacons have just one loss on record — a three-point upset at the hands of Louisville a few weeks back.
Led by quarterback Jamie Newman and star receiver Sage Surratt, Wake’s offense is a fun watch. Surratt, in particular, can make the ridiculous look easy and already has nine touchdown catches this season.
As long as the Demon Deacons don’t start out the game rusty after a bye, they should stay on the path of victory — prompting a likely continued surge up the rankings.
Huskers have to stop the bleeding
The Nebraska Cornhuskers have taken some lumps recently, losing three of their last four games and two in a row. Thankfully, quarterback Adrian Martinez is coming back to start Saturday against Purdue after missing the past two games with a knee injury.
Whether Martinez can spark the Huskers to a win remains to be seen. A player who had regressed in his second year under center even before the injury, the player who was seen as a dark-horse Heisman candidate needs to step up in a big way. Purdue has only won twice this year, but this is a team that gave Iowa problems recently and will not be an easy out.
Where to the Irish go from here?
No. 16 Notre Dame took a huge tumble down the rankings after getting utterly humiliated by Michigan in the pouring rain last Saturday night in Ann Arbor. Ian Book was a miserable wreck, and Notre Dame’s defense was bullied all night long.
So where does this team go from here? With two losses, the Irish can kiss any thought of a playoff berth goodbye.
Notre Dame is hosting Virginia Tech this Saturday, and on paper this is a game the Fighting Irish should win running away. Though the Hokies are 5-2, this is a team that allows 30 points per game on average, which lends itself to a big game from the Irish offensively. Now we’ll see whether head coach Brian Kelly really has his players in the right mindset to finish the year strong regardless of that fact.
Game of the week in Jacksonville
No. 8 Georgia will be in Jacksonville this Saturday afternoon for an SEC showdown with No. 6 Florida. This is the 3:30 p.m. game on CBS, and it’s clearly the biggest game on the college football Week 10 schedule. Both teams better be ready for an old-fashioned backyard brawl.
The path these two SEC powerhouses have taken this season is like looking at a mirror. Both lost on the same Saturday a few weeks back, then bounced back with big wins over lesser SEC squads in Week 8. Now coming off a bye, these teams will be as prepared as possible for this crucial game. One more loss likely means the end of their playoff aspirations.
We’re going to be watching to see whether it’s Kyle Trask or Jake Fromm that rises to the challenge and leads their team to victory. Both have been having phenomenal seasons, and they’re both facing huge tests against top defenses.
Can the Jayhawks pull off a stunner at home?
Last Saturday, Les Miles and his Kansas Jayhawks were part of one of the wildest finishes of any game we’ve seen all year. A huge mistake by Texas Tech after a blocked field goal led to a second chance, and victory for the Jayhawks.
Can they ride that momentum to an even bigger win in Week 10? Kansas is hosting long-time rival Kansas State, and the Wildcats are extremely good this year. They’re coming off a thrilling win of their own after shocking Oklahoma last Saturday. Will they suffer a letdown after such an emotional roller coaster?
This game could get weird, and if it does don’t be surprised if the Mad Hatter is celebrating afterward.
Huskies sniffing an upset over Utah?
Washington nearly did enough last Saturday to take down Oregon, and now the Huskies will face yet another top team when No. 9 Utah comes to Seattle.
Jacob Eason is going to need his A-game if the Huskies are going to pull off the big upset. Utah’s defense is one of the nation’s most fearsome, led by future NFL star Leki Fotu. Washington will also need its defense to play a disciplined, aggressive brand of football to contain the duo of Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss, who are incredibly tough and talented.
An upset is certainly possible, but it’s going to take nothing but Washington’s best to derail this Utah team.
AAC gets national spotlight in Memphis
ESPN’s College GameDay is going to be in Memphis this Saturday, and the game between No. 15 SMU and No. 24 Memphis is the prime-time game on ABC (7:30 p.m. ET). Yeah, it’s a pretty big deal for these two schools, and for the American Athletic Conference as a whole.
It should be a fantastic game as far as entertainment value goes. Both teams can put points up on the board, and the two quarterbacks starting — Shane Buechele and Brady White — have piled up 4,486 yards and 40 touchdowns between them through the air.
The Mustangs are undefeated and have a legitimate shot to make a New Year’s Six bowl game, but this game will be their biggest test yet.
Ducks head to Southern California
No. 7 Oregon has done nothing but win since falling in the last minute to Auburn way back in Week 1. The Ducks feature a potent, balanced offense that can score on any given play, and their defense is the best in the nation at creating interceptions (14 so far).
Enter the USC Trojans, who will host this dangerous team in Week 10. It says plenty that Oregon is favored to win by just 4.5 points. USC’s offense has taken off once more now that freshman Kedon Slovis is back healthy. His chemistry with Michael Pittman, Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown continues to blossom, and the Ducks will have their hands full containing this trio.
On the other side, Justin Herbert is one of the nation’s best quarterbacks, and his strong right arm is bolstered by a rushing attack that can strike from anywhere on the field, on any given play.
Are the Bruins legit?
UCLA was thought to be spiraling into the abyss earlier this year. All of a sudden, this Bruins team appears to be playing — dare we say it? — competent football. With two wins in a row against Stanford and No. 24 Arizona State, Chip Kelly’s squad has a chance to keep things going at home against a tricky Colorado team on Saturday night.
This Pac-12 after dark game should provide fans with some excitement. The Buffaloes have a superstar on offense, Laviska Shenault, and can put up points in bunches. UCLA is led by sophomore Diran Thompson-Robinson, who put up seven touchdowns earlier this year in one game against Washington State.