Headliner:

#1 Tennessee at #3 Georgia (-9) Saturday, November 5 2:30 pm CBS

The No. 1 team in the nation according to the College Football Playoff Committee travels to Athens, Georgia to take on the defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs. Josh Heupel has done an incredible job leading Tennessee into national contention in just his second year as the Vols’ head coach. Hendon Hooker is a great fit in a heroic and shoot offense, and Heisman is the leading rusher in one of the best offenses in the country. Despite wide receiver Cedric Tillman missing several games due to injury, Hooker hasn’t let up and has thrown for 2338 yards and 21 touchdowns with just 1 interception this season. Jaylin Hyatt is the Vols’ top tight end this season with 45 catches for 907 yards and 14 touchdowns. In Tillman’s absence, Bru McCoy has stepped up with 30 catches for 451 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jaylin Wright and Jabari Small are the two leading rushers this season with 478 yards and 475 yards with 5 touchdowns and 8 touchdowns respectively. The offense is one of the most explosive in the country, including Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, easily outscoring every opponent so far this season. The Tennessee offense scored 52 points against Alabama and had another dominant performance last week with 44 points against Kentucky. The defense has done a solid job of forcing turnovers, providing additional assets for their offense this season with 9 interceptions and 7 fumble recoveries. It wasn’t a shutdown defense, but as explosive an offense as Tennessee was, forcing turnovers while giving up points worked just fine.

The Tennessee defense will face a very experienced quarterback in Steston Bennett for the Bulldogs. Bennett has led Georgia’s offense so far this season highlighted by a 49 point performance against Oregon in Week 1. Bennett has thrown just 3 interceptions for 2,349 yards and 9 touchdowns. The tight ends group for Georgia is stacked and is led by projected first round draft pick Brock Bowers who has 31 catches for 547 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. Bowers is a very solid route runner with good hands and is explosive after the catch. Darnell Washington, along with him, has 19 catches for 332 yards this year, and Bennett is a big target he can find in the red zone. The running attack has been outstanding for the Bulldogs with running backs Diajun Edwards and Kenny McIntosh. Edwards has 440 yards and 7 touchdowns on 71 carries, while McIntosh has 332 yards and 6 touchdowns on 69 carries. Those will be two of the most important players for Georgia this weekend as the Bulldogs can control time of possession and keep the ball away from Hendon Hooker. The defense, tasked with slowing down Hooker, suffered a season-ending injury to star pass rusher Nolan Smith. They had stud defensive lineman Jalen Carter back from injury before last week’s game against Florida. Generating pressure against Tennessee will be crucial to slow down their explosive passing attack. I think the Vols offense will be too much for a Georgia team that has struggled against lesser teams at times this season (sorry three year letterman).

My Pick: Tennessee Win (+240) Tennessee Cover (+9) Complete Game Over (65)

Undercard:

#6 Alabama (-13.5) at #10 LSU Saturday, November 5 at 6:00 PM ESPN

Another top 10 SEC matchup takes place this Saturday night in Death Valley when Alabama travels to Louisiana to play LSU. Bryce Young had another great season as the Crimson Tide threw for 1,906 yards and 18 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. Young shows pocket awareness and decision making for college quarterbacks because he is so mobile that he is very difficult to sack. He also has over 100 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns this season. The running backs are a strength for Alabama with two very good running backs in Jahmir Gibbs and Jace McClellan. Gibbs has 672 yards and 6 touchdowns to go along with 31 catches for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns receiving. McClellan has had a solid season with 312 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns on 54 carries as well as 9 catches for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jacory Brooks has been the leading rusher for the Crimson Tide this season with 21 catches for 376 yards and 4 touchdowns. The pass rush has been excellent as expected for Alabama with Will Anderson and Dallas Turner on the edge. Kool-Aid McKinstry’s development is a key issue for Bama. McKinstry has 11 pass breakups and one sack and 23 total tackles this season. They will go up against an LSU offense led by former ASU Sun Devil Jayden Daniels. Daniels has 1,812 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air and 524 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground. Daniels is very quick and keeping him in the pocket will be a priority for the Alabama defense on Saturday. Potential first-round pick Kayshon Boutte has played very well lately after a very slow start to the season. Boute has 288 yards and a touchdown on 27 receptions this season. Jarre Jenkins is a solid target for Daniels in 2022 with 20 catches for 288 yards and 5 touchdowns. The leading receiver yards for the Tigers this season with 36 catches for 455 yards and a touchdown. The passing attack will need to be efficient this weekend to keep up with the Crimson Tide’s offense. LSU’s defense has been pretty good this season and a very explosive Ole Miss offense was held to only 20 points in their last game. They gave up 40 points to Tennessee but everyone Tennessee has played this season has given up at least 40 points. I think the Tide is in a hostile environment this Saturday and the Alabama defense is able to contain Daniels.

