Column favorite Brandon Oliver and the Buffalo Bulls are off in Week 10 in advance of three consecutive Tuesday night games against Ohio, Toledo and Miami (OH), none of which poses a great threat to the Bulls ground assault.
Auburn (at Arkansas) - We'll lead off with one of the easiest picks of the season. Auburn averages 315.4 yards per game through eight contests and has been held to less than 200 yards just once. In the last three weeks, Tre Mason, Cameron Artis-Payne and company have upped their efforts, averaging a ridiculous 437.3 yards and 4.3 touchdowns. On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Razorbacks have allowed 262 yards or more in three of the last four weeks.
Georgia Tech (vs. Pittsburgh) - There are few opportunities to start a running back unit in a triple option offense, simply due to the quarterbacks' rushing ability. Week 10 represents that rare chance. Georgia Tech is a relative mess under center, with Justin Thomas earning snaps at Vad Lee's expense. It's led to the A and B backs being called on much more in recent weeks. David Sims, Zach Laskey and Robert Godhigh are churning out yardage and face a Pitt defense that plays against the triple option for the second consecutive week. They surrendered 220 yards last weekend at Navy, and the Yellow Jackets have better athletes. Their offense is rolling, and Pitt doesn't look like they'll pose much resistance.
New Mexico (at San Diego State) - New Mexico boasts the nation's third-best rushing attack, averaging more than 322 yards a game. Led by senior Kasey Carrier, the Lobos attack is hard to stop. The team's second-best rusher is quarterback Cole Gautsche, who is a run-first, or second, signal caller, but look for Carrier to lead the way while Cruscoe Gongbay spells him with nearly equal success.
Arizona (at California) - In this week's installment of "let's pick on the Cal defense," running back Ka'Deem Carey leads a 12th-ranked Wildcats rushing attack into Berkley to face a Bears defense that showed signs of life prior to last week. For a three-week stretch, Cal allowed 200 rushing yards total to Washington State, UCLA and Oregon State. The Bears reverted back to their old ways last week against Washington, allowing 262 yards. Even in that impressive three-game run, Cal allowed six rushing touchdowns.
Colorado State (vs. Boise State) - It's been a relatively quiet ascension, but the Rams have run the ball very, very well the last four weeks. Against the likes of UTEP, San Jose State, Wyoming and Hawaii, Colorado State has piled up 908 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns. Don't be fooled by Boise State's name here, as this year's version is not the vaunted Broncos defense many have come to know. The Broncos have allowed 188 yards or more on the ground three times, including last week's 229 yards to BYU. Rams running back Kapri Bibbs has really taken off of late, posting three 100 yard games over his last four outings, while scoring nine times.
North Carolina State (vs. North Carolina) - Running back Shadrach Thornton burst out for 173 yards on 23 carries against a vaunted Florida State defense. He's re-established himself as the team's top back following a summer suspension and paired with freshman Matt Dayes and occasionally with senior Tony Creecy, the Wolfpack can run the ball with great success. They'll play host to rival North Carolina, which has been much better defensively recently but still allowed Boston College's Andre Williams to top 170 yards without any help from his team's passing game. Look for the Pack to slow the UNC spread offense by running early and often.
Houston (vs. South Florida) - The Cougars offense has found its quarterback, as freshman John O'Korn is blossoming. He's passed for 312 yards or more in three of the last four weeks while totaling 13 touchdowns in that stretch. Also coming of age is sophomore wide receiver Deontay Greenberry, who has four games this season with more than 145 yards and has scored five times in the last two weeks. The Bulls defense, on the other hand, has been gashed by decent passing attacks. Louisville lit it up for 353 yards last weekend, and Miami tossed for 375 yards earlier in the season, mostly with backup quarterback Ryan Williams. Receiver Daniel Spencer has proven to be a solid second option for O'Korn, and the Cougars should pass with ease in Week 10.
Nevada (at Fresno State) - Wolfpack quarterback Cody Fajardo has emerged as a real passing threat. Since returning from injury, he's thrown for 1,347 yards and seven touchdowns in four games. Receivers Brandon Wimberly, Richy Turner and Aaron Bradley all have at least 37 catches and 419 yards. Nevada travels to pass-happy Fresno State, which has allowed 337 yards or more through the air four times in seven contests. The Bulldogs score with ease, and the Wolfpack will pass often to stay competitive.
Florida State (vs. Miami) - This author may or may not be a contributor to the Hurricane Club. With that in mind, I'm either justifying the debacle that's about to occur in Tallahassee, or putting up a huge front on the banks of an upset. Fact is, Jameis Winston and company average 341.4 yards per game though the air, while Miami has allowed 348.5 yards the last two weeks. What more needs to be said?
Florida (vs. Georgia) - This selection is a bit of a roll of the dice and is more picking on a weak Bulldogs defense than feeling confident in an injured Florida roster. The Bulldogs have only allowed one 300-yard passing game this season, but teams have been steadily picking on this unit to the tune of 253.4 yards per game, which ranks 96th nationally. Florida's passing attack is pitiful, as Tyler Murphy has just 207 yards over his last two weeks combined. Somehow, this annual matchup always provides fireworks, and Gators receivers will make enough plays to open some eyes in Jacksonville. Led by Solomon Patton, look for Murphy to find Valdez Showers, Quiton Dunbar and Trey Burton with some success.
Penn State (vs. Illinois) - Nittany Lions wide receiver Allen Robinson doesn't get the national recognition he deserves. He has an impressive 55 catches and 878 yards on the year while topping 128 yards five times in seven outings. He's scored six touchdowns in the process, and is virtually a one-man wrecking crew. The Illini defense isn't stout against the run or pass, but it's been solid lately. After surrendering three 300-yard passing games to open the year, it has allowed a mere 169.5 yards through the air in the last four contests. Don't be scared by this recent surge, as Illinois' success came against inept passing attacks. Expect freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg to bounce back from a beating last weekend against Ohio State and gash Illinois.
San Jose State (at UNLV) - No one has ever questioned Spartans' quarterback David Fales' ability, but he's been operating much of the season without his top receiving options. Receiver Noel Grigsby went down for the year early, and Jabari Carr hasn't returned from a shoulder injury sustained nearly four weeks ago. And Fales has still topped 430 yards in consecutive weeks and hasn't been held to less than 300 yards since Week 2 at Stanford. The Rebels defense has allowed at least 325 yards through the air for three straight weeks, even to a lowly Hawaii passing attack. Fales still has Chandler Jones to throw to, and freshman Tyler Winston has stepped up with three consecutive games of 150 yards or more in Carr's absence. UNLV won't be able to slow this aerial attack.