Photo Credit: ESPN
For the first time this season, four teams ranked inside the top 10 of the AP Poll will battle other teams ranked inside the top 10 of the AP Poll in games where the rankings of the two teams facing each other in both games add up to a number no greater than 10. Both matchups include two conference rivals; one features two SEC teams, and the other features two Big Ten teams.
So far this season when I write in-depth articles about some of the top college football games each week, my picks have been way off. In fact, despite correctly picking the winners of 94 of the 116 games involving top 25 teams so far this season, only one of the six games in which I have predicted with an in-depth article like this has been correct. Hopefully the law of averages starts to pan out and both of my predictions for this week’s best games are correct.
Without further do, here are the matchups, an outlook of each, and a predicted final score for each.
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) @ #9 Tennessee Volunteers (5-1)
Game Setting: Saturday, October 15th, 2016, 3:30 PM EDT at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee
Outlook: The Alabama Crimson Tide are the number one team in the country for a reason. In fact, they are ranked number one for many reasons. Their defense is stifling and their offense looks better than most people expected. However, in two road games against SEC opponents this season, they are allowing an average of 36.5 points per game. They are averaging 48.5 points per game in SEC road games, however, this week they go up against a Tennessee defense that has allowed more than 31 points just once in six games this season. This week’s SEC road game against the Tennessee Volunteers, a team that has won some miraculous games in the clutch against tough opponents, appears to be their toughest task yet, especially with a crowd of over 100,000 roaring for hours on end at Neyland Stadium. Even with all of their injuries, the Volunteers are one of the best overall teams in the country, and they proved that by almost winning at Kyle Field against the Texas A&M Aggies last week despite turning the ball over seven times. If Tennessee can cut down on the turnovers and actually show up in the first half of this game, they will keep it close all the way through. If that happens, let announcer Verne Lundquist handle the rest as he has done so often in epic SEC games with epic and many times surprising finishes.
Prediction: #9 Tennessee Volunteers, 34, #1 Alabama Crimson Tide, 31
#2 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0) @ #8 Wisconsin Badgers (4-1)
Game Setting: Saturday, October 15th, 2016, 8:00 PM EDT at Camp Randall Field in Madison, Wisconsin
Outlook: The ferocious defense of the Wisconsin Badgers has not allowed over 17 points in a game this season, averaging only 12.2 points allowed per game through five games this season, which ranks 4th in the nation. Impressively, they have kept that total low against three top 10 teams, and they beat two of them. Despite the two teams they beat, Louisiana State and Michigan State, not being as good as advertised, they still almost came away with a victory at the Big House over the #4 Michigan Wolverines two weeks ago, holding them to 14 points. Meanwhile, the Ohio State Buckeyes have scored under 45 points on only one occasion this season. They average 53.2 points per game, which ranks 3rd in the nation, and they only allow an average of 10.8 points per game, which ranks 2nd in the nation. However, Ohio State has only faced one ranked team, Oklahoma, who, like Louisiana State and Michigan State, was not as good as advertised. Both Wisconsin and Ohio State have great defenses and Ohio State does have an offense superior to that of Wisconsin’s, but Wisconsin’s resume thus far this season is a bit more impressive, and it will certainly be tough to beat them at home in front of a loud and shaky stadium filled with over 80,000 fans. I just can’t pick against the Badgers at Camp Randall in prime time in one of their biggest regular season games of this century.
Prediction: #8 Wisconsin Badgers, 23, #2 Ohio State Buckeyes, 21