Week 10 preview: Big Ten battle; Fournette, LSU face Alabama

The first weekend of action since the first College Football Playoff rankings have been released features what is usually among the most anticipated games yearly in the Southeastern Conference (No. 1 Alabama at No. 15 LSU) and what could be an elimination game in the Big Ten between No. 9 Nebraska and No. 6 Ohio State.

As the calendar switches to the stretch run in November, here are some things you need to know about Week 10 of the college football season.

BEST GAME

No. 9 Nebraska at No. 6 Ohio State

The winner of Saturday's primetime game remains in contention for a berth in the Big Ten championship game and a shot at the College Football Playoff while the loser is likely playing for a spot in a New Year's Six bowl game.

Both teams are 7-1 and 4-1 in conference play. The Cornhuskers, who are playing in their first top 10 matchup since 2011, need a win to avoid potentially falling into a five way tie in the West Division. The Buckeyes are looking for a victory in order to make their Nov. 26 showdown at Michigan a game for the East Division championship.

HESIMAN WATCH

LSU running back Leonard Fournette went into last year's game against Alabama as a Heisman favorite. His hopes took a significant hit after he was held to 31 yards and a touchdown in a 30-16 loss.

Fournette missed three of the first six games this season due to an ankle injury but appears to be healthy again. He rushed for a school-record 284 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers' win over Ole Miss two weeks ago and is averaging 167.5 yards in the games he has played.

A strong showing against the Crimson Tide, who has the nation's stingiest run defense, could put Fournette back in the conversation for a spot at the Dec. 10 ceremony in New York.

Louisville's Lamar Jackson remains the favorite as the fifth-ranked Cardinals are at Boston College.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

28 - LSU's average margin of victory in its three wins since Ed Orgeron became coach. Going into Saturday's game against Alabama, the Tigers have outscored opponents 73-7 in the second half under Orgeron.

19 - Years since Washington and Washington State both started 5-0 in conference play. The fourth-ranked Huskies host California and the No. 25 Cougars are at Arizona on Saturday.

843 - Total yards by Clemson's Deshaun Watson in his past two games (wins over North Carolina State and Syracuse). Watson and the third-ranked Tigers host Syracuse on Saturday as he had 473 yards against the Orange last year (368 passing, 105 rushing), which is the second highest of his career.

UNDER THE RADAR

After Kentucky lost its first two games, Mark Stoops was thought to be on the hot seat. But the Wildcats (5-3, 4-2) have won five of their last six, including three straight SEC games for the first time since 1999.

A win over Georgia on Saturday could make Kentucky bowl eligible for the first time since 2010. A big reason for the win streak is Kentucky's rushing attack, which is averaging 219.5 yards over the past three games.

The Bulldogs (4-4, 2-4) won their first three games under Kirby Smart but have dropped four of their last five.

COACH IN NEED OF A WIN

Cincinnati is 29-18 in four seasons under Tommy Tuberville but only 11-10 since the start of last season. Last week's 34-13 loss at Temple marked the first time in 137 games it had less than 200 yards in total offense.

The 4-4 Bearcats put a 30-game non-conference home win streak on the line when they host Brigham Young (4-4).

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AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org

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Follow Joe Reedy at www.Twitter.com/joereedy

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