For college football fans, there is no bigger obsession than Saturdays in the fall. As the weather cools down, the action heats up.
Conference battles, BCS polls, upsets, injuries and every other kind of expected and unexpected elements is thrown into the cauldron of craziness. Week 9 is no exception.
This week on the college football gridiron brought rivalry games, closer-than-expected contests and even a few upsets. It also brought some heartbreaking losses and devastating injuries.
When it is all said and done, the rankings will look different, and as the dust settles, the BCS picture will clear up just enough to be blurry.
Let's look at the winners and losers in Week 9 and try to figure out what it all means.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish did something special in Week 9. Not only did they beat Oklahoma 30-13 in Norman, but in the process they made believers out of many.
Notre Dame is now 8-0 on the season, and in play for the national championship.
They finish the year with Pittsburgh, Boston College, Wake Forest and USC. Unless they overlook the first three, the only real game left on their schedule is at USC.
That game will be huge, but so was the win in Week 9 over Oklahoma.
Something funny happened on the way to playing for a BCS national championship: The Florida Gators got bit.
On Saturday, in Jacksonville of all places, the No. 2 team in the land experienced a setback.
Florida, now 7-1 and 6-1 in the SEC, found itself trailing all day to the No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs.
It was an SEC clash featuring SEC defense. Neither team eclipsed the 300-yard mark on offense, but it was the six turnovers—yes, six—by Florida that cost it the game.
All day long the story was fumbles or interceptions for the Gators. Georgia did just enough to capitalize, and in the end it was enough for Mark Richt and his group to take a 17-9 victory.
Can Florida still be in the discussion for a national title? Sure, but the road just got much, much more difficult.
How good is Oregon's offense? Seriously.
In Week 9 the Oregon Ducks destroyed the Colorado Buffaloes by a score of 70-14. However, folks, it wasn't that close.
Yes, Colorado isn't very good. However, it was still a very impressive outing by the Ducks offense.
Oregon was up 56-0 in the first half. Yes, you read that right. On the day the Oregon offense rolled up 617 total yards, and 425 of those were rushing.
Four different players scored rushing touchdowns for the Ducks, including two by senior running back Kenjon Barner and three by sophomore backup quarterback Bryan Bennett.
You have to wonder if being kicked back a few spots in the BCS polls hasn't placed a huge chip, no pun intended, on the shoulders of these Oregon Ducks.
Oregon State suffered their first loss of the season in Week 9.
CentryLink Field in Seattle is a tough place to play, but most didn't think the Beavers would stumble.
Oregon State came back to tie the game up in the fourth quarter when Cody Vaz hit Connor Hamlett on a 29-yard touchdown pass. However, it was the Travis Coons 30-yard field goal for Washington that sealed the Beavers fate.
Final score 20-17 in favor of the Huskies.
Did that really just happen? Apparently, yes.
Arizona upset No. 9 USC 39-36 and destroyed the Trojans' national title hopes.
Not only that, but it was the Trojans' second Pac-12 loss on the season as well. That puts them just half a game ahead of UCLA in the Pac-12 South, and they still must play the Bruins this season.
Perhaps USC was looking past Arizona to next week's battle with Oregon. Well, now that Ducks game becomes an absolute must-win, and so does the Arizona State game, the UCLA game and the Notre Dame game to finish the regular season.
The Spartans of Michigan State rumbled into Camp Randall Stadium and took home an upset victory.
It took overtime to make this one final, but in the end it was a 16-13 win for Sparty.
No. 25 Wisconsin drew first blood in the second quarter with a 31-yard strike from Joel Stave to Jacob Pedersen. Michigan State answered with a field goal. The score was 7-3 at halftime.
It wasn't until the fourth quarter that scoring would start again. Wisconsin kicked a field goal, but Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Maxwell, making the game a 10-10 tie.
In overtime Wisconsin could only manage a field goal, but the Spartans scored a touchdown on their possession when Maxwell hit Bennie Fowler for a 12-yard score.
Game over, upset complete: Michigan State 16, Wisconsin 13. The Badgers fall to 6-3, 3-2 in the Big Ten, while the Spartans are now 5-4, 2-3 in the Big Ten.
As previously mentioned, the No. 25 Wisconsin Badgers fell to the Michigan State Spartans 16-13 in overtime.
The loss had to be painful for the Badgers and their fans. The team had just clawed its way back into the rankings after wins over Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota.
The Badgers should get back to their winning ways after a bye week with a trip to Indiana on November 10 to take on the Hoosiers.
If you didn't know it by now, Kansas State is for real. The No. 3-ranked team in the BCS took care of business in Week 9, and it did it with style—style points, that is.
The game was close at halftime, with K-State only up 13-10. But then the rocket ship known as the Wildcats launched. They proceeded to burn the Texas Tech defense for 42 second-half points and finish the game with a 55-24 shellacking of the Red Raiders.
Something special is brewing in Manhattan, Kansas.
The Ohio Bobcats finally make the Top 25 ranking with a 7-0 record, and what happens? They find themselves in a conference battle with Miami-Ohio.
They lost that battle.
Ohio fell to Miami-Ohio 23-20 at Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio. The RedHawks play tough at home, and they proved that once again.
The Bobcats fell behind early 13-0 and found themselves battling from behind all day. They tied the game late in the fourth quarter with a field goal, but it was the RedHawks' field goal with 1:24 left in the game that gave them the lead and finally the upset.
Final score: Miami-Ohio 23, Ohio 20.
The Georgia Bulldogs just played themselves back into the picture. They are now in first place in the SEC East and back in the national title conversation.
No.10 Georgia upset No. 2 Florida 17-9 in Jacksonville. That makes up for that painful 35-7 thumping it took at the hands of South Carolina a few weeks back.
The Bulldogs have a very winnable schedule from here on out. They face Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech to finish out the regular season.
Since when does a winning team become a loser? When it loses a great running back and good person during the game.
The AP reports (via ESPN.com) that Marcus Lattimore had some words for his teammates on Friday. The words are chilling considering what transpired on Saturday. Lattimore reportedly said, "Act like every play is your last play."
In today's game versus Tennessee, the South Carolina junior running back may have played his last. The hope is that it won't be, but if you saw the video of it, you know it was gruesome.
Lattimore was carted off the field after suffering a devastating knee injury, and the thoughts and prayers of millions are with him.
At the end of the day, it is just a game, and there are things that are far more important to consider. No matter what team college football fans may root for, today they should also root for Marcus Lattimore.
Florida State continues to roll its way back into the big picture.
Another Saturday and another massive win for the Seminoles. This time it was Duke that found itself on the end of an angry Florida State beatdown.
In the end, FSU won 48-7 and improved to 8-1 on the season overall and 5-1 in the ACC.
Since the upset loss to North Carolina State, the Seminoles are looking like the national contender many thought they were.
He seems like a good guy and a decent coach. However, you have to wonder how Derek Dooley will survive as the Tennessee coach with an 0-5 record in the SEC.
The loss to South Carolina Saturday 38-35 makes it four losses in a row. Of course, those losses were to Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina, so it's not like he's losing to horrible competition.
Still, you wonder how patient fans and boosters will be with Dooley and his SEC record.
The Volunteers have a much easier schedule to close out the year. They face Troy, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. None of them will just roll over, but Tennessee has a good chance winning every one of those contests.
If they do, will a 7-5 record keep the orange pants on the sidelines in Tennessee? Only time will tell.
The No. 21 Boise State Broncos traveled to chilly Laramie, Wyo., to take on the Cowboys.
It was a game controlled by the Broncos all day long, and the 45-14 score looks more like the type of outcome people are used to seeing from a Chris Petersen team.
The offense clicked, and junior quarterback Joe Southwick had a good game. However, it was the rushing efforts that were most impressive.
Boise State had three running backs with touchdowns. Senior running back D.J. Harper led the way with 105 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Freshmen Jay Ajayi and Shane Williams-Rhodes had 49 and 46 yards respectively. They also each had a touchdown.
It was a dominating win, and it looks like this young Boise State team is peaking at the right time.
The No. 15 Rutgers Scarlet Knights did it to themselves.
On the day, Rutgers had seven turnovers. It doesn't matter the opponent; seven turnovers is just too much to overcome. To be fair, it wasn't the single fumble that cost them. It was, however, the six interceptions.
This loss has to be extremely painful to a Scarlet Knights team that has worked hard and done great things all season. To self-destruct like they did has to be very frustrating.
Still, they have four games left, and three of them are with Big East foes Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Louisville.
Speaking of the No. 16 Louisville Cardinals, they had a good Week 9 themselves.
Not only did they win a "Keg of Nails," but in beating conference rival Cincinnati 34-31 in overtime on Friday night, the Cardinals improved to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big East.
For the second game in a row, the Texas Tech defense allowed over 50 points.
However, what took three overtimes against TCU last week only took regulation this week. Not only that, the 56-53 win in 3OT wasn't painful at all in Week 8, but the 55-24 thumping in Week 9 at the hands of Kansas State couldn't have felt all that good.
The game was reasonable at halftime with Kansas State leading 13-10. However, the third and fourth quarters saw the Wildcats run wild on the Red Raiders defense. K-State scored 21 in each of the final two quarters to take the game going away.
Northwestern bounced back from its heartbreaking 29-28 loss to Nebraska last week.
In Week 9 the Wildcats downed the Iowa Hawkeyes 28-17. It had to feel good for the team to get back into the winning column, and it improved its overall record to 7-2 and 3-2 in the Big Ten.
