#7 USC @ #16 UCLA
Matt: This is one of the biggest games that will determine whether or not the PAC-12 even has a chance at making the College Football Playoff. If USC can take down the Bruins, they will be in good shape. The Bruins slipped up last weekend against Arizona so they are out of the Playoff sweepstakes, but UCLA can still salvage the season. Beat USC and you have bragging rights for the rest of the year. This is one of the best rivalries in all of college football so it should be a fun one. USC comes in with an explosive offense but a subpar defense. The defense is going to need to be good if they want to take down UCLA. Whichever team wins the turnover battle is going to win this game. I think USC is just slightly the better team so I’ll lean towards the Trojans here to keep their Playoff hopes alive.
Marissa: With UCLA suffering their second loss of the season last week to Arizona, the Pac-12 conference continues to be widely unpredictable. Now, the Bruins get to welcome USC to town as the Trojans sit atop the conference with a 9-1 record and a chance at the College Football Playoffs. After the game last year that saw UCLA run over USC in a 62-33 win, the players still on the Trojans team that played last year will be bound to not let that happen again. The Bruins are great at getting pressure, but USC quarterback Caleb Williams is also one of the best quarterbacks against pressure. The Bruins will have to try to stop this offense that is scoring 42.4 points per game, and it will be just too much.
#10 Utah @ #12 Oregon
Matt: Man did Oregon cost themselves a great shot at the College Football Playoff. They let it literally slip away from themselves. Now they get Utah coming to town in what should be a fun matchup. The Ducks are still a very talented team and Bo Nix is going to need to ball out if they want to take down Utah. The Utes defense has been very good this season and will be ready for the Ducks offensive schemes. I think this will be a close game and Utah is a formidable opponent. However, I see the comfort of Autzen Stadium helps the Ducks here. Give me Oregon to hold serve and grab another big win.
Marissa: Utah and Oregon meet once again as the Ducks look to turn the page on losing to the Utes twice last season. Oregon didn’t have Bo Nix at quarterback in either of those losses, though, and Nix has had a great season so far with 2,775 yards and 24 touchdowns with only five interceptions. Yet Nix won’t be 100% for this matchup after suffering a knee injury in the loss to Washington last week. For Oregon to have a chance it relies on Nix to lead the offense, as the defense is giving up 27.4 points per game and now face Utah. The Utes have started playing some of their best football as of late, thanks to a balanced offensive attack of Cameron Rising through the air and Tavion Thomas on the ground. The Utes defense has been allowing only 20 points per game as well. Expect the Utes to continue this consistent play and get an upset win over Oregon.
#1 Georgia @ Kentucky
Matt: Kentucky needs to come out ready to go otherwise they are going to be down quickly. This Georgia team is arguably the best in the country and will be ready to go. Will Levis has had some up and downs this season so far and he will need to play the game of his life. The Wildcats need to start fast otherwise they likely have no chance here. Georgia is too strong on both offense and defense for me to even consider the Wildcats here. Give me Georgia to continue it’s unbeaten run this season.
Georgia-40 Kentucky 17
Marissa: The Georgia Bulldogs continue to look like the top team in the country as they dominated their last game against Mississippi State with a 45-19 win. Kentucky, on the other hand, lost to Vanderbilt 24-21 as Will Levis completed only 11 passes for 109 yards. Chris Rodriguez Jr. had to be the focal point on offense with his fourth 100-plus yard rushing game. Rodriguez may have a difficult time against this Georgia defense, only allowing 82.5 rush yards per game. The offensive line for Kentucky hasn’t been fantastic either, and the Bulldogs have a dominant lineman in Jalen Carter who will take advantage of that. The dominant Bulldogs defense will slow down the Wildcats’ offense as they continue to show they are one of the top teams in the country.
Illinois @ #3 Michigan
Matt: The Wolverines enter this game trying not to overlook Illinois before their matchup next week with the Buckeyes. If they come in focused, they should beat them. If they take this team for granted, they could find themselves in a game that they didn’t expect. The Fighting Illini are a good enough team to make this game uncomfortable for Michigan if they don’t come out ready to go. This may be one of the more underrated games of the weekend because of how high the Wolverines are ranked. Illinois keeps it close but Michigan pulls away at the end.
Marissa: Expect this game to be an extremely low-scoring affair. The Michigan Wolverines have the best total defense in the country, while Illinois is right there behind them in second. The key player for Illinois on defense has been Jer’Zhan Newton with nine tackles for a loss and five sacks, while Michigan has Mike Morris with nine tackles for a loss and seven sacks. Illinois has seen massive production out of their run game with Chase Brown who has 1,442 yards and seven touchdowns. Yet, Brown could be out as he is questionable with a leg injury. On the flip side, Michigan has a healthy Blake Corum who has 1,349 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. Both teams have stout defenses and rely on the run, but the Wolverines come in with the healthier back to lead them to a classic Big Ten win leading up to next week’s matchup with Ohio State.
#4 TCU @ Baylor
Matt: TCU played a defensive game last week against Texas, showing that they can be a more well-rounded team. Now they get Baylor in a must win for them to stay alive in the Playoff race. Baylor is going to throw everything they have at the Horned Frogs but their inconsistent defense may be the downfall against this lethal TCU offense. However, this game just has the feeling of an upset. And that is exactly where I’m going with this. Give me the Bears to take down TCU and end their Playoff hopes.
Marissa: The quick turnaround for TCU under Sonny Dykes continues as they remain undefeated and a top four team in the country. Baylor, on the other hand, will look to play spoiler while rebounding after a 31-3 loss to Kansas State. TCU did an impressive job of containing Bijan Robinson holding him to only 29 yards, now they face a team focused around the run in Baylor. The Bears play physically up front and clear the way for their running back duo of Richard Reese and Craig Williams. The TCU offense with Max Duggan under center enters this game leading an offense scoring the eighth most points per game with 40.5. To slow down this passing attack, Baylor will need a huge game from safety Al Walcott who has flown around the secondary to create five passes defended and an interception. Baylor has had inconsistent defensive play, and against TCU that may be what costs them the possibility of the upset.