November is upon us and this week’s slate features a number of games with significant conference ramifications. I will focus upon important matchups in the AAC, Pac-12 and SEC in Week 10.
After being without Jonathan Greenard, Jabari Zuniga and Kadarius Toney in the last two games, Florida gets three of their best defensive players back. Good luck to bettors laying this many points with Georgia’s struggling pass offense. The Gators will load the box to stop the run because they know Jake Fromm can’t beat them with his arm, and I’m picking Florida to win straight up in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
Israel Mukuamu pick Jake Fromm and takes it 53 yards for a TD – Fromm’s first INT of the season pic.twitter.com/vZvg8OiUE0
— libgator (@lib_gator) October 12, 2019
This series has gone back and forth. Florida won three straight from 2014-16, but Georgia has dominated the last two years behind a dynamic receiving corps, outscoring Florida by an 80-24 margin. You can bet Florida’s Dan Mullen has emphasized those numbers to his terrific secondary, and Georgia is missing all their firepower on the outside, with their top five receiving yardage leaders from last season departed. To make matters worse, their best receiver this year, Lawrence Cager, has been limited due to shoulder and rib injuries. Expect another heavy dose of the ground game from Georgia.
Florida’s young offensive line is starting to find its footing, with the Gators running effectively against the likes of Auburn and LSU in recent weeks. I recommend getting down early on Florida because the line may drop.
Free pick: Florida +6
This is a statement game for Utah, which still hopes to make the College Playoff if they win. This is the biggest game on the regular schedule for Utah after losing to Washington four times in the last three years. It all starts up front, with Utah ranking first nationally against the run, allowing only 59.6 rushing yards per game. The Utes pound the ball offensively behind All-American prospect Zack Moss, ranking 23rd with 218.9 rushing yards per game. Dual-threat quarterback Tyler Huntley leads a resurgent offense that has averaged 36.5 points over the last four games.
Zack Moss says skkkrrtttt: pic.twitter.com/A0i5mEFz9J
— Porter Larsen (@Larsen_ESPN) October 27, 2019
Washington has dropped two of its last three games, including a dismal effort at Stanford in which they scored 13 points. We can classify this as a transitional year for a defense that lost nine starters from 2018. In the last game, the Huskies led Oregon 28-14 in the third quarter before surrendering three touchdowns in a demoralizing loss. Jacob Eason remains a passing threat, but Washington struggles to convert third-downs, ranking 106th with a 35.4% success rate. It won’t be easy to move the ball on Utah’s elite defensive unit and the Utes are capable of pushing Washington around on both lines of scrimmage.
Free pick: Utah -3.5
Memphis is a reliable home team and I look forward to playing them in the biggest home game of the year, with ESPN’s College GameDay on hand for this important AAC match-up. The Tigers have beaten Mississippi, Navy and Tulane inside the friendly confines of Liberty Bowl Stadium this year and have covered seven of the last eight home games. I predict the Memphis offense will prove too much for the visitor on Saturday.
— American Football (@American_FB) October 20, 2019
Undefeated SMU brings a high-scoring offense, averaging 44.3 points per game behind the strong arm of Shane Buechele, but defense has become a concern as they have narrowly defeated Houston (34-31) and Tulsa (43-37) in recent weeks. Mustangs rank 104th nationally against the pass, allowing 270.9 passing yards per game despite playing a modest schedule so far. Memphis is more formidable defensively, ranking a respectable 34th in both points allowed (22.9) and passing yards allowed (200) per game. The Tigers offense is firing on all cylinders presently behind Brady White, who has thrown for 607 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception the last two weeks, and Kenneth Gainwell, who is averaging 7.1 yards per carry and ranks seventh among all running backs with 979 rushing yards. They’ll be partying on Beale Street after Saturday’s comfortable victory.
Free pick: Memphis -3.5
Florida State has scored at least 31 points in all five home games this season, recording nearly 500 yards of total offense in a 35-17 thrashing of Syracuse last week, and faces a Miami team that lost 28-21 at home to Georgia Tech two weeks ago. Miami must win with defense because they feature one of the worst offenses in college football, ranking 106th nationally with a 21.6 points per game average. NFL-caliber running back in Cam Akers is poised to give the Hurricanes all they can handle.
Cam Akers is a top 5 RB in this class. Guy’s a beast. pic.twitter.com/OFld1i4wUi
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 26, 2019
Akers, who has scored 12 touchdowns and ranks 10th with 917 rushing yards, has been dynamite of late. The Seminoles have playmakers on both sides of the ball, with Hamsah Nasirildeen being a difference maker for an improving defensive unit. Nasirildeen was sorely missed after being ejected for targeting early in a narrow loss to Wake Forest two weeks ago, but he came right back to record 19 tackles and a sack last week. Florida State has had this game circled ever since allowing a 20-point lead slip away to their bitter rival last year, and I expect them to take a pound of flesh from Miami.