This is Week 10 of the college football season, and the schedule features plenty of intriguing matchups. Here are the ones involving the Top 25 teams according to the latest College Football Playoff rankings (home team in all caps):
(7–0) MISSISSIPPI STATE 35, (4–4) Arkansas 21: The Hogs are getting closer to their first SEC win under second-year coach Bret Bielema, but won’t get closer this week. The Bulldogs have won all but one game by double digits.
(6–1) Auburn 31, (7–1) OLE MISS 27: Auburn beat LSU 41–7; the Rebels lost to the Tigers 10–7. Also Ole Miss’s 35–20 win over Texas A&M isn’t looking so big anymore after the Aggies’ three-game losing streak.
(7–1) OREGON 28, (5–3) Stanford 17: Stanford allows the second-fewest points in the nation (12.5), but they will struggle to score enough to beat the Ducks, who have dropped the last two games against the Cardinals.
(6–1) Texas Christian 45, (6–2) WEST VIRGINIA 41: The 45 points predicted here by TCU are actually 37 fewer than they scored last week against Texas Tech, and 5 fewer than their season average of 50.4—tops in the country. The Mountaineers “only” average 36.9.
(6–1) Notre Dame 21, (4–4) NAVY 9: The Irish have had two weeks to get over the last-second loss to the Seminoles and prepare for the prolific Midshipmen rushing attack—352.3 yards per game. Notre Dame, though, only allows 102.7 yards per game—12th best in the NCAA.
(6–1) GEORGIA 27, (3–3) Florida 20: The Bulldogs are without star running back Todd Gurley again, but his backup Nick Chubb has averaged 172.5 rushing yards per game in his absence. Fortunately for Georgia, Gurley will be back Nov. 15 for their toughest remaining opponent—Auburn.
(6–2) UCLA 34, (6–1) Arizona 31: Both teams are wildly inconsistent, so I’m going with the home one. The Bruins struggled to win at Colorado in overtime, yet own a 35-point win at Arizona State. Arizona struggled to early wins over Texas-San Antonio and Nevada, and then won impressively at Oregon before getting tripped up at home the very next week by USC.
(6–1) ARIZONA STATE 30, (6–1) Utah 27: The Utes have won consecutive games against UCLA, Oregon State, and USC by a combined average of 3.7 points. Their luck runs out this week.
(7–1) NEBRASKA 38, (3–5) Purdue 14: Purdue is 81st (out of 124 teams) in rushing defense, allowing 176.8 yards per game. Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah by himself averages 156.1 yards on the ground and leads the NCAA with 1,249 yards on the season. Should be a no-brainer.
(6–1) OHIO STATE 49, (4–4) Illinois 7: It’s not that the Illini are this bad, it’s that Ohio State is this upset about being ranked 16th. Besides, they’ve won five straight games by an average of 32.4 points.
(5–2) Oklahoma 34, (2–5) IOWA STATE 24: The Sooners are smarting from that one-point loss to KSU two weeks ago. The Cyclones have been competitive in every game, minus the Baylor blowout, and should keep it within striking distance.
(6–1) East Carolina 27, (4–3) TEMPLE 14: The Pirates have flown under the radar this season, but they are clearly the class of the American Athletic Association. They should run the table here.
(4–4) PITTSBURGH 27, (6–1) Duke 24: David Cutcliffe has done an incredible job with the Blue Devils, but playing on the road in the ACC is tough. Pittsburgh is better than their record suggests.