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NCAA Football Week 10 Preview

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BC Tailgate is the official home on Blogcritics for college football news, rants, and riffs. Every conference is covered — we don't play favorites to the big boys.

ACC by Geeves
Big East by Dan McGowan
Big Ten by Geeves
Big XII by Ben Miraski
Conference USA by Matt Sussman
Independents by Benjamin Cossel
MAC by Zach Baker
Mountain West by Matt Sussman
Pac 10 by Steve
SEC by Josh Hathaway
Sun Belt by Jerkwheat
WAC by Brian Szabelski

Virginia Tech fought fire with fire, exchanging a loss of their jerseys to some petty thief for five interceptions on defense to snag a 27-3 victory over Georgia Tech that keeps the pressure on the Cavaliers.

Wake Forest takes a trip to Virginia in an interesting little twist of fortune. had this game happened last weekend, it would have been 21st ranked Virginia against Wake, but now it is the other way around. This game is huge for both teams. Granted, both teams have been better than anticipated, but a loss for Wake will completely end any hope of catching BC and getting a shot at the ACC title game. Virginia, on the other hand, needs to get back to their winning ways if they want to make sure their final game against Virginia Tech isn't meaningless.

Boston College shouldn't struggle with Florida State, and none of the other ACC games really matter, as you've already heard about the teams still in contention. Unless you care about teams plying for that elusive "bowl eligibility."

Winners: Virginia, Clemson, Maryland, Boston College


Connecticut is ranked for the first time in its football history and quickly turning into one of college football’s feel good stories. But that’s not saying much. At different points this season, South Florida, Cincinnati, and Rutgers all enjoyed the same hype the Huskies are getting this week and all have since faded.

Randy Edsall’s 16th ranked team will look to prove it is for real this week when they travel to Piscataway to play a Scarlet Knights team that is coming off an embarrassing loss to West Virginia. Edsall said this week that his team has come into its own because of an improved defense, but Ray Rice and the talented, yet underachieving Rutgers offense could pose problems. I fully expect this one to be close, but if the Huskies survive, it’s a good bet they’ll run the table until they play West Virginia to end the season.

No. 18 South Florida and Cincinnati play the 3:30 game on ABC Saturday afternoon, although I’m not sure why. At one point, this game looked like it might decide who was going to a BCS game. Now, with both teams reeling, all it will decide is who finishes third in the conference.

–Dan McGowan

Several interesting matchups this week. Iowa's lack of offense and strong defense against Northwestern's strong offense and lack of defense. Sounds like a turnover battle, winner takes all and is almost guaranteed to be the best team….in the bottom half of the Big 10.

Illinois will do their best to right their ship, which shouldn't be a terribly difficult task against Minnesota. As if the cold weather in Gopher country isn't depressing enough. Indiana gets to have fun with the Ball State team that Illinois took care of last weekend, and Penn State and Purdue will try to once again rise out of the puddle that is the middle of the conference.

Wisconsin will attempt to knock off Ohio State and take the shine off the OSU-UM game later on, while Michigan will try to keep rolling against a Michigan State team that may not always be good, but always gets up for the Michigan game.

Winners: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State.


In their pursuit to be the most mediocre conference in America, the Big XII keeps proving that beyond Oklahoma, maybe Missouri, and Kansas of all teams, they have nothing to offer us as a real team. While 9 teams may likely get into bowl games, don’t count on a stellar performance from the “other” six, which only makes my record picking games in this conference apropos.

0-fer last week means that I am 6-15 on the year. A monkey could do better.

In fact, this week, Steve the Monkey is going to pick the games.

Texas A&M (+21) at Oklahoma – My favorite quote this week was from Michael Bennett, Martellus “Not a Crook” Bennett’s brother, after Texas A&M again managed almost zero offense, this time against Kansas.

"I'm not impressed,'' said Texas A&M defensive end Michael Bennett, who went as far as to say the Aggies would beat the Jayhawks in the Big 12 championship game.

Maybe he missed how hard that will be, after losing last week and this week facing Oklahoma’s run defense. Dennis Franchione will likely avoid running the ball again which is not a winning strategy for the Aggies. Steve the Monkey says, “EEEEEK!!” He is going with Oklahoma to cover.

Nebraska (+18.5) at Kansas – Kansas is on the map now, albeit with a few more hurdles remaining. The first of those is Nebraska. It seems that Tom Osborne won’t worry about the result of the game. He is already looking for a new coach based on some quotes in a TV interview. Steve the Monkey says, “OOK! OOK!” He likes the Jayhawks to cover.

Texas (-3) at Oklahoma State – America’s coach Mike Gundy has over 50 Lone Star Staters on his team. Most of them have a reason to get back at the Longhorns and their coaching staff. Steve the Monkey says, “ARRRRRRROOOGUH!” He likes Oklahoma State to pull the upset.

