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College Football 2013: Week 10 Preview
Saturday, 2013 November 2 - 9:33 am
It's rivalry week... Michigan plays at Michigan State, North Carolina plays at North Carolina State.

Michigan at Michigan State
Well, MSU again has a ferocious attacking defense and a mediocre offense. This time it's sophomore Connor Cook at the reins at quarterback, where he leads the 109th-best passing attack in the country (ha). Leveon Bell is gone but a couple of competent juniors, Jeremy Langford and Nick Hill, have replaced him. The offensive line is still a bit of a work in progress, but the offense finally seemed to put a game together last week against a soft and porous Illinois defense. They have yet to show any sign of being able to move the ball on a good defense; run blocking isn't great and Connor Cook has a tendency to panic under pressure.

So MSU relies heavily on its top-ranked defense to win games, and that usually worked. MSU plays at attacking style with linebackers and safeties up close in run support. They scream after the running back on any run action, so zone read and play action will be the key to beating them. In particular, we'll need to see if the max-protect package with only Jeremy Gallon and Devin Funchess running routes will be effective, as it was against Indiana. We'll have to see if Borges has come up with an answer in the running game... if we see Michigan running I-formation off-tackle into MSU's 9-man front, then start drinking. Heavily.

The wild card in this game is the weather. It predicts to be a cold, drizzly day in East Lansing, and that might affect the passing game on both sides. If this comes to a battle of the rushing offenses, I think Michigan loses. We are going to have to find a way to connect on some pass plays to win. It might only take one or two big plays to get a victory in this game, so it's a matter of which team grabs it.

On the road, in bad weather, I'm not particularly optimistic. Hopeful, but not optimistic.

Prediction: MSU 10, Michigan 7.

N.C.State vs North Carolina
The facts are plain for N.C. State: they haven't beaten any good, last week's drubbing was a sign of just how far they have to go, and a win against UNC is the last chance to salvage the season.

Meanwhile UNC had a terrible start to the season but managed to beat Boston College convincingly last week. UNC's running game is generally awful, so they rely heavily on the passing game from Bryn Renner. Unfortunately the pass defense for N.C. State has not been stellar.

The good news for State is that UNC's defense is a downright sieve. ECU racked up 603 yards of offense against it; two weeks ago Miami ran up 556. I think Brandon Mitchell will complete big plays to Bryan Underwood; I also think Shadrach Thornton could see a big day rushing.

This could figure to be a shootout, though perhaps muted by turnovers as both teams have trouble taking care of the ball.

Prediction: N.C. State 34, UNC 30.

Games to Watch on TV
Last night USC beat Oregon State 31-14. USC is decidedly better without Lane Kiffin.

At noon we'll get to see if Iowa is for real as they play #24 Wisconsin on ABC/ESPN2. (Hint: I don't think Iowa is for real.) Don't bother watch #4 Ohio State massacre Purdue on BTN. The NCSU/UNC game is online, or on TV locally on WRAL. Mississippi State could give #14 South Carolina some trouble, but that game is not televised nationally (available locally on WNCN's alternate digital channel).

At 3:30 the Michigan-MSU game is on ABC nationwide. Navy plays #25 Notre Dame on NBC; Arizona plays Cal on the Pac-12 network; and Georgia plays Florida on CBS as both teams try to stay in contention in the SEC East. Northwestern plays Nebraska in the Implosion Bowl on BTN. Minnesota plays Indiana on BTN's alternate channel. Minnesota is a surprising 6-2, but Indiana may well score 100 on them.

At 7:00 Missouri plays #9 Tennessee on ESPN. #18 Oklahoma State plays #15 Texas Tech on Fox.

At 8:00 #3 Florida State plays #7 Miami in a battle of unbeatens. I suppose that's the Game of the Week, but I fully expect FSU to destroy Miami. You never know in a rivalry game, but Miami has had a few scares against weak competition and is lacking any signature victories. Meanwhile FSU has destroyed all comers including Clemson.
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Posted by Ken in: sports


Comment #1 from Ken (realkato)
2013 Nov 2 - 12:07 pm : #
Update: Bryan Underwood is out with an injury. Umm, that's not good.

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