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The Top 5 College Football Games of Week 10

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Top College Football Games of Week 10

Top College Football Games of Week 10
Marvin Gentry-US Presswire

Week 10 of the college football season has arrived.

This was supposed to be the weekend of the college football season with simultaneous showdowns on both coasts as Alabama, LSU, Oregon and Southern California were all projected to be undefeated at this point in the season, providing an in season semi-final. However, the Trojans have dropped two games this season and LSU fell to Florida earlier in the fall causing the weekend to lose its luster.

While there is no “Game of the Century” that doesn’t mean there isn’t a great slate of college football games this week; there is no shortage of story lines. Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State all realistically have a chance to slip up this weekend. Not to mention Mack Brown and Lane Kiffin could start to feel their seats get a bit warmer if their teams pick up a third loss on season.

The week gets off to a great start, from Thursday’s ACC showcase featuring the Miami Hurricanes and Virginia Tech Hokies, through Friday’s Pac 12 game between California and Washington as all four teams try and battle for bowl eligibility. Those games will be the appetizer for a Saturday that will start with a game featuring two top 20 teams going head to head (Texas A&M and Mississippi State) at 11 am CST, then finish with Alabama-LSU game at 8pm CST.

It may not go down as one of the best college football weekends in recent memory, but make no mistake about it; week 10 will likely go down as one of the best of the 2012 college football season (the only weekend that comes close is week 6).

To get you ready for this weekend’s slate of games, here are the top 5 college football games of week 10.

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Top College Football Games of Week 10

Top College Football Games of Week 10
John Reed-US Presswire

5. (16) Texas A&M v. (15) Mississippi State

While it will not be the premiere SEC West showdown of the weekend, this is a battle of teams looking to establish credibility in both the division and conference as well. Mississippi State has been knocked for not beating a quality opponent and Texas A&M is tired of settling for moral victories after close losses to Florida and LSU.

For the Aggies, they come into this game in great shape. The fact they are 6-2 on the season with a freshman quarterback in the nation’s toughest conference. However their signature win on the season came two weeks ago against Louisiana Tech, and Kevin Sumlin’s team is ready for another.

Offensively has there been a more exciting player to watch than Johnny Manziel? He was not the biggest or highest ranked quarterback out of high school, but no player has played a bigger role in his team’s success. As it stands he has accounted for over 3,000 yards of total offense and will be the key for Texas A&M in this game. Defensively Damontre Moore has filled the pass rushing void for the Aggies and if he can keep Tyler Russell on the run Texas A&M will be in good shape.

For the Bulldogs, they need to regroup and regroup fast. After being beaten by the Alabama Crimson Tide last week, scratch that, embarrassed, it is time for Mississippi State to dig deep. Dan Mullen has been fighting for respect since he first arrived in Starkville, but without a win over a top 25 opponent, he is going to have a hard time earning any.

Offensively running back LaDarius Perkins needs to reestablish himself as the SEC’s top running back. If he can find a rhythm, it could go a long way into exploiting an Aggie defense that has had trouble closing out games. Defensively linebackers Cameron Lawrence and Benardrick McKinney will have to be on their game to keep Manziel in check.

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Top College Football Games of Week 10

Top College Football Games of Week 10
Brendan Maloney-US Presswire

4. (23) Texas v. (18) Texas Tech

This game will be important for both of these coaches. While neither seat is scorching at the moment, the loser of this game will all of a sudden start feeling the heat. Rumblings of Tommy Tubberville’s future in Lubbock stopped for a moment after defeating West Virginia, but after being trumped by Kansas State, the rumbles have started back up. Meanwhile in Austin, Mack Brown looks like he is having trouble righting the ship after getting beat by those same Mountaineers and Oklahoma, then almost losing to Baylor and Kansas.

For the Texas Longhorns, this is a game they desperately need after the latest four game stretch. While the Longhorns have gone 2-2, they dropped both games against ranked opponents and did not look good in the following two weeks. A win in Lubbock could help Texas regain some of their swagger and finish the season strong.

Offensively, Mack Brown needs to get back to the McCoy to Shipley combination that has worked so well in the past. While Case and Jaxon are not Colt and Jordan, they are the best option the Longhorns have at this point. Although David Ash has better numbers than McCoy, he has been way too inconsistent. Defensively, the entire front seven needs to step up. There is no excuse for this unit to be ranked 110 against the run.

For Texas Tech, the transition from an offensive powerhouse to a complete team looks like is nearing a completion. This is a team that ranks in the top 15 in both total offense and total defense. They are on the cusp of taking the next step, now it comes down to actually doing so.

Offensively, running backs Kenny Williams and Eric Stephens Jr should prepare themselves for career setting days against the Longhorns weak front. If Williams and Stevens get going, it will be a long day for Texas. Defensively senior safeties Cody Davis and D.J. Johnson will have to set the tone early in defending both the running and passing game.

