What to watch: Week 10 college football viewing guide, picks against the spread

Every week throughout the season we’ll give you a college football viewing guide by highlighting the five best games of the coming weekend. We will pick those five games against the spread and highlight some other matchups that caught our eye from a betting perspective.

Now that we've got all of the arguing from the first set of College Football Playoff rankings out of our systems, it's time to turn the focus to Week 10.

There are two massive matchups on the schedule, both in the SEC. Tennessee, the newly minted No. 1 in the CFP rankings, will head to Athens to face No. 3 Georgia, the defending national champions. Tennessee has passed every test it has been presented with this season. Can the Vols do it again?

Elsewhere, No. 6 Alabama is headed to Baton Rouge to face No. 10 LSU. LSU is outperforming expectations in its first season under Brian Kelly, and now the Tigers have the chance to pull off a monster upset and step into the pole position in the SEC West.

Another top team, No. 4 Clemson, is on upset alert in South Bend and is one of numerous other ranked teams in a potential flat spot against an unranked opponent.

Let’s see what this weekend has in store.

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

Texas Tech at No. 7 TCU

Time: Noon | TV: Fox | Line: TCU -9.5 | Total: 69.5

There aren’t any standout games in the noon window on Saturday, but this feels like it potentially could be a tricky spot for TCU. Somewhat controversially, TCU came in at No. 7 in the CFP rankings despite an 8-0 record. The Horned Frogs just keep winning games, but their last four games have been decided by 10 points or fewer. With an early local start, could this be a dreaded flat spot for TCU?

Through four Big 12 games, Texas Tech was very competitive. The Red Raiders upset Texas, lost close ones on the road to Kansas State and Oklahoma State and then demolished West Virginia. But last week, TTU got blown out at home by Baylor as freshman quarterback Behren Morton was limited to 152 yards and three interceptions on 11-of-34 throwing. It was an uncharacteristic performance from Joey McGuire’s team. Could a bounce-back effort be coming?

Nick Bromberg: TCU -9.5, Sam Cooper: Texas Tech +9.5

No. 1 Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia

Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: CBS | Line: UGA -8 | Total: 66.5

Tennessee’s rise to No. 1 in the CFP rankings has been remarkable, and now the Vols have the chance to put themselves in the driver’s seat in the SEC East and take another step closer to a playoff berth. To this point in the year, Tennessee has passed every test. The Vols held off Florida at home, went on the road and crushed LSU, had a massive upset of Alabama at home and then took care of business against Kentucky. Can Hendon Hooker and company do it again, this time against the defending national champions?

While Tennessee has beaten five ranked opponents, Georgia hasn’t faced a ranked team since its Week 1 demolition of Oregon. There have been a few underwhelming efforts along the way, but the Bulldogs seem to have kicked things back into high gear in recent weeks. In their last three games, the Bulldogs have beaten Auburn 42-10, Vanderbilt 55-0 and Florida 42-20. In the win over Florida, Georgia amassed 555 yards of offense that included 239 rushing yards and 154 receiving yards from star tight end Brock Bowers. A similar effort could be required in this one to vault the Bulldogs to a commanding perch atop the SEC East standings.

Nick: Tennessee +8, Sam: Georgia -8

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 in Columbia, Mo.(AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Georgia tight end Brock Bowers during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 in Columbia, Mo.(AP Photo/Colin E. Braley) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

No. 6 Alabama at No. 10 LSU

Time: 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Line: Alabama -13.5 | Total: 56.5

As consequential as the Tennessee-Georgia game is for the SEC East, the Alabama-LSU game is for the SEC West. LSU, Ole Miss and Alabama are all tied for first place in the division with 4-1 SEC records. But LSU already has a head-to-head victory over Ole Miss, so a win over mighty Alabama would put LSU in a tremendous position to get to the SEC title game. LSU’s offense seems to have taken a big step in its last two games — a 45-35 win over Florida and a 45-20 win over Ole Miss. Was that the product of facing two subpar defenses? Or have the Tigers really turned a corner? We’ll find out Saturday night.

Alabama, meanwhile, is looming in the background and ready to close the regular season strong. Thanks to that loss in Knoxville a few weeks ago, the Crimson Tide were ranked No. 6 in the initial CFP rankings but have the chance to make up ground in the coming weeks. Not only does Alabama have LSU this week, but it will travel to Ole Miss next week. Win those two, and the Tide can pretty much wrap up the SEC West. Alabama is coming off a bye week with all of its goals still attainable.

Nick: LSU +13.5, Sam: LSU +13.5

No. 24 Texas at No. 13 Kansas State

Time: 7 p.m. | TV: FS1 | Line: UT -2.5 | Total: 54.5

Though TCU is sitting alone in first place in the Big 12, there are still several others jockeying for position to get to the conference championship game. And after blowing out Oklahoma State last week, Kansas State has a chance to significantly bolster its chance of getting to the Big 12 title game with Texas visiting on Saturday. Two weeks ago, K-State blew a double-digit halftime lead in a loss at TCU before rebounding with a 48-0 beatdown of the Cowboys. That win brought K-State to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play. K-State has played without starting QB Adrian Martinez for the last two weeks and it’s unclear if he'll be back for this one. His backup, Will Howard, has performed admirably in Martinez’s absence.

Texas, meanwhile, is 5-3 overall with a 3-2 mark in Big 12 play. Texas lost 20-19 to Alabama back in Week 2 and also has a three-point loss at Texas Tech and a 41-34 loss at Oklahoma State. The Longhorns were off last week, giving them a chance to regroup before this last month of the regular season. The week off also gave freshman QB Quinn Ewers an extra week to prepare for the K-State defense. Ewers was 19-of-49 with three interceptions against Oklahoma State in the first road start of his career.

Nick: K-State +2.5, Sam: K-State +2.5

No. 4 Clemson at Notre Dame

Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBC | Line: Clemson -3.5 | Total: 44.5

Clemson is 8-0 and in the thick of the playoff race with four games to play. The Tigers had a down year in 2021 but are trending toward another ACC title. This trip to Notre Dame won’t have any bearing on the ACC race, but Clemson needs this win to get back to the College Football Playoff. In Clemson’s last outing, Dabo Swinney pulled starting QB DJ Uiagalelei after Clemson fell behind Syracuse. The Tigers stormed back to win 27-21. Will Uiagalelei have another short leash if he struggles in South Bend?

Notre Dame, meanwhile, has had an up-and-down year in Marcus Freeman’s first season as head coach. The Irish started 0-2 but have since won five of their last six, but two of their losses came at home against bad teams — Marshall and Stanford. Last week, the Irish went on the road and took care of business against Syracuse, 41-24. The Irish ran for 246 yards, but QB Drew Pyne was just 9-of-19 for 116 yards. Clemson’s defense is much tougher against the run, so Pyne will need to step it up if the Irish want to pull off the upset.

Nick: Clemson -3.5, Sam: Clemson -3.5

Head-to-head ATS: Nick: 25-20, Sam: 25-20

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) celebrates his touchdown with tight end Davis Allen (84) during the second quarter of the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) celebrates his touchdown with tight end Davis Allen (84) during the second quarter of the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Week 10 best bets

Nick Bromberg (Last week: 1-2, Overall: 14-13)

No. 17 North Carolina (-7) at Virginia: I have no faith in Virginia at this point and my confidence in North Carolina and Drake Maye is growing. The Cavaliers’ offense is a shell of its former self so far this season and while UNC’s defense has been generous, I don’t know if that’s enough for UVA to keep up with the Tar Heels. Pick: North Carolina -7

UTSA (-1.5) at UAB: The Blazers are the home and away Jekyll and Hyde of the 2022 season. UAB is 4-4; all of its wins have come at home and all of its losses have come on the road. UAB hasn’t scored fewer than 34 points at home and UTSA has allowed at least 27 points in three of its last four games. Pick: Over 52

BYU at Boise State (-7.5): The Cougars are in the midst of a slide and I’m not sure it gets better in Week 10. BYU’s defense has taken a big step back and Boise State’s offense is much better after a midseason coordinator change. The Broncos have established themselves as the best team in the Mountain West after a slow start and continue their good run. Pick: Boise State -7.5

Sam Cooper (Last week: 2-1, Overall: 16-11)

Air Force (-7) at Army: It's two option teams. They run the ball. They know how to defend one another. The clock moves. The scores are low. Pick: Under 40.5

No. 20 Syracuse at Pitt (-3.5): Pitt is coming off back-to-back road losses where it had the lead entering the fourth quarter. Now back home, Pitt can get back on the right track against a Syracuse team that is a much better matchup and is dealing with a lot of injuries. Pick: Pitt -3.5

BYU at Boise State (-7.5): Boise State has a significant advantage in the trenches in this game. BYU’s defense has just been abysmal, especially against the run. I think the Broncos would love the chance to blow out a regional rival. Pick: Boise State -7.5

For other Week 10 picks from Sam Cooper, click here.

For Week 10 picks from Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger, subscribe to the College Football Enquirer.