My Pick: Alabama Wins (-550) Alabama Covers (-13.5) Complete Game Over (56.5)

Upset alert:

#24 Texas (-2.5) at #13 Kansas State Saturday, November 5 at 6:00 PM FS1

The Longhorns will travel to the Little Apple this week to face off against a Kansas State team that beat Oklahoma State 48-0 last week. Will Bowers looked great against the Cowboys throwing for 296 yards and 4 touchdowns. TCU fans are very familiar with Bowers after his great performance against the Frogs two weeks ago. Bowers presents a much different challenge than Adrian Martinez to opposing defensive coordinators as Bowers is more of a pocket passer who fits better in a drop back style passing attack compared to Martinez’s impressive running ability. A gametime decision will be who starts for the Wildcats at quarterback with Martinez returning from injury. Whoever starts at quarterback will benefit from Deuce Vaughn out of the backfield and as a running back. Vaughn is one of the most explosive players in the country and is extremely difficult to tackle and cover in space. Vaughn has 902 yards and 5 touchdowns this season with 23 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown receiving. The Wildcats also have one of the top deep threats in the Big 12 in Malik Knowles at receiver. Knowles has 32 catches for 447 yards and a touchdown in 2022. The Texas offense will need to be humming to face the highly explosive Wildcat offense on Saturday. Quarterback Quinn Evers will need to play better than he did two weeks ago against Oklahoma State where he missed two open receivers that could have kept the Cowboys away. Evers has had a good first year as a starter in Austin with 1,139 yards and 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has the arm talent to make every throw but has struggled with accuracy at times this season. He, too, will benefit from one of the nation’s best running backs in Bijan Robinson. Robinson excelled in 2022 with 920 yards and 11 touchdowns as well as 17 catches for 280 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. I think Kansas State absolutely won this Saturday as an underdog at home and scored a lot of points in the process.

My Picks: Kansas State to Win (+118) Kansas State to Cover (+2.5) Complete Game Over (54.5)

Battle of Clemson’s “Quality Wins”:

#21 Wake Forest (-4) at #22 NC State Saturday, November 5 at 7:00pm ACCN

Sam Hartman and Damon Dickens travel to Raleigh this Saturday to take on the Wolfpack for a matchup between two top 25 ACC teams. Wake Forest is coming off a tough 48-21 loss to Louisville last week. Hartman had his worst game of the season against the Cardinals, making several questionable decisions and losing 3 interceptions and 3 fumbles. Hartman is a very good quarterback and I expect him to come back for a big game this weekend. NC State won at home against Virginia Tech in a nailbiter with a final score of 22-21. The Wolfpack lost starting quarterback Devin Leary to injury for the season and turned to freshman MJ Morris in the Virginia Tech game to replace him. Morris had a great game against the Hawkeyes with 265 yards and 3 touchdowns and will need another good game to pull off the upset over Wake Forest. I think he has a strong game but Sam Hartman and the Wake Forest offense is too much for the Wolfpack to handle.

My Pick: Wake Forest Wins (-160) Wake Forest Covers (-4) Complete Game Over (54)