SEC East, West battles in spotlight
USA TODAY Games to watch in Week 10:
No. 5 Georgia at No. 12 Kentucky
Nov. 3, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Just like we all thought, the Southeastern Conference East race comes down to this game between the Bulldogs and ... Wildcats. Georgia (7-1, 5-1 SEC) being in this position is not the least bit surprising. But Kentucky (7-1, 5-1), already with a win against Florida in hand, is swimming in uncharted waters. If the Wildcats can pull off this upset, they’ll have in effect a two-game lead over both the Bulldogs and Gators with the head-to-head sweep.
UK needed some last-second heroics a week ago at Missouri to set up this showdown. But LB Josh Allen and the Wildcats defense that has been dominant all season can be thanked for keeping the team in every game, even as the other side of the ball struggles. Georgia, however, will be hard to shut down for a full 60 minutes with QB Jake Fromm able to count on a deep running back rotation.
Prediction: This game could unfold much as last week’s contest with the Gators did for the Bulldogs, with a close first half and a gradual takeover after intermission.
No. 10 West Virginia at No. 15 Texas
Nov. 2, 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox The College Football Playoff is almost certainly off the table now for Texas. But despite last week’s setback at Oklahoma State, the Longhorns (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) can still win their way to the conference championship game, and that quest starts now. The Mountaineers (6-1, 4-1) might still be in the Playoff picture, and this trip to Austin opens an extremely challenging November stretch drive.
West Virginia QB Will Grier had a nice bounce-back game against Baylor following a rough outing at Iowa State. He now needs to find the same rhythm in hostile environs. The Texas defense that was torched in Stillwater, Oklahoma, must perform better at home to give QB Sam Ehlinger a chance to match scores.
Prediction: It’s hard to match scores with the Mountaineers, however, particularly if Grier is sharp. It might take a drive or two for him to get rolling, but eventually WVU will get it done.
West Virginia, 42-24
No. 13 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan
Nov. 2, 3:45 p.m. ET, ESPN A narrow escape against Iowa kept the Nittany Lions’ dwindling Big Ten East hopes alive. But now Penn State (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) must find a way to prevail against a rested bunch of Wolverines (7-1, 5-0) in the Big House. Michigan is eyeing a likely winner-take-all clash with Ohio State in the regularseason finale but must handle this important business first.
QB Shea Patterson is now providing the big-play punch that has been missing from the Wolverines’ arsenal in recent years, with help from WR Donovan Peoples-Jones. Nittany Lions QB Trace McSorley has been carrying the offense largely on his own this season, and it’s starting to show as he had to leave the Iowa game for a time but returned in the second half to deliver a huge scoring dash.
Prediction: But that won’t be enough at Michigan. The Wolverines will keep McSorley in check and let the offense do the rest.
No. 3 Notre Dame at Northwestern
Nov. 2, 7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN Without the benefit of a conference championship to present on its résumé, Notre Dame (8-0) more than likely has to go
If Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa plays in the final 15 minutes against LSU, it would be the first time this season he played in the fourth quarter.