College Football Picks Week 9: Tough Challenges for Top-Ranked Teams

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College Football Picks Week 9: Tough Challenges for Top-Ranked Teams
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Week 9 of the 2012 college football season gives several teams at the top of the BCS rankings an opportunity to solidify their case for the Discover BCS National Championship game. Four of the Top Five teams play an opponent ranked in the Top 15.

The lone team that doesn't host a contender is the Oregon Ducks. They are in a can't-win situation, as they play Colorado, their easiest opponent of the season.

Several of these matchups aren't expected to be close, but there could be some movement after the following four games are complete.

No. 14 Texas Tech at No. 3 Kansas State

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Where: Bill Snyder Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas

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


Spread: Kansas State -7 (odds via Bovada)

I would actually like Texas Tech's potential to pull off the upset at home, but life is a bit more tricky in Manhattan.

With the exception of their win in Oklahoma, this is the most difficult challenge facing the Wildcats. There is little chance they won't be ready to secure their claim on reaching the national-title game.

Prediction: Kansas State 34, Texas Tech 24

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No. 2 Florida vs. No. 10 Georgia

Where: Everbank Field, Jacksonville, Florida

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


Spread: Florida -7

Florida needs a win over Georgia to secure a trip to the SEC Championship game and a premier bowl game. Georgia should have Jarvis Jones for this game, and he can be a difference maker.

He won't be enough, though.

Georgia won't have the advantage of the home field, as this game is being played at a neutral site. A win keeps Georgia alive for the SEC East title, but it could be too much to expect.

Prediction: Florida 35, Georgia 24

Who wins?

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No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 8 Oklahoma

Where: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Oklahoma

When: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET


Spread: Oklahoma -10

It might seem odd to call the higher-ranked and undefeated Irish team an underdog, but that is just what they are. This will be a tough road test for Notre Dame, but 10 points seems a bit extreme.

The Fighting Irish should be able to keep the score low enough to keep Oklahoma from covering the spread, but don't be surprised when college football loses one of their unbeaten teams on Saturday.

Notre Dame has been a little exposed in the prior two weeks. They've won close games and needed a little help to do it.

Prediction: Oklahoma 24, Notre Dame 20

No. 11 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama

Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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

TV: ESPN and streaming live on Watch ESPN

Spread: Alabama -24½

Can any team beat Alabama?

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Mississippi State is a quality team that will continue to flirt with cracking the Top 10 this season. Considering they are more than a three-touchdown underdog, something must be up.

Oh, right—they are playing in Alabama.

Yes, the Crimson Tide is just that good. Their toughest game thus far was against Michigan, a 41-14 home win. Their closest game was a 33-14 win against Ole Miss.

This game won't likely be that close.

The Bulldogs are rapidly improving, and losing to Alabama shouldn't undermine their accomplishments. But they aren't likely to improve their national standing on Saturday.

Prediction: Alabama 40, Mississippi State 13

Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.

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