This college football predictions post is also hosted on our sister site, LastWordOnCollegefootball.com
There are only two ranked battles this week, but both are blockbuster match-ups — they of course are Alabama-LSU, along with Ohio State-Nebraska. In addition to those, we are also looking at two more SEC battles — Georgia-Kentucky and Florida-Arkansas. As our fifth and final game, we will be predicting a potential surprise in the Big 12, where Kansas State is favored over Oklahoma State. Our experts Steen Kirby, Yesh Ginsburg, John Bava, and Mike Loveall are on hand to offer previews and predictions of all the key games.
Tailgate Pick ‘Em Week 10 College Football Predictions Including Alabama-LSU
#18 Oklahoma State at Kansas State (Saturday 12:00 P.M.)
Line: Kansas State by 2.5* (lines as of Tuesday afternoon)
Yesh: Oklahoma State is fresh off a big win over West Virginia, but now has to travel to face Bill Snyder’s team, which suddenly has third place in the Big 12 within reach if it wins its next two games. Kansas State often struggles against Air Raid style offenses, but that’s not really what Oklahoma State has. I think a rowdy home stadium and a bit of a hangover for Oklahoma State leads to an upset here (by rankings, not by the spread).
Kansas State 27, Oklahoma State 21
Steen: Not sure why the Wildcats are favored in this one, besides being at home. KSU has lost to the good teams they have played including West Virginia and Oklahoma, and are clearly a step down the Big 12 ladder. Bill Snyder’s underdog squad will make a bowl game, but Oklahoma State is clearly superior on the offensive side of the ball. Four straight wins, including a win over West Virginia, have put the Cowboys into the Big 12 title race and a possible New Year’s Six bowl berth. I don’t see Mason Rudolph and company slipping up now.
Oklahoma State 45, Kansas State 28
John: Oklahoma State seems to have recovered well from their controversial early season loss to Central Michigan. They’ve won five of their last six including a 37-20 upset of West Virginia last week. Quarterback Mason Rudolph has been stellar in that span, throwing 13 touchdowns to just one interception.
But Rudolph and the Cowboys offense are in for a challenge in Manhattan this weekend. Kansas State’s defense is among the stingiest in the Big 12 and that’s saying something in a conference not known for exceptional play on that side of the football. Senior defensive lineman Jordan Willis has eight sacks which is tied for eighth best nationally.
Rudolph struggled against a relatively stout Baylor defense in the Pokes only loss in conference play. It’s possible he could be in for more of the same against the ‘Cats.
Kansas State 27, Oklahoma State 24
Mike: Oklahoma State continues to under-appreciated after a controversial loss to Central Michigan earlier this season. The Pokes were home underdogs last week against undefeated West Virginia, whom they dispatched by three scores. This week, they travel to Manhattan to face a Kansas State team that lost to the Mountaineers, and hasn’t beaten a Power 5 team by more than six points. Mike Gundy’s teams play best when they have a chip on their shoulder, and being an underdog to a Wildcats team that is struggle to find a rhythm offensively should provide that motivation.
Oklahoma State 42, Kansas State 24
#11 Florida at Arkansas (Saturday 3:30 P.M.)
Line: Florida by 5.5
Yesh: I really know nothing about Florida. The defense seems good, but it hasn’t done anything against any even half-decent teams. Arkansas put up 30 on Alabama. It shouldn’t have any trouble lighting up Florida’s defense.
Arkansas 37, Florida 13
Steen: Despite Arkansas not being ranked, the SEC East is the worst Power Five division in CFB, and I’m not sure Florida is the #11 team in the nation. The Razorbacks are at home after getting shellacked by Auburn, while the Gators come off a rivalry win where they wore down Georgia in Jacksonville. Arkansas is much better than their showing last week against Auburn, while Florida is worse than their current record. It’s tough to pick Arkansas after how bad they got beat last week, but I’m going to anyway.
Arkansas 27, Florida 21
Mike: Realistically, for the Gators to win the SEC East all they need is a win over either Arkansas or LSU. Florida has a two-game lead over Kentucky and Tennessee. Arkansas is out of the SEC West race, but still looking to make some noise on the national scene. A little under the radar, Arkansas’ three losses are to three teams ranked first, fourth, and ninth in the CFP rankings. Meanwhile, Florida’s best win of the season is either Kentucky or Vanderbilt. That’s not a strong statement. Their loss to Tennessee doesn’t give them much credibility right now, either. Key here will be whether Arkansas’ offensive line can protect Austin Allen against a great Florida defensive front. If so, Arkansas will win this game.
Arkansas 27, Florida 24
John: Florida head coach Jim McElwain has always been known for being a great offensive mind. But it’s his defense that has his team in line for its second straight SEC East title. With the exception of their loss to Tennessee, the Gators have yet to concede more than 14 points in any of their previous seven games.
That unit’s in for a challenge against Arkansas’ prolific offense led by quarterback Austin Allen. The Fayetteville native is averaging 256 yards per game which is third best in the SEC. He also has the conference’s second-highest quarterback rating (149.58) among quarterbacks who’ve appeared in at least 75 percent of his team’s games.
If the Hogs can protect Allen, they have a shot at an upset. The problem is they’re second worst in the SEC in sacks allowed (21). Ultimately, that hurts them against UF.
Florida 31, Arkansas 24
Georgia at Kentucky (Saturday 7:30 P.M.)
Line: Georgia by 2
Yesh: Georgia faces Kentucky, which sits in second place in the SEC East. How did it come to this? Tennessee has collapsed, and Georgia is nowhere near as good as expected this season. Still, Kentucky is not a good team. A front-loaded division schedule, along with a cross-division game against Mississippi State, has put Kentucky in this position. But the Wildcats are not a particularly good team and are far less talented than Georgia. A Kentucky win here would put Kirby Smart on a very hot seat very early in his tenure.
Georgia 41, Kentucky 17
Steen: Kentucky started 0-2 after losses to Southern Miss, and the aforementioned Florida Gators. Mark Stoops was on the hot seat, and it already looked time for Big Blue Nation to look towards basketball season. The Wildcats have turned things around in a huge way though, scoring four SEC wins to move to second place in the weak SEC East division. Georgia and Tennessee remain on their conference slate, and both teams are in a free fall. If the Wildcats win out, they could be in the SEC title game.
Georgia is still breaking in young players, and they have taken their licks this season. After a strong 3-0 start the Bulldogs are just 1-4 in their last five and traveling to Lexington isn’t going to help. Georgia has lost three games this year when held under three scores. Mark Stoops specialty is defense, and unless UGA finds an answer, Kentucky will eke this out.
Kentucky 21, Georgia 17
John: This match-up is intriguing in that Kentucky is a half game behind Florida for the SEC East lead. It would’ve been hard to believe the Wildcats would be in that situation after a week one loss to Southern Miss followed by a blowout defeat against Florida. But they’re now on a three-game winning streak and come into this game riding a lot of momentum.
Georgia, on the other hand, appear to be flailing at this point. They’ve dropped four of their last five including a 24-10 loss to Florida in Jacksonville last week. The honeymoon is officially over for first year head coach Kirby Smart, who faces a must win in Lexington.
Kentucky will be looking for just their third win since 1997 against the Bulldogs. Georgia will prevent it if they can get their run game energized after a dismal performance against the Gators.
Georgia 24, Kentucky 20
Mike: The most intriguing game of the week. After a slow start to the season, Kentucky has found their rhythm and sit in second place in the SEC East and one win away from bowl eligibility. With FCS Austin Peay still on the schedule, there is no real pressure on Kentucky. The offense will play loose. Meanwhile, Georgia, after parting ways with Mark “10 wins” Richt in the off-season, finds themselves at 4-4 and 9th ranked Auburn coming up next week. If Georgia can’t win against Kentucky, their bowl eligibility will most likely come down to a rivalry week match-up with Georgia Tech. Added to this pressure is the reported meeting between Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and offensive coordinator Jim Cheney this week. While all the momentum favors the Wildcats, the talent and match-up favor the Bulldogs.
Georgia 31, Kentucky 28
#10 Nebraska at #6 Ohio State (Saturday 8:00 P.M.)
Line: Ohio State by 17.5
Yesh: Ohio State by three scores over Nebraska made sense a month ago. Now, with the Buckeyes offensive line unable to get any sort of rhythm or traction whatsoever, it seems far less likely. Ohio State is still more talented and should win, but Tommy Armstrong Jr. is certainly talented enough to keep this game a lot closer than 17 points.
