Week 10's upset picks, value plays

Evaluating odds and making picks for LSU-Bama, USC-Oregon, more

Updated: November 1, 2012, 12:29 PM ET
By Will Harris | ESPN Insider
US Presswire, AP PhotoTexas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson could both lose in Week 10.

Every week during the season, Will Harris will check with the computers (using Insider's PickCenter) and wiseguys to evaluate the upset possibilities in college football's most compelling games and give his picks for which team will come out on top.

Five undefeated teams fell in Week 9, leaving unblemished the four teams atop the national standings -- Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame -- plus Ohio State and Louisville.

This week, three of the top undefeated teams find themselves favored by single digits against talented competition, but regular readers know I have been bullish on all four of the top unbeaten teams.

Last week, Upset Watch moved to 54-35 on the season with a 7-3 mark for the sixth time in nine weeks, including outright underdog winners Notre Dame and Georgia. This week, there are a few more 'dogs I think will bark, though not necessarily at the expense of the nation's top teams.

Alabama Crimson Tide at LSU Tigers

Alabama is favored by 9.5 points
TeamRankings win odds for LSU: 40 percent

In the offseason, we identified several issues with the 2012 LSU team, and in Week 10, the Tigers look exactly like the 9-4 team described. Quarterback play, offensive coaching, leadership, team chemistry and a lack of discipline have marred LSU's campaign. Last season's controlled chaos in the back end of the defense led to constant turnovers and big defensive plays; this year's uncontrolled chaos more often just leads to personal fouls.

LSU's players are finally acknowledging that last season's title game left scars. This week, the players would have us believe that those scars created a determined team on a mission, but LSU hasn't looked anything like that in most of its games. This is still a very good Tigers team, but make no mistake: This is a relative down year for LSU and a radically different outfit than the relentlessly cocky, explosive and dominating Tigers squad of a year ago. Attrition hasn't helped. Of the 14 LSU players who started the title game with eligibility remaining, only six will start Saturday night.