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  • Saturday's biggest games will thin out the field of teams that can still think seriously about making the playoff field. Our experts make their picks for the most anticipated matchups of Week 10.
By The SI Staff
November 01, 2018

November has arrived, and with it the stakes of almost every Power 5 game rise dramatically, whether teams are playing for College Football Playoff rankings positioning, conference title game berths, bowl eligibility or simply the job security of their head coach. The marquee game of Week 10 is the annual LSU-Alabama slugfest, this time in Baton Rouge, but the weekend is stacked with games that should create some separation within some of the year’s most interesting toss-ups.

Below, our writers and editors take turns defending their straight-up picks for the biggest games of the Week 10 slate.

Season-long standings
Ross Dellenger: 74–33 (69.2%)
Scooby Axson: 73–34 (68.2%)
Molly Geary: 70–37 (65.4%)
Joan Niesen: 68–39 (63.6%)
Max Meyer: 67–40 (62.6%)
Andy Staples: 66–41 (61.7%)
Laken Litman: 62–45 (57.9%)
Eric Single: 60–47 (56.8%)

Temple at UCF (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Joan Niesen picks UCF: The Knights have the schedule working in their favor—they're at home on a Thursday night, coming out of a bye—but Temple may be the best opponent they've faced this year. Still, UCF is the No. 9 team in the country for a reason; it has a top-five scoring offense and a top-15 scoring defense. Especially if quarterback McKenzie Milton can play, the nation's longest unbeaten streak should continue.

Pitt at Virginia (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Molly Geary picks Virginia: The Panthers have been playing better of late, putting up 54 points in a shootout win over Duke last week, but their defense is going to have its hands full with Cavaliers QB Bryce Perkins. I do think the 7.5-point spread in favor of UVA in this one is a bit much, but at home, under the lights on a Friday night in a game with big ACC Coastal implications, the Hoos should have the edge.

Georgia at Kentucky (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Eric Single picks Kentucky: One of Saturday’s de facto SEC division title games featuring substantial home underdogs is going sideways, and I am done picking against Alabama. This is the year’s all-in game in Lexington, when the entire school will be locked into football alone for one last weekend before basketball season starts, which is enough reason to expect a charged-up atmosphere. Mark Stoops needs to do whatever he can to get star running back Benny Snell going the way LSU established a rhythm on the ground to put the Bulldogs on their heels.

West Virginia at Texas (3:30 p.m ET, FOX)

Eric Single picks West Virginia: Will Grier is a more formidable dual-threat quarterback than Taylor Cornelius, and Texas's defense was ripped to shreds by Cornelius and Oklahoma State's offense last weekend in Stillwater. The Mountaineers banked their nightmare road game a few weeks back in Ames and appear to have figured out how to keep their offense in top gear. The Longhorns will be hard-pressed to match them score-for-score.

Iowa at Purdue (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Scooby Axson picks Purdue: Riding off the momentum of a big upset over No. 2 Ohio State, Purdue laid an egg at Michigan State. Now back at home, this game will be a virtual Big Ten West elimination bout. The Hawkeyes need to find a way to stop electric freshman Rondale Moore, who is second in the FBS in all-purpose yards and top-five in catches per game.

Penn State at Michigan (3:45 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Laken Litman picks Michigan: So far Michigan has gotten its lunch money back from Michigan State and Wisconsin, and next up on the revenge tour is Penn State. The Nittany Lions had Saquon Barkley in last year’s 42–13 clobbering of the Wolverines, but this year’s inconsistencies won’t match up well against Chase Winovich, Devin Bush and the nation’s No. 1 defense.

Boston College at Virginia Tech (3:45 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

Joan Niesen picks Boston College: It's been a bizarre season in Blacksburg, and Bud Foster's defense isn't up to snuff—which is a rarity. That's what this one will come down to, though, and I expect Boston College running back A.J. Dillon to trample the Hokies.

Missouri at Florida (4 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Ross Dellenger picks Florida: Man, Missouri knows how to mess up a game. The Tigers led late against South Carolina and Kentucky but blew both games. They nearly blew a late lead at Purdue earlier this season, and they could have upset Georgia in September without a few of their self-inflicted mistakes. Dan Mullen’s Gators have figured out how to close out games, especially in the Swamp.

Notre Dame at Northwestern (7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Laken Litman picks Notre Dame: Northwestern has nothing to lose, while Notre Dame could lose everything. The Wildcats could lose this game and it won’t affect their place atop the Big Ten West standings. But if the Fighting Irish lose, their College Football Playoff hopes (they’re currently ranked No. 4) are finished. Notre Dame has fallen victim to November road games too many times before (Stanford in 2015, Miami in 2017), and Brian Kelly will have his team better prepared this time.

Alabama at LSU (8 p.m. ET, CBS)

Ross Dellenger picks Alabgama: The Tide gets its toughest test, and QB Tua Tagovailoa gets his first road Top 25 matchup. Tiger Stadium will be rocking, and coach Ed Orgeron will have his boys jacked, but will that be enough? Sure, Alabama ain’t played nobody, but that doesn’t mean the Tide isn’t the best team in the nation. In a way, it’d be a success for the Tigers to give Nick Saban’s team its first four-quarter game of the season. Maybe we’ll get even more than that. This one might be closer than that 14-point spread would indicate.

Oklahoma at Texas Tech (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Oklahoma: While you shouldn’t expect the 66–59 shootout that broke out the last time Oklahoma went to Lubbock in 2016, a game that set or broke seven FBS records, you should expect a bevy of wide-open receivers, bad tackling and every other bad defensive cliché that good Big 12 offenses so often bring out. In this case, the difference will be that Oklahoma has Kyler Murray and Texas Tech does not. 

Cal at Washington State (10:45 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Max Meyer picks Washington State: Sure, the Pac-12 doesn't have any undefeated teams left, but Washington State is the only team in the country that has covered the spread in every game this season. Take that Alabama! Cal has played much better with Chase Garbers under center over turnover machine Brandon McIlwain, but this offense still doesn't have the firepower to hang with Washington State, and while the Bears do have a strong defense, it won't be able to hold Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew down for all 60 minutes. Mike Leach and Wazzu will pull this one out but see their undefeated ATS streak snapped by not covering as a 10.5-point favorite.

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