MACtion kicked off this week, and, boy, did it deliver. While MACtion brings excitement to midweek football, it also serves an alert that we are approaching the end of the college football season. Cherish it.
Here’s what I like for Week 10.
Mississippi State (+5.5, +180 ML) at Arkansas
Backing the Bulldogs is my best bet for Week 10. You can get my reasoning here.
Auburn (+5, +175 ML) at Texas A&M
Bo Nix and the Auburn offense have impressed this season in defeating LSU at Tiger stadium, by producing just over 300 yards of offense against Georgia (only one of two teams to do so), and by holding Matt Corral’s Ole Miss offense to zero passing touchdowns and just 20 points.
The Aggies are pretty one-dimensional, 88th in passing and 40th in rushing. Auburn is pretty good against the run, holding Arkansas to 4.3 yards per carry in a 38-23 win. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I trust Nix over Aggies QB Zach Calzada. A&M may have pulled the upset over Alabama and Calzada may have had himself a day, but that game produced his highest passing total, his best completion percentage, and was only one of two games in which he's thrown for three passing scores (the other was against New Mexico). Nix is ready for this moment.
Oregon at Washington (+7, +225 ML)
These two teams have a handful of games in common. Both played at home against Cal and both at Stanford. The matchups were statistically similar. The noticeable difference, however: Washington forced a combined six turnovers. The Huskies are top 20 in takeaways, having forced 13 interceptions and seven fumbles. It's a home team that is third best in the FBS in fewest opponent passing yards allowed and top 20 in forcing turnovers, and is a passing team facing a defense ranked 113th against the pass that is catching seven points? Give me the dog.
Illinois at Minnesota (-14.5)
Illinoi is a run-only team and is not even that good at it, ranking 51st in rushing yards per game. The Golden Gophers are seventh in rushing defense and have the 14th best rushing offense. Illinois is 68th against the run.
This is a huge mismatch on paper. Minnesota is top 55 in points per play, red-zone scores and touchdowns scored. The Fighting Illini are in the bottom 15 in all scoring categories. P.J. Fleck’s squad has allowed 16 points or fewer in five of its last six games, while Illinois has scored 14 points or less in two of its last three road games. Gophers RB Trey Potts will wear this defense down.
LSU at Alabama (-28.5)
This doesn’t require too much explanation. The LSU Tigers are 44th in points per play, bottom 30 in red-zone attempts, 79th in red-zone scores and barely cracks the top 50 in touchdowns scored. The Crimson Tide is ranked second in touchdowns, scoring 42 points or more in each of its games at home. Good luck.
Wisconsin (-13) at Rutgers
The Badgers are top 20 in rushing yards with RBs Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen. Rutgers has faced other rushing squads, losing to Michigan 20-13 and beating Syracuse17-7. The difference is the defense. The Scarlet Knights are a run-team first, ranked 83rd in rushing yards and led by RB Isaih Pacheco. Wisconsin is ranked No. 1 in the FBS in defending the run, allowing 49.6 rushing yards per game and just 1.7 yards per carry.
Wisconsin is top 20 in fewest opponent points per play, second best in fewest opponent red-zone attempts and red-zone scores, and third best in touchdowns allowed. I don’t see how Rutgers can score.
Wake Forest at North Carolina (-2.5)
Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman is an absolute beast. He is 10th in passing yards with 22 total touchdowns and just three interceptions. Five of those scores, however, came against Army in an insane 70-56 win. The Tar Heels may not be able to contain such a high-octane offense, but UNC is ranked in the top 50 in passing yards allowed. The key will be the ground game. UNC is top 30 in rushing yards and yards per carry. RB Ty Chandler leads the team in rushing yards, while QB Sam Howell is right behind him. The two have combined for 15 of the team's 17 total rushing scores.
Wake against mobile QBs this season: beat Syracuse by three at home and beat Louisville by three at home. This is on the road and WF is bottom 30 against the run. UNC needs to keep the ball out of Hartman’s hands and stick to the ground game. And also, Howell at home? A boss with 15 touchdowns and three interceptions compared to just four touchdowns and four interceptions on the road.
Wake Forest at North Carolina UNDER 77
Sticking to the idea that Mack Brown will ride the ground game in this one. If you drain the clock, Hartman can’t score. Hold your nose.
LSU at Alabama UNDER 67
Alabama could potentially score this on its own. However, at some point, Nick Saban will call off the dogs.