Week 10 of the college football season brings the return of the Pac-12 and the MAC, but fans eager for exciting football should tune into these games.
The College Football Playoff picture figures to truly take shape this weekend. Top-ranked Clemson faces No. 4 Notre Dame (albeit without Trevor Lawrence) in an ACC rubber match, while No. 5 Georgia and No. 8 Florida face off for SEC East supremacy. However, while all fans will likely be tuned into those games, plenty of other across the weekend slate should be entertaining, including a vital Pac-12 matchup in the conference’s opening week.
Stanford at No. 12 Oregon (-11)
Stanford and Oregon finished in very different places in the Pac-12 standings in 2019, and the Ducks enter this game as huge favorites. However, in a six-game season with no margin for error, Oregon needs to come out hot in this one. The Ducks, whether due to the shortened season or the lack of blue-chip talent in the conference, are the Pac-12’s best—and likely only—shot at a College Football Playoff appearance.
With Justin Herbert lighting it up in the NFL and Penei Sewell and Jevon Holland opting out of the season, the Ducks will lean on running back CJ Verdell and new quarterback Tyler Shough to earn a statement win and put Oregon in the postseason conversation.
Louisiana Tech at North Texas (-1.5)
North Texas sits behind Louisiana Tech in the Conference USA standings, but a win over the Bulldogs could do a great deal to help the Mean Green gain some ground. Louisiana Tech sits in second place in the Conference USA West with a 3-2 conference record, but North Texas can do double damage with a head-to-head win, bringing both to .500 in conference play.
Star wideout Jaelon Darden leads the nation in receiving touchdowns with 10, and should remain a difference-maker for North Texas, and should test a Bulldogs defense which gives up over 400 yards per game. Bulldogs quarterback Luke Anthony was replaced by backup Aaron Allen in last week’s double-overtime win, and fans should look out for a potential quarterback controversy.
Minnesota at Illinois (+7)
Minnesota and Illinois are both off to 0-2 starts, but the Golden Gophers came into the season with lofty expectations. While a loss to Michigan was not necessarily surprising, last week’s one-point loss to Maryland put Minnesota in the dire territory. An 0-3 finish would all but sink the Golden Gophers, but they have the offensive firepower to put the Fighting Illini away.
Quarterback Tanner Morgan and wideout Rashod Bateman are each due for a resurgence while running back Mohamed Ibrahim looks to stay hot after rushing for six touchdowns in his first two games. Illinois, meanwhile, will need more across the board from an offense that has underperformed thus far.
No. 23 Michigan at No. 13 Indiana (+3.5)
Michigan nearly dropped out of the rankings after an upset loss to Michigan State last weekend, and Indiana likely presents a much stiffer test than the Spartans did. After upsetting Penn State in the season opener, Indiana handled Rutgers last week and will be looking to move up in the rankings with another statement win.
Despite the 2-0 start, Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. still has plenty to prove through the air. The sophomore has not exceeded 250 passing yards in a game this season, and likely faces his most difficult challenge of the young season on Saturday. If Indiana is a legitimate contender in the Big Ten East and hopes to challenge Ohio State, he needs to show that he can carry a prolific passing game.
Tennessee at Arkansas (+1.5)
Tennessee and Arkansas are both pretty much irrelevant in the SEC at this point, but that doesn’t mean that Saturday’s game can’t be entertaining. The Volunteers and Razorbacks are both still fighting to get back to .500, and the two squads match up relatively well.
Feleipe Franks has rejuvenated the Razorbacks’ passing game, while the same cannot be said for Jarrett Guarantano and the Volunteers. The New Jersey product was benched after throwing two interceptions in a blowout loss to Kentucky and could be on thin ice as Tennessee’s starter. Another dud could result in him losing the gig completely.