The first College Football Playoff Selection Committee rankings are out, and, of course, there is plenty of intrigue mixed with a healthy dose of head-scratching.
That leads us to our Week 10 previews and predictions (point spreads courtesy of DraftKings, and current at the time of publication, but subject to change) for each team included in the CFP rankings, plus other interesting matchups.
All times Eastern. Statistics in parenthesis from 2021, unless noted.
1 of 25
Missouri (4-4, 1-3 in SEC) at No. 1 Georgia (8-0, 6-0 in SEC), Saturday, Noon, ESPN
Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports
To no surprise, Georgia tops the first College Football Playoff rankings. Sure, we can talk about whether Stetson Bennett is actually a better option than JT Daniels at quarterback. But, the Bulldogs’ destiny will ultimately be decided by the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense (6.6 points per game) that hasn’t allowed more than 355 total yards all season. Meanwhile, Missouri has lost seven in a row to Georgia, which has won each of the last four meetings by 14 or more points.
Prediction: Georgia (-38 1/2)
2 of 25
No. 5 Ohio State (7-1, 5-0 in Big Ten) at Nebraska (3-6, 1-5 in Big Ten), Saturday, Noon, Fox
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NETWORK
The Buckeyes are on the outside looking in at the first CFP rankings. Selecting to go with an Oregon squad that won at Ohio State in September. That said, Ohio State has won six straight since that loss but had to work to beat reeling Penn State last week. The Buckeyes have also won six in a row over Nebraska, which will be looking to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat overall in what might finally be the last weeks of the miserable Scott Frost era.
Prediction: Ohio State (-14 1/2)
3 of 25
No. 9 Wake Forest (8-0, 5-0 in ACC) at North Carolina (4-4, 3-3 in ACC), Saturday, Noon, ABC
James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports
The best start in program history, at the moment, is not enough to leave Wake Forest as a serious contender for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Maybe that’s because the Deacons allowed 127 points during a three-game stretch that preceded them rolling to a 45-7 victory over Duke last weekend. Expect a high-scoring affair at Chapel Hill against the Tar Heels, who can also pile the points, but give up 30.8 per contest. Wake has dropped three straight at Carolina.
Prediction: Wake Forest (+2 1/2)
4 of 25
Liberty (7-2) at No. 16 Mississippi (6-2), Saturday, Noon, SEC Network
John Reed/USA TODAY Sports
The most intriguing storyline to this non-conference matchup is the quarterbacks. Both Ole Miss’ Matt Corral (2,203 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, two interceptions) and Liberty’s Malik Willis (1,991 yards, 21 TDs, six INTs) are projected first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. This is also a good test and opportunity for the Rebels to rebound from last weekend’s 31-20 loss at Auburn.
Prediction: Mississippi (-9 1/2)
5 of 25
Illinois (3-6, 2-4 in Big Ten) at No. 20 Minnesota (6-2, 4-1 in Big Ten), Saturday, Noon, ESPN2
Quinn Harris/USA TODAY Sports
Don’t look know, but the surging Golden Gophers lead the Big Ten West Division. Among several teams that are part of the initial CFP rankings, but not in this week’s Top 25 from The Associated Press, Minnesota outscored its opponents 125-66 while going 4-0 in October. The Gophers will try for a fifth straight home victory over Illinois, which is the Big Ten’s lowest-scoring team at 17.6 points per game.
Prediction: Minnesota (-14 1/2)
6 of 25
No. 25 Pittsburgh (6-2, 3-1 in ACC) at Duke (3-5, 0-4 in ACC), Saturday, Noon, ACC Network
Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports
Pitt’s four-game run ended with last weekend’s rather stunning 38-34 home loss to Miami. Fla. Perhaps the Panthers aren’t ready for prime time, but they do still lead the ACC Coastal Division and claimed the final spot in the first CFP rankings. They’re also set to face Duke, which has been outscored 162-41 during its current four-game losing streak. Pitt will be looking for a sixth consecutive victory in this series.
Prediction: Pitt (+21)
7 of 25
Idaho State (1-7) at No. 15 BYU (7-2), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3
Jeffrey Swinger/USA TODAY Sports
We don’t expect another 66-49 circus-like atmosphere that BYU just experienced in last weekend’s victory over Virginia. Though the Cougars could very well score at will against this FCS opponent that’s giving up 33.8 points per contest. How much time will BYU’s Tyler Allgeier (1,122 rushing yards, 16 touchdowns) see in this potentially lopsided affair after rushing for a career-high 266 and five TDs against the Cavaliers?
Prediction: BYU (N/A)
8 of 25
Tulsa (3-5, 2-2 in AAC) at No. 6 Cincinnati (8-0, 4-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2
Cara Owsley/The Enquirer/USA TODAY NETWORK
The Bearcats likely have the biggest beef with the CFP Selection Committee (even more than No. 8 Oklahoma) as they open outside the top four. With the Bearcats, it must be about dominance, and winning at Navy by seven didn’t help their cause. Still, Cincinnati’s No. 6 ranking is the highest ever by a Group of Five team in the CFP era. It’s won the last two meetings with Tulsa by a total of 14 points.
