This Weekend in College Football: Week 9

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

11:30: Buffalo @ Akron (CBSS): You could watch an early MAC game, or maybe you could get a little extra sleep. I know which one I’m doing. Also I like Akron here.

Noon:

  • Oklahoma State @ West Virginia (ABC): Okay, WVU is probably better this year than you think, but the Pokes are still pretty good.
  • Wisconsin @ Illinois (ESPN): Illinois is, full stop, the worst team in the Big Ten.
  • Miami @ North Carolina (ESPN2): North Carolina is as bad, if not worse, than Illinois.
  • Texas @ Baylor (ESPNU): Baylor’s not great, either.
  • Arkansas @ Mississippi (SEC): Uh, stick to Oklahoma State @ WVU, okay? Geez. Somehow this timeslot has managed to feature four of the worst major conference teams in the country.
  • Rutgers @ Michigan (BTN): Serious, Rutgers is no worse than the fifth worst team in this timeslot. Still, Michigan’s offense might look a little better in this one.

12:30: Virginia @ Pittsburgh (ACC/RSN): Don’t look, but, apparently UVA’s good now? Huh.

2:00: California @ Colorado (Pac12): Not sure who I like here, as these teams are about equally mediocre. Cal is more exciting, though, so I’ll take them.

3:00:

  • Kansas State @ Kansas (FS1): This might be the worst KU team ever, and trust me, that’s saying something.
  • Air Force @ Colorado State (CBSS): Colorado State is pretty good. This year’s edition of the Falcons are not.

3:30:

  • Georgia vs. Florida (@Jacksonville, FL; CBS): How badly I want Florida to win (because I hate Georgia and it would be hilarious) is about inversely proportional to their odds of actually winning.
  • North Carolina State @ Notre Dame (NBC): Did you know that NC State is the only undefeated team in the ACC Atlantic right now? And that the only thing between them and Charlotte is a home game against Clemson? Yeah, they’re good! The problem is, so is Notre Dame, and this one is in South Bend. I’ll take the Domers here, but not by much.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Ohio State (FOX): 3:30’s doing it’s best to make up for the nooners, I tell you what. The Buckeyes have reeled off five straight and appear to actually have a functioning offense again. The flip side, though, is that their best win in those five games is, uh, Maryland I guess? Penn State also has a functioning offense and just took care of Michigan, which has a pretty good defense. I’m going with the Nittany Lions here.
  • Texas Christian @ Iowa State (ABC/ESPN2): Yeah, uh, Iowa State is good now? Huh. I mean, they’re going to still lose to TCU, but it might be interesting.
  • California-Los Angeles @ Washington (ABC/ESPN2): UDub all the way here.
  • Michigan State @ Northwestern (ESPN): Northwestern isn’t bad, they’re just not, you know, good.
  • Indiana @ Maryland (BTN): See also “California @ Colorado”, because this is about the same thing. Uh, edge to the home team?

3:45: Houston @ South Florida (ESPNU): Is more than one AAC team allowed to be good in a given year? How does this work? As a reminder, USF plays UCF on November 24th.

4:00: Vanderbilt @ South Carolina (SEC): Gamecocks.

5:45: Utah @ Oregon (Pac12): Utah just doesn’t have their usual plucky mojo this year, at least not enough to go beat a revitalized Oregon team on the road.

6:30:

  • Minnesota @ Iowa (FS1): Minnesota will be there next year or the year after, but for now, they’re still having to row pretty hard.
  • Missouri @ Connecticut (CBSS): This is definitely a game that is happening for some reason. Mizzou I guess?

7:15: Mississippi State @ Texas A&M (ESPN): See also “California @ Colorado” and “Indiana @ Maryland”, because this is pretty much the SEC equivalent. TAMU I guess?

7:20: Duke @ Virginia Tech (ACC): LIGHTNING ROUND! VPI.

7:30:

  • New Mexico @ Wyoming (ESPNU): Wyoming.
  • Tennessee @ Kentucky (SEC): Kentucky.
  • Nebraska @ Purdue (BTN): Purdue.

8:00:

  • Texas Tech @ Oklahoma (ABC/ESPN2): Look, the latent magical energies that course from Bill Synder ebb and flow, and though this season has seen more ebb than not, that’s not say sudden spikes can occur and not-very-good-to-this-point-Kansas-State can force Oklahoma to come from behind to win. This just happens sometimes. Essentially, I still think the Sooners are pretty good and they should be able to win here.
  • Georgia Tech @ Clemson (ABC/ESPN2): Hoo boy. This is the game that has changed more than any other for us over the last five season. We used to be pretty competitive with Clemson (see: 2009) but, well, that just isn’t the case anymore. And it starts up front with the Tigers’ defensive line. Paul Johnson once said something like “physical superiority cancels all theories” and indeed, with the option key is fast enough that you can’t even option them, that’s a problem. Our defense still worries me, especially after coming out flat against Wake Forest in the first half last week. We eventually managed to prevail on defense, but it took over 30 minutes for them to wake up. I still think the defensive playcalling is atrocious, but our secondary gives us a chance to stay in games if they’re used effectively. Add this up, and it sounds like I’m saying we don’t have a chance. But there’s still one thing about even reigning-national-champions Clemson that’s true: we’ve always got a chance.

9:30: Washington State @ Arizona (Pac12): I still can’t get over how wrong we all were about Arizona and Arizona State entering this season. Yes, you were also wrong, even if you didn’t actually have a prediction saying that the Territorial Cup would be contested by two teams with interim coaches this year. I’m still baffled by Wazzu’s suddenly stingy defense, but I feel like Khalil Tate may do a thing or two to change that perception by the end of this night.

10:00: Boise State @ Utah State (CBSS): Speaking of mojo, welcome back Broncos! I like them to prevail over the road against the Aggies.

10:45: Southern California @ Arizona State (ESPN): Yeah, seriously, I didn’t think back in September I’d be pretty confident that the Sun Devils would win pretty easily over the Trojans, but here we are.

11:15: San Diego State @ Hawaii (ESPN2): And here’s your nightcap, which will likely be “watching the Aztecs run the clock out after you’ve the other games ended”.

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