College Football Week 9 Preview: Biggest Stories and Games to Watch

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College Football Week 9 Preview: Biggest Stories and Games to Watch
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

We have four games between ranked teams slated for Week 9 of the 2012-2013 college football season.

No. 2 Florida takes on No. 10 Georgia, Collin Klein and No. 3 Kansas State host No. 14 Texas Tech, Manti Te'o and No. 5 Notre Dame head into Oklahoma and No. 11 Mississippi State tries to shock No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Naturally, there's a lot to talk about with such a star-studded schedule ahead of us.

Here's a breakdown of Week 9, complete with my lovely predictions:

 

Biggest Storylines

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is a prime Heisman contender this season, using his dual-threat ability to wreak havoc on opposing defenses.

Kansas State has had more than seven wins just once since 2003, and that was last season under Klein. The Wildcats already have seven wins this season.

Of course, the team to beat once again is Alabama, which has gotten off to a 7-0 start and is coming off a 44-13 thrashing of SEC opponent Tennessee.

Then there's Notre Dame, led by arguably the best defender in the country, inside linebacker Manti Te'o. The Fighting Irish have a tough matchup against an explosive Oklahoma squad this week.

Florida is No. 2 in the nation because of a power running game and an impressive defense. The Gators have beaten Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU and South Carolina this season.

 

Key Matchups

 

No. 2 Florida at No. 10 Georgia

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL

When: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS

 

Analysis

Georgia is averaging 39.6 points behind a balanced offense. The Bulldogs are ranked 30th in both passing yards per game and rushing yards per game.

Quarterback Aaron Murray leads this team, along with a strong rushing unit consisting of Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and Ken Malcome.

On the other hand, the last time Georgia faced a defense like Florida's, the game ended in a 35-7 loss to South Carolina.

Florida just beat South Carolina, 44-11, so I don't see this working out for Georgia.

 

Prediction

Florida 30, Georgia 20

 

No. 14 Texas Tech at No. 3 Kansas State

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Where: Bill Snyder Stadium, Manhattan, KS

When: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox

 

Analysis

Texas Tech is certainly not to be taken lightly. The Red Raiders have averaged 42.9 points (tied for 10th in the nation) en route to beating West Virginia and TCU the past two weeks (that includes beating Geno Smith's Mountaineers, 49-14).

On the other side of the coin, Kansas State just happens to be the other team tied with Texas Tech in points per game, and the Wildcats have a better defense, allowing 16.1 points per contest (14th in the FBS).

That includes beating West Virginia last week, 55-14.

 

Prediction

Kansas State 33, Texas Tech 24

 

No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 8 Oklahoma

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Where: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK

When: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. ET

Watch: ABC

 

Analysis

I believe this is the game that sees Notre Dame fall.

Not only is Oklahoma averaging 44.7 points per game this season (fifth in the nation), it is also allowing 15.3 points per game (12th).

While Notre Dame may have a better defense than Oklahoma's, the Sooners aren't exactly shabby on that side of the ball. They held Kansas State to 24 points, Texas Tech to 20 points and Texas to 21 points.

Plus, Oklahoma's offense is vastly better than Notre Dame's. I don't think the Fighting Irish limit Oklahoma enough to emerge victorious in this one.

 

Prediction

  Oklahoma 24, Notre Dame 20

 

No. 11 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama

Leon Halip/Getty Images

Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL

When: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN

 

Analysis

A Mississippi State pass defense that limited Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray to 6.2 yards per pass attempt while notching an interception should make things interesting in this game.

On the other hand, A.J. McCarron has been a vastly better quarterback than Bray this season (9.6 yards per attempt, 16 touchdowns, zero interceptions) and it's going to be hard for the Bulldogs run defense to stop Alabama.

Mississippi State is ceding 4.08 yards per carry this season (tied for 61st in the nation) and Alabama is averaging 5.28 yards per carry (19th in the nation) behind T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy.

I don't see this working out well for Mississippi State.

 

Prediction

Alabama 41, Mississippi State 20

 

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