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Top College Football Games of Week 10

Top College Football Games of Week 10
Richard Rowe-US-Presswire

3. (24) Oklahoma State v. (2) Kansas State

This game will be one of the must see matchups for its upset potential. Kansas State has been known for its ability to score points in a number of different ways while shutting down opponents. However the Wildcats are 72nd in the country against the pass and Oklahoma State is ranked 6th in passing offense. This one could get interesting in Manhattan.

For the Cowboys, they come into this game a very dangerous team. With two losses Mike Gundy’s squad comes into this game with absolutely nothing to lose. Don’t be surprised to see Oklahoma State pull out all of the stops as they look for their signature win of 2012. Remember, the Cowboys are 4-1 in their last five games against top 25 opponents.

Offensively, everyone knows the Josh Stewart is the go-to target, but it will be important for Charlie Moore and Tracy Moore to elevate their play to spread out the Kansas State defense. Defensively it will come down to the Cowboys secondary. If they can keep receivers Tyler Locket, Chris Harper and Tramaine Thompson in check it will make Collin Klein one dimensional.

For the Kansas State Wildcats the key will be to slow down the game. The Cowboys more than likely will want to turn this game into a track meet, and while the Wildcats can certainly score points with the best of them they can stack the deck in their favor by changing the tempo and turning it into a grind-out game. If Bill Snyder’s team can get through this game, the path looks pretty smooth to Miami.

Offensively, it is no surprise Collin Klein is the key. As he goes so do the Kansas State Wildcats. Defensively Arthur Brown will have to continue he solid play, but it will be up to defensive end Meshak Williams to make Wes Lunt look like a freshman quarterback.

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Top College Football Games of Week 10

Top College Football Games of Week 10
Jim Rider-US Presswire

2. (4) Oregon v. (17) Southern California

At the beginning of the season this was the game many thought could be the premiere game of the November 3rd weekend. While the Oregon Ducks have lived up to the hype, it has been the preseason favorite USC Trojans who have not lived up to their end of the bargain. Regardless, this is a game in which the Ducks can make a statement and the Trojans can get back just a little of what they lost.

For the Oregon Ducks, they will be an opportunity to make a statement on a national stage. As Chip Kelly’s squad starts to lose their grip in the national polls and BCS, the Ducks not only have to win, they have to win big. As you begin to look at the remaining schedule, Oregon’s chances to impress voters are dwindling.

Offensively quarterback Marcus Mariota will have to live up to his performance in the first eight games of his freshman season. It will important for him to maintain his composure in the most hostile environment he has seen to date. Defensively if cornerback Avery Patterson can take away either Robert Woods or Marquise Lee one-on-one that will go a long way in helping the Ducks defense frustrate Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley.

For the Southern California Trojans the biggest opponent they will have to face from here on out is their own disappointment. Picked by many to play in the national championship game after quarterback Matt Barkley announced a return for his senior season, those hopes were torn with a loss to Stanford and shredded with a loss to Arizona last week. This game will be crucial for Lane Kiiffin to show how they will respond to adversity.

Offensively Silas Redd is going to have to make an impact in the running game to take pressure off Matt Barkley. The Trojan QB is talented, but he can not carry this offense on his own. Defensively end Morgan Breslin will have to affect Mariota one way or the other-whether that is taking away his rushing ability or forcing him to make quick decisions.

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Top College Football Games of Week 10

Top College Football Games of Week 10
Marvin Gentry-US Presswire

1. (1) Alabama v. (5) LSU

It will not be the "Game of the Century, Part 3" as many, myself included, felt it would be, but Alabama and LSU will still be one of the biggest highlights of the college football season. The Alabama Crimson Tide enter the game with dreams of hoisting a crystal ball for the 3rd time in four years, but first they'll have to escape Death Valley, the place LSU head coach Les Miles says "opponents dreams come to die."

For the Alabama Crimson Tide, the road has become the new home as Alabama has scored at least forty points in every away game this season. It will be important for Alabama to stick to the same script they have used all year-jump out to an early lead and dictate to their opponent what they can do on offense.

On offense, quarterback AJ McCarron can lock down a trip to New York with a standout performance, but his most important job will be taking care of the football. Defensively Alabama will have to rely on the front seven to take away LSU’s run game early-forcing Zach Mettenberger to try and beat them.

For the LSU Tigers, the key will be similar to Alabama’s-make big plays early on. The biggest advantage the Tigers have in this game is the home field advantage of 90,000+ fans screaming under the night sky. The longer those fans are into the game, the longer the night will become for the Crimson Tide.

On offense it again comes back to the quarterback position with Zach Mettenberger. If he can make plays in the passing game it will force Alabama to step out of the box, opening up the running game. Defensively, it will be up to Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery to wreck havoc on McCarron.