Noah Gardner gives his Week 10 picks in college football. Follow him on Twitter at @PointGuardner.
#23 Michigan at #13 Indiana – 11 a.m. FS1
Indiana’s 2-0 start and No. 13 ranking is a mirage. The Hoosiers are only averaging 279 yards per game to Michigan’s 466.5 per game. The Wolverines’ loss against Michigan State a week ago wasn’t for a lack of yardage as they totaled up 452 yards of offense. Michigan just wasn’t able to translate it to points. Indiana has been the opposite. The Hoosiers have tallied up little yardage, but they have made the most of their opportunities. Indiana hasn’t been able to establish the run (75 yards per game), and they haven’t been able to defend it either (185.5 per game). Michigan’s well-balanced offense picks up over 200 rushing yards per game. The Wolverines will have an easier time moving the football on the ground, taking the pressure off quarterback Joe Milton to win this game.
Arizona State at #20 USC – 11 a.m. FOX
3,500-yard passer Kedon Slovis will lead USC into Saturday’s Pac-12 opener against Arizona State. Slovis has three of his top four receivers back with the top two returners bringing back 1,954 yards and 12 touchdowns from last year. Slovis has luxuries at wide receiver that most teams dream about. Look at USC to be much-improved in 2020.
West Virginia at #22 Texas – 11 a.m. ABC
Pick: West Virginia
After a big win against Oklahoma State last week, this feels like a letdown game for Texas. West Virginia is building momentum after creaming Kansas State 37-10 a week ago. Texas has only held one Big 12 opponent to fewer than 30 points in a game this year, while West Virginia has held every opponent to fewer than 30. The Mountaineers sport the conference’s second-best defensive mark of allowing 19.8 points per game. Texas will sputter just enough on offense for West Virginia to pull off the upset.
#8 Florida at #5 Georgia – 2:30 p.m. CBS
For two-straight weeks, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett has struggled, going 9-for-13 for 131 yards and two interceptions. The low volume of passing attempts is an indication that the Bulldogs do not have confidence in Bennett to throw the football. When facing a team as talented as Florida, you can’t be one-dimensional and expect to score a substantial amount of points. Florida, on the other hand, is not one-dimensional, and they have confidence in quarterback Kyle Trask. The Gators take the lead in the SEC East after beating Georgia.
Arizona at Utah – 2:30 p.m. ESPN2
It’s a tough year to replace a quarterback. Arizona will look to fill the void that dynamic playmaker Khalil Tate left upon graduation, but the likelihood of the Wildcats finding it this early in the season is slim. Meanwhile, Utah added veteran grad-transfer quarterback Jake Bentley to the roster from South Carolina. The Utes return all but one starter on the offensive line that pushed the rushing attack to 4.8 yards per carry a year ago. Utah seems to be more complete going into the season than Arizona.
#14 Oklahoma State at Kansas State – 3 p.m. FOX
Pick: Oklahoma State
There is a three-way tie atop the Big 12 standings with Oklahoma State and Kansas State set to break that tie this Saturday. Kansas State was held to 10 points by West Virginia, who is second-best in the Big 12 in points allowed per game. A week later, the Wildcats play the best statistical defense in the conference with the Cowboys allowing 17.8 points per game. Kansas State is going to struggle to find points, while Chuba Hubbard and the Cowboys are going to rush to victory.
#7 Texas A&M at South Carolina – 6 p.m. ESPN
Pick: Texas A&M
On a week-to-week basis, Texas A&M continues to avoid the pitfall game that the Aggies have succumbed to in recent years under Jimbo Fisher and Kevin Sumlin. Kellen Mond has been sharp throwing the football, and Isaiah Spiller has been explosive on the ground, leading the league in yards per carry at 6.02 yards per rush. Texas A&M has too many weapons for South Carolina to keep up on the scoreboard.
#1 Clemson at #4 Notre Dame – 6:30 p.m. NBC
It took Clemson some time to unlock the Boston College defense, but D.J. Uiagalelei showcased his talent and why he is the successor to Trevor Lawrence. Without Lawrence, this becomes one of the most contested matchups on Saturday, but I find it difficult to pick against the Tigers’ talent across the board and Dabo Swinney’s ability to motivate his players for big games. It will more than likely be a low-scoring affair, but Clemson has the star power to edge Notre Dame.
Stanford at #12 Oregon – 6:30 p.m. ABC
The biggest hurdle facing Oregon is finding a way to replace Justin Herbert at quarterback. Fortunately, the Ducks return the best defense in the Pac-12, bolstered by their secondary. Stanford is coming off a 4-8 season, but it is still to be determined how much the Cardinal have improved.
Tennessee at Arkansas – 6:30 p.m. SEC Network
Arkansas leads the SEC with 13 takeaways. After starting the year 2-0, it feels like Tennessee’s offense has lost its identity, which is not a place the Volunteers want to be facing a squad that is as opportunistic as Arkansas. Mistakes will continue to plague Tennessee, and the Razorbacks will edge out the win.