Likely Winners: Kansas State (Iowa State), Kansas, Missouri (Colorado), Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech (Baylor)

Likely Losers: Colorado, Iowa State, Nebraska, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M

Upset potential: Oklahoma State over Texas

–Ben Miraski

Marshall wins! Marshall wins! A 34-21 win over the one-win Rice Owls put both teams at 1-7. Congratulations, Herd. You're not winless going into November. Pity shame your next game is against the 5-3 UCF Knights. Hope you weren't counting on a winning streak or anything.

While UCF's expected win should slide them up in the standings even more, the other two East division teams, East Carolina and Memphis, have a huge game Saturday afternoon. ECU controls their destiny, seeing as how they beat Central Florida back on October 6, while Memphis fell to UCF (and badly). So Central Florida will be pulling for those Memphis Tigers to stand tough on their home field this weekend.

Meanwhile, UH has to love being in the drivers seat in the West division after last week's huge win over UTEP, 34-31. Standing at 4-1 in the conference, Houston play three of their next four games at home, including Sunday night's ESPN game against 1-7 SMU, then Marshall and a winless FCS team Texas Southern.

Their only remaining challenge is next week's roadie at Tulsa, pretty much the only other team with hopes of claiming division. But first Tulsa has to take care of their bidness at Tulane this weekend. Tulsa features the conference's most stat-happy quarterback, Paul Smith, while Tulane has the nation's leading rusher, Matt Forte, who totaled another 278 against Memphis last week on 44 carries. There may be oodles of points in this one, which can be seen 7:30 p.m. on CSTV, if you get that. I don't.

Oh, you want to know about Southern Miss/UAB? Well, um, it occurs this weekend too.

–Matt Sussman

Navy @ Notre Dame
Crikey! It gets harder every week to look at the schedule and give any sort of optimistic assessment to Notre Dame and the team they’re playing that week. Unranked, yet still powerful, Navy comes to South Bend and as per the norm this year Notre Dame will get their proverbial asses handed to them.

Army @ Air Force
Hope the Black Knights enjoyed their off weekend, they’ll need the rest as they travel to Colorado to face the 6-3 Falcons of Air Force. Air Force is lead by QB Shaun Carney with an overall rating of 129.6. Army hasn’t done a good job of stopping the passing game…oh let’s face it, Army hasn’t done a good job of stopping much of anything, the Falcons take this one pretty easy.

Western Kentucky @ Chattanooga
Am I the only one who didn’t know Chattanooga had a football team? Maybe it’s something to do with the 2-6 record or their near cellar status in the Southern Conference, either way, the Hilltopper will add to the misery making a mockery of the Mocs.

–Benjamin Cossel

The contest is over. Don't even bother turning in a ballot.

Turner Gill is the Mid-American Conference's coach of the year. What he has Buffalo doing is just stunning. A team that has one no more than three games in a season since joining Division 1-A in 1999. With a few more games to go in 2007, the Bulls already have four.

More importantly, Buffalo is 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference's East Division, and 4-1 in league play. After last week's 26-10 win over Akron, the Bulls took over first place in the division.

This week, we'll see if they can hold onto it.

Saturday, the top two teams in the East, Buffalo and Miami, will play in Oxford, Ohio. It is without question the most interesting conference game this week, with Miami standing at 2-1 in divisional play.

There is another wrinkle to this game. Gill's success hasn't gone unnoticed, and some have speculated he could return to his alma mater as head coach.

Gill's not saying much about it, but a win would put the Bulls in a very good spot. With 18 or so ESPN channels and 723 bowl games, more success will mean more exposure. And if Nebraska doesn't hire Gill, someone else will make him a big offer.

As for the game Saturday, it could come down to defense. Buffalo's Davont Shannon, who made 13 tackles against the Zips, is a freshman, though you'd never know it looking at the stats. He has three interceptions and a team-leading 43 tackles, to go along with two sacks.

Miami, coming off a 24-13 loss to Vanderbilt, gives up a conference-low 25.8 points a game. Defense isn't exactly something this conference thrives at, is it?

In other games, Akron travels to Bowling Green for a Friday night game, while Temple travels to Ohio Saturday, and Eastern Michigan goes to Toledo.

In a non-conference game that some at Ball State wait for all year, the Cardinals face Indiana.

–Zach Baker

The conference race is finally hitting its stride, but this week no matchups are particularly exciting.

The closest we get is 6-2 New Mexico and 4-4 Texas Christian. The TCU Horned Frogs stumbled early and are essentially out of the MWC race, but they would still like to get bowl eligible. (Wouldn't we all?) Plus UNM, with that one daggum conference loss, has to keep up with BYU's pace of no conference losses.

BYU shouldn't stumble at home against 1-7 Colorado State, but CSU doesn't lose badly, and Caleb Hanie is among the top quarterbacks in the conference, so feel free label this one as a classic trap game for the Cougars.

Air Force flies out of the conference one more time to take on Army. Ya know, if the boys at West Point don't get planes for this matchup, they could be in trouble. But if the Black Knights can pull out a win, the Army-Navy game will be for the entire C-in-C Trophy. Which is nice.

The Heavy Heart game goes to San Diego State, who will finally get to play a home against Wyoming. Even though SDSU may be outmatched, they'll just be happy to play again, after last week's game against BYU was postponed due to the wildfires.

Your byes for the week are Utah and UNLV. Hit the books, kids.

–Matt Sussman

Oh how the mighty have fallen. California has managed to get themselves knocked completely out of the national picture with their third consecutive loss, UCLA has been out for a while, and USC is #13, but isn't gaining any ground.

Last week we saw Arizona St. put up a win against their first quality opponent; California. We also saw Oregon's defense step up and get them a win over USC.

Arizona St. at Oregon (6:40pm EST)
This week I'm only going to preview one game, because these are the only two teams in the Pac 10 left for you to actually care about.

Duck O vs Sun Devil D – Both are good, and this should be a fun matchup to watch. I think the Oregon offense will be able to step it up and expect the Ducks to get the better of this matchup.

Duck D vs Sun Devil O – The Oregon defense has the ability to shut quality teams down (see USC), and the Sun Devil offense can score. However the Sun Devils lowest point total of the season came against Cal (31 pts), who isn't known for their stellar defense. This matchup really is a toss up.

I think this game is going to be the Duck's to lose. They have the offense, they have the defense. They just need to put it together and fire on all cylinders.

The Other Games
UCLA at Arizona (3:30pm EST)
Washington at Stanford (6:30pm EST)
Oregon St at USC (8:00pm EST)
Washington St at California (10:00pm EST)


Saban Bowl
A lot of people think Alabama fans sound like jilted lovers the way they've carried on about the way Dennis Fraud-cione left the program for Texas A&M. That's nothing compared to the screams of betrayal LSU and Miami Dolphins fans have leveled at Nick Saban.

Crimson Nation seems almost reasonable by comparison, a strange new territory for the rabid 'Bama fans. Hell, even wacky LSU coach Les Miles has eagerly waded into this feud for reasons I can't comprehend. I mention all of this because CBS surely will throughout the broadcast. At some point, some football will be played Saturday but you won't know it for all the coverage and hype of the feud factor.

On to the football… earlier this season I thought LSU was the two best teams in the country. Oh, how times have changed. LSU has looked ordinary in home wins against Auburn and Florida and lost on the road to Kentucky. It's been a long time since they've looked dominant against anyone. Alabama, meanwhile, has been frustratingly inconsistent.

The key to the game, to me, is Alabama star WR DJ Hall. If LSU can cover and contain him, they win this game. If they can't, 'Bama has a decent shot at a home upset. I'm inclined to pick LSU but can't count my Tide out completely.

Elsewhere in the SEC

Idle Mississippi State is the best story in the SEC this year. If I'm talking about a team with a bye, you can tell I'm not enthused about the other games this week. MSU is more interesting to me than S. Carolina at Arkansas.

The Bulldogs (5-4) have a realistic shot at the postseason having notched two SEC road wins (Auburn, Kentucky) and winnable games still on the schedule. Head coach Sylvester Croom was foolishly passed over by his alma mater (Alabama) and took a job no one would want under the best of circumstances, and MSU was not under the best of circumstances when he came in. Mike Shula – who got the Alabama job – has already been fired. It's good to see good men succeed.

–Josh Hathaway

Week 10 is going to be a slow week in the Sun Belt. There are only two conference games scheduled and the two non-conference match-ups are against SEC opponents. The day’s slate will kick off at 1:00p EST as the Sun Belt’s best team, the Troy Trojans, travel down between the hedges to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. While Troy is a solid football team, the Bulldogs have never lost a non-conference game during the regular season under head coach Mark Richt. It is possible that the Dawgs will be caught looking ahead to next week’s showdown with Auburn and will be due for a letdown game after last week’s rare triumph over Georgia. That possibility is pretty slim, however. Troy may keep it interesting, but Georgia will prevail in the end.

At 3:00pm, the Fighting Neds of FIU travel to Arkansas State to take on the reeling [Mascot Redacted]s. FIU’s tour of the state of Arkansas did start well last week – the Panthers lost 58-10 to the Razorbacks and they are still searching for their first win of the season. In fact, they are still looking for their first win in their last 20 games.

Next up on the conference schedule are the Ragin’ Cajuns of ULL. However, the 1-7 Cajuns are taking a trip to Knoxville to play the Volunteers of Tennessee. Arkansas State was feisty in their trip to Knoxville earlier this year, so don’t expect the Vols to be caught napping by a Sun Belt team a second time. The night’s games come to a close with our premiere conference match-up of the week, the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee traveling down to Louisiana to battle with the Warhawks of ULM. MTSU is 3-1 in conference play thus far and ULM is 3-2. MTSU has played solidly on the road and ULM has been equally good at home. This one should be the best game of the day in Sun Belt action.

This week’s Sun Belt Crystal Ball foresees victories by Georgia and Tennessee in non-conference action and Arkansas State and MTSU in conference play.


–Brian Szabelski

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