Week Nine means we’re over 60% through the season. Our College Football Preview Week Nine edition will get you up to speed with what you need to know heading into some huge games for both FBS and FCS Schools.
There are eight games in the ACC this week as the bye weeks start to calm down. With so many good games, many of which have huge ramifications on ACC and AP standings, it was hard to pick a game of the week. Ultimately it had to be between Miami @ Pitt and North Carolina @ Notre Dame. It came down to Kenny P and Pitt needing the big win to push for the playoffs. More on that later.
First off then let’s start with the Tar Heels at The Fighting Irish. Notre Dame are themselves also in a potential playoff push and are winning games. The wins aren’t sexy but they are finding ways to get it done and this I feel is no exception. They looked much better as a unit last week against USC and I think they again bully The opposition into defeat. NC has the game to take it to The Irish but with what’s on the line for ND I think they win and cover the -3.5 points spread.
My Hokies travel to Georgia Tech in a game that could well see the end of Justin Fuentes tenure at Virginia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are -4 favourites and whilst I would like to see a good game here I think. GT get it done against a weak Hokies offence. Jeff Sims may well score four times himself and cost the Hokies more than just the L. A whole new coaching tenure looms near.
Boston College makes the trip to The Carrier Dome to take on Syracuse. BC started well but have lost three straight and look shaky. Garrett Shrader has looked good of late and I think The Orange win and cover the -6.5, I wouldn’t take that bet at 7 mind you.
Seminole Upset Alert
Florida State travels to Death Valley to take on the whimpering Clemson Tigers. The Seminoles obliterated UMass last week and scored 59 points in the win. This week they are +9.5 point underdogs against a Clemson team that hasn’t scored more than 20 points in regulation this season. The over/under is set at 47 and I see no way in which The Noles and Hunter can’t grind out at least 10 points. Upset alert here as I think Florida State wins outright in the fight to keep Mike Norvell in a job.
The undefeated Demon Deacons play host to Duke on Saturday and are -16 point favourites. There really isn’t much to say here apart from Wake get it done and move onto 8-0 before the schedule really toughens up.
Another game in contention for my game of the week is Louisville at NC State. The Wolfpack would have been howling and not in a good way after losing to Miami last week. That seriously dented their chances at making the ACC championship game and they will want to bounce back. They are currently -6.5 point favourites against a good but fluster-able Cardinals squad. Malik Cunningham is as good as anyone on his day but if NC State can contain his run game I think they stifle the points out of Louisville and get the win but not cover.
It wouldn’t be a cracking weekend of ACC football without BYU making an appearance. They host Virginia at 2:15 am BST and look to crash the Brennan Armstrong party. The Cavaliers are playing some amazing football right now and this clash of two 6-2 football team’s is bound to be a superb game. Bronco Mendenhall returns to BYU and that should make for an electric atmosphere in Provo, Utah. This will be a firework festival regardless of score but I think The Cavs edge it 33-24.
ACC Game of the Week – Miami @ Pitt
The all ACC clash isn’t perhaps the best game on the slate but it has huge ramifications if Pitt loses. They should blast a Miami team that is inconsistent at best. The Panthers are -9 point favorites and should cover that easily. Whilst their defence isn’t stellar and the run game is non-existent, they can throw. Boy can they throw. Averaging 358 passing yards per game they are lighting it up at will. What’s funny is they are also averaging 10 more ground yards per game than Miami. That tells you all you need to know about Miami right now.
If Pitt loses then you can say goodbye to a chance at the playoffs. Whilst that chance is very slim it’s still a possibility if they win out. What else is on the line is Kenny Pickett for Heisman trophy winner as he needs to ball out to challenge the big names on the list. For me though we see another huge Pitt performance and they surge onward using top Wide Receiver Jordan Addison to do so. He matches up against two Rookie Safeties in what seems too good to be true for the Pitt aerial attack.
Written by Stocks @5yardcollege
#22 Iowa State travels to the East coast to play West Virginia where Matt Campbell will be wanting to further mount a title charge. Gary Patterson will be looking for his TCU team to bounce back with a win against Kansas State in Manhattan. Early ‘coaching carousel’ riders Texas Tech travel to Norman to face the #4 Oklahoma Sooners. Riley will expect a comfortable win, but then he also thought that last week. Kansas travel to Stillwater to take on the #15 Oklahoma State Cowboys. They stand little chance of the upset like they did last week so expect them to break out with a ten-point lead, such is the BIG XII.
Game of the Week – Texas @ Baylor
The #16 ranked Baylor Bears host the unranked Texas Longhorns in Waco on Saturday for the 111th meeting of the two schools. The game is essentially a pick-em with both teams possessing weaknesses that the other could exploit.
