This Weekend in College Football: Week 9

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • Syracuse @ Florida State (ABC): I suspect Florida State’s… suspect offensive line will be less of an issue against the ‘Cuse.
  • Mississippi @ Auburn (ESPN): Auburn seems to be a solidly boom-bust cycle sort of team, and this year is definitely more on the “bust” side.
  • Illinois @ Pennsylvania State (ESPN2): Penn State may have some of the six easiest wins in college football, while the Illini have been better than anyone expected. I’d say this game is a tossup, so I’ll guess in favor of the Nittany Lions.
  • Nebraska @ Purdue (ESPNU): Whatever issues the Huskers may have, they won’t be issues against Purdue.
  • Central Florida @ Cincinnati (ESPNEWS): Cincy should handle the worst team in major college football.
  • South Carolina @ Texas A&M (SEC): I keep thinking that the Gamecocks will figure it out one of these weeks, and it could well be here. Odds are against them, though.
  • South Florida @ Navy (CBSS): USF has looked solid this year, but Navy has handled this first year in a conference thing with aplomb. I like them here.
  • Rutgers @ Wisconsin (BTN): Wisconsin should be able to handle this one.

12:30: Virginia Tech @ Boston College (ACC): This will almost certainly be the lowest scoring game of the day. Going with VPI since the Hokies seems to have at least a semblance of an offense, though.

3:00:

  • Southern California @ California (FOX): Welcome back, USC! Though given their success with their interim coaches the last few years, perhaps their domination of Utah wasn’t that surprising? Either way, it makes this game all that more intriguing. USC can out-talent anyone in the country, including Cal. The main thing with USC is whether they show up, and if they do, I think they have a very good chance to win.
  • Colorado @ California-Los Angeles (Pac12): UCLA’s loss to Arizona State is starting to look more baffling than good, but they should ease past the Buffs. Speaking of Colorado, though, who would’ve guessed that Utah would be competitive more quickly?
  • Georgia Tech @ Virginia (ACC/RSN): Whoo boy. I’m still not tired of watching the replays of the miracle from last weekend. I celebrated so vigorously that my deltoids were sore the next day. That said, I wish I could see a full replay from the north endzone.
    Anyway, this game. Virginia’s had a schedule every bit as difficult as ours and with arguably worse results. What’s the take away from that? It’s hard to be sure. What is hard for the Jackets is winning in Charlottesville, where we’ve won the all of four times ever. If you enjoy anniversaries that are multiples of five, though, then 25 years ago on Tuesday GT won at then-#1 UVA, a win that put them on the map and primed to be a candidate for #1 themselves at the end of the season. Of course, tying with the sentence before that one, GT would then lose in Charlottesville every other year until 2009. So it’s a bit helter-skelter up there.
    My main worry in this contest is how the team reacts to the win last week. It was awesome. The return is running continuously on loop. Lance Austin is already a legend. Jamal Golden won ACC Defensive Player of the Week for his interception in the end zone, the first thrown by Golson all season. The injuries remain, especially after multiple defensive backs left the game against FSU. So which team shows up? The one that couldn’t block anyone for a month and a half and had horrendous special teams play? Or the one that could rush the passer, seal the outside running lanes, and provide a one-in-lifetime special teams play?

3:30:

  • Florida vs. Georgia (@Jacksonville, FL; CBS): In the new, post-Florida-wins-every-year phase of this rivalry, it’s been downright wacky and tough to predict. That said, I feel like I can reasonably pick the Gators here.
  • Clemson @ North Carolina State (ABC/ESPN2): Clemson should remain undefeated here.
  • Maryland @ Iowa (ABC/ESPN2): As should the Hawkeyes.
  • Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech (ESPN): …as should the Cowboys.
  • Oklahoma @ Kansas (FS1): This one will likely have the largest margin of victory, though.
  • Boise State @ Nevada-Las Vegas (ESPNU): Boy howdy, which of these mid-afternoon to watch is pretty obvious, isn’t it? Boise should roll.
  • San Diego State @ Colorado State (CBSS): The Aztecs have smashed through their conference schedule so far with aplomb, a trend which figures to continue here.

4:00: Tulsa @ Southern Methodist (ESPNEWS):I’d love to have more to tell you about this game, but SMU is 1-6, so…

7:00:

  • Michigan @ Minnesota (ESPN): It’s been a rough week for the Gophers, after Jerry Kill had to step down for his health. It’s a real bummer, to put it mildly. As for the game, Minnesota’s three losses have all come to teams with functioning defenses, which Michigan has, to say the least.
  • Vanderbilt @ Houston (ESPN2): Well, Vandy’s a big underdog in this one. Who am I to disagree?
  • Miami @ Duke (ESPNU): Miami is sort of the ACC’s version of USC, a capable team that has issues living up to the expectations created by the talent. With Al Golden gone, will the Hurricanes get a similar result? I don’t feel safe calling that.
  • Texas @ Iowa State (FS1): Iowa State just fired their offensive coordinator. While head coaches getting canned in-season is unfortunate but understandable, dismissing and hiring new coordinators in many ways makes less sense (and it certainly happens less often). Suffice it to say, I’m going with the Longhorns here.
  • Tulane @ Memphis (CBSS): Three of Memphis’s next four games are against solid to really good teams. This is not one of them.
  • Oregon State @ Utah (Pac12): I think the Utes will rebound from their devastating loss last week (it’s not like they’re out of it in the Pac-12 South), but I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s a hangover.

7:30: Tennessee @ Kentucky (SEC): I’m not sure which of these teams to believe in, so I’m going to go with my gut and say Tennessee.

8:00: Notre Dame @ Temple (ABC): It’s cool Temple is undefeated and all, but their “signature win” this year is an eight point win over Cincinnati. Notre Dame has at least 4 better wins. I don’t think this will be close.

10:30:

  • Stanford @ Washington State (ESPN): As has been observed elsewhere, Wazzou is essentially having a breakout season that started with a loss to FCS Portland State. While I don’t think they have any shot of beating Stanford, hey, it’s Halloween in Pullman, weird stuff can happen. (Probably not, though.)
  • Air Force @ Hawaii (CBSS): Hawaii is kind of awful this year. Did you know Norm Chow is still their head coach? I had to look it up, so I can confirm he is. Huh.

11:00: Arizona @ Washington (FS1): Washington has a bizarre win over Southern Cal to their credit and not much else. Going with the Wildcats here.

To end, a quick shoutout to two of my favorite college football writers, whom I have followed across multiple sites over the years. Holly and Matt, I look forward to seeing where you land.

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