NCAA Week 10 Early Lookahead: All Eyes Turn to Alabama-LSU

Matthew Jordan

Friday, October 26, 2018 12:48 PM UTC

Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 12:48 PM UTC

Here’s a quick look at some interesting Week 10 college football matchups, all of which SBR will have covered in one way or another.

No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 LSU

5Dimes opening line: Tide -14.5

This is realistically the only chance Alabama has of losing before the conference title game – sorry, mediocre Auburn isn’t winning in Tuscaloosa in the Iron Bowl. LSU’s defense is just as good as Alabama’s, but the offenses aren’t close. Although, the Tigers’ defense will be missing star LB Devin White for the first half Saturday due to a targeting call vs. Mississippi State. That’s a big loss as he’s a likely very high 2019 NFL first-round pick.

In a way, the best thing that could happen to the SEC might be LSU winning here very close. Let’s say the Tigers do that and win out, including the SEC title game over likely either Florida or Georgia. Obviously, LSU is then in the College Football Playoff. But so, almost surely, would be a one-loss Tide just like last year.

Remember that horrible 9-6 LSU overtime win at Alabama on Nov. 5, 2011? The Tigers haven’t win in the series since and only two have been decided by single digits. Last year, the Tide won 24-10 at home. LSU actually outgained Bama 306-299 and was much better on third down (9-for-19 compared to 5-for-14).

Look for SBR's preview Tuesday.

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There is clear evidence of collusion and of course it’s between ⁦@SEC⁩ and ⁦@AlabamaFTBL⁩ . I won’t stand for it. Read my latest in ⁦@theadvocatebr⁩ tonight. #GeauxTigers https://t.co/cOY2cweauT

— James Carville (@JamesCarville) October 22, 2018
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No. 3 Notre Dame at Northwestern

5Dimes opening line: Irish -7.5

Why does this feel like a mega-dangerous game for the Irish? They come off a trip across country to San Diego to face Navy and this is ahead of what should be a tougher test on Nov. 10 vs. improving Florida State. Northwestern is extremely well-coached and rarely beats itself. Shoot, if you asked most Wildcats players privately what they would prefer: Ending Notre Dame’s College Football Playoff hopes or winning the Big Ten West, I’m thinking most would say the former. Remember, too, Northwestern nearly beat visiting Michigan on Sept. 29.

Northwestern has just nine wins in 46 games vs. Notre Dame but has won the past two, albeit in 2014 and 1995. That ’14 game was wild, with the Wildcats upsetting the No. 15 Irish 43-40 in OT. Notre Dame is 20-3 in the series when its ranked and NW isn’t.

No. 14 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan

5Dimes opening line: Wolverines -11

The Nittany Lions’ chances of winning the Big Ten East are gone thanks to losses to Ohio State and Michigan State, both games that PSU should have won, but they could still play in a New Year’s Six Bowl if they win out – and they will be favored in their final three regular season games (vs. Wisconsin, at Rutgers, vs. Maryland) after this one.

On the flip side, the road is clear for Michigan after this one – at Rutgers vs. Indiana -- ahead of the mega-showdown in Columbus on Nov. 24. The Wolverines are rolling after dominating Michigan State on Oct. 20, and are off their bye.

Last year, Penn State ended a three-game losing streak in the series and beat Michigan 42-13 when the Lions were ranked No. 2 and Wolverines No. 19. That was easily UM’s worst loss of 2017. Saquon Barkley had three TDs and the Lions 506 yards of offense.

No. 12 West Virginia at No. 15 Texas

5Dimes summer line: Horns -1.5

Huge one in the Big 12 as it seems likely that two of West Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma (all three tied for first at 4-1 in conference play) will meet in the conference title game. WVU has just one road game left: at the Sooners on Nov. 23. Texas already took care of OU but should win its final three after this: at Texas Tech (possibly tricky), vs. Iowa State and at Kansas. I think you can put the Longhorns in the Big 12 title game with a win here.

WVU on a bit of extra rest here after thumping Baylor 58-14 on Thursday. The Mountaineers blew it open by outscoring the Bears 31-0 in the second quarter. West Virginia had 10 first-half drives, totaled 435 yards by the break and 568 overall. Basically, a complete opposite performance than vs. Iowa State. Playing at home will do that.

Since West Virginia joined the Big 12, it has split six meetings vs. Texas. The Mountaineers were ranked 24th last year but upset 28-14 at home. They were blanked in the first half largely due to losing star QB Will Grier to injury in the first quarter. Backup Chris Chugunov was pretty bad. Sam Ehlinger threw two TD passes for the Horns.

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