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Janie Harris | | November 4, 2016

Games to watch: Ranked matchups, rivalries lead Week 10

  LSU's Leonard Fournette was shut down by Alabama's defense in last year's matchup.

With the College Football Playoff rankings released this week, teams know exactly where they stand with the CFP selection committee. These last few weeks could drastically change the rankings, thus Week 10’s games could have an extra competitive element.

RELATED: Alabama leads first 2016 CFP poll; surprise No. 4 emerges

So, with this in mind, which of this week’s games will be the most interesting? Here are four to keep an eye on:

Texas at Texas Tech - GameCenter

Saturday, Nov. 5 at noon ET

What is an unranked matchup doing here? Well, this rivalry could easily turn out to be a heck of a watch for football fans. Both teams have spent their seasons battling for a spot in the top-25, riding the win-loss roller coaster throughout the year. While defeating the other might not propel the team to the CFP, bragging rights and adding to the promise of a positive end-of-season record looks to be enough to add some extra motivation to make this an interesting game.

  The Longhorns currently hold the series against the Red Raiders with 49 wins over Tech's 16.
With record-breaking, statistics-lead quarterback Patrick Mahomes leading high-scoring Texas Tech offense, it may be difficult for the Longhorns to stop the Red Raiders from running up the scoreboard. However, Tech has had some defense woes this year, failing to stop most teams from posting just as many points. That is what the Red Raiders have accumulated its losses from, but if the defense can stop a few key plays, Texas Tech may be tallying a win at home.

However, Texas overall looks to have a more well-rounded team. The offense scores almost as many points as Texas Tech, and the defense, while it has had its share of struggles too, has been able to hold team when it needs to. Plus, the Texas has a strong special teams unit.

It could go either way in this rivalry game.

TCU at No. 13 Baylor- GameCenter

Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3:30 p.m. ET

The Revivalry comes to us with quite a bit on the line for the two teams. The Big 12 title could be taken by either team at this point, and while TCU seems to have a longer path to the title than Baylor, this game will have a big impact on the race. Also, if Baylor can continue to win, the Bear may have a shot at the CFP, but a loss here could snatch that potential quickly away.

  TCU and Baylor first faced each other in 1901 and are tied with 52 wins each in the series.
This game could have plenty of points. The Bears’ defense had no shortage of struggles last week against Texas, but TCU, which has lost three of four doesn’t seem to be in much better shape.

Four of the past five games in this matchup have bee decided by a touchdown or less. It may not be the as high-profile as the top-10 meetings of previous years, but this should be one of the more interesting games to watch in Week 10. 

No. 9 Nebraska at No. 6 Ohio State- GameCenter

Saturday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. ET

Based on their rankings and records right now, this looks to be one of the more evenly matched contests in Week 10. However, the Buckeyes have been struggling as of late, barely defeating Northwestern and falling to Penn State. Nebraska is coming off a loss to Wisconsin. Both teams are looking to post a solid win.

RELATED: Ohio State to wear throwback uniforms in honor of 1916 undefeated team

A win for Ohio State could put them back in the good graces of the College Football Playoff Committee, but it would also put the Huskers run at the Big Ten title at risk, especially since the Badgers would have the upper hand if it came to a tiebreaker.

Ohio State’s offense looks to have the advantage here, placing star-worthy talent like J.T. Barrett, Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel on the field to create one of the more explosive offenses in the nation. However, the Huskers allow few yards on defense, allowing an average of 342.1 yards per game and ranking 20th in the nation for total defense. Also, with Nathan Gerry continuing to nab a few picks for the Huskers, the team looks to have a serious chance at preventing another Ohio State win.

  Ohio State's quarterback J.T. Barrett has thrown for more than 1,600 yards.
Ohio State’s defense come into the game with even more impressive stats, ranking sixth in the nation for total defense and allowing an average of 295.5 yards per game. And, with Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong potentially still not being 100 percent healthy, the Huskers might struggle.

These two teams have not met since 2012, and with so much on the line for the two fairly matched teams, it may be a game that comes down to the final moments. 

No. 1 Alabama at No. 15 LSU- GameCenter

Saturday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. ET

Clear your schedule for this one. Even if you don’t watch another football game on Saturday, make sure you are watching this one. With so much riding on this game for a number of teams, an upset here could rock the world of college football.

The young rivalry returns as Jalen Hurts and the Tide roll over to face Leonard Fournette and the Tigers in Death Valley. While Alabama is favored in this match up, this is still a rivalry and is still college football, so anything can happen.

In looking at Alabama’s schedule, the only two teams that look as if they might be able to take down the still-undefeated, No. 1 Crimson Tide are LSU and Auburn. So, for fans hoping Alabama’s hold on that No. 1 spot starts to waver (I’m looking at you Michigan fans), an upset by LSU could shake up the rankings, potentially moving the Wolverines into the top spot.

  Last year, Alabama stopped LSU's run game and dominated the field.
Also, for fans of Ed Orgeron, a win here could add to his resume for the Tigers’ head coaching position. So far, LSU hasn’t lost a game since he took the reins, and it seems Tiger fans are loving their homegrown coach.

But, it will take a lot for the LSU Tigers to nab a win this week. Jalen Hurts remains one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, even rising above some experience signal callers in the league. Hurts leads an explosive offense, which even when the Tide isn’t able to move the ball in the air has a strong running back in Damien Harris who can move it on the ground just as effectively.

However, it is not just the offense the Tigers need to watch out for. Alabama’s defense scores just as much as some offenses in the league and, so far this year, holds teams to an average of about 14 points per game.

RELATED: QB Jalen Hurts has impressed with mental fortitude

The Tigers will need to score much more than that to prevent being washed away by the Tide. However, with a new offensive system that seems to be working well for freshman quarterback Danny Etling and a healthy Fournette on the ground, LSU might be able to post some impressive points. Also, with a head coach that specializes in defense, the Tigers might be the best defense Alabama has had to face so far. If defensive stars like Davon Godchaux can contain Hurts, Alabama looks to have a tough game against the Tigers.

It may have looked to be a blow out earlier in the season, but with new leadership and so much at stake, expect to see potentially one of the most entertaining football games of the week Saturday evening. 

Honorable Mentions

Maryland at No. 2 Michigan - GameCenter

While Maryland has some serious rushing talent, Michigan looks to make some big plays and tally another win to its undefeated lineup.

Syracuse at No. 3 Clemson - GameCenter

In an ACC matchup, Clemson looks to take down the Orange. However, Cuse beat Virginia Tech and gave Louisville a scare and looks do the same to the Tigers.

No. 4 Washington at California - GameCenter

Washington looks to extend its domination of the Pac-12 with a win over the Golden Bears. However, Cal’s games seem to be a tossup lately, so they may surprise us.

Georgia Tech at No. 18 North Carolina - GameCenter

The Tar Heels look to tally another win. However, in this ACC battle, Georgia Tech attempts to shake things up an pull off an upset that could change the course of the Yellow Jackets’ season. 

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