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College football picks: Best bets for Week 10

VSiN analyst Matt Youmans shares his favorite picks for Saturday’s action

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Syracuse v Clemson Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

As a freshman at Clemson, DJ Uiagalelei made a phenomenal first impression. He was so impressive that the quarterback he replaced, Trevor Lawrence, was barely missed — and Lawrence was the eventual No. 1 pick of the 2021 NFL draft.

In the second start of his career, Uiagalelei passed for 439 yards and two touchdowns in a classic game at Notre Dame. (Lawrence watched from the sideline after testing positive for COVID-19.) The top-ranked Tigers fell to the Fighting Irish 47-40 in double overtime, but the Clemson defense was the disappointment.

Two years later, Uiagalelei and the Tigers, 8-0 and ranked No. 4, are back in a similar spot. There are differences, though, because Uiagalelei has not been great the past two seasons, and the Irish are unranked home underdogs this time. (Also, Lawrence has been far from great in two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.)

A better Clemson defensive performance should be the difference. Notre Dame is getting subpar quarterback play from Drew Pyne, who opened the season as the backup. In a win at Syracuse last week, Pyne passed for only 116 yards and the Irish ran 56 times for 246 yards, a run-pass imbalance that’s unlikely to be effective against the Tigers.

Uiagalelei has solid numbers — passing for 21 touchdowns with four interceptions — yet was benched after turning the ball over three times two weeks ago, when coach Dabo Swinney went to freshman Cade Klubnik in a 27-21 comeback victory over Syracuse. If Uiagalelei struggles this week, Swinney will make the switch again, and Klubnik is more than capable.

Clemson, riding a 14-game winning streak, is the only ACC team to beat the Irish since 2018. I was on the home dog in this matchup two years ago, but I’m switching sides and betting against a Notre Dame team that is 0-4 against the spread at home with embarrassing losses to Marshall and Stanford. I never lay the hook on -3.5.

Pick: Clemson -3 (-130)