College Football Predictions Week 9: Top 10 Teams Guaranteed to Stumble
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Ranking undefeated teams is hard. While strength of schedule and "style points" certainly carry merit, what really matters is winning.
No matter how they get it done, it's tough to write off a team that hasn't lost a game. With ten of them currently clogging the BCS Top 25, there's no order that will please everybody. Unless, of course, some of those teams go head-to-head.
Well, in Week 9 of the college football season, four different games unleash members of the Top 15 against one another. Only one thing is for certain: something has got to give.
As we prepare for the most exciting weekend of college football yet this year, here are three teams currently ranked among the Top 10 that are sure to stumble.
No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs
A pair of Top 10 teams will face off on Saturday when No. 10 Georgia and No. 2 Florida meet in Jacksonville. The undefeated Gators (7-0) have been absolutely rolling this season, and the Bulldogs (6-1) are right on their heels.
Here's the problem for Georgia: Whereas Florida has already proven itself by knocking off three ranked opponents, the Bulldogs haven't beaten a single one.
The only one they did face was South Carolina, and the Gamecocks walloped them 35-7. Speaking of that South Carolina team, Florida just beat them last week, 44-11.
Things get worse for Georgia. Despite the Bulldogs' record and ranking, it turns out they haven't beaten a single team this year that has a winning record. On top of that, their defense is ranked 50th in the country in terms of scoring, allowing more than 24 points per game. The Florida offense, which is putting up more than 30 points per game, will have a field day in front of a "neutral" Jacksonville crowd.
Who wins this matchup?
Congratulations to Georgia for cracking the BCS Top 10 this season. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs' stay is already over.
No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
First things first: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are having a fantastic season. At 7-0, they have already taken care of three ranked opponents and reasserted themselves among college football's elite.
Week 9, however, does not bode well for coach Brian Kelly's squad. The No. 5 Irish travel to No. 8 Oklahoma, where they will run into an explosive 6-1 Sooners team whose only loss came via a five-point edging by Kansas State, now No. 3 in the BCS Standings.
The problem is that, all season long, Notre Dame's substandard offense has been saved by Heisman hopeful Manti Te'o and the rest of the team's extraordinary defense, which has allowed less than 10 points per game to rank second in the nation. There will only be so much that defense can do against Oklahoma, which has scored over 40 points in more than half its games this season, including two explosions of more than 60.
On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame is in even more trouble. Oklahoma's tenacious defense is 12th in the country itself, allowing less than 16 points per game. Notre Dame's rushing attack has been solid, but the passing game is a mess. That one-dimensional type of offense won't cut it against the Sooners.
Good things lie ahead for those in South Bend, as even with No. 9 USC looming as the last game of the season, the Irish could certainly emerge with just a single loss. But if that's the case, it will come in Week 9 against Oklahoma.
Who wins this matchup?
No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats' game on Saturday has all the makings of a shootout, as No. 3 Kansas State hosts No. 14 Texas Tech. It's not that these teams' defenses are bad, because they're not—the offenses are simply out of control.
The quarterback duel will be a must-see battle as Texas Tech's Seth Doege, who leads the nation with 28 touchdown passes on the season, takes on Kansas State's Collin Klein and his combination of ridiculously efficient passing and absurdly effective rushing.
Both teams score a ton of points. In fact, they're tied at 10th in the nation in terms of scoring offense, each averaging precisely 42.9 points per game. When it comes to a free-for-all shootout like this game should be expected to be, for some reason it almost seems easier to be the underdog with less to lose.
Texas Tech also has had more experience in that type of game this season, as the Red Raiders are coming fresh off of a 56-53 overtime win against TCU. Look for the visiting underdogs to pull off the upset and pull themselves into a tie with Kansas State atop the Big 12.
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