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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Weekly College Football Games Menu - Week Ten

Week Nine was somewhat of a lackluster weekend in college football, as most matchups when as expected, and the big games would be considered mediocre most other weeks.  Maybe teams wanted to take a mid-season breather, perhaps everyone was simply waiting for the playoff committee’s first set of rankings to come out, or quite possibly this was merely the calm before the storm.  As the first top 25 list is released this Tuesday night, we will get our first look at who has a legitimate chance in the eyes of the all-knowing council of college football gurus who are running this new fangled playoff, and teams will have a chance to demonstrate they are deserving of their ranking or prove the elders wrong for leaving them off the list.  This is Week Ten in college football, and it is all about playoff appeal.


Playoff Appeal

The week kicks off with Florida State travelling to Louisville on Thursday night.  While the Seminoles will be favorites even on the road, the Cardinals boast the fourth stingiest defense in the country, and are undefeated thus far at home, outscoring opponents 147-62.  While Florida State may be the defending champions, the playoff  committee can show some actual knowledge by not placing them in the number one spot based on their performance thus far this year.  This is a chance for the Seminoles to make a statement on a Thursday night under the lights.

While neither of these teams are likely to be near the top spot come Tuesday, TCU and West Virginia are both peaking at the right time and quickly climbing the polls.  West Virginia followed up their win over previously undefeated Baylor with a beat down of Oklahoma State on the road and host the Horn Frogs in Week Ten.  TCU, however, has been lighting people up, as the team known just a few years ago for the toughest defense in the country currently has the number one ranked scoring offense, putting up an obscene 82 points last week against Texas Tech.  Those 82 points set a record for points scored in a Big 12 conference game.  Read that again, TCU set a record for scoring in the Big 12, that is an absurd accomplishment and one that the Horned Frog’s opponents should take note of.

Speaking of previously undefeated Baylor, they are desperately hoping winning out will be enough to get them into the four team playoff.  A Week Ten matchup hosting Kansas, however, won’t be turning any heads unless the Bears find a way to lose.  The Jayhawks have only beat one FBS team this year and rank nearly dead less in both passing offense and scoring offense.

Another top team that will only make a splash if they lose this week is Mississippi State.  The Bulldogs host Arkansas, who despite being undefeated in their extremely soft non-conference schedule, have yet to win an SEC game.  That being said, they took Texas A&M to overtime and lost to Alabama late by only one, so maybe this is the Razorbacks’ week to close one out.

Across the country, the Pac-12 will be showcasing some key matchups in Week Ten.  The biggest is likely Stanford’s trip to Oregon to take on the Ducks.  While Oregon will be the favorite again this year, Stanford has upset the Ducks two years in a row and won three of the past five.  Marcus Mariota has Oregon reaching for the playoff if they can win out, but Stanford is more than capable of playing spoiler yet again.

Staying in the Pac-12, the South Division race will become much clearer as well as two key matchups go down.  One loss Arizona travels to preseason favorite UCLA while the other two one loss teams face off as Arizona State hosts Utah.  All four teams won in Week Nine, so two of these teams will keep it rolling, while two others will fall behind.

Turning to the Independents, Notre Dame returns to action this week after their disappointing “loss” to Florida State two weeks ago.  They will attempt to reach the playoff despite their loss on the back of their strength of schedule, but likely won’t make it if they drop another one.  As long as they don’t have a big game hangover, they should get back on track in Week Ten against a good but not great Navy team on the road.

Finally, in one of the emerging threats to make the final four, Kansas State hosts Oklahoma State after blanking Texas in Week Nine.  While the Wildcats’ only loss has been by six points to top five ranked Auburn in Week Three, they are also entering the meat of their schedule.  After topping Oklahoma and shutting out Texas, Bill Snyder’s squad has to take on the Cowboys in Week Ten, then hit the road against red hot TCU, West Virginia and Baylor.  The Wildcats better not look past Oklahoma State this week as the Cowboys held tight with West Virginia in Week Nine for three solid quarters.


Local Flavor

Bringing some local flavor to Week Ten is one of the oldest neutral site rivalries in the country, as the meeting between Florida and Georgia in Jacksonville draws so many fans, parties and tailgates it’s known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.  This rivalry is so intense that the two schools don’t even agree on the series record.  Regardless of the exact wins and losses, the series has been fairly split over the years and Georgia has won the last three, but anything can happen in a rivalry game.


Game of the Week

The Week Ten Game of the Week showcases two highly ranked SEC teams as one loss Auburn travels to one loss Ole Miss.  Both of these teams are likely to sit in the top ten of the first ever college football playoff rankings, however, both faltered in Week Nine.  Auburn struggled for four quarters to top a diminished South Carolina squad that has only won two conference games, while Ole Miss suffered their first loss to LSU on the road as their defense was solid, but their offense couldn’t put up even ten points to grab a victory.  Despite the loss, Ole Miss still controls its own destiny in the SEC and LSU could Auburn could likely reach the playoff if they finish with only a single loss.  For one of these teams, a second loss on the season will likely put them out of the race for good.


Pillow Fight of the Week

The Pillow Fight of the Week pairs two recent additions to the FBS, as Georgia State travels to Appalachian State.  The Mountaineers have racked up some decent offensive stats against terrible competition, but their defense has been atrocious, again, against terrible competition.  Georgia State on the other hand has been bad across the board, losing every game thus far besides their opener against FCS Abilene Christian.  The Panthers’ penchant for throwing the ball down field, however, gives them a chance in every game, as they rank in the top 25 in passing yards.


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