Week nine features two Pac-12 showdowns, a Big 12 bout with two top 15 teams and so much more. Not only are the level of games improving as we move deeper and deeper into the season, but each contest becomes that much more important. Furman-LSU could throw a monkey wrench into the whole BCS. All kidding aside, outside of a few outliers, this week is jam packed with good games. Here is your weekly guide so you can squeeze in dinner with that special someone and still be able to get your couch time in. The drink of this week is the pumpkin spice latte at McDonalds…wait, they didn’t pay me?…well in that case it is sponsored, like always, by alcohol. I’ve become a big fan of Gose-style beer. It is a little salty and has coriander in it. Strange but tasty. Some microbrews do a bang-up job, but Verloren by Sam Adams is available everywhere.
- All Times Eastern
- SEC Guide, as always, will be brought to you by my colleague Zane
Must See: Houston at Rutgers - Thanks to Louisville’s upset, a lot of one-loss teams jump back into the league picture. One of those teams is Rutgers, who is hosting the 2-0 Cougars. Both of these teams have played some track-meet style games. Houston/BYU was fantastic and Rutgers’ games with Fresno and SMU were high-scoring affairs that went to ovetime. Two exciting teams playing in a very important league game? Count me in. 12:00 pm, ESPNews / WatchESPN app
Sleeper: Louisville at USF - The Bulls have looked semi-competent during their two-game winning streak. Hosting an angry bunch of Cardinals, though, is a different task. 12:00 pm, ESPN2 / WatchESPN app
Avoid: UConn at UCF - The Knights are a very impressive 5-1 and in the driver’s seat of the AAC. UConn is on coach number two of the season and winless.
Must See: Duke at Virginia Tech - The Hokies are 6-1 despite having plenty of flaws. Duke, meanwhile, is playing their best ball of the season now that the Blue Devils are getting healthy. A road upset would blow the Coastal Division race wide open and send the Devils to a second straight bowl. 3:30 pm, ESPNU / WatchESPN app
Sleeper: Wake Forest at Miami - Keeping with the trend of smart North Carolina schools taking on Coastal Division leaders, we have a suddenly surging Wake team heading to South Beach to face a top-10 Miami squad. It seems insane to think Wake can keep pace in this one, but when Miami is sloppy with the ball, the upset comes into play. 12:00 pm, ESPNU / WatchESPN app
Avoid: Georgia Tech at Virginia - The Yellow Jackets beat ‘Cuse 56-0 last week. Syracuse is a better team that the Hoos. It’s going to be a long day for the home fans.
Must See: Texas Tech at Oklahoma - We’ve been waiting for Texas Tech, as well as Baylor, to square off against OU, OSU or Texas (aka the more proven heavyweights) this season and this is our first opportunity. The Sooners haven’t seemed quite right since the Notre Dame win. Perhaps home cooking against a top-10 team will spark them. 3:30 pm, Fox
Sleeper: Texas at TCU - The Frogs are desperate for a win, while Texas has been idle since the huge win over the Sooners. The upset would also give Tech (if they beat Oklahoma) and Baylor (when they beat Kansas) a little breathing room since the Longhorns, Red Raiders and Bears are the only undefeated teams in the league. There is also the wait-and-see feeling with Mack Brown. A loss would certainly turn up the heat again regardless of the Red River Rivalry. 7:30 pm, FOX Sports 1
Avoid: Baylor at Kansas - Hey, I love scoring as much as the next man, but don’t complain to me if you are bored when the game hits 63-0 in the second quarter.
Must See: Penn State at Ohio State - Ohio State looks a little vulnerable after two close calls against Northwestern and Iowa, and the Buckeyes now have to face Penn State. Much like last year, Penn State has shrugged off a slow start and seems to be finding its stride. Their instant classic win two weeks ago against Michigan should have their confidence soaring heading into The Shoe. 8:00 pm, ABC
Sleeper: Michigan State at Illinois - The Fighting Illini looked good to start the year, but have really struggled in league play. Michigan State, meanwhile, looks to continue their march to Indy. They are a very quiet 6-1 (3-0) now. 3:30 pm, ABC / ESPN 2
Avoid: Nebraska at Minnesota - Even with the Gophers picking up league win numero uno, I still think they are, for lack of a better word, garbage. The Huskers (with Martinez possibly back) could very well drop half a hundred on them.
Must See: Stanford at Oregon State - Yes, I’m jumping the UCLA-Oregon game. Here’s my reasoning. The higher ranked team in that one is at home, in this one we see the top ten team hitting the road. The matchup in this one with OSU’s wide-open, No. 1-ranked passing game facing off against Stanford’s mighty front seven is very intriguing. 10:30 pm, ESPN / WatchESPN app
Sleeper: UCLA at Oregon - The other monster matchup of the weekend features UCLA, fresh off their first loss, heading to Oregon. Obviously, league and national title implications abound, but we also get to see how Mora’s squad responds to a little adversity after losing to Stanford. 7:00 pm, ESPN / WatchESPN app
Avoid: Cal at Washington - Cal has a zillion injuries and Washington will be playing angry after three-straight losses (one would hope).
Independent and Non AQ
-Fresno State at San Diego State – After a very flat start, the Aztecs are finally playing up to their potential, winning three straight to even their record overall. They are also undefeated in the Mountain West. The Bulldogs, of course, are nationally ranked and rolling. Big time MWC battle. 10:30 pm, ESPN2 / WatchESPN app
-Boise State at BYU – Both are non-aq schools with impressive pedigrees that include a national title and BCS bowls. This season, both have had their ups and downs, but enter with identical 5-2 marks. The winner’s BCS-busting hopes still have a slim chance, while the loser’s season will feel a lot less special. Friday, 8 pm, ESPN / WatchESPN app
-Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois – Fresh off his record setting 316 yard rushing performance, Heisman hopeful and NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch gets to face one of the softest teams in the nation. I smell video game numbers.
-MAC East Mayhem – The East is a cluster at the top with both Bowling Green and surprise Buffalo sitting at 3-0. Ohio is just behind them at 2-1. All three have identical 5-2 overall marks and all three are taking on some easy opponents. The Bulls head to Kent State, Bowling Green hosts Toledo and Ohio welcomes Miami (OH). A stumble by any of these three could be the opening the others need.