Prediction: Cincinnati (-22 1/2)
9 of 25
Navy (2-6) at No. 10 Notre Dame (7-1), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., NBC
Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports
The Irish round out the top 10 of the CFP rankings, but nobody is really talking about this one-loss group. Notre Dame has won three straight since that 24-13 home loss to then-No. 7 Cincinnati, but none of those victories came by more than 15 points. Kyren Williams, however, is finally starting to heat up with 337 rushing yards in the last two games. Navy has allowed 152.0 yards on the ground in its three road games this season.
Prediction: Notre Dame (-20)
10 of 25
No. 12 Baylor (7-1, 4-1 in Big 12) at TCU (3-5, 1-4 in Big 12), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Fox
Stephen Spillman/USA TODAY Sports
Is Baylor’s Dave Aranda a serious candidate for national coach of the year? If his Bears manage to get themselves into the Big 12 title game, perhaps. Baylor has averaged 38.0 points during its current three-game winning streak. Now, the Bears travel to TCU, where they won in 2019 and the Horned Frogs, mired in a three-game skid, play their first game since the program parted ways with longtime coach Gary Patterson.
Prediction: Baylor (-7)
11 of 25
No. 13 Auburn (6-2, 3-1 in SEC) at No. 14 Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2 in SEC), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS
John Reed/USA TODAY Sports
This has the makings of a potentially entertaining SEC West Division matchup. Texas A&M has totaled 120 points during its three-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Auburn just held a previously-ranked Arkansas squad and then-No. 10 Mississippi to a combined 43 points in its last two contests. The Aggies won last season’s meeting at Auburn, but the Tigers are 4-0 at College Station since the start of the 2013 campaign.
Prediction: Auburn (+4 1/2)
12 of 25
No. 3 Michigan State (8-0, 5-0 in Big Ten) at Purdue (5-3, 3-2 in Big Ten), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Junfu Han/USA TODAY NETWORK
Giving the undefeated Spartans their due right out of the CFP gate with the No. 3 spot. They made a massive statement by rallying to take down then-No. 6 Michigan 37-33 last weekend. However, the tests keep coming with the Boilermakers, who won at then-No. 2 Iowa and should be a confident bunch. After this weekend, Ohio State and those Nittany Lions await Michigan State, which features true Heisman Trophy contender Kenneth Walker III, who leads the country averaging 149.3 rushing yards.
Prediction: Michigan State (-3)
13 of 25
No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1 in Big 12) at West Virginia (4-4, 2-3 in Big 12), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Brett Rojo/USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma State is chasing Bedlam rival Oklahoma in the Big 12 race but faces a stiff test this weekend even though it’s won the last six meetings with West Virginia. The Mountaineers just pulled off their second victory over a ranked opponent at home in 2021, 38-31 against then-No. 22 Iowa State last weekend. So, the home side will definitely have momentum despite its recent history in this series with the Cowboys.
Prediction: Oklahoma State (-2 1/2)
14 of 25
No. 21 Wisconsin (5-3, 3-2 in Big Ten) at Rutgers (4-4, 1-4 in Big Ten), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota isn’t the only Big Ten West team on a roll at the moment. Wisconsin has outscored its opponents 101-34 during its own four-game winning streak. The Badgers also own a 116-27 scoring advantage while winning all three league meetings with Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights, though, should have some momentum after snapping their four-game losing streak with a 20-14 victory at Illinois last weekend.
Prediction: Wisconsin (-13)
15 of 25
No. 17 Mississippi State (5-3, 3-2 in SEC) at Arkansas (5-3, 1-3 in SEC), Saturday, 4 p.m., SEC Network
Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports
Mississippi State is another team not ranked in the AP Top 25, but part of the CFP rankings. Wins over ranked teams in Texas A&M and, most recently, Kentucky will do that. The Bulldogs have allowed just 23 points in winning their last two games. Arkansas, meanwhile, put up 51, but was also shut out during its current three-game SEC losing streak. Mississippi State will be looking for a fourth straight victory at Arkansas.
Prediction: Arkansas (-5 1/2)
16 of 25
No. 19 North Carolina State (6-2, 3-1 in ACC) at Florida State (3-5, 2-3 in ACC), Saturday, 4 p.m., ACC Network
Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports
N.C. State bounced back from its one-point loss at Miami by beating Louisville 28-13 at home. The Wolfpack, part of the CFP rankings, but not the AP Top 25, has little room for error when it comes to catching Wake Forest in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. However, they do have a chance for a fourth victory in five meetings with Florida State, which nearly pulled off an upset at middling Clemson last weekend.
Prediction: Florida State (+2 1/2)
17 of 25
LSU (4-4, 2-3 in SEC) at No. 2 Alabama (7-1, 4-1 in SEC), Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN
Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports
The CFP Selection Committee apparently can’t get enough of the Crimson Tide. It remains to be seen if that will be the case by the end of the month. Or, if they can find some consistency from a defense that looks like a national title-caliber one week (49-9 win over Mississippi State) and a middling unit (41-38 loss at Texas A&M) at other times. For those keeping track at home, Alabama has won eight of the last nine over LSU.
