Week 10 arrives with one of the most annually anticipated games in the SEC when Alabama and LSU square off. Otherwise, the weekend is filled with intriguing games, but not the biggest marquee matchups. Which doesn’t mean we won’t be glued to our televisions.
We know it’s difficult to squeeze half a dozen college football games into your weekend and budgeting your time to get the maximum value for your viewing pleasure can be difficult. That’s where we step in to act as your personal television guide. Think of us as your Tivo for watching Tebow.
Here’s a look at each Week 10 contest, using our unique rating scale of one-to-Verne. Verne being the best, naturally.
All games take place on Nov. 5; times are Eastern Standard
Tennessee Tech (3-5) at Tennessee (5-3, 2-3 SEC)
Watchability rating: 1 nap break
Kickoff: 4 p.m., SEC Network
Tennessee has dominated our watchability guide all year, routinely rating as a “Verne.” But the Volunteers have fallen on hard times as Butch Jones’ program appears to be in shambles, courtesy of injuries, bickering and the transferring of its top running back midway through the season. And three straight losses don’t help. Tennessee catches a break this week when the Vols play host to Tennessee Tech. Let’s be honest, if you have any chores to do, such as mow the lawn or take down Halloween decorations, this might be the best time on Saturday to do so.
Georgia Southern (4-4, 3-2 Sun Belt) at Ole Miss (3-5, 1-4 SEC)
Watchability rating: 2 minutes to catch our breath
Kickoff: noon, ESPNU
You can almost feel Ole Miss’ sigh of relief from here, wherever that may be when you flip on the Rebels’ Week 10 matchup with Georgia Southern. The Eagles have lost four of five games, with the lone win coming against New Mexico State. That’s welcome news for an Ole Miss program that’s played six teams ranked in the AP Top 25 this season, including ranked foes in five of their last six games. If Ole Miss is to right their sinking ship, it starts by handling Georgia Southern. If not, you might find Rebels coach Hugh Freeze perusing the want ads in the very near future.
Missouri (2-6, 0-4 SEC) at South Carolina (4-4, 2-4 SEC)
Watchability rating: 2 Columbias, 2 different directions
Kickoff: 4 p.m., SEC Network
The first Columbia Cup for both Will Muschamp and Barry Odom arrives in the South Carolina version of the city with a real chance the former could be steering his program to a surprise bowl game in his inaugural season in the Palmetto State. Muschamp’s South Carolina squad has discovered its quarterback in Jake Bentley, and, in the process, has rescued a once-moribund season into one of hope. That’s bad news for Odom, who not only seeks his first SEC win, but must do so with a passing defense that doesn’t prevent many points. The Tigers are desperate for a win. Beating South Carolina — which could be nursing a hangover after beating Tennessee last week — could be their best (and last) shot at landing in the win column this season.
Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-3 SEC) at No. 9 Auburn (6-2, 4-1 SEC)
Watchability rating: 3 Vandy wins in a row?
Kickoff: noon, ESPN
An Auburn win over Vanderbilt isn’t a guarantee, despite the lights-out play of the Tigers, winners of five straight. The Commodores have held their own all-time against Auburn, which owns just a 21-20-1 advantage in the series. Derek Mason has never won three games in a row during his three years in Nashville and needs a signature win. Beating Auburn in Jordan-Hare would be just that. Of course, all this could be just bluster. Auburn is among the hottest teams in the nation and bowing down to the Commodores at home sounds crazy. The Tigers do a little bit of everything (running, defense, few turnovers) rather well and this game could be over by halftime.
Georgia (4-4, 2-4 SEC) at Kentucky (5-3, 4-2 SEC)
Watchability rating: 3 Bowl-less years
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
Raise your hand if you thought Kentucky would be the team to beat when the Wildcats played host to Georgia in Week 10. Mark Stoops would love nothing more than to earn his first bowl eligibility during his fourth season in Lexington with a win over the Bulldogs. Kentucky is young, vulnerable and sometimes undisciplined, but exciting to watch — particularly with its dynamic running game. One thing that Georgia, losers of two straight and four of its last five, does well is defend against the run. Translation: Kentucky’s bowl aspiration might have to wait until Week 12 and the Wildcats’ matchup with Austin Peay.
No. 4 Texas A&M (7-1, 4-1 SEC) at Mississippi State (3-5, 1-3 SEC)
Watchability rating: 4 Playoff teams
Kickoff: noon, SEC Network
Texas A&M received a boost of confidence this week when the College Football Playoff selection committee dubbed the Aggies as one of the four teams in their initial rankings for inclusion into the coveted postseason. That means defeating Mississippi State isn’t just required, but beating the Bulldogs soundly to validate their selection is almost a must in the fickle rating system. Dan Mullen’s squad has seen its share of struggles in the post-Dak Prescott era, but could have some gas in their tanks to provide a post-Halloween scare at home. Expect the cowbells to ring louder than they’ve clanged all year as Starkville tries to get any advantage it can against an overpowering Texas A&M squad.
No. 11 Florida (6-1, 4-1 SEC) at Arkansas (5-3, 1-3 SEC)
Watchability rating: 4 Hills to climb
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m., CBS
Florida is now in the driver’s seat when it comes to wrapping up the SEC East, but a trip to Fayetteville could be a tough. Especially against an Arkansas team desperate to turn its foundering season around. That means rediscovering the defense, which averaged 23.2 points allowed in the Razorbacks first five games of the year and 45.0 in their last three — two of which were bad losses, even if they were to No. 1-ranked Alabama and No. 11 Auburn. If Florida can flex its conference muscles outside of the division and Arkansas can get back on track, then the Week 10 contest has all the makings of a must-watch game.
No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) vs. No. 13 LSU (5-2, 3-1 SEC)
Watchability rating: Double Verne
Kickoff: 8 p.m., CBS
There were faint whispers — true or false — early in the season that Leonard Fournette, nursing an ailing ankle, was taking it easy as to protect his body for his inevitable NFL career. Listening to the LSU tailback talk in the run-up to the Tigers’ Week 10 tilt against No. 1 Alabama and you get the feeling those rumors leaned toward the false side. Fournette and LSU are fired up to face the Crimson Tide in a game that could save a once-sinking 2016 and hand the reigns over to interim head coach Ed Orgeron, who has LSU rocketing north in the SEC West and AP Top 25 once again. But all that is easier said than done against Alabama, which has a five-game winning streak over its rival. This year’s matchup marks the 11th consecutive time that the Tigers and Tide face one another with both ranked in the AP Top 25. It’s a can’t-miss game and likely the biggest in the SEC’s regular season.