Now is the time where we see the contenders rise. Now is the time we see the games count a little bit more. The pressure is on. Who will make that strong push as the final week of October is here. Will there be another like Purdue over Ohio State (as I called it)? Or will the contenders hold serve and we see a major top 5 shift next Saturday when Alabama and LSU face off? Well, we’ll get to that next week. But now, week 9 is here in another brief run.
MIAMI AT BOSTON COLLEGE, 7:00 (FRI), ESPN: Miami’s Coastal Division chances are waning and the offense is still problematic. Boston College just does things, albeit ugly, but they do it well. This is not a game for the Hurricanes to have in late October, especially on a night that has been a historic rival. The Eagles are a tough team and gives the powerhouses fits. And a great running game added to it, I don’t see Miami escaping Chestnut Hill with a W. BOSTON COLLEGE 20, MIAMI 17
#2 CLEMSON AT FLORIDA STATE, 12:00, ABC: The times have changed. Clemson is the mighty powerhouse while Florida State is now a middle-of-the-road ACC team. Hard to think about that. While the Seminoles have been better since the beginning of the year, Clemson is still a cut above them and are playing their best football. And surprising to me is that this game is a noon game where it really gives a road team the advantage most of the time as the fans really prefer those 3:30/evening kicks. If Clemson jumps on Florida State early which I think they will, it will be another blowout coming their way. CLEMSON 45, FLORIDA STATE 24
PURDUE AT MICHIGAN STATE, 12:00, ESPN: Two teams that are going in opposite directions right now as Purdue had an amazing W against Ohio State, crushing the Buckeyes while Michigan State looked beyond flat against rival Michigan. Now the one thing that will give hope for Michigan State is how they can stop the run. But passing defense is a problem and let’s not forget the offense, well, that was forgotten in the Michigan game. The Spartans offense is BAD. I’d be stunned to see Purdue not take advantage of this and really clamp down on Michigan State. The scary part is, since the Boilermakers have won 4 in a row, they have not even come close to being beaten in any of them. You may be seeing the Big Ten West’s best in East Lansing this weekend. And a team Michigan State will have no answers for. PURDUE 27, MICHIGAN STATE 7
TEXAS TECH AT IOWA STATE, 12:00 ESPN: Didn’t really think this game would be up there as an interesting game to start the year, but it is. Both teams are playing great football on both sides of the ball right now, and I think this game will be a battle back and forth. The Red Raiders are getting better and better as the weeks have gone and that defense is getting better. However, Iowa State is playing their best football around and has a very underrated defense themselves. This game may not feel like a typical Big 12 game and we may see a back and forth tilt that is surprisingly going to be a game relied on defense. Never thought I would dream of saying that. But I like Iowa State at home. IOWA STATE 23, TEXAS TECH 21
#20 WISCONSIN AT NORTHWESTERN, 12:00, BTN: Two teams you can’t figure out on a weekly basis anymore play each other. Wisconsin smacked around Illinois but very unimpressively and there are still major woes in the passing game. Northwestern struggled last week in New Jersey against lowly Rutgers before squeaking late with a win. Now, both teams play ugly and that is a fact. But the major problem for Northwestern is they struggle mightily at home. The key for the Wildcats is to keep the game close against Wisconsin and keep Jonathan Taylor from really taking over. If they do that or at least have a lead late, I like the Wildcats chances. I think Northwestern wins late like they’ve done the last 3 weeks. And again, I don’t trust Alex Hornibrook. NORTHWESTERN 20, WISCONSIN 17
#9 FLORIDA VS. #7 GEORGIA, 3:30, CBS: The game of the week. And when these two play, it gets ugly. If not for Florida’s rivalry with Florida State, this would be the perfect “last week of the season” game for these two with the disdain the teams show. And this really feels like the winner of the SEC East will be the winner of this game (yes, I know Kentucky has something to say about that). But I’ve already mentioned why this game is so important to Georgia. But for Florida, this is a game to show that they are back and really have the inside track of running the SEC East. If Georgia wins, they have to be better prepared, notably the coaches. They weren’t last game with LSU, the team that Florida beat the week prior. I think Georgia has the talent, but it means nothing if the game-plan is not in place. However, I think we will see a healthy dose of Swift and Holyfield running it down Florida’s throats and it will decide the game. GEORGIA 24, FLORIDA 17