Ohio State 27, Nebraska 21
Steen: The oddsmakers do not believe in Nebraska, despite the Huskers only losing a close game to Wisconsin on the road. Still, the big red machine aren’t out of the CFB playoff discussion, and if they win this game, they are still on a path to the Big 10 title game. Ohio State has been challenged for three straight weeks and looks a bit unsteady at the moment. They lost to Penn State, and barely slipped past Northwestern. The Buckeyes were rolling earlier in the season, and I still think they will find a way to beat Nebraska, given superior coaching, but this game will be closer than the line.
Ohio State 28, Nebraska 24
John: The Horseshoe will be rocking for Saturday’s prime time showdown between two top ten teams. Ohio State will be looking to hand Nebraska their second straight road loss after the Huskers fell to Wisconsin in overtime last week. Both teams appear to have the inside track towards a CFP appearance if they can run the table.
OSU will win if they can finally get some consistent play out of their offense which has been sluggish the past two weeks. It’s one of the reasons the Buckeyes got knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten against Penn State. Simply put, this team needs to be better in the red zone. They rank 58th nationally in touchdown conversion percentage from inside their opponent’s 20.
If good Tommy Armstrong Jr. shows up, the Huskers have a chance. That said, expect the Buckeyes to prevail as the inevitable clash with Michigan gets closer and closer.
Ohio State 41, Nebraska 20
Mike: That’s a big line for a team that hasn’t looked particularly good in the last two weeks against Penn State and Northwestern. Sure, the Buckeyes have more talent on their scout team than most teams have in their starting line-up, but Nebraska played Northwestern better and Wisconsin within one score. With a Buckeye offense struggling to put everything together facing an improved Cornhusker defense, expect this to be a lower scoring affair. While the Buckeyes likely prevail, giving them two and a half touchdowns is a lot to ask for.
Ohio State 27, Nebraska 14
#1 Alabama at #13 LSU (Saturday 8:00 P.M.)
Line: Alabama by 7.5
Yesh: This game seems to be a huge one every year. LSU looks good, and with losses to two Top 10 teams, it looks like the school might have fired Les Miles early. Can this be the first defense to stop Alabama this year? I’m going to go out on a huge limb and say yes. This D-line is good. As long as Danny Etling can avoid mistakes, LSU should be able to shock the world here.
LSU 21, Alabama 14
Steen: Playing at home will help the Bayou Bengals, as will star running back Leonard Fournette, who wants nothing more than to rock the CFB world and knock off king Alabama. Unless you’re a Bama fan, you have to be rooting for the loveable Cajun Ed Orgeron to knock off the methodical Nick Saban, and perhaps cement himself as more than in interim head coach in the process. LSU has all the talent, and the offense has put up 38+ in all of their games since the firing of Les Miles.
Alabama is a machine in their own right, they haven’t lost a game, and only Ole Miss has played them close this season. LSU will be the second team to play close if you ask me, but the Tide look to be too strong this year, even for a talented LSU team that may be finally playing up to its potential.
Alabama 35, LSU 28
John: Alabama will be facing a top-20 opponent for the fourth straight game when they take on LSU in Baton Rouge. The previous three haven’t particularly tested the Crimson Tide whose average margin of victory in those games was just over 25 points. Two came on the road, demonstrating that Nick Saban’s team isn’t afraid to play away from Tuscaloosa.
The Tigers look like a team capable of pulling off an upset. They’re unbeaten since Ed Orgeron took over as interim head coach, and their only two losses to Wisconsin and Auburn have come by a combined seven points. Last time out, Leonard Fournette set a school record, rushing for 284 yards in a 38-21 win over Ole Miss.
Both teams are coming off bye weeks. It’s no surprise that Fournette will have to be at his best if LSU want to win this one. However, Bama just has too much talent on both sides of the ball and should come away victorious.
Alabama 38, LSU 31
Mike: Staying in the SEC, the nation’s top ranked team travels to Baton Rouge in a game that has, in recent years, been one of the marquee match-ups in college football. Not much to say about Alabama that hasn’t been said elsewhere. Their defense is dominating, led by all-galaxy defensive end Jonathan Allen. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has added another dimension to the Lane Kiffin offense. The Tigers have clawed their way back after disappointing losses to Wisconsin and Auburn, the latter of which cost Les Miles his job. Those losses look much better in the rear view mirror, but it’s clear LSU doesn’t have the same potential as the Tide. Alabama will force Danny Etling to prove he can beat them by assigning their entire front seven to stopping Leonard Fournette. A game of field position allows Alabama to squeeze out another win on their march to Tampa.
Alabama 26, LSU 17