Baker’s Breakdown: College Football Week 10 Preview

On Tuesday, the first set of College Football Playoff rankings were released. To say there were some surprises would be an understatement. Six teams that weren’t ranked in the latest AP Poll were ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings. Furthermore, undefeated Cincinnati, Oklahoma, and Wake Forest failed to crack the top 4. The top 4 right now? Georgia, Alabama, Michigan State, and Oregon. Week 10 of the college football season will bring more chaos and change the rankings once again. Let’s look at some of the big games this week.

#13 Auburn Tigers at #14 Texas A&M Aggies

The Aggies (6-2) will look to win their first-ever home game against the Tigers (6-2) in a matchup between two teams with slim SEC West title hopes. The Aggies have been able to turn their season around after back-to-back losses to open SEC play thanks to the stellar running of the duo of Isiah Spiller and Devon Achane. The play of quarterback Zach Calzada should not be overlooked either. He has really elevated his play during their three-game win streak. Auburn’s defense will have their hands full with an Aggie offense full of playmakers.

Third-year starter Bo Nix is having his best season yet for the Tigers. Although he doesn’t have eye-popping numbers, he has navigated the Tigers to two straight-ranked wins. Look for Nix to find Demetris Robertson who has over-the-top speed. The Aggies have a top 5 defense, so Nix will need to be sharp all game. Top 10 NFL prospect DeMarvin Leal, who has 5.5 sacks on the season, will be looking to get after Nix the entire game.

Calzada should be able to move the ball well against the Tigers. Leal will register two sacks on Nix and the Aggies will get a home win.

Prediction: Aggies 27, Tigers 21

#12 Baylor Bears at TCU Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs (3-5) begin the post-Gary Patterson era with a home game against the Bears (7-1). Patterson and the Frogs mutually agreed to part ways after 21 seasons. The Frogs have a stereotypical Big 12 team. They have the ability to put up a lot of points but also lack the ability to stop anyone. Junior quarterback Max Duggan will look to find Quentin Johnson and Derius Davis throughout the game. Johnson and Davis have combined for 70% of the Frogs receiving yards this season. A stingy Bears defense will focus their game plan on stopping those two.

The Bears have responded well since losing to Oklahoma State. The strength of their offense continues to be the run game. Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner lead the 8th best run game in the country. The Frogs will surely focus on stopping the run, but look out for wide receiver Tyquan Thorton to make some plays in the passing game.

The Bears should have their way with the Frogs in their first game without Patterson. Expect another 150-yard performance by Smith.

Prediction: Bears 35, Horned Frogs 24

Liberty Flames at #16 Ole Miss Rebels

In a matchup between two of the top 2022 NFL prospects, Malik Willis and the Flames (6-2) take on Matt Corral and the Rebels (6-2). Willis leads the Flames in both passing yards and rushing yards and has 30 total touchdowns on the year. Look for him to distribute the ball to Demario Douglas and CJ Daniels throughout the game. This shouldn’t be too hard to do because Rebels defense doesn’t present much resistance.

Corral also leads his team in rushing yards and passing yards. Unfortunately, the Rebels have been hit with the injury bug. The Rebels will be without their top three receivers Dontario Drummond, Braylon Sanders, and Jonathan Mingo. They will need Jahcour Pearson and Henry Parrish Jr. to step up in their place. The Flames have a great defense, statistically wise, but they haven’t faced an offense that is as high-octane as the Rebels. They should take a step back against Corral and company.

The Rebels injuries will keep this game close, but they should still come away with the win. I expect a lot of points and lots of highlights from Willis and Corral.

Prediction: Rebels 45, Flames 35

Game of the Week: #9 Wake Forest Demon Deacons at North Carolina Tar Heels

The Demon Deacons (8-0) face their biggest test of the season when they travel to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels (4-4). The Demon Deacons are 8-0 for the first time in school history and have College Football Playoff aspirations. The Heels came into the season with a top 10 ranking, but have disappointed on many levels this season.

Despite the Heels subpar season overall, quarterback Sam Howell is quietly having a very good one. He ranks in the top 20 in both passing yards and touchdowns. He leads a North Carolina offense that hasn’t failed to put up points this season. They average 36.5 points per game. They are going up against a poor Wake defense so it is imperative that they capitalize on their opportunities to score. Look for wide receiver Josh Downs and running back Ty Chandler to have big games. Howell is also a threat to the run ball, as he has nearly 600 yards rushing on the season.

The Demon Deacons shouldn’t have a problem scoring either. Quarterback Sam Hartman should have his way against the Tar Heel defense that hasn’t been able to stop anybody. Hartman should have no problem finding Jaquarii Roberson and A.T. Perry throughout the game. This game should have a lot of points with two elite offenses taking on two below-average defenses. I like the Demon Deacons to preserve their perfect season by way of a late field goal.

Prediction: Demon Deacons 41, Tar Heels 38

Liam Baker
Student at the University of Oregon. Author at The Sports Wave.

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