The best of Week 9


Can USC pull off the upset on Stanford? (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

We’ve come to the last weekend in October, which means big things in college football. Each week, we see more games of consequence, and after last weekend’s upsets of undefeateds Wisconsin and Oklahoma, the battle to run the table has become more exclusive. Here are a couple of games that feature undefeated teams trying to stay perfect and two other big games.

My record in predictions this season: 17-8

More: My top 10 entering the week | And the full top 25

No. 11 Michigan State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) at No. 14 Nebraska (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten), 12 p.m.

A week after the final undefeated Big Ten team lost (Wisconsin, at the hands of Michigan State), the Spartans and Cornhuskers now turn their focus to winning the Legends Division.

It is Michigan State that controls its own destiny in their division, but today’s game is going to be a huge challenge. The Spartans have to guard against the letdown game that follows a victory of such massive proportions as a last-second win over Wisconsin. Luckily, they have a lot of talent and are well-coached.

Nebraska has been very inconsistent this season, and they’ve proven that no lead of theirs is safe, even at home. After nearly blowing a big lead in Lincoln a few weeks ago when Ohio State was in town, I’m not too confident that the Huskers are mentally tough enough to beat MSU today.

My prediction: Michigan State 45, Nebraska 30

No. 9 Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) at No. 8 Kansas State (7-0, 4-0 Big 12), 3:30 p.m.

It’s Week 9 and Oklahoma is ranked behind … Kansas State. Who saw that one coming?

After losing to Texas Tech last weekend, Oklahoma will now assume the role of spoiler, but Kansas State is playing great football. They’re coming off their two highest-scoring performances of the season (41 against Texas Tech and 59 against Kansas, both road games). But it just feels like it’s a matter of time before the luck of the Wildcats runs out. The Sooners have traditionally been very good following a loss, and I think they’ll get back on track this afternoon.

My prediction: Oklahoma 35, Kansas State 33

No. 22 Georgia (5-2, 4-1 SEC) at Florida (4-3, 2-3 SEC), 3:30 p.m.

I wasn’t going to put this game in my top picks. I really didn’t see any need to go into detail on this game, but then I remembered one piece of importance surrounding this game — the winner will likely win the SEC East. So even though these two teams are far from premier, this game carries a lot of meaning in the hunt for who will get blasted by the LSU/Alabama winner in the SEC Championship game.

Georgia holds a 47-40 lead in this series (with two ties), but the Gators have won 18 of the last 21 games between these two teams. This is what makes this prediction so tough; the Gators have been shredded by injuries and poor play, but the Dawgs have that whole “Florida owns us” thing hovering over their heads.

Florida quarterback John Brantley should play in the game after sitting out a couple of games with a leg injury, but he’ll likely be slowed by that bum leg. So I’m going to go out on a limb and take Georgia, no matter how many times they’ve lost to Florida. Don’t let me down, Bulldogs.

My prediction: Georgia 31, Florida 21

No. 6 Stanford (7-0, 5-0 Pac-12) at USC (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12), 8 p.m.

The Cardinal will attempt to stay undefeated in a hostile environment tonight. College Gameday is in Los Angeles and the Trojans have the chance to spoil Stanford’s season, so you would think this will be the toughest game of the year for the Cardinal, at least to this point.

A week ago, USC went to South Bend and beat Notre Dame by two touchdowns. Do the Trojans have enough left in the tank after that trip to pull off another big win? In all honesty, I can’t see USC winning this game because Stanford is so loaded all-around that nobody on their schedule will be able to beat them. It’s not a shot at USC, because they have a really good team — it’s just that Stanford is so much better than everyone else, maybe with the only exception being the two Goliaths of the SEC.

Andrew Luck will out-smart the Trojans’ defense, and the Cardinal will win this one.

My prediction: Stanford 51, USC 31

My past picks: Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1