The theme of this weekend in college football may be litmus tests. Tennessee and Miami seem to have been two of the most noticeably improved programs this season, but each will be on the road against two of the best teams in the country. The Volunteers take on Georgia in one game and Miami travels to Clemson in primetime.
Those are two games certainly worth considering on the board this weekend, but there are a few others that should be noted as well. A letdown game from Iowa State? A rebound for Auburn? And can an ACC underdog manage to cover one more time at home?
After a rough first few weeks making some picks, we had ourselves a mild rebound last weekend. But we can do better. We must do better. This week is all about getting back to .500 for the season.
Note: All times are ET and all games are on Saturday, Oct. 10.
Georgia (-12.5) vs. Tennessee, 3:30 p.m.
The Volunteers do appear to be on the right track under Jeremy Pruitt, and the future may be optimistic. But the Vols will find out just how far they still have to go when they travel to Athens. Georgia dominated Auburn in the trenches last week and should have a decent advantage along the line of scrimmage in this one too. It may be a bit more balanced when it comes to the Vols' offensive line, but the Bulldogs' running game will power them to another top-25 victory and give Tennessee something to think about. Georgia 31, Tennessee 17
Texas Tech (+12.5) at Iowa State, 3:30 p.m.
Call this one the classic letdown game from the Cyclones. Texas Tech may lack a defense that will challenge Brock Purdy much, but the Red Raiders are not far removed from putting 56 points on the board against Texas. But they only scored 21 last week in a loss to Kansas State. Count on Texas Tech keeping this one a bit more interesting before squandering away an opportunity to get an upset win of their own. Iowa State 34, Texas Tech 29
Boston College (+6) vs. Pitt, 4 p.m.
The Panthers let one slip through their fingers last week against NC State. Now, they hit the road to face Boston College in Chestnut Hill a week after the Eagles covered against North Carolina. We’re calling for another cover by Boston College, but the Panthers will find a way to return home with a souvenir win in ACC play. Pitt 23, Boston College 19
Auburn (-14) vs. Arkansas, 4 p.m.
If ever there was a need for a rebound, Auburn needs it this week. After getting pummeled by Georgia last weekend, Auburn looks to do some fine-tuning this week against Arkansas. And sure, the Razorbacks may have just snapped their 20-game SEC losing streak, but can you really count on them starting a winning streak now? Bo Nix and the Tigers get back into a comfort zone this week and take care of the Razorbacks. Auburn 30, Arkansas 13
Clemson (-14) vs. Miami, 7:30 p.m.
Is Miami back? Well, we’ll sure have a better idea of that this week as D'Eriq King and the Hurricanes roll into Death Valley to take on the class of the ACC. Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers are accustomed to the big-game atmosphere. Miami is looking to shine there once again and prove their early success is not to be dismissed. The Canes will represent themselves well for a while, but there will be no slowing down Clemson on this night. Tigers pull away in the fourth quarter to take care of business and set the stage for a potential rematch later on in the ACC Championship Game. Clemson 36, Miami 20
Last week: 3-2
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