Remember, remember November 5th.
November 5th didn’t hit many calendars before the college season started, but it’s here now — and it’s incredible. Week 10 has the biggest game of the season in one timeslot, followed by a trap game for one playoff contender and a road trip to Louisiana for another.
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Maryland at Wisconsin (-5)
The Terps are quietly putting together one of their best seasons in over a decade and enter this game at 6-2. One win in their last four this year would tie their best since Ralph Friedgen coached the team in 2010. Those two losses also came by one possession each. But Wisconsin comes in after a bye week and it’s designed to play spoiler. Maryland has a history of falling victim to this point and is not favored in this one on the road, but this season has already been different for them: can it continue? ‘
Matchups to watch: Maryland in decline. Jim Leonhard’s defense can feature some dizzying pressure packages for a quarterback to overcome, and if you find yourself behind the chains, there’s nothing the Badgers would rather do than come unstuck. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa will return to action after a knee injury, so Maryland will be as close to full strength as it has been in some time.
Texas Tech at TCU (-8.5)
The Frogs got what they feel is a dose of Playoff Disrespect on Tuesday. Although they are undefeated, they were ranked behind a one-loss Alabama team. Well, they’ll get their first chance to prove the committee wrong against TCU. If Tech wants to pull off the turnover, look for an aggressive game plan that will try to create breaks going into fourth down.
Matchups to watch: TCU vs. Slow Start. The Frogs have gotten off to a strong start of late in recent weeks, in fact the fact that they (barely) took the lead against West Virginia was a pleasant surprise. Eventually they will need to get up and stay awake in a game or it may come back to bite them.
Florida at Texas A&M (-3)
This is a game that will go a long way in determining whether one of these teams misses a bowl game. It’s not quite the stakes we thought this game would be coming into August. But two less-than-stellar campaigns are coming to the fore in College Station. Can either of these teams get out of their way?
Matchups to watch: Connor Weigman vs. Expectations. The freshman took over against Ole Miss and played well, but will be tested again against Florida now that a team has some film on him. One thing he won’t have to worry about is Florida’s Brendon Cox, who was cut from the team after the loss to Georgia.
UCF (-3.5) at Memphis, 3:30 p.m
It’s unclear now who the Knights will start at quarterback, and Memphis will need all the help it can get with a tough defense coming into this game. UCF will look to jump on the Tigers regardless of who plays behind center.
Matchups to watch: UCF’s defense against Memphis’ low red zone offense. The Knights certainly aren’t bad on defense, but they have a shifty, but don’t break style, especially when things are not only inside the 20 overall, but inside the 10. Part of that has to do with their effective D-run, which has gone a long way to making them a difficult team to score against.
Tennessee at Georgia (-8), 3:30 p.m
That’s the big one, and what we’ve all been waiting for since it became clear that Tennessee was for real a few weeks ago against Alabama. This is one of the biggest regular-season football games not to feature Alabama or Ohio State in years, and it’s a huge moment for the Dawgs at Sanford Stadium, which doesn’t usually host huge games like this. Tennessee’s offense can’t really be stopped, but can Georgia’s defense contain it and prevail in this de facto SEC East championship game?
Matchups to watch: Georgia vs the game scenario. We saw last year in the SEC Championship that if Georgia has to push the offense, the results might not exactly be great. If Georgia falls behind, how they fight back against a less-than-great Tennessee secondary will be a big subplot, especially with receiver AD Mitchell’s health still in question. Brock Bowers gives Stetson Bennett a huge security blanket, but they’ll need more of a vertical threat if they find themselves behind multiple scores against Tennessee’s capable front seven.
Liberty at Arkansas (-14), 4 p.m
Hugh Freeze returns to the SEC again for a matchup in a place he’s familiar with: Fayetteville, Arkansas. Coincidentally, the team that beat Arkansas last week (Auburn) just fired their head coach, and there’s definitely a chance Freeze could end up with that job in the end if some of the program gets their way.
Matchups to watch: Raheim Sanders vs. All. Sanders is within striking distance of college football’s rushing title this season with a breakout campaign. He has already eclipsed 1,041 on the season averaging 6.7 yards per carry.
Clemson (-3.5) at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m
Clemson QB DJ Uiagelele returns to where it all began. He was at Notre Dame Stadium in 2020 when he burst onto the scene in a losing effort to fill in for the injured Trevor Lawrence. The last time we saw Clemson’s signal caller, he was scrambling for a backup while scrambling. Will it start the game, but will it finish it?
Matchups to watch: Notre Dame’s offense against Clemson’s front. It doesn’t matter what happens to Clemson’s offense if the Fighting Irish can’t score. They are a team in dire need of a playmaker beyond Micheal Mayer and their traditionally loaded offensive line is anything but this season. That’s not good when you’re facing a Clemson front that is absolutely loaded with talent.
Alabama (-13.5) at LSU, 7 p.m
That always has stakes, and as a big piece in the SEC West championship picture, this year is no different. LSU was dead after a bad start to the season with two embarrassing losses to FSU and Tennessee, but the Tigers are much improved over the past two weeks. This test will be stiff, but they have a rabid LSU crowd Saturday night behind them in what is sure to be a formidable environment.
Matchups to watch: LSU’s offensive line against Alabama’s front. LSU’s o-line situation is no longer bad, but it still leaves some room for improvement. Texas A&M showed a few weeks ago that if you can’t shut out Bama, you’re going to be in trouble. The Tigers need to be at their best up front for QB Jayden Daniles to help them keep up with Bryce Young.
Wake Forest (-3.5) at NC State, 8 p.m
The Demon Deacons just need to put the stench of their no-good, very-bad Week 9 behind them. Six turnovers and two more turnovers on downs made for one of the weirdest losses you’ll ever see last weekend.
Matchups to watch: Wake Forest’s defense against NC State’s offense. With a backup quarterback due to an injury to Devin Leary, the Wolfpack were limited on offense. But they’ll have to find a way to keep up with Wake as long as the Deacs are scoring like usual.
Cal at USC (-21), 10:30 p.m
How about some Pac-12 after dark? To end the night, relax with some West Coast action. This isn’t a complete trap game, but USC had a bit more of a tough time beating Arizona than you might expect, so keep an eye on this one before you go to sleep.
Matchups to watch: Both teams against the turnover margin. These two teams are surviving turnovers at a level that’s honestly pretty amazing, so ball could bounce Cal in theory and make this an interesting game. If he doesn’t, watch out for the Trojans to see them as expected.