Both teams roll into this one off a bye-week with plenty of time to prepare for the game. Texas quarterback Casey Thompson will be looking to bounce back after having a tough game against Oklahoma state two weeks prior. The offence with him at the helm has scored 32 or more in five of the seven games this season. At this point we know that the offence is going to be built around Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy. Robinson has 924 yards on 146 carries (6.3 ypc) and 10 touchdowns as well as 14 receptions for 207 yards and three more scores. Worthy leads all Power 5 Conference freshmen with 29 receptions for 542 yards and six touchdowns, 261 of them coming against the Sooners.
This will be Dave Aranda’s defence’s biggest test yet. Robinson is a truly elite back and Worthy looks like he could be an elite receiver on his current progression. The Bears will also be looking to do some damage of their own behind backs Trestan Ebner and Abram Smith, as well as emerging quarterback Gerry Bohannon. The Bears’ offence leads the BIG XII and ranks 3rd nationally averaging 7.29 yards per play.
Both defences will have their work cut out this weekend though both defences have recorded multiple interceptions this season. The game could easily come down to whichever team can make the most explosive plays. Both teams have the personnel to do so.
Expect a close one in Waco that could have a bunch of points. Texas sits at 4-3 and really needs to go on a run to consider Sark’s first season a platform to build from. If Baylor comes away with a win, they will be in prime position behind the Sooners for the title race.
Prediction Texas 38-31 Baylor.
Written by Jake @dyanstybrit
Choosing a game of the week was tough because there are 2 monster matchups in the Big Ten this Saturday. As well as the blockbusters, there are fascinating fixtures all across the conference in week 9. There are multiple coin-flip games without a clear favourite, and no shortage of ill-feelings.
Ohio State are calling fans to ‘Scarlet The Shoe’ in their night game against Penn State. The Nittany Lions are coming off the 9OT farce with Illinois and will need to improve in basically every area to trouble the Buckeyes. They were destroyed in the run game last week and TreVeyon Henderson will look to inflict more pain in Columbus. Sean Clifford hopes to be back to 100% which will help, as he was pretty limited and ineffective against Illinois. These 2 schools do NOT like each other and matchups often have an edge to them. Ohio State are even heavier favourites after what happened to Penn State in week 8 and I expect no mercy to be shown. The Buckeyes need to impress the playoff committee with a loss on their record, and a dominant win here would help.
Badgers find form
Wisconsin have rediscovered their identity and will put Iowa to the test in week 9. Both teams excel on defense and lean on the run game. Gaining the upper hand on the ground is key to winning this game. It won’t be pretty or flashy but Tyler Goodson, Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi will get plenty of carries.
Rutgers looks to snap their 4 game losing streak at Illinois in the early window. The Fighting Illini haven’t really received the credit they are due for beating Penn State last week. It is a magnificent scalp in a disappointing season, but the headlines have focussed on the overtime debacle. The perception has been that Penn State lost, rather than Illinois won. Chase Brown and co will be determined to show they earned that win and can tally up some more.
In the remaining games Indiana is travelling to Maryland and Northwestern prepares to roll over for Minnesota’s running game. Purdue will hope to bounce back into the top 25 rankings if they can beat Nebraska at Memorial Stadium. Look for David Bell out to show that last week was a blip on the stat sheet.
Game Of The Week – Michigan @ Michigan State
The stakes for this rivalry have rarely been this high. Both teams are undefeated for the first time since the 60s and sit in the top 10 of the AP poll. The Paul Bunyan Trophy isn’t the only thing on the line on Saturday. Renowned as the ugliest trophy in college football, this year it represents so much more than a hideous cabinet-filler. Aspirations for the Big Ten West Title, Big Ten Championship and even a College Football Playoff berth rely on taking him home.
John Harbaugh’s Wolverines have built their success on a formidable running game and disruptive defense. Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins are making all the headlines, but they owe the Michigan offensive line a big meal out! They are fantastic at opening up holes for the backs to run through, and protecting the quarterback when needed. They will provide the toughest test Michigan State’s D-line have faced this year. Michigan State aren’t too shabby against the run, so it will be a fascinating battle.
The Spartans have a big-boy running game of their own. Kenneth Walker III is lighting up the college football landscape and garnering Heisman whispers. Michigan State will look to pound the rock just as much as the Wolverines. Both teams average over 200 rushing yards per game so it’s easy to see plan A! What happens if they need plan B?
Pound the Rock
Michigan hasn’t shown us anything other than running the ball. Even when pushed hard in close games, they haven’t relented from handing the ball off. If Michigan State can force the Wolverines to throw downfield we don’t really know what will happen! Cade McNamara is averaging just 13 completions and 159 yards a game, and without Ronnie Bell there is no deep ball to speak of. It’s a tall task to limit the rushing game, but if they do this Spartan secondary could feast on a limited and inexperienced passer.
Michigan State is a bit more balanced. Sure, they want to run the ball but they keep defenses honest. Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor can stretch the field and QB Payton Thorne has had success finding them. They have big-play ability and are so elusive after the catch. The Wolverines will send defensive end Aidan Hutchinson tearing after Thorne to try and cancel them out, he’s an absolute game-wrecker! Mel Tucker knows he’ll need to plan around Hutchinson and scheme his receivers open early.
This game is tough to call. It’s one of those that will come down to the details. Who has prepared best for each situation? Who can get off the ball quickest? Which team can win the turnover battle? One play could make all the difference. Get your popcorn ready, this will be a cracker!
Written by Jack @JackCDCTT
All the PAC-12 teams are in action in week 9, all in conference match-ups. Washington State travels to play Arizona State with the Sun Devils holding onto the top spot in the South. Oregon still have slim hopes of a playoff place and should comfortably be able to beat a Colorado team struggling on offence.
Arizona came close to their first win in 19 games last Saturday, they go into the Coliseum to play a struggling USC this week. The Trojans still should have too much for the Wildcats. Oregon State looks to keep the pressure on Oregon at the top of the North. They go to Berkley for an all North match up against California. Another all North affair sees Washington at Stanford, both with similar records.
Game of the Week – UCLA @ Utah
With both UCLA and Utah sitting just behind Arizona State at the top of the South, both with one more loss than the Sun Devils, UCLA having played one more game than the other two teams, this seems like a game neither can afford to lose. Both UCLA and Utah lost last week to Oregon and Oregon State respectively, with a win here keeping them in touch with the top team ASU, if they beat Washington State as the odds suggest.
Utah have already beat the Sun Devils at home this season and will fancy they can do the same against the Bruins. The Utes were poor on defence last week, which is out of character for them. Star linebacker Devin Lloyd will miss the first half of the game, after being ejected for targeting last weekend. With and without Lloyd, they will need to stop the running game that has been a big part of UCLAs offence. One key factor to keep an eye on at the back end of the week, is the situation with Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. DTR left the field with an injury late in the 4th quarter and hasn’t thrown in practice so far this week.
Reports have surfaced recently saying he should play, which will be a massive plus for the Bruins. Utah QB Cam Rising has been excellent since he took over from now departed Charlie Brewer. Rising’s dual threat ability could cause UCLA problems, as well as running back Tavion Thomas. Whoever loses this game will not be totally out of the race for the South, but they will need a few favours to get back the deficit of losses. So yeah, its a game that seems like only a win will do.
Written by Jordan Merritt @Jordm87
A very small slate of games this week in the SEC as we have 4 in conference games and 6 teams on their bye weeks. Vanderbilt went close to beating South Carolina a few weeks back. This is more than likely their last chance to get a win over an SEC team this season, as they welcome struggling Missouri.
Ole Miss still have a slim chance of sneaking into the playoffs. They will need to win out and have one of their more difficult games left on the schedule at Auburn. Kentucky have come back off their bye week after their loss to Georgia. They will be hoping they can carry on their excellent season with a win at Mississippi State.
Game of the Week –Georgia @ Florida
The game of the week in the SEC has to be the Cocktail Party between Georgia and Florida. Looking at the Bulldogs remaining schedule, this is easily their toughest game left. No disrespect to the other opposition, but the way Georgia have been playing, if they win this, then they should win out. Florida will be hoping they can upset the odds and give georgia their first loss on the season. Coming off their bye week, the QB situation is still anybody’s guess. What we do know is that we will see both Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson during the game.
Yes Georgia are big favourites in this game, but Florida pushed current National Champions Alabama close in week 3. The defence held Bama to just 331 offensive yards and will need the same level of play again, maybe even more against the Bulldogs to have a chance. Georgia’s defence has been one of the best we’ve seen in college history. The front 7 have been excellent, especially stuffing the run. They have allowed opposition an average of just 63.4 rushing yards per game.
If at top form again, it’s going to be hard for Florida to move the ball. On offence, it might be a good time to give JT Daniels some playing time before they get to the championship game and most likely the playoffs. It’s going to be tough for Florida to get the win, but they will make the Swamp hostile for the visiting Bulldogs. Can Georgia navigate their last difficult match up of the season?
Written by Jordan Merritt @Jordm87