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Fourth & Long: After a Quiet Week, Huge Games Headline Week 10 In College Football

For the first time in a couple weeks, we haven’t really seen much news about players, coaches, or families being affected by the virus. Everyone cross your fingers and hope it stays this way. This weekend in college football huge match-ups are the name of the game. Not only do we have three great games, but the games have huge College Football Playoff implications. To start out the weekend, unbeaten (9) BYU faces its toughest test of the year as they travel to Boise, Idaho to take on (21) Boise State, on the “smurf turf.” That match-up will take place on Friday night. What a great way to start the weekend.

After Friday night, two huge games headline the college football schedule this weekend: (5) Georgia vs (8) Florida and (1) Clemson at (4) Notre Dame. Also, remember that Clemson superstar signal caller Trevor Lawrence has been ruled out for the Notre Dame game. How will freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei play in a game of such magnitude. Can Florida upset Georgia at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Pary? Can BYU pass their toughest test of the year? Finally, does the Pac-12 have a team that is playoff-worthy this year? We answer all those questions and more, so lets hop into the Week 10 preview!

Key Match-Ups

B1G

(23) Michigan at (13) Indiana: The question everyone has been asking these past two weeks is simple: is Indiana for real? They got lucky to squeak out a win versus Penn State and they got by Rutgers last weekend fairly easily. On the other sideline, it’s a must win game for Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan Wolverines. Michigan opened the season at then ranked Minnesota. They passed that test easily, dominating from whistle to whistle and pulling out a 49-24 beat down of P.J. Fleck and his Golden Gophers. However this past weekend, they lost at home to rival Michigan State. Let’s all remember that Michigan State opened their season with Rutgers who had lost 21 straight B1G games before they handed the Spartans an opening week loss. Jim Harbaugh is now 1-6 vs rivals at home, which includes an abysmal 0-5 record versus Ohio State. For Michigan, it’s time to bare down and see what they’re made off. However, Indiana has dreams of a 3-0 start when they host the Wolverines. Indiana hasn’t been the best team in the opening two weeks, but they still pulled out victories. Hoosier signal caller Michael Penix Jr., has thrown for 408 yards this year for four touchdowns and one interception. Joe Milton, Michigan quarterback has been steady, throwing for 525 yards on the year, but with only one touchdown. If the Wolverines are to pull the upset, they will need to keep two eyes on Indiana play-maker Whop Philyor, who has 10 receptions for 173 yards and one touchdown. The four-headed monster that is Michigan’s stable of running backs (Haskins, Charbonnet, Corum, and Evans) has accounted for 408 yards rushing for eight touchdowns. Look for Indiana to put some pressure on Milton, and force him into at least one turnover. Prediction: (23) Michigan 31 at (13 Indiana 34 (Indiana +3.5)

Rutgers at (3) Ohio State: This is the type of game where Ohio State can add some style points to their resume. Rutgers will travel the Horseshoe on Saturday night for a tough test versus Ohio State. Rutgers got their first B1G win in 21 tries when they beat Michigan State on the B1G opening weekend. During that game, Rutgers forced multiple Spartan turnovers. However, with that being said, no player really stands out for the Knights. Starting quarterback Noah Verdal has passed for 299 yards for three touchdowns, but also four interceptions. Also the Knights don’t have a rusher that has run for more than 100 yards on the year (2 Games). On the other sideline, Ryan Day and his Buckeyes should out-class Rutgers incredibly easily. In two games the Buckeyes offense 508.5 total yards on offense. Heisman hopeful quarterback Justin Fields has been near perfect to start the year. He is 48/55 for 594 yards and six touchdowns to no interceptions. The Buckeyes receiving corps is lethal with guys like Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson leading the way. Ohio State’s running game has been inconsistent in two games, but this is the type of game that Ohio State players can pad their stats. This will also be the match-up where we see how good Ohio State’s defense truly is. Realistically, Ohio State should shut out the Knights, just like they have done in the past. We will see which defensive players other than Tommy Togiai has three sacks on the year from the interior so look for him, Haskell Garrett, Zack Harrison, and Jonothan Cooper to have good games. Prediction: Rutgers 6 at (3) Ohio State 45 (Ohio State -38.5)

