Week nine’s card is solid all day long. For breakfast we have Wisconsin traveling to Ohio State. Lunch will have a tasty treat for us all when Auburn and LSU will clash in Death Valley. For dinner, we are treated to a helping of Notre Dame and Michigan from the “Big House”. For those of us, who are still up. We can choose our desert between Utah State at Air Force or Washington State at Oregon. I think i’ll start my diet on Sunday.
THIS WEEKS FEATURED GAMES
No.9 AUBURN (6-1) AT No.2 LSU (7-0) This is the premier matchup this weekend. Both teams have a legit shot to win the SEC West. Auburn has clearly played the tougher schedule to this point. Their lone loss to Florida was a hard-fought game. Quarterback Bo Nix has been good but not great. The loss of tailback JaTarvious Whitlow will hurt the Tigers. The defense will need to play a complete game, if they want to stay in this contest. Meanwhile, Joe Burrow has elevated his game to an elite level. Burrow should find success against a strong Tiger secondary, if he has the time. LSU has also gotten healthy on the defensive side of the ball. This will be the key to the game. LSU will harass Nix, and shut down the Tigers running game. Auburn hasn’t won in Death Valley since 1999. That’s the curse of death for Auburn, LSU 30-17.
No.13 WISCONSIN (6-1) AT No.3 OHIO STATE (7-0) This game lost a lot of its luster with Wisconsin’s flop last weekend at Illinois. The Badgers clearly weren’t ready to play against the Illini. The fact remains though that this should be an intriguing battle. The Badgers feature the nations best rushing defense versus the Buckeye’s third ranked rushing offense. Two of the best tailbacks in the country will face off against each other. Johnathan Taylor (Wisconsin) against J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State). Both teams also feature outstanding stop-units. The Badgers have given up just 53 points, while the Buckeyes have yielded just 56. To find an advantage all we have to do is look at the quarterback position. Justin Fields will deliver yet another outstanding performance. The dual-threat escape artist will make enough big plays, to secure a Buckeye victory. Buckeyes remain unbeaten, 31-21.
No.8 NOTRE DAME (5-1) AT No.19 MICHIGAN (5-2) I can’t wait to watch this one. What will we see from Michigan? I’m convinced that Michigan gained a lot of confidence from their comeback at Penn State. I actually thought the dropped touchdown pass in the end zone cost the Wolverines a victory. Quarterback Shea Patterson actually looked like a leader in the second half. Notre Dame had last week off to prepare for this. Head coach Chip Kelly has to have this game for any hope of a CFP spot. Irish quarterback Ian Book defeated the Wolverines last year. I think both teams will struggle to move the ball on offense. The team that wins the turnover battle wins this game. Wolverines kick late field goal, 20-17.
LIBERTY (5-2) AT RUTGERS (1-6) Fun fact of the week. Rutgers is paying Liberty $1,000,000 to show up and play this game. It’s the first time a team as agreed to pay another school to play a home game, and they are the underdog. Rutgers has been a train wreck all season long. It won’t get any better on Saturday. Liberty will get bowl eligible with the win. Head coach Hugh Freeze actually has the Flames playing good football. This is the first of four straight road games for the Flames. I expect both teams to score plenty of points, but in the end, Liberty pulls away. Flames scorch Knights 35-30.
MISSISSIPPI STATE (3-4) AT TEXAS A&M (4-3) Looking at the Aggies remaining schedule, you can see just how important this game actually is. They need two more wins to go bowling. They have three remaining games with South Carolina, Georgia and LSU. Yikes. So this becomes a “Must Win” in my eyes. You all know by now, that I believe Jimbo Fisher is the most overrated and overpaid coach in the NCAA. The Bulldogs will start a freshman quarterback again this week. Playing at Kyle Field used to be an intimidating place to play. I believe Bulldog head coach Joe Moorhead has lost the faith of his fan base. The Bulldogs look like they are going through the motions to me. The Bulldogs have actually won three straight in this series. We need to remember that Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was the architect of those wins. He actually destroyed the Aggies. Aggie quarterback Kellen Mond will be the best player on the field. Aggies roll, 38-16.
No.6 PENN STATE (7-0) AT MICHIGAN STATE (4-3) I’ve had this game circled for over a month now. Penn State is off two very emotional big wins over Iowa and Michigan. The Spartans enter the contest off a bye week and an embarrassing loss to Wisconsin. Head coach Mark Dantonio has been under fire for his vanilla offense. This is the week your going to see some changes, whether they are good or bad. Quarterback Brian Lewerke is capable of stretching the defense if allowed. I fully expect an all out effort by the defense. If the Spartans can take away the big play ability of K. J. Hamler, they will win this game. The Spartans have also won five of the last six in this series. The Land Grant Trophy stays in East Lansing for another year, Sparty wins 23-21.
SUPER SIX PACK: SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
UCONN (1-6) AT UMASS (1-6) I couldn’t resist this game. The better coach and quarterback are Huskies, Woof Woof 38-16.
TULANE (5-2) at NAVY (5-1) Tulane already owns a win at Army. Big Green Wave sinks midshipmen 36-33.
WASHINGTON STATE (4-3) AT No.11 OREGON (6-1) Did you know the Cougars have won four straight? Could the Ducks be flat? No 46-37.
UTAH STATE (4-2) AT AIR FORCE (5-2) Under the radar game of the week. Both teams will trade haymakers, Love has final say, 42-38.
CENTRAL FLORIDA (5-2) AT TEMPLE (5-2) I think the Owls offense has gone stagnant. Knights need this to keep pace with Cincinnati, 40-24.
DUKE (4-3) AT NORTH CAROLINA (3-4) The winner claims the “Victory Bell”. Heels could be emotionally drained, Devils 22-28.