This Weekend in College Football: Week 9

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • Ohio State @ Pennsylvania State (FOX): I mentioned previously, I’m pretty sure, that Penn State seems to have found this niche just below Michigan and Ohio State but above everyone else in the Big Ten. Well, guess what, the other part of that niche is back, and they look like an unstoppable offensive juggernaut. Good luck with that.
  • Notre Dame @ Syracuse (ABC): Undefeated Syracuse was fun, but they wound up just not being able to move the ball on Clemson in the second half, among other issues. But stopping people hasn’t really been Notre Dame’s forte this season (well, has anything?) so I like the Orange here.
  • Texas Christian @ West Virginia (ESPN): The Big 12 is fun this year due most of the teams being kind of even. WVU seems to be the outlier. I like TCU here.
  • South Florida @ Houston (ESPN2): Houston is a mess, and while USF looks like slightly less of a mess than usual, it doesn’t mean they can beat the Cougs. Probably.
  • Oklahoma @ Iowa State (FS1): The Sooners have issues, but I think that the fun, good era of Iowa State is kind of over.
  • Arkansas @ Auburn (SEC): Wompin’ figures to get back on schedule against Auburn.
  • Georgia Tech @ Florida State (ACCN): So the thing about having hope again is that when you set expectation you then wind up having to face the consequences of not meeting them. I actually wasn’t really able to watch much of the game last week against UVA, but I could see the aftermath of an offense that is still spectacularly bad. Perhaps the most damming for the current interim head coach is that the offensive line is still awful, seeing as how he was previously the offensive line coach. Either way, it’s time to venture down to Tallahassee and see if we can give ’em a game.
  • Boston College @ Connecticut (CBSS): UConn isn’t awful this year, but I still doubt they can notch a P5 victory against even a woeful BC.
  • Miami @ Akron (ESPN+)

12:30: Miami @ Virginia (ACC/RSN): I don’t really want to contemplate this game. Both of these teams are bad. Neither will deserve to win. I’ll take the Canes because nothing makes sense.

2:00: Charlotte @ Rice (espn3.com)

2:30: Rutgers @ Minnesota (BTN): Rutgers is competent now and Minnesota isn’t as good as we thought, but I’m still leaning Gophers here.

3:00: Old Dominion @ Georgia State (ESPN+)

3:30:

  • Florida vs. Georgia (“The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” @ Jacksonville, FL; CBS): The WLOCP is one of the few headliners this weekend, but it doesn’t figure to be much of a headliner afterward. Florida is… well, they’re rebuilding, sort of as their new head guy Napier promised. Georgia still looks like a not super well-tested Death Star, and I doubt the Gators are going to do much to put a dent in that.
  • Oklahoma State @ Kansas State (FOX): K-State beat Oklahoma earlier this season, but the Pokes seem to be just better.
  • Illinois @ Nebraska (ABC): Competent Illinois still seems to be a thing, so sure.
  • Cincinnati @ Central Florida (ESPN): Cincy’s defense still seems to be legit, which is good because the offense is definitely down compared to last year’s. They’ve had some close calls this year, but until they actually lose I have to continue to go with them.
  • Northwestern @ Iowa (ESPN2): As I write this on Friday afternoon, the over/under on this game is 37.5 points. For those unfamiliar, what this means is that in locations where it’s legal you can go to a sportsbook and bet money on whether or not the combined total of the two teams in this game will be less or greater than 37.5 points. Think about that for a second. That means a, say, 21-18 score would result in the over bets winning. This is astounding. The average line is in the 50’s. I do see some other lines in the 40’s this week, but they mostly involve woeful G5 teams. We’re talking about a Big Ten conference game here! The offenses in question, of course, are awful. In Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings, this is a matchup of the 100th ranked versus 101st ranked offenses in the country (Northwestern and Iowa, respectively). The reasons? Well, Northwestern is in the middle of trying to pivot to a fast-paced offense, and indeed, they run more plays per game than almost anyone else in the country. Unfortunately for them, most of those plays are futile. In this game, they’ll be doing some very rapid three-and-outs to the equally incompetent Iowa offense. The Hawkeyes have no discernible offensive gameplan other than warning of the dangers of nepotism, as their offensive coordinator, Brian Ferentz, is long time head coach Kirk Ferentz’s son. Northwestern’s 126th ranked defense won’t make a difference on Iowa’s ability to move the ball. However, Iowa’s 9th ranked defense is legitimately good, and figures to provide the bulk of Iowa’s scoring opportunities in this game. So they’ll probably win, but this is going to be some real, real sickos football.
  • Oregon @ California (FS1): I don’t trust Cal in any way, shape, or form, and Oregon has looked a lot better since Labor Day. But I won’t be surprised if this winds up being close.
  • Wake Forest @ Louisville (ACCN): In a sort of weird counterpoint to the Auburn situation, Louisville also wants to fire their head coach, Scott Satterfield. Unfortunately for Cardinals supporters, Louisville hasn’t been that bad this year, on the whole. Now, they won’t beat Wake, but still, this probably won’t be a blowout.
  • Temple @ Navy (CBSS): This is one of the games I was referring to between “woeful G5 teams” above. The over/under on this one is 41. Oof. Picking Navy here because, well, I have to pick someone.
  • North Texas @ Western Kentucky (Stadium)
  • New Mexico State @ Massachusetts (espn3.com)
  • Southern Methodist @ Tulsa (ESPN+)
  • Robert Morris @ Appalachian State (ESPN+)

