As we head into Week 10 of the college football season, there are 31 bowl-eligible teams and 9 undefeated teams.
This week’s Top 25 Polls feature a combined 6 Big 12 (#9 Oklahoma, #11 Baylor, #24 Texas and #25 Kansas State) and Pac-12 (#8 Oregon and #10 Utah) teams.
This Weekend in the Big 12
Tonight on ESPN, West Virginia (3-4) heads into Waco to face #11 Baylor (7-0). Both teams come in off a bye weekend. The Mountaineers are in the midst of a 3-game losing streak following the 52-14 loss to Oklahoma, while the Bears have won their last 9 with their 45-27 victory over Oklahoma State. West Virginia needs to win 3 of their final 5 contests to become bowl-eligible. Under the leadership of HFC Matt Rhule and direction of QB Charlie Brewer, Baylor is in 1st place in the Big 12 and is one of the 9 remaining undefeated teams in the nation. Baylor is a very balanced team as they rank #12 in nation in scoring offense (38.9 ppg), #14 in nation in total offense (484 ypg) and #19 in nation in scoring defense (19.1 ppg).
#24 Kansas State (5-2) goes to Lawrence to meet rival Kansas (3-5). Both teams come in off big wins for their first-year Head Coaches as the Wildcats defeated Oklahoma 48-41 and the Jayhawks beat Texas Tech 37-34. Replacing a legend (Bill Snyder) is never easy, especially when the stadium you play in has his name on it, but Chris Klieman certainly earned the respect of any doubters following the victory over the Sooners. Kansas State ranks #7 in Big 12 scoring offense (32.7 ppg) but bolsters that with a stingy defense that ranks #2 in Big 12 in scoring (21.9 ppg). KSU is led by QB Skylar Thompson, while Kansas’ signal caller is Carter Stanley who passed for a season-high 415 yards in the win over Texas Tech to earn Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors.
TCU (4-3) heads to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State (5-3). The Horned Frogs and Cowboys defeated ranked opponents last weekend – TCU was victorious over Texas 37-27 and OSU downed Iowa State 34-27. TCU freshman QB Max Duggan passed for a career-best 273 yards in the win over Texas to be named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. As is customary under HFC Gary Patterson, TCU features a stout defense that currently ranks #19 in the nation by allowing 304.7 ypg and is #1 in Big 12 in rushing defense allowing just 103.7 ypg. So, something has to give this weekend as OSU RB Chuba Hubbard leads the nation in rushing (172.6 ypg) and the Cowboys offense ranks #9 in nation in total offense (505.1 ypg) and #17 in nation in scoring (37.5 ppg).
#9 Oklahoma (7-1), #24 Texas (5-3), Iowa State (5-3) and Texas Tech (3-5) all have a bye week.
The Weekend in the Pac-12
#8 Oregon (7-1) travels to the Coliseum to take on USC (5-3). Oregon comes into the game on a 7-game winning streak after beating WSU 37-35, while USC has won their last 2 following their 35-31 victory over Colorado. Oregon is led by QB Justin Herbert who has completed 179-of-262 for 2,104 yards, 21 TD’s & 1 INT during the Ducks 7-game winning streak and have outscored their opponents 267-91 during that stretch. The Oregon defense is very strong as they lead the nation in interceptions (14), rank #3 in turnover margin (1.38) and #9 in nation in scoring defense (14.8 ppg). USC has suffered numerous injuries during the season so their youth on both sides of the ball will once again be put to the test. USC QB Kedon Slovis ranks #6 in nation in passing completion (72.3%) and OC Graham Harrell will need to be creative to find ways to get the ball to his talented WR corps to make up for an injury riddled stable of RB’s. This is a battle of the division leaders as Oregon is #1 in North and USC is #1 in South.
#10 Utah (7-1) heads to Seattle to face Washington (5-3). Utah has won their last 4 after downing Cal 35-0, while Washington had a bye week following their 37-35 loss to Oregon. The Ute defense ranks #1 in nation in rushing (56.4 ypg), #3 in nation in total defense (231 ypg) and #4 in nation in scoring defense (14.8 ppg). On offense, Utah is led by QB Tyler Huntley who ranks #5 in nation in completion (73.1%) and RB Zack Moss who is their career rushing leader (3,379 yards) and rushing TD leader (33). The Huskies are solid on both sides of the ball as they rank #3 in Pac-12 in scoring offense (35.8 ppg) and #5 in Pac-12 in scoring defense (21.5 ppg). UW QB Jacob Eason and RB Salvon Ahmed are two of the best in the conference and the key to this game will likely come down to line play and who can control the line of scrimmage.
Colorado (3-5) goes to the Rose Bowl to play UCLA (3-5). Colorado has dropped their last 4 after falling to USC 35-31, while UCLA has won their last 2 after beating Arizona State 42-32. Colorado is led by QB Steven Montez who ranks #2 in total offense in CU history (9,775 yards) and dynamic WR Laviska Shenault who had 9 receptions for 172 years and 1 TD in the loss to USC. After dropping their first 3 games, the Bruins have won 3 of their last 5 on the strength of a vastly improved offense that has averaged 38.2 ppg during that run. UCLA RB Joshua Kelley rushed for 164 yards and 4 TD’s in the win over Arizona State. Both teams need to win 3 of their final 5 to become bowl-eligible. UCLA is currently 1 game back of Utah and USC in the South but should they win out, will win the division and head to the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Oregon State (3-4) ventures into Tucson to meet Arizona (4-4). Oregon State had a bye last weekend but beat Cal the prior week (21-17), while Arizona is in the midst of a 3-game losing streak after their 41-31 loss to Stanford. Oregon State is led by QB Jake Luton who ranks #7 in Pac-12 in passing (243 ypg) but has only thrown 1 INT. Luton’s favorite target is WR Isaiah Hodgins who ranks #3 in nation in receptions (8 per game) and #9 in nation in receiving yards (106.4 ypg). Arizona is led by QB’s Kahlil Tate and Grant Gunnell and RB J.J. Taylor who has 3,030 career rushing yards to rank #7 all-time in UA history. This is a huge game for both teams in their pursuit for 6 wins and a bowl berth in 2019.
Stanford (4-4), Cal (4-4), Washington State (4-4) and Arizona State (5-3) all have a bye week.
Other Games of National Interest
#7 Georgia (7-1) goes to Jacksonville to face #6 Florida (7-1).
#14 SMU (8-0) goes to Memphis (along with GameDay) to face #23 Memphis (7-1).
Here’s to another exciting weekend of college football.