Will Oregon have starting quarterback and potential No. 1 overall draft pick Justin Herbert this week against UCLA? Herbert is in the concussion protocol and his status remains unclear. Herbert’s top target, Dillon Mitchell, is also in the concussion protocol, and his status for Saturday is also unclear. Oregon has lost back-to-back games to fall out of the Pac-12 North race. We aren’t here to talk about the Pac-12. Our NCAAF Week 10 betting focus is the SEC as the conference championship game could be set already on Saturday.
This was already to be a big weekend in Lexington because horse racing’s richest overall event, the Breeders’ Cup, is being held at Churchill Downs this weekend. However, that’s now being overshadowed by the biggest Kentucky home football game in decades and maybe ever. Quite simply, the winner of this game claims the SEC East title. Kentucky has not only never won the East but never finished better than third! This is a basketball school.
Kentucky nearly got caught looking ahead to his game Saturday in escaping 15-14 at Missouri on an untimed down. Kentucky took over on its own 19 with 1:24 left. With 4 seconds left, Terry Wilson threw toward Ahmad Wagner in the back left corner of the end zone. Wagner caught the ball out of bounds, but Missouri cornerback DeMarkus Acy was called for pass interference, giving Kentucky an untimed down that it turned into the winning score.
Wilson then connected with tight end C.J. Conrad for a 2-yard touchdown pass, clinching an improbable comeback win in a game Mizzou appeared to have won several times over in the final minutes. Wilson, who was replaced by backup Gunnar Hoak for part of the second half, completed 22 of 31 passes for 267 yards. Lynn Bowden had 13 catches for 166 yards. Benny Snell, who entered the game as the nation’s fourth-leading rusher, gained just 67 yards on 19 carries. Kentucky’s walk-off win over Missouri was the Wildcats’ 4th upset win of the season, most in the FBS.
UK has now tied or improved its record every season since Mark Stoops became head coach in 2013. UK won two games in 2012, the season before Stoops arrived, followed by two wins in 2013, five in 2014 and ’15, and seven in 2016, ’17 and ’18. UK is 5-1 in the SEC, clinching the first winning league record since the 1977 team went 6-0.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s 19-point win over Florida (36-17) was their largest win against a ranked Gators team since 1997 (won by 20). The Bulldogs accounted for 429 yards of total offense, forced three Gator turnovers and turned them into 10 points.
Georgia has won eight straight in the SEC East divisional series vs. Kentucky, five of those victories coming by double digits. Last year, Georgia beat Kentucky 42-13 but the last time the two teams played in Lexington, the Dawgs barely escaped 27-24. This will only be the third time in the UGA-UK series history that both teams will be ranked (2007: #8 UGA 24, #22 UK 13; 1946: #8 UGA 28, #19 UK 13).
No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 LSU (+14.5)
When: Saturday, 8 PM ET (CBS)
Look at that line! LSU is one of the toughest places to win in the country and the Tide are giving the Tigers 14.5 points! LSU hasn’t been that big of home underdogs since 1997. LSU was a 16.5-point home underdog against a top-ranked Florida team on Oct. 11, 1997. LSU upset the Gators 28-21 that day. Alabama has beaten LSU seven straight times, winning by an average margin of 13 points per game.
If Alabama wins, it clinches the SEC West. Bama catches a break, too, because Tigers star linebacker Devin White will miss the first half. White, a lock 2019 NFL early first-round pick, was penalized for targeting after he hit Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald in the fourth quarter of LSU’s 19-3 win two Saturdays ago. The ruling was upheld upon official review. By rule, players who are called for targeting in the second half of a game must sit out the first half of the following game.
Athletic director Joe Alleva had contacted the Southeastern Conference office after the game to voice his displeasure with the targeting foul, but the SEC upheld it. Sophomore Patrick Queen is listed as White’s backup on LSU’s depth chart. Alabama leads the SEC in total offense at 564.3 yards per game and averages 54.1 points per game after the Crimson Tide dismantled Tennessee 58-21 two Saturdays ago.
There’s reason to believe this will be close. First and foremost is the nation’s toughest schedule, which the Tigers have navigated far better than most on the outside expected. LSU is 4-1 against ranked foes this year, including a perfect 3-0 against top-10 opponents. Both win figures are the most in the country. Quarterback Joe Burrow is prepared to hit the deep ball, an area he’s felt he’s been inconsistent with this season and an area the Tigers failed to exploit against Alabama a year ago. On 40 deep attempts this season, Burrow has been accurate on just 37.5, but he’s been good for a 95.9 NFL passer rating on such throws.
Georgia and Alabama win but I’m taking the points in both.