Published 7:35 am ET November 7, 2020
USA TODAY Sports Mackenzie Salmon talks about the team that has a chance to make it to the CFB playoffs.
Unexpected performances and unexpected results are predicted every weekend in the wild world of college football. Even if everyone knew they were coming, it was difficult to guess when and where.
USA TODAY Sports college football staff – Jace Evans, Paul Myerberg, Brent Schrotenboer, Erick Smith, Eddie Timanus and Dan Wolken – weighed in with some bold predictions for Week 10 of the season:
Clemson will play the match on Saturday under the lights at historic Notre Dame Stadium without star midfielder Trevor Lawrence, still disqualified as he follows the ACC protocols after a positive test with COVID-19. The situation seems to be in favor of Fighting Irish # 4, but I think the Tigers will still win the game – in a losing streak.
Introduced DJ Uiagalelei made a strong impression on last week’s win over Boston College, showing a bit of panic as the Tigers fell behind early before staging one of the bigger comebacks in school history. The high-pressure experience Uiagalelei had in his match against the Eagles would prove valuable to this environment, but it was the other side of the ball that would make this match a joke.
Crime at Notre Dame can sometimes get bogged down, and in its most recent home game, Ireland netted 12 points against a mediocre Louisville squad. While Fighting Irish can handle the ball well, they are 71st in terms of attacking passes. Will Ian Book and Co. Can you really make it through the match with the # 1 Tigers? That doesn’t seem like a safe bet, and that could put ND fans in South Bend a long night out.
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Michigan recovered from last week’s loss to Michigan State with a win over Indiana. While it may not technically be unsatisfactory (Wolverines are a favorite on the pitch) beating the Hoosiers will remove some of the stinging flavors from losing to rival Sparta and put Michigan in. the second best team in the East League. It doesn’t say much about Wolverines’ chances of defeating the State of Ohio, but still remains.
Saturday mornings before 10am were almost as dead as day in Los Angeles. But here we have Southern California hosting the State of Arizona at 9am Pacific time, part of the Pac-12 Conference’s mission to become more relevant to the post-noon television public on the Coast. Bronze. It was a full-back match to kick off the season for both teams: USC’s Kedon Slovis vs. USC. ASU’s Jayden Daniels, both sophomores are capable of taking over a match like this. The odd timing and the empty stadium won’t give Trojan any favors on home turf, making Daniels easily derail any playoff trains Trojan had hoped to get on.
Texas A&M has played very well through five games with a lone loss to Alabama on the road. However, the brightest moments came in the friendly area of Kyle Field. Aggies must now travel to South Carolina and avoid a possible attack. They will have midfield experience with Kellen Mond, although he can be inconsistent at times. But will A&M, a company that loves two digits, skip Gamecocks?
It will do so at its own risk. Will Muschamp’s team is playing steadily and firmly against an opponent in the top 10 in the presence of the fans. Gamecocks took a week off to deal with LSU loss issues. Some solid gameplay from midfielder Collin Hill is crucial. He’ll do enough to keep it close and maybe even more to stun Aggies.
You’ve certainly noticed that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is a popular punching bag for pig skin professionals this week.
Of course, this is not unreasonable. Wolverines’ defeat to Michigan State was sudden and not dramatic.
Michigan’s upcoming rival, by contrast, has been topping the cup of the college football world. Indiana ranked 13th in this week’s Amway Coaches poll, which is the highest ranking since USA TODAY started holding poll in 1991 and was first 2-0 behind in the Big Ten since – please wait for it – 1991.
Well, get ready for the reality check. Hoosiers, let’s face it, probably shouldn’t win that Penn State game – and I don’t mean just because that two-point try in OT can actually be very short. Nittany Lions outstripped IU by 488 yards to 211 and got his first 11 kills but was made back by some costly mistakes. Joining a Michigan team was already marked and also more talented than the Hoosiers.
Sorry to be a fan of the Hoosiers, but Michigan won this big one.
Then the clouds
The Liberty story has passed a bit this season, but Hugh Freeze has built a pretty good team on his personal redemption tour. Flames ranks 21st nationally in terms of yards per game but is also very defensive, allowing only 294 yards and 21.3 points per game. Virginia Tech is certainly more talented than the teams Liberty has played so far with a 6-0, but Flames showed in a 38-21 win at Syracuse that they won’t necessarily be overwhelmed by scale and speed. ACC level. Virginia Tech had a really ups and downs season at some level but should feel pretty good winning 42-35 last week. However, this is a great opportunity for Liberty to deal with sadness and I think they will complete it in Blacksburg.