#18 IOWA AT #17 PENN STATE, 3:30, ESPN: Also two teams going in a bit of opposite directions as questions abound with Penn State and how legit they really are while Iowa is having one of those years where they’ve lied in the grass and nobody has paid attention to them (imagine had they not lost to Wisconsin earlier this year) and are rolling. Iowa loves being physical and it is something Penn State doesn’t like (see their losses). If the Hawkeyes dictate the tempo, Penn State will be unhappy in Happy Valley and it will only get the base riled up for a possible James Franklin exit if the Lions lose. But I don’t know if the Hawkeyes will make the big plays in order to win in a place like Penn State. This game will be super close and may be decided on the last play. PENN STATE 21, IOWA STATE 20
#21 SOUTH FLORIDA AT HOUSTON, 3:30, ESPN 2: Last week I took Cincinnati who was ranked over unranked Temple. As much as I want to see USF win, winning at Houston is a monster task, and it is against a team that should also be ranked right now too. However, if USF wins, it really bodes well for them AND rival UCF. Houston if they can get a win, they SHOULD get into the top 25 when all is said and done. But the American Conference is climbing, but I think the home field wins out for Houston in what could be an exciting game all the way. HOUSTON 34, SOUTH FLORIDA 30
#12 KENTUCKY AT MISSOURI, 4:00, SEC: Kentucky is winning ugly, but winning. Their near scare at home to Vanderbilt was a major issue (Benny Snell missed a chunk of that game so there may be that excuse). However, Missouri is a Jekyll and Hyde team as they look great one week and crummy the next. But the Tigers beating the Memphis Tigers isn’t a huge ordeal right now and Drew Lock hasn’t had that big game like many have wanted to see as you have to think his NFL Draft stock is dropping. Kentucky, if they can frustrate Lock could have a big day on both sides, but they need better quarterback play. This will be close as well. KENTUCKY 27, MISSOURI 24
#15 WASHINGTON AT CALIFORNIA, 6:30, FS1: Washington still has consistency issues on offense which is a major problem. Cal is also having consistency issues as well. The Huskies have been struggling away from Seattle and Cal isn’t an easy place to take a W. This game could go late into the fourth quarter also close, but I am not sold anymore on Jake Browning leading the Huskies to a road win. California makes a few key stops on Washington’s offense for the upset. CALIFORNIA 34, WASHINGTON 31
#22 NC STATE AT SYRACUSE, 7:00, ESPN 2: NC State got a dose of humble pie last week getting throttled by Clemson. And they head off to the Carrier Dome to face the Orange, who really have been a tough out for teams this year. This is another game where NC State is wishing the schedule makers were nicer because I think they need to recover from that mess last week down in Death Valley while Syracuse is ready to pick them apart, regardless of the quarterback (though it will be easier for the Orange to start Tommy DeVito over Eric Dungey). SYRACUSE 34, NC STATE 24
#16 TEXAS A&M AT MISSISSIPPI STATE, 7:00, ESPN: Texas A&M is playing good football as of late, though this game may be tougher than what many expect. This will be a close game and one of the more hostile environments they’ve been at this season at Starkville. However, the Bulldogs offense is inept at times and the Aggies defense is getting better. I don’t think Mississippi State has the horses, despite a good defensive line that can frustrate Kellen Mond. This will be a low-scoring tilt I believe and fans will be frustrated with both offenses. But the Aggies keep their SEC West hopes alive. TEXAS A&M 20, MISSISSIPPI STATE 10
#14 WASHINGTON STATE AT #24 STANFORD, 7:00: If Washington gets upset at Cal, this game may have a feel of “winner wins the PAC-12 North” vibe. Stanford has one conference loss to their credit as does Washington State. But it doesn’t feel like Stanford is the mighty juggernaut anymore while Washington State is starting to carve out a name for themselves. They just have to avoid letting teams get back into games (see Oregon for both teams). But something is just missing with Stanford where I don’t see them being a major contender and I think Washington State stuns them. WASHINGTON STATE 30, STANFORD 21
That’s it for this week.
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat