By: David Folz
Week nine of the college football season will showcase a lot of great matchups that will have a big
standing on the BCS race. We have seen Oregon fall the last couple weeks in the BCS standings for some
inexplicable reason, will this be a weekend they send a thundering message of “Don’t mess with us?”
How will this year’s darlings Notre Dame and Oregon State fair on the road? Will there be a massive
upset we don’t look at? All that and more as we take a look at what to watch for and the top five games
of the weekend.
Texas Tech, Upset Specialist: The Red Raiders have always been known for an upset or two a year en
route to a bowl game, but this year is different. The Red Raiders are going for a Big 12 title and under
Tommy Tuberville, they are doing it on defense while Seth Doege leads the aerial circus that has been
the offense. The defense gives up only 282 yards a game, and only 170 per game through the air. For a
game against Kansas State, the 111 yards the Red Raiders give up per game will be tested against Collin
Klein and Kansas State this weekend.
What about Mississippi State?: It’s not hard to overlook the eleventh ranked Bulldogs, especially with
the SEC so strong this year. So with them facing #1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa this weekend here is what
you will look for from Mississippi State: LaDarius Perkins is a rushing machine, averaging over 103
yards per game so far this season with eight touchdowns. Tyler Russell has been spectacular this year,
completing 60 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns and only one interception. Darius Slay and
Johnthan Banks both have four interceptions, leading the defense which has twelve picks this year.
They will not be a pushover for the Crimson Tide on Saturday.
Legends Division Showdown: Michigan and Nebraska play this weekend with one eye on the Big Ten
Championship in December. This showdown is key because with a Cornhusker win, they would have
the edge in the division with the tiebreaker at 3-1. The only game in which these two teams will not be
favored in is when Michigan plays Ohio State at the end of the year. Both teams are similar offensively
and are getting to the same tendencies on defense so it will be an interesting game to see if Nebraska
can get to the top of the Legends division or if Michigan essentially clinches it this weekend.
Big East Race: Usually this is a middling league with a team who wins with three conference losses
but Louisville, Rutgers and Cincinnati are breaking that trend this year. Cincinnati has one loss, while
Louisville and Rutgers have an unbeaten record. Louisville and Cincinnati play on Friday so that should
be a good showdown and with Rutgers in a non-conference matchup, it is a good thing to see the Big
East with some strong teams.
Top Five Games:
5. Ohio State at Penn State and Duke at Florida State: This is a tossup and tie, mainly because of the
stories Penn State and Duke have become. Neither Ohio State nor Penn State are going to do anything
in the postseason thanks to sanctions against them but both have been really good this year as Ohio
State is unbeaten and Penn State is 5-2. As for Duke and Florida State, the Blue Devils will be going
bowling as they are 6-2, yes Duke is 6-2 and it’s not basketball season. Now they may get blown out to
Florida State, there is no doubt Duke is a contender in the Coastal division.
4. Texas Tech at Kansas State: We all know the story by now: big offenses, Tech by the air, Kansas State
by the ground. Both play great defense and both teams have great strengths around the field. Will
the “weaknesses” of these teams, meaning the Tech running game and the Kansas State passing game,
be the difference in this matchup? How about Tech’s run defense? There are many storylines and you
can bet this will either be an offensive explosion or a very defensive game, which for Red Raider fans is a
welcome sight after years of giving up 40 points a game.
3. Mississippi State at Alabama: Other than LSU, the Bulldogs are Alabama’s best test this year. We told
you the story on Mississippi State, well Alabama is living by a few simple principles. They run the ball
with Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, allow A.J. McCarron to manage the game, and have the best defense in
the league. The Bulldogs are a talented offense and will test the Crimson Tide but also have a very good
defense that will not be intimidated in this game. This will be a great test for both teams, as they try to
be in the SEC race and national title race.
2. Florida at Georgia in Jacksonville: The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party takes place as these two
rivals have done well so far this year. Florida is a little bit of a shock as they are undefeated after big
wins against LSU and South Carolina. Georgia has had their doubters but the fact of the matter is, this is
a rivalry game and you do not take rivalry games for granted. Both these teams will be ready, they will
not like each other for 60 minutes and it would not surprise me if either team walked away the winner.
1. Notre Dame at Oklahoma: Everyone is making the trek to Norman this weekend as this is the #1 game
of the week. College football is cheering, as the Irish and Sooners are back in the national spotlight.
Two historic programs filled with stars all over the place and great athletes and coaches will be the
motto of the night. The Irish are powered by the nation’s second best defense, while facing the fifth
best offense in the nation. The Irish offense hasn’t been great but it hasn’t made mistakes. The same
thing goes with the Sooner defense, which is not great but limits their mistakes. This will be a big game
on Saturday and everyone knows it.