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Chipper’s College Football Picks: Week 10

Thomas Smith and Ryan McCrary

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As the first official College Football Playoffs rankings have come out, Thomas Smith and Ryan McCrary, the sports writers of the Chipper, have started a weekly college football picks column.

#13 West Virginia Mountaineers (6-1)

#17 Texas Longhorns (6-2)

Smith: Texas

While I have no doubt that West Virginia’s high powered offense can get them on the board, I don’t trust the Mountaineer’s defense to get it done. The Longhorn offense has been phenomenal this year, scoring 48 points against a good Oklahoma team and averaging over 30 points a game this season. Home field advantage also favors the Longhorns.

Texas 35 West Virginia 31

McCrary: West Virginia

Starting quarterback Will Grier will bounce back from a rough few games and have a big game. Grier should have a field day with the Longhorn’s sub-par pass defense. The Mountaineers’ defense isn’t trustworthy, but I believe their offense will do enough to secure a victory.

West Virginia 41 Texas 31

 

#6 Georgia Bulldogs (7-1)

#9 Kentucky Wildcats (7-1)

Smith: Georgia

If Kentucky’s offense wasn’t absolutely terrible, this might be a close one. Their defense has won all of their games this season. The Wildcat D ranks 1st in the nation in points allowed and 10th in total yards allowed. Georgia’s offense has been average over the past few weeks but their defense will completely dominate Kentucky. I predict the Bulldog offense will get hot in the second half due to how much Kentucky’s defense will be on the field. Georgia will run away with this one.

Georgia 28 Kentucky 10

McCrary: Georgia

For the past two weeks Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has struggled to find a balance with their run and passing attacks. This week that changes. I expect Georgia to dominate in the run game and throw the ball 15-25 times. Georgia has to trust sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm to throw the ball more. If they do, they will score 25+ points and win the game. The only way I see Georgia losing is if they struggle in the trenches and allow Kentucky running back Benny Snell to run all over them.

Georgia 24 Kentucky 13

 

#16 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2)

Purdue Boilermakers (6-2)

Smith: Iowa

Iowa’s defense has been spectacular this season and their offense hasn’t been bad either. The Hawkeyes defense is ranked 11th in points allowed and ranked 18th in passing yards given up. Purdue lost to Michigan State last week, but had played very well before that. They have one of the top passing attacks in the nation (ranked 11th nationally), but will have a hard time against a great Iowa D. Look for quarterback Nate Stanley and Iowa’s offense to score frequently against Purdue’s sub-par defense.

Iowa 31 Purdue 17

McCrary: Iowa

Had Purdue not lost to Michigan State last week, I might pick them here. However, their 4 game win streak ended and I don’t see them being able to do a whole lot on offense against Iowa’s 6th ranked total defense.

Iowa 28 Purdue 10

 

#14 Penn State Nittany Lions (6-2)

#5 Michigan Wolverines (7-1)

Smith: Michigan

Penn State’s phenom quarterback Trace McSorley will have to have a magical game to pull this one off. Michigan’s pass defense is 1st in the nation and their offense has found its rhythm lately with the emergence of quarterback Shea Patterson. Penn State’s offensive line will struggle against a stout Michigan defensive line lead by Rashan Gary. Expect Penn State to struggle moving the ball, as Michigan wins to keep their playoff chances alive.

Michigan 21 Penn State 10

McCrary: Michigan

Penn State will miss departed star running back Saquon Barkley a lot as they face a tremendous Michigan defense. Michigan has been phenomenal this season after their week one loss to Notre Dame. The Wolverines have improved offensively and quarterback Shea Patterson has come alive recently. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley won’t be able to outlast the #1 pass defense in this matchup.

Michigan 27 Penn State 14

 

Louisville Cardinals (2-6)

#2 Clemson Tigers (8-0)

Smith: Clemson

Clemson has been incredible ever since making the decision to start true freshman and Cartersville High School graduate Trevor Lawrence. He has been phenomenal this season, throwing for 16 touchdowns, already breaking the Clemson single season touchdown record for true freshmen. The running game has helped the Tigers tremendously. Sophomore Travis Etienne is averaging 106 yards per game and has 15 total touchdowns through only 8 games. Not to mention that Clemson has one of the best defenses in college football. The Tigers defense is ranked 3rd in yards given up and tied for 1st in points given up. Louisville has been a disappointment all season. After the departure of former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, the Cardinals have been forced to rely on sophomore quarterback Jawon Pass. He has thrown more interceptions than he has touchdowns. The Louisville D has been atrocious this season, ranking 102nd in yards given up and 115th in points given up. This will be a blowout.