Prediction: Alabama (-28 1/2)
18 of 25
Boise State (4-4, 2-2 in Mountain West) at No. 23 Fresno State (7-2, 4-1 in Mountain West), Saturday, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Kiel Maddox/USA TODAY Sports
Fresno quarterback Jake Haener gets plenty of attention, and rightfully so, but college football fans might want to keep an eye on teammate Jordan Mims. The senior ran 18 times for 106 yards with a touchdown in the Bulldogs’ first six games, but 398 and three scores on 65 attempts over the last three. He gained 186 of those yards in last weekend’s 30-20 victory at previously undefeated San Diego State. Boise’s defense is giving up 186.7 rushing yards per contest. The Broncos have also lost the last two meetings at Fresno.
Prediction: Fresno State (-5)
19 of 25
Tennessee (4-4, 2-3 in SEC) at No. 18 Kentucky (6-2, 4-2 in SEC), Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky’s Chris Rodriguez Jr. (800 rushing yards) is among the top running backs in the SEC, but the wear and tear of the season might be getting to him. His 135 rushing attempts are third-most in the league, but he’s totaled 41 yards on 15 carries during the Wildcats’ back-to-back losses to Georgia and Mississippi State. However, he’s apparently set to face Tennessee, which has also dropped two straight and yielded an average of 211.7 rushing yards in its last three contests.
Prediction: Kentucky (-1)
20 of 25
No. 22 Iowa (6-2, 3-2 in Big Ten) at Northwestern (3-5, 1-4 in Big Ten), Saturday, 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports
The problem at the moment for Iowa is an offense that’s totaled 14 points in back-to-back losses to Purdue and Wisconsin. A big issue is the Hawkeyes’ running game, which has totaled just 100 yards in the two contests. Northwestern, though, allowed a whopping 602 yards on the ground while losing its last two games to Michigan and Minnesota. However, Iowa has lost four of five to the Wildcats.
Prediction: Northwestern (+11)
21 of 25
Indiana (2-6, 0-5 in Big Ten) at No. 7 Michigan (7-1, 4-1 in Big Ten), Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Fox
Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports
Even with that loss to Michigan State, all hope is not lost for the Wolverines’ quest of a Big Ten title and CFP berth. Although, they’d have to win at Penn State and finally take down Ohio State for that to happen. The bigger question is whether Michigan’s defense is really up to that caliber after allowing 29 points at Nebraska and 37 to the Spartans last month? That may not come into play this weekend, though, against Indiana, which has lost four straight and been outscored 170-52 while going 0-5 against Top 25 opponents this season.
Prediction: Michigan (-20)
22 of 25
No. 4 Oregon (7-1, 4-1 in Pac-12) at Washington (4-4, 3-2 in Pac-12), Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC
Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports
The aforementioned Ducks round out the top four of the CFP rankings, pretty much due to their 35-28 win over then-No. 3 Ohio State 35-28 on the road. Oregon isn’t flashy, it knows how to grind out wins (4-1 in games decided by seven or fewer points) and might have to do it again in this rivalry matchup. Aiming for a third consecutive victory, Washington (3-3 in games decided by seven or fewer points) has dropped the last two meetings in this series by a combined seven points.
Prediction: Washington (+7)
23 of 25
No. 24 San Diego State (7-1, 3-1 in Mountain West) at Hawaii (4-5, 1-3 in Mountain West), Saturday, 11 p.m., FS1
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
The Aztecs are coming off their first loss, 30-20 at home to Fresno State. However, they managed to earn a spot in the first CFP rankings. A trip to Hawaii is nice, but there’s work to be done, especially for an offense that’s averaged 19.7 points in the last three games. Though the season-high 485 total yards SDSU’s stout defense gave up to Fresno might be another cause for concern. Meanwhile, Hawaii has lost six straight to the Aztecs.
Prediction: Hawaii (+7)
24 of 25
Penn State (5-3, 2-3 in Big Ten) at Maryland (5-3, 2-3 in Big Ten), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., FS1
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NETWORK
So, the Nittany Lions are ranked 22nd in the AP Top 25, but not part of the initial CFP rankings. That’s really not surprising since they’ll look to avoid a fourth straight defeat. Still, Penn State put up a more-than-serviceable challenge during last weekend’s 33-24 loss at Ohio State. It’s something to actually build on against a Maryland squad that snapped a three-game slide by winning 38-35 over Indiana last weekend but hasn’t beaten Penn State at home since 1961.
Prediction: Maryland (+10 1/2)
25 of 25
UTSA (8-0, 4-0 in Conference USA) at UTEP (6-2, 3-1 in Conference USA), Saturday, 10:15 p.m., ESPN2
Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal via Imagn Content Services, LLC/USA TODAY
Texas-San Antonio is one of six undefeated teams on the FBS level Yet, the Roadrunners, No. 16 in the AP Poll, were shown no love in the CFP rankings. Come on, even a spot in the 20s would have been nice for a squad that ranks among the national leaders averaging 39.4 points. However, UTSA could be in for a serious test against a revived UTEP program, which is 6-0 at home since the start of last season.
Prediction: UTSA (-11)
Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.
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