October has come and gone, and we’ve finally reached November: no man’s land between fall and winter. In college football, though, it’s Week 10 and Separation Saturday has arrived, which means the game is finally getting hot.
This week, teams will emerge and separate from opponents, making it easier to pick out the real playoff contenders. There’s two top-10 bouts and a BIG 12 contest that could be an elimination game for the conference championship.
Fans may have been able to skate by without paying attention to the race, but now is the time to stay seated and tuned in. Here’s three games that are must-see for Separation Saturday.
No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 9 Kentucky CBS 3:30 p.m. ET
Yes, Georgia versus Kentucky. It’s an odd thought to consider for a game that could very well decide the SEC East, but The Wildcats are on the prowl.
Both teams had big wins last week, but Kentucky really has the most to lose in this game. If history bears repeating, Kentucky could be up a creek: Georgia has won eight straight matches in the series.
Unfortunately for Kentucky, the Bulldogs have the edge with their roster. Last week, quarterback Jake Fromm capitalized on third down when it counted, racking up 240 passing yards and three touchdowns. Running back D’Andre Swift and a whole herd of eligible receivers, along with breakout star tight end Isaac Nauta, will cause trouble for Kentucky.
The Bulldogs have the best pass defense in the SEC, but their run defense needs help, which Kentucky will be sure to utilize. If Kentucky has any hope of keeping up with Georgia, though, they will need quarterback Terry Wilson to keep the passing yards at an all-time high. Kentucky has an amazing defense, though. The Wildcats are sure to use linebacker Josh Allen wherever possible, as he has 10 sacks on the season, which is the same number as the entire Georgia defense.
If Kentucky wants this one bad enough, they’ll need to put constant pressure on Fromm.
No. 13 West Virginia vs. No. 17 Texas FOX 3:30 p.m. ET
Both teams have a BIG 12 loss on their records and are in a three-way tie with Oklahoma for the top spot, so neither team can afford to lose this game. This is the closest West Virginia has ever been to really existing within the title race, and Texas is finally relevant, so the outcome could have a big impact on BIG 12 football, as a whole.
West Virginia took it to the house against Baylor last week Thursday, and have had a few extra days to prepare for the game this weekend. Texas, on the other hand, had a rough bout with Oklahoma State last week, and the coaching staff is surely going over new plans.
When the Longhorns are playing at their very best, they can wear down an opponent with ease and grace. They’ll put the pressure on the Mountaineers’ offense, and it will do them well.
This is the start of the schedule West Virginia has been waiting for, and this is the best team Dana Holgorsen has coached, so it’s now or never for the Mountaineers. For West Virginia to pull through, quarterback Will Grier will need to step up.
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 LSU CBS 8 p.m. ET
This is the game we have all been waiting for, the biggest match of the season. If Alabama wins, they can grab the SEC West title. If LSU wins, they will take the lead in the division race and create the biggest upset of the entire year, shaking up the college football universe, in the process.
Alabama has won seven-straight in the series, since their 9-6 loss in overtime in 2011, so LSU has some big obstacles to overcome.
The Tide had a bye week to give Tua Tagovailoa some rest, which is not good news for a LSU defense that will be without linebacker Devin White for the first half of the game, after a controversial target call was made on him late in the game against Mississippi State.
Alabama also has a strong receiving corp, along with a defense that boasts Quinnen Williams, who is one of the best players in the nation.
The Tide’s defense numbers of have dropped, though, and LSU has a solid secondary with star members. What creates the most questions, is LSU’s defense. The Tigers have a good run game, but the chances of them winning really lie on quarterback Joe Burrow’s shoulders.
This monumental match will really come down to a good old quarterback versus quarterback showdown.
Kristen Ashly is an editor and senior contributor for Nuts & Bolts Sports. Follow her on Twitter @KristenAshly.