4:00:

  • South Alabama @ Arkansas State (ESPNU): Tempted to flip a coin for this one. Uh, South Alabama?
  • Missouri @ South Carolina (SEC): I still don’t have a read on Mizzou, and I don’t think the Gamecocks are that good either. (Which, well, take what you will from what that implies about Texas A&M.) I’ll go with South Carolina here though.

7:00:

  • Kentucky @ Tennessee (ESPN): Sorry Vols fans, they’re probably gonna win this one.
  • Colorado State @ Boise State (FS1): Boise isn’t back or anything, but at they’re worst they’re not Colorado State-bad.
  • Coastal Carolina @ Marshall (NFLN): Marshall has now won a game against an FBS team other than Notre Dame, but I still like the Beach Chickens here.
  • Alabama-Birmingham @ Florida Atlantic (CBSS): Go Blazers.
  • Southern California @ Arizona (Pac12): Zona doesn’t seem like the kind of team that can trouble USC that much.

7:30:

  • Michigan State @ Michigan (ABC): A rare night game in Michigan Stadium means that Sparty is going to take aim at the Wolverines again. While this is the sort of rivalry game that does result in weird outcomes sometimes, I doubt this particular Michigan State bunch is going to make it 2-in-a-row against a Michigan team that still looks to be at full strength.
  • Baylor @ Texas Tech (ESPN2): Picking Baylor here, they’re just better than most of the rest of the Big 12 at this point, outside of Oklahoma State.
  • Arizona State @ Colorado (ESPNU): This game could well be a train wreck, but picking the Sun Devils I guess?
  • Mississippi @ Texas A&M (SEC): Both of these teams had frustrating weeks last weekend, but Ole Miss has the ability to actually do something about it.

8:00: Pittsburgh @ North Carolina (ACCN): Provide Carolina’s defense doesn’t let Pitt hang around, they should be able to run Pitt out of the building.

9:00: Middle Tennessee State @ Texas-El Paso (ESPN+)

10:30:

  • Stanford @ California-Los Angeles (ESPN): Oregon wound up winning by a lot, but I still think UCLA is good, or at a minimum, better than Stanford.
  • San Diego State @ Fresno State (“Oil Can Rivalry”; FS1): Fresno all the way here.
  • Nevada @ San Jose State (CBSS): Same for SJSU.

11:59: Wyoming @ Hawaii (Team1Sports)

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