The gauntlet for Tennessee finally wraps up this weekend, but not before the Volunteers welcome no. 1 Alabama to Knoxville.
Coming off its first loss of the season, in double overtime at Texas A&M, Tennessee has had a week of adversity. The Vols kicked starting defensive tackle Danny O'Brian off the team and also watched sophomore wide receiver Preston Williams decide to transfer.
No adversity has bothered the Vols all season, but that's a week of off field distractions before the no. 1 team in the country comes to town.
After going just 5-5 last week, I'll try to do better this week. My overall record for the year is still a respectable 45-18.
NC STATE AT 3 CLEMSON (-11) Saturday 11am
The Wolfpack have bounced back nicely from its early loss to East Carolina to get to 4-1, but Deshaun Watson and the Tigers seem to have found their form the past couple of weeks. N.C. State won't be able to keep up in Death Valley.
VANDERBILT AT GEORGIA Saturday 11am
The Commodores are still yet to win a SEC road game in the Derek Mason era (0-9). Mason's defense has been fine it Vanderbilt's three conference losses, allowing a total of 46 points. Unfortunately, the offense has been terrible, and with Ralph Webb nursing an injury, that likely spells doom between the hedges.
20 WEST VIRGINIA (-2) AT TEXAS TECH Saturday 11am
Pick: Texas Tech
The Mountaineers are, along with Baylor, the last remaining unbeatens in the Big 12. But they haven't faced a test like they'll get in Lubbock. If it wasn't for the year Lamar Jackson was having, people would be talking about Patrick Mahomes' numbers. The Red Raiders' QB has thrown for 2,274 yards and 20 touchdowns and should have a big game at home in Lubbock.
10 NEBRASKA (-3) AT INDIANA Saturday 2:30pm
The Hoosiers have proven they can play with top teams for stretches, but this seems to be a more confident and mature Huskers team. Tommy Armstrong and company should be able to handle the road trip and improve to 6-0 on the year.
NORTH CAROLINA AT 16 MIAMI (-7) Saturday 2:30pm
The Hurricanes let one slip away against Florida State, but still control their own destiny in the Coastal division. UNC got hammered at home by Virginia Tech in the slop caused by Hurricane Matthew. I expect Mitch Trubsiky and the Heels to be better, but it won't be enough in Miami.
WAKE FOREST AT 14 FLORIDA STATE (-21.5) Saturday 2:30pm
Every time I watch Deondre Francois I walk away impressed with the freshman's toughness. He was terrific in the second half at Miami, much like he was against Ole Miss. This is Wake Forest's best team since it won the ACC a decade ago, but it should be no match for the Seminoles.
1 ALABAMA (-13) AT 9 TENNESSEE Saturday 2:30pm
Everything on paper says that Alabama will beat Tennessee yet again, but this Vols team plays its best when their backs are against the wall. In front of an electric crowd, I think Tennessee snaps its 9-game losing streak to Alabama and all but wraps up the SEC East race while throwing a wrench into the West division.
TULSA AT 13 HOUSTON (-21) Saturday 6pm
The Cougars were stunned at Navy last week, all but ending their playoff hopes. If they can refocus on the task at hand they are still the best team in the American. They'll have to be ready against a Tulsa team that can score some points.
12 OLE MISS (-7.5) AT 22 ARKANSAS Saturday 6pm
Pick: Ole Miss
The Razorbacks will be hungry at home, but I like the speed and size of the Rebels defense to slow down Austin Allen and company. Expect Chad Kelly to have a big game on the road as Ole Miss wins.
2 OHIO STATE (-11) AT 8 WISCONSIN Saturday 7pm
Pick: Ohio State
I love the Badgers' defense and the way they fly around the field and force turnovers. But the Buckeyes may be the most explosive offense in the country this side of Louisville. J.T. Barrett's thrown 15 touchdowns to just three interceptions and has a stable of receivers that can stretch the field for him preventing the Badgers from keying on the run.