SEC

(5) Georgia vs (8) Florida: This is a giant match up for both teams.  Florida comes after having a dominant performance against Missouri.  The Gators’ defense was able to hold Missouri’s team to 17 points and their offense was able to churn out 41 points.  Kyle Trask had a good game despite having 15 incompletions and leading the team in rushing with six attempts for 47 yards.  The Gators’ offense struggled, but was able to heat up as the game went on.  However, up to this point they have not faced a defensive team like Georgia.  Georgia’s defense held Kentucky to three points after a struggling game against Alabama and Tennessee in the weeks prior.  Their defense looks to be back on par and that makes for an interesting matchup against a high powered Florida offense.  This game will decide the fate of either team.  Win and you still have a chance at the playoff.  Lose and your season is basically over.  Florida has scored at least 38 points all of their games were Georgia has not allowed over 21 points except for the Alabama game.  The key player to look out for is Kyle Pitts.  He has been quiet over the last few weeks, but to reestablish himself he must show out against a talented Georgia defense. Prediction: (8) Florida 42 vs (5) Georgia 28 (Florida +3.5)

Florida vs Georgia Hype

Pac-12

Arizona State at (20) USC: You could say Clay Helton, head coach of the Trojans, has been on the hot seat ever since he was hired. However, there seems to be hope coming out of USC fans this year. The Trojans brings back signal caller Kedon Slovis to run the offense. Last year he passed for 3,502 yards and 30 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. The Trojans also get back 1,000 yard receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. He also caught six touchdowns last year. Replacing receiver Michael Pittman Jr. will be no easy task for Helton. On defense USC returns safety Isaiah Pola-Mao who had four interceptions last year along with 73 total tackles. For Herm Edwards and his Sun Devils, opening the season at USC is something that his team will be fired up for. Arizona State returns electric quarterback Jayden Daniels who is a true dual-threat under center.He passed for 2,943 yards last year with 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Daniels also rushed for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Herm Edwards brought in a good recruiting class during the off-season.Headlining the class is two freshman receivers in Johnny Wilson and LV Bunkley-Shelton. On defense the Sun Devils bring back linebacker and leading tackler Darien Butler. He had 88 total tackles last season. Look for this to be a close game throughout, with USC pulling out a win with a late drive in the fourth quarter. Prediction: Arizona State 27 at (20) USC 31 (Arizona State +10.5) (Sprinkle A Little Bit on Arizona State Outright if You Feel Bold)

Arizona State 2020 Hype

(Writer’s Note: This game is being played at noon eastern time, which is a 9 am kick off out west. Look for both teams to struggle early)

Stanford at (12) Oregon: The Oregon Ducks are entering the post Justin Herbert era.  They still have not named a starter for their first game, but are really talented everywhere else.  The Ducks still have very talented running backs, a receiving core that can go off at any moment, a very young and talented defense, and arguably the best offensive tackle prospect in college football in Penei Sewell.  The Stanford Cardinals are coming back with what could be the top offensive line in football.  With a talented QB in Davis Mills and three of Oregon’s defensive backs opting out, the Cardinals need to find a way to be sharp and find their talented receivers open for big plays. Prediction: Stanford 21 at (12) Oregon 38 (Oregon -11)

Oregon 2020 Hype

Sun Belt

South Alabama at (15) Coastal Carolina: Yes, you read that right.  Coastal Carolina is ranked number 15th in the country! They have dominated their competition beating appoints by double digits except for a close game against LA-Lafayette.  Coastal Carolina’s defense has also been pretty solide being able to keep teams off the field and giving their offense the ball back.  After a disappointing 2019 season, Coastal has come out on fire and dominated this year going from an abysmal 2-10 to a staggering 6-0.  South Alabama defense has been the main concern this year.  They have not been able to close games out this year and struggle in the second half.  Against a high powered Coastal Carolina team that looks to continue their offensive dominance. Prediction: South Alabama 10 at (15) Coastal Carolina 42 (Coastal Carolina -15.5)

