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College Football Pickoff: Week 10

College Football Week 10
 
Saturday, November 7
 
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)No. 9 LSU (7-1) at No. 3 Alabama (8-0)
LSU's offense has improved mightily over its past two games (ever since its bye week), averaging 36.5 points (up from 23.0) and 415.5 yards (up from 295.0). Still, Alabama ranks fourth nationally in total defense and second in pass efficiency defense, and it's hard to imagine the Tide won't fluster Tigers QB Jordan Jefferson the way they have previous passers -- especially coming off their own bye week.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)No. 15 Ohio State (7-2) at No. 11 Penn State (8-1)
Last year's 10-6 Penn State win in Columbus turned on one Terrelle Pryor fumble. With both teams ranked in the top six nationally in total defense and both head coaches known for conservative approaches in big games, this could very likely be a similar contest. But if Pryor makes a few ill-timed mistakes and gives the Nittany Lions field position, QB Daryll Clark will make the Buckeyes pay.
 
8 p.m. ET (ABC)Connecticut (4-4) at No. 4 Cincinnati (8-0)
What's this? Musburger and Herbstreit are coming to Nippert Stadium? Either Kirk wanted a short drive home to Columbus, or ABC is telling us it's time to start taking the Bearcats seriously. Star Cincy QB Tony Pike may return after a two-game absence, but the Bearcats seem to be fine without him. Either he or Zach Collaros will be facing an emotionally wrought Connecticut team that's dropped two straight following the murder of Jasper Howard.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (FSN)No. 7 Oregon (7-1) at Stanford (5-3)
It's the classic "trap" game: Oregon, coming off one of the biggest wins and most remarkable victories in school history, goes on the road to face a tough, physical Cardinal squad currently sitting two spots behind the Ducks in the Pac-10 standings. But I've picked against Oregon three straight weeks, and I've learned my lesson. The Ducks' offense may cool down, but their defense can slow RB Toby Gerhart.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (NBC)Navy (6-3) at No. 19 Notre Dame (6-2)
Two years ago this week, the Midshipmen came to South Bend and ended an NCAA-record 43-game losing streak to the Irish. Navy's offense (which gets back injured QB Ricky Dobbs this week) is pesky enough, and Notre Dame's defense flawed enough, to put another scare into the Irish, but the Middies' defense won't be able to slow down Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate and the medically cleared Michael Floyd.
 
8 p.m. ET (ABC)No. 20 Oklahoma (5-3) at Nebraska (5-3)
I know it's cliché to say a game will be "decided in the trenches," but this one truly will. Nebraska's overpowering defensive tackles, Ndamukong Suh and Jared Crick, figure to blow up Oklahoma's overmatched offensive line. But Sooners counterpart Gerald McCoy is just as disruptive, and the Huskers' offense has been anemic. They've scored just six offensive touchdowns in five games against FBS foes.
 
7 p.m. ET (FSN)Oregon State (5-3) at No. 23 Cal (6-2)
If you haven't seen Beavers RB Jacquizz Rodgers lately, you're missing out. He's averaging 161.6 yards of offense and even threw a touchdown last week out of the "Wild Beaver" (not making up that name). But Cal's real weakness is its 115th-rated pass defense. Oregon State QB Sean Canfield (69 percent completions, 11 TDs, four INTs) and WR James Rodgers (60 catches, 706 yards) can exploit that.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)Duke (5-3) at North Carolina (5-3)
No, the top seed in the Greensboro region is not on the line -- but there are bowl implications for both rivals, the first time that's been the case since 1994. The Blue Devils are 3-1 in the ACC, the Tar Heels 1-3, but UNC is coming off a breakthrough win over Virginia Tech in which its offense finally showed signs of life. Its defense is good enough to slow down torrid Duke QB Thad Lewis.
 
10:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)Fresno State (5-3) at Idaho (7-2)
The Vandals have come back to earth a bit since their 6-1 start, falling 70-45 to Nevada and rallying from a two-touchdown deficit for a last-second home win over 3-5 Louisiana Tech. Enter the Bulldogs, winners of four straight (their losses came to Wisconsin, Boise State and Cincinnati) and boasting the nation's leading rusher, Ryan Mathews (164.5 yards per game, 11 TDs). This could be ugly.
 
1 p.m. ETMaryland (2-6) at NC State (3-5)
Upset Special: It's been far too long since I went completely off the radar for an upset pick. The Terps are unquestionably bad, but they've had their moments, like an Oct. 3 upset of Clemson. The Wolfpack, meanwhile, are coming off a heartbreaking 45-42 loss to Florida State. Following a much-needed bye week, Maryland, a young team that figures to break through at some point, will get its second conference win.
 
Record Last Week: 6-4               Overall: 51-39
 
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