The Forest Scout

What To Expect On Saturday: CFB Week 10 Preview

November. Enough said.

Joey Goodsir, Staff Writer

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September is fun, October is key, but November is everything. This is when College Football teams will go all out to win games, and the matchups will justify it. In our part of the country, it gets tough outside, and it’s the perfect backdrop for top teams to go to battle against one another, often with some serious bragging rights and rivalry stakes at hand. If there is a month of the season to watch–bowl games and playoff included for that matter–this is it.

 

About Last Week…

I went 7-4 last week (63.6%) which puts me at 66-28 (70.2%) overall, and that percentage for Week 9 pretty much projects the climate of that day perfectly.

There were lots of defining games that positioned teams in a certain way going into this coming Saturday, and some of which went unexpected. Texas lost to Oklahoma State in primetime, which dropped Texas out of the playoff picture for the moment. Likewise, Florida lost their big game against Georgia last week, keeping the Bulldogs on the edge of playoff contention and Florida out of the picture for the time being. Wisconsin suffered a surprise loss last week, which miraculously puts the Northwestern Wildcats (!) on top of the Big Ten West Division this week, and Wisconsin in an unexpectedly bad spot going forward.

This week was just filled with teams putting on one last performance before the big moment last Tuesday, in which the first College Football Playoff rankings were released. You don’t have to go anywhere else to get a look at the whole list:

  1. Alabama (8-0)
  2. Clemson (8-0)
  3. LSU (7-1)
  4. Notre Dame (8-0)
  5. Michigan (7-1)
  6. Georgia (7-1)
  7. Oklahoma (7-1)
  8. Washington State (7-1)
  9. Kentucky (7-1)
  10. Ohio State (7-1)
  11. Florida (6-2)
  12. UCF (7-0)
  13. West Virginia (6-1)
  14. Penn State (6-2)
  15. Utah (6-2)
  16. Iowa (6-2)
  17. Texas (6-2)
  18. Mississippi State (5-3)
  19. Syracuse (6-2)
  20. Texas A&M (5-3)
  21. NC State (5-2)
  22. Boston College (6-2)
  23. Fresno State (7-1)
  24. Iowa State (4-3)
  25. Virginia (6-2)

Per tradition at this point, lots of conversations were had and debates were held about these rankings, and I have just a few points to note from my own personal educated opinions.

The number one takeaway I have is that without any further build up, the committee has completely disregarded UCF for any chance at a playoff (barring the most chaotic of chaotic scenarios with all of the teams above them) with the Knights being on the outside looking into the top ten after continuing their record of the longest active win streak in the sport. Clearly, this is representative of a wider flaw in this tight of a postseason system that gives no room for the Group of 5 teams that somehow still compete for the same national title.

Also, the more cynical part of me believes that Alabama and LSU have been positioned so they can both remain in contention with an Alabama loss. And lastly, the ACC has had a notable boost in rankings when compared to power indexes such as FPI, while the Big Ten has been the sole conference with a decline in rankings when compared to power indexes and computer rankings.

Regardless of these points and criticisms, I can summarize my thoughts with this statement: the top of the rankings were decent, while the bottom remains at questionably low quality analysis by the committee. We can only hope that things improve in future weeks.

 

Onward to the preview…

 

Noon Game of The Week:

Oklahoma State @ Baylor

 

Quick Essentials

When: 11:00 CT

TV: FS1

Rain (Above 40%)? No.

Where: McLane Stadium (Waco, TX)

Series History: OSU 59-16 in 2017 (OSU leads 20-16 overall)

 

After gaining a momentous victory over the Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma State enters a treacherous final stretch of their season, beginning with a meaty Big 12 matchup at Baylor, with a win probably putting the Cowboys back into the rankings.

This game will be tough for Oklahoma State however, as a noon start in the week following a giant primetime win always grants a sluggish start. The Baylor Bears will have to capitalize on these opening minutes to put themselves in a winning position, and they have the emotional capacity to do so following a frustrating primetime loss at West Virginia.

The Bears are not immune to some rough projections going into this game themselves, as starting quarterback Charlie Brewer started this week in concussion protocol. His status at gametime will be key to Baylor’s chances, no matter his downright awful performance before his injury last week. Developing a systematic consistency is key at this point in the season, and losing your QB will significantly affect that.

A sluggish start will in fact give Baylor some promise, but their home crowd in Waco will be let down by the end of the game as the Cowboys’ receiving core will tear up a week Bears secondary.

Oklahoma State Wins, 38-21

 

Other Noon Games of Note:

11:00 CT:

Louisville @ #2 Clemson (ABC)

Nebraska @ #10 Ohio State (FOX)

 

 

Afternoon Game of The Week:

#14 Penn State @ #5 Michigan

 

Quick Essentials

When: 2:45 CT

TV: ESPN

Rain (Above 40%)? Nope, but cold.

Where: Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, MI)

Series History: PSU 42-13 in 2017 (UM leads 13-8 overall)

 

Note: Michael Raupp was unable to make an appearance this week due to the odd school schedule, and considering that my rooting interests (will be there on site, GO BLUE!) bring overreactions on either end of the spectrum, I have no pick on this game. Below is a preview and keys-of-the-game.

The series of crucial B1G East battles continue with this afternoon matchup at the Big House.

Penn State enters this week following a key win over the Iowa Hawkeyes, and the Wolverines had a crucial bye week following that statement rivalry win against Michigan State.

This game will be show-and-tell for Nittany Lions quarterback and key weapon Trace McSorley, as he will be facing a powerful Michigan defense that prides itself on succeeding with a difficult-to-succeed-with man-to-man secondary that has most recently been shutting down opponents. With a running game that will likely benefit the Wolverines as Saquon Barkley no longer exists for PSU, while Rashan Gary could likely begin to exist again for Michigan’s defensive line, McSorley needs to show the skills he very much has, and James Franklin must give him the play calls to make that happen.

One of the most encouraging aspects of this Michigan team is a steady improvement of their originally awful offensive line, thanks to former Ohio State offensive line coach Ed Warinner, a tremendous addition to the UM coaching staff. This may bring more success for running back Karan Higdon, who gets a lot of opportunities with the ball and makes them count.

Penn State must take advantage defensively of the lack of play making recently from Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, as well as the inability for the Wolverines to finish drives as of late. If they can hold this Michigan offense in field goal range or further out, a struggling kicker in Quinn Nordin will help the Wolverines struggle in this game. If Michigan conquers those demons however, this will get very ugly very fast for the Nittany Lions.

 

Other Afternoon Games of Note:

2:30 CT:

#6 Georgia @ #9 Kentucky (CBS)

#13 West Virginia @ #7 Texas (FOX)

 

 

Night Game of The Week:

#1 Alabama @ #3 LSU

 

Quick Essentials

When: 7:00 CT

TV: CBS

Rain (Above 40%)? Nope Nope.

Where: Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, LA)

Series History: Bama 24-10 in 2017 (Bama leads 52-5-25 overall)

We finally have ourselves another big edition of this matchup. These two teams will meet at Death Valley under the lights on Saturday to make resonant statements on what College Football Playoff projections will look like going forward. This game is almost as big as it gets.

LSU has quietly gotten the job done outside of their big win over the Georgia Bulldogs, and they go into this game ready to give it everything they’ve got, in front of a home crowd that is second-to-none when it comes to intimidation. The Tigers boast an offense that doesn’t make too many mistakes and a helpful defense, which are two very significant factors to assist LSU in their mission to shock the Crimson Tide.

The Tide, on the other hand, have an unquestionable Heisman Trophy favorite in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and he will have his first big matchup all year. Keep a close eye on his performance on Saturday, as it could be the most important individual games of the season.

The first half of this game will be an absolute thrill to watch, as LSU has all the tools necessary (see above) to shake up this Alabama team in their first big game of the season. However, Bama is built to have a resilience on top of their second-to-none talent, and that will show in the second half, as Nick Saban and his team will promptly take control and silence the chaos.

Alabama Wins, 41-24

 

Other Night Games of Note:

6:15 CT:

#4 Notre Dame @ Northwestern (ESPN)

 

Late Game of The Week:

California @ #8 Washington State

 

Quick Essentials

When: 9:45 CT

TV: ESPN

Rain (Above 40%)? 40%. No Storms.

Where: Martin Stadium (Pullman, WA)

Series History: Cal 37-3 in 2017 (Cal leads 47-5-27)

After these Washington State Cougars had a historic win two weeks ago, they haven’t shown signs of stopping, as they’ve continued to take control of the west coast with a key win over the Stanford Cardinal.

This week in “PAC 12 After Dark”, Wazzu faces a California team that didn’t do much until a stunning win at home against Washington seriously shook up their season outlook. The Golden Bears will want to build on that win with another potential shocker in Pullman.

The Cougs have a crazy productive offense that will be somewhat limited by a Cal team that has defensive strength. All in all though, it would be unlikely for Cal to bring down Wazzu the week after one of the more stunning upsets of the CFB season.

Washington State Wins, 35-10

 

Enjoy the first November Saturday, everyone!

 

Weather Source: weather.com, Photo Courtesy: user Getawaypaul27 on Wikipedia.org

About the Writer
Joey Goodsir, Staff Writer

Joey Goodsir is in his first year as a writer for The Forest Scout, and his junior year in high school. He is a varsity swimmer, plays saxophone in the band, and otherwise loves to spend time with his family and friends. Joey lives in sports and music, and you can typically find him in the halls wearing Michigan-Wolverines-related gear. Consequently, he looks forward to writing most of his work “In Between The Lines”, and “In Music.”

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What To Expect On Saturday: CFB Week 10 Preview