By Chris Carlson – Week 8 gave College Football fans 5 more losses of Top-25 teams coming via unranked opponents along with some close calls for example Kansas leading Oklahoma in the 4th quarter. Week 9 not only has 3 ranked versus ranked marquee matchups (2 in the Big Ten) it also includes several closely-matched games flying way under the radar. Next Tuesday will be the first official Playoff Rankings and with just 6 weeks left only increases the intensity down the stretch.
#6 Michigan vs. #8 Michigan State: This interstate rivalry hits a fever pitch with both programs coming into Saturday’s contest in the Top-10 and unbeaten. Is this the year that head coach Jim Harbaugh finally puts it all together at Michigan after two heartbreaking seasons fallen short? The Spartans have a knack of winning tight games this year in some cases stretching the lead to make it look like a comfortable victory. MSU passes the ball better but can still pound the rock to a tune of 200-yards per game. The Wolverines while under 200-passing yards per game average 253-yards on the ground. These pair of Big Ten East division foes play strong defense with the only major difference being Michigan State allowing almost 100-yards more in passing compared to Michigan. This is basically a coin-flip game regardless of Las Vegas having UM a 4-point favorite on the road.
The Pick: Michigan 27 Michigan State 24
#5 Ohio State vs. #20 Ohio State: Because of the rankings matchup this game is in the marquee category but over the last few weeks the luster has worn off Penn State. The Nittany Lions started the season great beaten a then ranked Wisconsin club and a solid Auburn team. Back to back losses to Iowa and last week in 9 strange overtimes with Illinois have them licking their wounds. QB Sean Clifford’s injuries have certainly played a role, regardless they had no business going into overtime with Illinois. Ohio State was trailing for the first time in a while during the regular season in the 1st half to Minnesota eventually pulling away from the Gophers in Week 1. The Buckeyes lost to Oregon a week later. Ever since then Ohio State has found another gear on offense and to a lesser extent on defense. Unless Ohio State comes out flat and not fully focused it’s difficult to pick a struggling Penn State team but as we know in the College Football regular season anything can happen.
The Pick: Ohio State 31 Penn State 20
Under The Radar
#10 Ole Miss vs. #18 Auburn: With only 1 loss a piece in the SEC this pair of Western division teams really need a win here to keep pace with Alabama. Offensively the Tigers have been pretty darn good whereas Ole Miss is scoring at a super high clip nearly 42-points a game. What makes the Rebels so hard to stop is there balance able to throw the ball around the yard but still averaging 263-yards on the ground. Auburn QB Bo Nix has faced his fair share of criticism since starting as a freshman, that said this podcaster has to give him his due this season. Now the question arrives can Bo repeat what he did in the Arkansas victory? We know the quarterback under center for Ole Miss Matt Corral will produce whether it comes thru the air or on the ground, plain and simple he’s a baller. The Auburn defense will give up yards and points as will Ole Miss’s obviously with a 66 over/under point total. The separator will be a bend but not fully break every possession defense in the redzone. Also, getting one or two turnovers along with home field advantage has me leaning Auburn by just a hair.
The Pick: Auburn 34 Ole Miss 33
Saturday Upset Special
Texas finally gets a lead and keeps to upset Baylor on the road.
Fresno State pulls off a minor upset as a road dog at unbeaten San Diego State.
#9 Iowa vs. Wisconsin: The Hawkeyes took their first “L” of the season and wouldn’t you know it that same team that beat Iowa (Purdue) got pushed around by the Badgers. Huge matchup featuring offenses so poor and elite defenses the over/under is at 36.5 and it wouldn’t be shocking if it goes under.
#19 SMU vs. Houston: Literally Las Vegas has this line set at dead even heading into what should be a very entertaining and important AAC game. Can SMU stay unbeaten as they approach their game with Cincy? Can Houston play well against a quality team?
Against The Spread
West Virginia at home keeps it close enough to lose by less than 7-points to a ranked Iowa State.
Purdue coming off a bad lose makes it closer than the 7.5-point spread claims as an underdog to Nebraska.
(Honorable Mention: No doubt that Cincinnati will defeat 1-win Tulane it just won’t be by 25-points)
Take it to the window
Kentucky covers as a 1.5-point favorite on the road at Mississippi State.
College Ball Show: Week 9 Preview, Betting Lines, & Week 8 Recap! 10/28 by RopeADopeRadio | Sports (blogtalkradio.com)
Quick Hits Recap
-30 unranked teams have upset AP-Poll Top-25 ranked opponents this year.
-Alabama has converted 27 of 36 on third down in the last two weeks.
-RB Chase Brown became the first Illinois player to rush for 200-yards against a ranked opponent in a 20-18 win over Penn State.
-The Wake Forest/Army game over/under was set at 53-points and as it turned out both teams went over with the final score being 70-56.
-Wake Forest moved to 7-0 for the first time since 1944. QB Sam Hartman passed for 458 yards and 5 touchdowns with no INT’s.
-Although it was very strange with the new 2-point conversion rules the Penn State/Illinois 9-overtimes game is technically the longest OT-game ever.
-Gophers DE Boye Mafe leads all Power 5 teams with 18 pressures on 3rd and 4th down.
Written by Chris Carlson Host of The College Ball Show Podcast available at blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio and Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio