College Football Week 9 Viewing Guide and Picks Against the Spread
This is one of those weeks where the spreads are far apart and the people who are really looking forward to this week are the college football nuts. There are a few things to like about Mississippi State against Alabama other than seeing if Alabama can continue to roll, but only college football freaks are really fired up for it.
Mark my words though, there will be upsets. Massive, massive upsets. I’m talking, “Wow, the whole season has now changed.” I don’t know where or when, but it isn’t a matter of if.
Tennessee at South Carolina (-14)
South Carolina is still without a 100% Marcus Lattimore and is going to a rotation at running back. The Gamecocks return to their home field after losing two in a row to LSU and Florida.
This pick is really more of a pick against Tennessee. I don’t see Derek Dooley remaining at Tennessee much longer, especially with the whole sitting on a stool thing he pulled last week.
Most importantly, the Volunteers are winless against SEC teams. Their wins are over North Carolina State, Georgia State, and Akron. There isn’t that much to prove that this team is that good.
UCLA at Arizona State (-7)
This is a total overreaction to Arizona State getting rocked by Oregon. Against teams not named Oregon, the Sun Devils have excelled. Taylor Kelly had a pretty bad day against the Oregon defense, but then again, no one so far this season has had a great game against the Oregon defense.
UCLA is a good team. The lone conference game they’ve played on a road is when they dropped a big loss to Cal in Berkeley. Arizona State is also pretty good at home. This is a pure gut call but I like Arizona State to cover and rebound from their game against Oregon.
Florida (-7) v. Georgia
The Game Formerly Known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party kicks off again for another amazing year. The winner of this game will most likely go to the SEC championship game representing the eastern division.
Georgia’s “Gurshall” has slowed down in recent weeks, and as Todd McShay pointed out, it was due to inconsistent running. Hopefully these freshmen get it figured out because they are going to be needed to churn up yards against the Gators.
Florida had an amazing 183 yards of offense last week on the way to a 44-11 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks last week. The Gator’s defense is so solid the offense barely has to perform.
The offense for Florida is based off wearing down the other team over time. It seems that Muschamp is fine with three and outs as long as they punish the opponent and hope to break a few big runs later in the game.
I like the idea of Florida being up a touchdown most of the game and then at the end doing something to ice the game and cover the spread. However, if Georgia wins this game they are easily going undefeated the rest of the season.
USC at Arizona (+7)
This is a sneaky game. USC has struggled against spread teams as of late, and Arizona is a true spread ‘em and shred ‘em. Getting the Trojans at home is the best thing that could’ve happened for the Wildcats.
Matt Scott continues to impress at the quarterback position. Against teams not named Oregon, Scott has put together at least two touchdowns a game and a quarterback rating of no less than 133.5.
One thing Arizona does really well is get to the quarterback. They already have 12 sacks and 8 turnovers on the season, more than the last three years combined. USC could make a few small mistakes and get themselves in serious problems.
If Arizona wins this game and USC drops the game against Oregon then the Trojans may lose out on even making the PAC-12 title game. The Trojans have been more effective but have not been impressive really at all this season. They are coming off a big win over Colorado, but then who doesn’t have great games over Colorado.
Texas Tech (+7.5) at Kansas State
Battle of the blowout titans. Kansas State and Texas Tech both tore apart West Virginia in surprising games. Texas Tech ripped out the Mountaineer’s hearts, and the Wildcats kicked the coffin off a cliff. It was ugly in both games and the sheer flexing of dominance was impressive by both squads.
There’s something very interesting about this Wildcats squad. They don’t play defense in a way that makes you say, “Wow, they are really good.” They just get the job done and let Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein get touchdowns.
Now the Red Raiders make the trip to the little apple, Manhattan, Kansas. Tommy Tuberville’s bread and butter though is upsets. He’s 6-2 against top-5 teams. He’s got the magic and the Red Raiders are just crazy enough to not care this is their fourth, tough game on the road.
Ohio State (Pick) at Penn State
Braxton Miller and Ohio State are on their way to State College. Two new head coaches at the most traditional programs in the sport is kind of a crazy idea when you think about it.
Penn State is on fire as of late, winning their last five after starting 0-2. Wins over Navy, Temple, Illinois, Northwestern, and Iowa aren’t amazing but it’s a really good sign. Matt McGloin looks a lot better with the new coaches and he should be able to take some advantage of the Buckeyes. Mix in the home crowd and the porous defense of Ohio State, it’s a recipe to maybe win a game they shouldn’t.
I expect Penn State to come out fast but Ohio State to finish better. Maybe Penn State goes up one score entering half time, but the Buckeyes will finish a couple scores over the Nittany Lions. The speed and strategy of Ohio State’s offense just creates matchup issues for Penn state.
Notre Dame (+12) at Oklahoma
This spread is way too high. This is a matchup of Top 25 teams and I don’t see any way how Notre Dame’s defense is going to let its offense get blown up by more than a 12-point differential.
Sure, Oklahoma matches up well against Notre Dame, but Notre Dame is physical and good at tackling in space. The red zone defense for the Fighting Irish has been top notch so far this season and Oklahoma’s has been near perfect.
For some reason though, Everett Golson will be starting this game for the Irish. He has been inconsistent and a turnover waiting to happen, but Brian Kelly loves him. Mike Stoops’ revamped defense may feast on Golson. I like Oklahoma to win but Notre Dame to cover.
Oregon State (-3.5) at Washington
The Beavers run continues! Sean Mannion is back as the starting quarterback as the Beavers head north to play Washington. A knee surgery and a couple weeks later Mannion’s back, with Adrian Peterson-esque recovery speed. Here’s a key fact: no In-N-Out in Seattle, Washington.
Some Husky fans are asking for Keith Price to be benched as 3 of his last 4 games have had him under a 100 quarterback rating. The offensive line for the Huskies has just been frustrating. They make ever a four-yard gain look tough to make.
Oregon State’s defense has just been impressive though this whole season. Markus Wheaton remains opposite Brandin Cooks at receiver, forming one of the best duos in the conference at receiver that is not at USC. Storm Woods leads a rushing attack that has been Oregon State’s best since 2009, and Riley’s got everything good going.
I like Oregon State to continue their undefeated record