The first half of the college football season has gone by so fast. (Why can’t the offseason be the same way?) We are now headed into week 9, starting the second half of the season. Some teams have made changes, and others are hoping they can. This weekend has the potential for some major upsets. I expect another great week of college football.
3Ole Miss at 24LSU This is a very interesting matchup. Two weeks ago I would’ve said the Rebels would have no problem with the Tigers. But since then, LSU has found some offense in Leonard Fournette. But the Landsharks of the Ole Miss defense are out for blood. This Rebel team is going to be very hard to beat if they continue to play the way they did in the first half of the season. Bo Wallace has been great in SEC play, and has not thrown an INT against an SEC defense (has thrown 6 INTs out of conference play). This will be a true test for both teams. LSU needs this win to keep from falling to 2-3 in SEC play. The Rebels need this win to stay at the top of the SEC West and the country with in state rivals Mississippi State. I think Ole Miss comes out of Death Valley with a win, but a close one. I am picking Ole Miss by about a TD.
South Carolina at 5Auburn South Carolina has had a hard time this year. They have already lost 3 SEC games, two at home. I would be extremely surprised if this wasn’t loss #4. Auburn is a very good football team. They are coming off a loss to Mississippi State and a bye week. I think they are going to come out ready to play. South Carolina might not even have a chance in this game. But as we learned from SCAR’s game with UGA earlier this year, the better team doesn’t always win. If Auburn comes out flat, this game could be a lot closer and competitive than it should be. South Carolina has to be angry and hungry for a quality win. Chances are slim that win will come against the 5th ranked team in the country (and 4th in the SEC West). I am picking Auburn by at least 14 points.
14Arizona State at Washington The Pac 12 has provided us with some of the most exciting games of the season. Too bad they happen once everyone is asleep. This game has a 10:45pm eastern start time. But it is possible this game and the one I am previewing next will be well worth the late night. The Wildcats stumbled against UCLA a few weeks ago, but have been very good since then. This past weekend, they took down Stanford. Washington is coming off a big loss at Oregon. The Huskies lost to Stanford at home earlier this season. This game might be another shootout. Another one of those last second Hail Marys or FGs. Neither team has done great in games when points come at a premium. This game will probably be nothing like the Arkansas Alabama game, but a missed PAT would be bad for either team… I am picking Arizona State by 7-10 points.
20USC at 19Utah Another late Pac 12 game. This one is at 10pm ET. Both of these teams have had their ups and downs this season. USC had an easy game last week against Colorado while Utah survived 2OTs against Oregon State. I think this will be a great game. I don’t expect an extremely high scoring game, but it should come down to the end. Both have proven offenses and defenses, making for a competitive game. This game has huge implications in Pac 12 South play. At the moment, USC is in the lead, but a win by Utah would create some chaos. I think the Utes pull this one out with an exciting finish. I just hope I’m still awake to see it. I am picking Utah by 3-7 points.
22West Virginia at Oklahoma State The Big 12 has been beating up on itself this season. There are some good teams in the conference, but they might be competitive enough to play themselves out of the playoffs. This is one of those games. Yes, the Mountaineers did beat up on Baylor last week in Morgantown, but they have two road wins by a combined 6 points against Maryland and Texas Tech. Oklahoma State had an embarrassing loss to TCU last week and was held to single digits. There will be some anger on this team and the Homecoming atmosphere with a ranked conference opponent coming in doesn’t bode well for WVU. I think this one will be close like the Kansas State Oklahoma game last week. But I think the score will be a little higher. I am picking Oklahoma State by a FG.
North Carolina at Virginia Did you know Virginia is 2-1 in ACC play this year? The Cavaliers were 2-10 the last two seasons without an ACC win. North Carolina was my pick to win the Coastal Division and they are at the bottom. I think Virginia is going to make a splash in this conference this year. They are playing very well and only lost to Duke by 7. North Carolina’s defense has been all but nonexistent this season. I think Virginia will get its 3rd ACC win of the season this weekend, and North Carolina will fall to 1-3. I am picking Virginia by a TD. Bonus: If you want to see how crazy the ACC Costal is right now, look at this.
Vanderbilt at Missouri Sometimes I wonder why I pick specific games to preview over others. I think I picked this one because Missouri has been so weird this season. The Tigers beat Florida 42-13 while amassing just 119 total yards. That makes no sense. (Ok, the Florida offense is why it makes sense, but in general.) How can a team that lost to Indiana at home go to SCAR and win? How can that same team go into the Swamp and win a night game by nearly 30 points? After this weekend will we be asking how that same team let Vandy come in and beat them? I don’t think so, but I’ve watched college football before. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Vanderbilt won this game. Missouri’s offense has not been good, but I guess there defense and special teams are pretty good. This game could add to the crazy that is the SEC East. I am picking Missouri by 2TDs.
UAB at Arkansas Arkansas needs this game. The Razorbacks are coming off two heartbreaking losses and one that I’m not going to talk about again. You probably saw the game and the score. Though a win over UAB isn’t an SEC win, it is still a big game. The Hogs need to prove to themselves and the country that they are not going to lay down after last week. They need to do to the Blazers what they did to NIU and Texas Tech. They need to get back to that run game. They need to win the 4th quarter. They need to finish. It might be hard to get up for an 11 am game against a C-USA team, but this UAB team played hard against the now number 1 team in the country. The Hogs can’t sleep on the Blazers. This is Homecoming week for Arkansas and the fans in Fayetteville had a win in DWRRS in more than a month. It should be a great day for football on the Hill.
1Mississippi State at Kentucky
4Alabama at Tennessee
6Oregon at California (Fri)
Michigan at 8Michigan State
Texas Tech at 10TCU
Texas at 11Kansas State
13Ohio State at Penn State
15Arizona at Washington State
Rutgers at 16Nebraska
Connecticut at 18East Carolina (Thurs)
Syracuse at 21Clemson
Florida Atlantic at 23Marshall
25UCLA at Colorado
Louisiana 55 Arkansas State 40 (Tues)
Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech (Thurs)
USF at Cincinnati (Fri)
Troy at South Alabama (Fri)
BYU at Boise State (Fri)
UNLV at Utah State
Minnesota at Illinois
Maryland at Wisconsin
Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh
Oregon State at Stanford
Temple at UCF
Wyoming at Colorado State
UTEP at UTSA
Nevada at Hawaii
Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss