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How To Football: Week 10

Let’s all offer a prayer of blessing on to Brother Tulsa

SMU v Houston Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The clock never stops ticking and the days never stop passing by like water drops in a river. As such, we fall asleep tonight and wake up in November, which seemed impossibly far away on Labor Day but in what feels like in the blink of an eye has arrived.

As the buildup around Ohio State-Minnesota LSU-Alabama builds, the off week preceding it falls a little flat outside a select few matchups. GameDay will be broadcasting from Memphis this weekend ahead of the game that may define the AAC.

All rankings SP+

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Trap Or Treat Shift

  • West Virginia-Baylor: Neal Brown is experiencing a Year Zero at West Virginia, and Matt Rhule is in the middle of the the rebuild Brown is probably showing to his players as an example of what happens when you trust the process. On paper this should be an easy dub for the Bears, but if you’re a believer in the magic of Halloween, then this has TRAP GAME potential written all over it.
  • Georgia Southern-App State: Same thing here. Southern is in a little bit of a transitional point while the post-Satterfield ‘Eers are good enough to where they could potentially reach bowl eligibility in the SEC.

Leftover Reese’s Shift

  • Navy-UConn: Yeesh.
  • Princeton-Cornell: The Tigers are 6-0 and 3-0 in the smart school conference, fighting for the top rank while the Big Red are rolling in at 2-4 and winless in league play.

Woke Forest Shift

  • Houston-UCF: Last week the totally not tanking Houston Cougars gave SMU all they could handle, losing 34-31. A lot has been made about their tank job but since the Tulane game and it’s wacky ending, they’ve gone 2-2 with losses to a good Cincinnati and SMU. It’s not like UH is laughably bad. And the Knights aren’t quite up to their usual snuff, so there’s a strong chance this game comes out to be kinda good.
  • NC State-Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons, led by noted Cars fan David Clawson, sit pretty at 6-1 following their 22-20 win over Florida State. That loss over Louisville hangs over them, but they still control their destiny in the ACC Atlantic (the division with Clemson). Nothing would be worse for the Demon Deacons than to drop a game to Dave “Dutch Van Der Lind” Doeren.
  • Nebraska-Purdue: All-World wideout Rondale Moore is still questionable, and as he goes so does the Boilermakers. Regardless, the numbers call this one a toss-up, with a slight edge going to the home team.
  • Boston College-Syracuse: Looking down the list, this seems to be the tightest game of the day, with the projected margin sitting at .4 in favor of the Orange. I’ll freely admit that it’s super hard to spin this game between two pretty poor teams and I can understand the lack of excitement, but it’s here and it should be close.
  • Michigan-Maryland: There is no reason to believe that this game will be remotely interesting, because it probably won’t be. But given how Notre Dame just HAS to be special and different, this is the best thing to put on for filler.
  • Virginia Tech-Notre Dame: As unlikely as it might have seemed at the beginning of October, Justin Fuente might keep his job after all. It took six overtimes, but at the end of the game it felt like their 43-41 victory over North Carolina for three in a row was big enough to hold on to his title. A win against Notre Dame would seal that and serve as some proof of concept. The Hokies better be praying for rain, though.

It’s Still The Cocktail Party To Me Dammit Shift

  • Florida-Georgia: The de facto SEC East Championship game, it will be interesting to see if the Bulldogs hold on their their smashy smashy manball mentality that hasn’t exactly been impressive in their past two games. The Gators get three key players back in defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga, receiver Kadarius Toney, and linebacker Jonathan Greenard, which is HUGE. Georgia is favored by a hair under a touchdown, for whatever that’s worth to you.
  • Utah-Washington: Despite their upset to USC, Kyle Whittingham’s Utes are in the driver’s seat of the PAC-12 South. Since that 30-23 loss, the Utes have only allowed 23 points across four games, all of them wins. Their defense checks in at 11th best, but they’ll be tested when the Huskies and their seventh-ranked offense lines up across from them.
  • TCU-Oklahoma State: In their last three games combined, these two teams are just 2-4. Disappointing doesn’t really do it justice. But one team has to win here, and the team that just beat Texas isn’t the one favored.
  • Tulsa-Tulane: Poor Tulsa. They got drubbed by Navy and lost by 10 to Cincy, but those losses were bookended by an overtime loss to SMU and a 42-41 loss on a missed field goal to Memphis. Overall, they’re not a great team but they’ve a really good shot to upset the AAC apple cart and both times they missed by the slimmest of margins. But this week they have a real shot to take out their frustrations on Tulane.
  • Kansas State-Kansas: I just want to take this space to say that if Kansas isn’t playing Mizzou to end the season, then this game needs to be the regular season finale for both schools.

Power Six Spotlight Shift

  • SMU-Memphis: I’ll concede that SMU hasn’t been blow the doors off good, but they’ve been good enough to get to 8-0. However despite the better record, Memphis has been the better team to date. Luckily the game will be decided on the field, and it should be a good one. I’m really glad that ESPN is making the game the centerpiece for the day because it deserves it. Both teams deserve the spotlight.
  • Oregon-USC: As unlikely as it might have seemed in the preseason, this could be a preview of the PAC-12 title game. I still don’t know exactly what to make of USC, but they seem to be a team that is close to getting all the parts assembled right, but just can’t seem to put it together while Oregon has probably over-corrected too far into the Alabama formula from five years ago and play with less aggression that than they likely should. This should be a really solid game that lets us know what to expect down the line.
  • Virginia-North Carolina: This is projected to be the tightest game of the day, with the Cavaliers getting a nod with a .4 margin of victory. Oh, and it’s for control of the ACC Coastal (the one without Clemson). Slight detail there.
  • Ole Miss-Auburn: Well they can’t all be winners, can they?
  • Northwestern-Indiana: PUNT!


  • BYU-Utah State: The Good Aggies look to keep possession of The Old Wagon Wheel for the third straight year. Unfortunately the Beehive Boot will not be awarded this year, as Utah State and Utah do not play. As far as the game goes, The Good Aggies are favored by five, which is fair given how Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde the Cougars have been this year.
  • New Mexico-Nevada: I know nothing gets the juices flowing like a game in November between teams that are bowl eligible if you rub them together, but please calm down. It’s understandable that you’re amped for a game between the 117th and 120th ranked teams but I need your attention so I can hey wait where are you going guys hold up I’m not don-
  • Boise State-San Jose State: The Broncos are favored by 18. That feels nowhere near big enough.
  • Fresno State-Hawaii: THE GAME TOO HOT FOR TV! You can only watch this game on Facebook or Stadium. Put on another cup of coffee or start an IV drip of Monster, because this game looks to be a pretty decent one with the visiting Bulldogs favored by two points. If you are not privy to the magic that is Cole McDonald, he is a Bo Wallace if Dr. Bo realized his true chaotic potential. He is not built for the late night, late night is built for him. Also, Robert Kekuala should be on the call for this game.