Group of Five

JB: (9) BYU at (21) Boise State: Both of these teams come into the game undefeated, but BYU has played seven games to Boise State’s 2. This match-up is clearly the biggest game of the year for both teams. BYU signal caller Zach Wilson has continued to crush defenses throughout the year. He is 144/193 for 2,152 yards and 17 touchdowns to only two interceptions. In a perfect world, we would see Wilson in New York in December attending the Heisman Ceremony, but we all know it’s not a perfect world. BYU’s defense has been suffocating this year, giving up only thirteen points per game. Yes, BYU’s strength of schedule is very weak, which makes this match-up so important for them. For the Broncos, no one really jumps out at you offensively. Quarterback Jack Sears is 19/23 on the year for 291 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target has been receiver Khalil Shakir who has caught 13 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns on the year. Boise State is also above average on defense giving up only 21.5 points per game. The biggest gap between these two is offense. BYU is averaging close to 530 yards per game, where as Boise State is averaging 450 yards per game. The difference maker in this game will be the BYU defensive unit as a whole. Look for Zach Wilson to continue to shine, while the defense holds the Broncos to 16 points. Prediction: (9) BYU 42 at (21) Boise State 16 (BYU -3)

Jacob: What a shocker BYU has been this year.  Led by the man himself Zach Wilson, the BYU offense has been able to start fast this year.  Against WKU, they were able to score on all five of their first-half drives. Going up against a very talented Boise State team this year that has a solid offense, BYU needs to attack the ground and keep the Boise State offense off the field.  Boise State needs to keep the ball and keep the BYU offense off the field.  The one problem for BYU is this is at Boise State.  BYU is 0-5 when playing on the Smurf turf with many of those coming down to the final play.  Can Zach Wilson get the Cougars over the hill and finally take down Boise State? Prediction: (9) BYU 45 at (21) Boise State 20 (BYU -3, LOCK IT IN)

BYU at Boise State Hype

Game of the Week: (1) Clemson at (4) Notre Dame

JB: The biggest news surrounding this game is that Clemson quarterback will not play for the second week in a row. Last weekend they struggled to squeak by Boston College at home. True freshman D.J. Uiagalelei stepped in for Lawrence last weekend and played excellent football. He was 30/41 throwing the ball for 342 yards and two touchdowns. He was also able to run the ball against Boston College, rushing six times for 25 yards and a touchdown. One would think Dabo Swinney and his staff want Uiagalelei to run the ball as little as possible, because Clemson can’t afford another quarterback injury right now. In true Dabo Swinney fashion, Trevor Lawrence will be on the sideline for the game, which confuses me. If he can stand on the sideline, why can’t he play? Well that’s a question for another day. Expect to see Lawrence coaching up Uiagalelei from the sideline and when the Tigers defense is on the field. It’s not a huge factor, but Uiagalelei will be happy to have Lawrence on the sideline. Running back Travis Etienne is the key factor in this game. If he can be effective on the ground and in the air, Clemson will be tough to beat.

In South Bend, Indiana, Notre Dame has dreams of an upset dancing in their heads. Ian Book has been the definition of a “game manager” this season for the Fighting Irish. He is 92/150 on the year for 1,225 yards and seven touchdowns. The real stars of the game for Brian Kelly and his Fighting Irish is the defensive unit as a whole. Safety Kyle Hamilton is a stud, who has 28 total tackles on the year. Along with Hamilton, linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a force on the field. He has 25 total tackles on the year to go along with a sack. Defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey leads the team with 3.5 sacks on the year. As a unit the defense is only giving up about ten points per game. To win this game, the Fighting Irish need to play near-perfect to beat the Tigers. Overall, let’s just hope for a good game between these two. Prediction: (1) Clemson 35 at (4) Notre Dame 24 (Clemson -5.5)

Jacob: This is the must watch game on Saturday night. Notre Dame comes into this game at home winning the previous 22 in a row.  The Fighting Irish defense has been the trademark of the team this year.  In a college football season that has seen offenses dominate this year with some defenses being nonexistent, Notre Dame has provided a nice relief to those who want to see competitive college football.  Their offense on the other has been spotty this year.  In order for Notre Dame to have a chance their running back Kyren Williams, who is second in the ACC behind Travis Etienne, needs to have a day along with the Notre Dame offensive line holding back the stout Clemson defensive front.  For Clemson this is also a massive game.  D.J. Uiagalelei had a good game against a difficult BC defense and showed some poise with the game winning drive.  With Trevor Lawrence out again, but being allowed on the sideline, look for him to help D.J. with reads and solving this tough Notre Dame defense.  Clemson will be able to figure out that tough defense, but in order for Notre Dame to stay with Clemson, Ian Book will need to move that offense and transition from a time manager to an effective quarterback.  If Notre Dame can solve the Clemson defense and pull off the upset of the year then they might have punched their ticket to the College Football Playoff and put Clemson on the bubble. Prediction: (1) Clemson 42 at (4) Notre Dame 31 (Clemson -5.5)

Clemson at Notre Dame Hype

Players to Watch

Jacob:

  1. DJ Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson: In his second college football start of his career he steps in for Heisman front-runner Trevor Lawrence. Uiagalelei was very good against Boston College. Throwing for 342 yards and two touchdowns, and scoring another one on the ground. This is likely the biggest game of his life so far. Make no mistake, he will face tougher games as his career moves along, but right now, all eyes are on the signal caller from California.
  2. Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon: The former number one overall recruit will head into his sophomore year with high expectations. Last year he collected nine sacks, 35 total tackles, and one forced fumble. If Oregon wants to return to the form they were in between 2010-2014, Thibodeaux will have to make a huge impact in every game.

JB:

  1. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State: Hall is probably the most under rated football player in the country. He plays for Iowa State in the Big 12 so he is overshadowed by schools like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Texas. However Breece Hall is having an incredible year. He has 134 carries for 901 yards and eleven touchdowns. Look for him to come out and pad his stats versus a lowly Baylor team.
  2. Jayden Daniels, QB, Arizona State: The 6’3 sophomore from California had an impressive freshman season. He was picked as the starter before the season by head coach Herm Edwards. Last year he passed for 2,943 yards and 17 touchdowns to only two interceptions. He also rushed for 355 yards and three touchdowns. As stated earlier, the Arizona State at (20) USC game is kicking off at noon eastern, which means they will kickoff around nine am out west. Look for Daniels to use his legs more during the beginning of the game, as it could be sloppy early on.
  3. Kyle Pitts, TE, Floria: Georgia’s defense is very good, we all know this. However they should be able to exploit the Bulldogs defense by throwing to Pitts multiple times. The 6’6 Tight End plays like a receiver, so unless a cornerback is guarding him, there will be a mismatch in his favor. On the year he has 22 receptions for 355 yards and seven touchdowns. If Florida is to beat Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs, they need to rotate Pitts around to find good match-ups.

Locks of the Week

Jacob:

  1. (8)Florida +3.5
  2. (5) Georgia vs (8) Florida OVER 52.5
  3. (15) Coastal Carolina -18
  4. Stanford at (12) Oregon OVER 51
  5. (9) BYU -3

JB:

  1. (9) BYU -3
  2. (23) Michigan at (13) Indiana UNDER 54
  3. Arizona State at (20) USC UNDER 57.5
  4. Arizona State OUTRIGHT (LOCK IT UP)
  5. (6) Cincinnati -13.5

Top Tens

Jacob:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Cincinnati
  6. BYU
  7. Texas A&M
  8. Georgia
  9. Florida
  10. Oklahoma State

JB:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Georgia
  6. Cincinnati
  7. Texas A&M
  8. BYU
  9. Florida
  10. Miami

That’ll do it for the preview of college football week 10. As stated above, three huge games headline the weekend’s slate. Thanks to all who voted for the Game of the Week. Make sure you check back again to see the games up for game of the week. Don’t forget to turn on (9) BYU at (21) Boise State on Friday night. Even if you don’t want to watch the game, the “smurf turf” is cool to see. Let’s have another great weekend of college football!

Follow Us on Twitter:

JB: @BrownlojCLE

Jacob: @PicuittoJacob

Fourth & Long Podcast: @4thandlongpod

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