Clemson 61 Louisville 10

McCrary: Clemson

Before Clemson played NC State, I would’ve told you that Clemson didn’t look like a true playoff team; however, that has changed. True freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been fantastic since being named Clemson’s starter. Lawrence has made a name for himself by carving up secondaries like a Thanksgiving turkey. Clemson also has 4 defensive linemen that are expected to go in the 1st round of the NFL draft. They will not give first year quarterback Jawon Pass the time he’ll need to make plays. I give Clemson a 112% chance to win this game.

Clemson 54 Louisville 6

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-4)

North Carolina Tar Heels (1-6)

Smith: Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech has played well recently, especially last week in their 49-28 route of Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium. They are ranked 1st in the nation in rushing yards per game and ranked 19th in points per game. North Carolina has had an awful year and ranks 101st nationally in rushing defense. Look for Tech to expose the Tar Heels’ weak run defense and put up close to 400 rushing yards on the game.

Georgia Tech 38 North Carolina 17

McCrary: Georgia Tech

North Carolina is one of the worst Power 5 teams in college football. They will struggle to contain Georgia Tech’s triple option offense which has multiple 600 yard games. Tech will have a good chance to score 40 points this weekend.

Georgia Tech 45 North Carolina 10

 

#20 Texas A&M Aggies (5-3)

Auburn Tigers (5-3)

Smith: Auburn

Now, I know what you’re saying, “Auburn’s been terrible!” And, yes they have been, but look for the Tigers to bounce back big in a tough game against the Aggies. Jarrett Stidham is not a bad quarterback, he just hasn’t been able to experience his full potential in offensive coordinator Chip Lindsay’s predictable offense. I expect head coach Gus Malzahn to get more involved in the offensive playbook this week in hopes of keeping his job. The strong Auburn defense will keep them in this game.

Auburn 21 Texas A&M 20

McCrary: Auburn

Last week Auburn’s offense played well and put up 30 points for the first time since playing Arkansas. If the Tigers’ offensive line and their playcalling stays less predictable, I expect Auburn to have a chance to upset the Aggies. The Aggies need to pick it back up after losing to Mississippi State last week. Quarterback Kellen Mond has to throw the ball and take advantage of Auburn’s horrible secondary.

Auburn 23 Texas A&M 17

 

#4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-0)

Northwestern Wildcats (5-3)

Smith: Northwestern

The Fighting Irish have a tough game in their hands this weekend as they take on the underrated Northwestern Wildcats. Wildcats’ senior quarterback Clayton Thorson has been good despite battling an injury all season. He has thrown for over 2000 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Northwestern defense has only given up 24 points per game this season and looks to continue that against Notre Dame. Northwestern is on a 4 game win streak with wins against, at the respective times, #20 Michigan State and #20 Wisconsin. The Wildcats look to pull the upset at home against a stout Notre Dame team.

Northwestern 31 Notre Dame 28

McCrary: Notre Dame

Northwestern is having a really nice year as they’re currently one of the top teams in the Big 10. They just upset Wisconsin but a 2nd top 20 upset is not in their future. Notre Dame looks like a serious playoff team this year. Quarterback Ian Brook has taken the Fighting Irish’s offense to another level. Brook only has 4 interceptions this season, and if Notre Dame can win the turnover battle, they should come out with the victory. Notre Dame wins by their defense, which allows only 19.1 points and 194.4 pass yards per game. Northwestern would have to force some turnovers and run the ball well to have a chance at winning.

Notre Dame 31 Northwestern 14

 

Stanford Cardinal (5-3)

Washington Huskies (6-3)

Smith: Washington

Washington might be the most talented 3 loss team in the nation. Their defense is loaded with talent and their offense is very good too. The Huskies’ D ranks 8th in points given up and 11th in yards given up. The Stanford defense on the other hand, has struggled to say the least. Look for senior quarterback Jake Browning and company to air it out against a Stanford D that ranks 112th in passing yards given up.

Washington 35 Stanford 21

McCrary: Washington

Both teams have fallen off recently. I don’t love either team, but I trust Washington’s defense enough to get them through this game. If Browning plays well, they will win by double digits.

Washington 21 Stanford 10

 

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)

#3 LSU Tigers (7-1)

Smith: Alabama

Alabama is the best team in the country, by far! They are putting up an average of 54 points per game (1st in the nation) and averaging 564 yards per game (2nd in the nation). This is all thanks to Heisman favorite quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He has thrown for over 2000 yards and accounted for 27 total touchdowns. The most impressive thing about Tagovailoa is that through eight games he hasn’t thrown a single interception. That could very well change against an LSU team that has one of the best secondaries in college football. I don’t think Alabama will have any trouble scoring against LSU, especially with the Tigers missing star linebacker Devin White for the first half, but they probably won’t put up 54.

Alabama 38 LSU 17

McCrary: Alabama

Alabama has Tua Tagovailoa, LSU will miss one of their best defensive players, Devin White, for the first half, and Joe Burrow will not play well against Alabama’s defensive line. The 14 point spread in favor of Alabama is generous in my opinion.

Alabama 42 LSU 21

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