SEC East, West bat­tles in spot­light

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - Eddi Ti­manus

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 effect 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 first half and a grad­ual takeover af­ter in­ter­mis­sion.

Ge­or­gia, 30-14

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 find 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 find 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 finale but must han­dle this im­por­tant busi­ness first.

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 offense 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 offense do the rest.

Michi­gan, 34-17

No. 3 Notre Dame at North­west­ern

Nov. 2, 7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN With­out the benefit of a con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship to present on its ré­sumé, Notre Dame (8-0) more than likely has to go

JOHN DAVID MER­CER/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

If Alabama quar­ter­back Tua Tago­v­ailoa plays in the final 15 min­utes against LSU, it would be the first time this sea­son he played in the fourth quar­ter.

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