However, the true test comes after a bye week when Northwestern travels to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines on November 10.
Michigan went to Lincoln to take on the Cornhuskers in a Big Ten battle. They went home without a win.
The Wolverines were outplayed all day, and in the end Nebraska proved too much. The final score was 23-9 in favor of the Cornhuskers who improve to an overall record of 6-2 and 3-1 in the Big Ten.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines fall to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten.
Yes, Texas won the game. No, it shouldn't have been that close. Yes, it took 14 fourth-quarter points to turn back a 1-6 Kansas team. No, the Jayhawks aren't better than their record.
The narrow 21-17 win for Texas over Kansas on Saturday avoids disaster for the Longhorns, who are now 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12. However, that same narrow win just gives fuel to the critics of head coach Mack Brown.
Since the 63-21 drubbing the Longhorns took at the hands of Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry game, noise has been accumulating about Brown's numbered days.
The next four games will be crucial for Texas. The Longhorns face Texas Tech, Iowa State, TCU and finally Kansas State to finish the regular season. They will either silence the critics or give them renewed voice.
Don't forget about Clemson.
The Tigers improved to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the ACC Thursday night with their 42-13 pounding of Wake Forest.
This keeps them in the ACC title picture, if just barely, and keeps them poised for a very good bowl game nonetheless.
They finish the season with Duke, Maryland, North Carolina State and South Carolina. Win all of those, and who knows what will happen?
Johnny “Football” is certainly that—and then some. No. 20 Texas A&M dismantled Auburn 63-21 on Saturday, and Johnny Manziel was a big reason.
Manziel threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns. However, he also added three rushing touchdowns and ran for 90-yards on the night.Not sure if he caught any of his own passes, but it wouldn't be surprising.
Oh by the way, he is a freshman. By the time he is a senior he may have a new nickname—Johnny Heisman.
Southern Miss is having the kind of season a team might want to forget.
After falling to Rice 44-17 on Saturday the team is now 0-8 on the season.It is a far cry from the upset win of Houston in the Conference USA championship game, a top 25 ranking and a bowl victory over Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl last season.
It has certainly been a rebuilding year for the Golden Eagles with a new coaching staff to boot. However, no one dreamed the season would turn into such a nightmare for Southern Miss.
UCLA went into Sun Devil Stadium and improved their overall record to 6-2.
The 45-43 win over Arizona State also improved the Bruins Pac-12 record to 3-2 on the season. It was a back-and-forth game, but in the end UCLA held off an attempted comeback by ASU.
With just 1:33 left in the game D.J. Foster caught a pass from Taylor Kelly for the tie, and the extra point gave the Sun Devils a 43-42 lead.However, with time expiring on the clock Ka'imi Fairbairn made a 33-yard field goal to give UCLA the victory 45-43.
TCU was up 14-0 before Oklahoma State got on the scoreboard.
At halftime the Horned Frogs led 14-9. The third quarter saw the Cowboys take the lead, but the game remained close going into the fourth quarter with Oklahoma State up 23-14.In the fourth quarter it all fell apart for TCU.
Oklahoma State forced the Horned Frogs to make mistakes, and the Cowboys capitalized.TCU has had a rough first year in the Big 12. They are now just 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the Big 12.
BYU nearly upset Notre Dame in Week 8. However, they walloped Georgia Tech in Week 9.
For those who don't know, "wallop" is a technical term that means “a serious beat down”.
On the day the Cougars of BYU held Georgia Tech to just 157 total yards of offense. Meanwhile BYU racked up 411 yards of their own.It was a game that BYU controlled from the beginning, and it was a nice way to rebound after such a heart breaking loss to the Irish.
Bob Stoops has had some painful losses at home. However, this year it has happened twice. That is not a usual occurrence around Oklahoma.
The early loss to Kansas State 24-19 and the loss to the Irish in Week 9 by a painful score of 30-13 has to be a hard pill to swallow for coach Stoops.
You have to wonder with Baylor and Oklahoma State still to come if Stoops might have a third before it is all said and done.
Alabama is a winner—again.
At this point someone should ask the Crimson Tide to join the NFC South. Unless they beat themselves, who will match Alabama in the NCG?
Mississippi State didn't have a chance, but then again—who does?
Idaho head coach Robb Akey didn't have a good week.
Well, actually that depends on how you look at it.
Akey was the first coach of the FBS season to find himself unemployed. Akey was fired by the University of Idaho.
The Vandals are just 1-7 on the season, and with San Jose, BYU, UTSA and Utah State still to play, the future doesn't look bright for Idaho.
Ohio State fans are probably as frustrated as a boy with big ears trying to grab his baseball through a picket fence.The Buckeyes under their new head coach are now 9-0 on the season.
However, because of the NCAA sanctions, they can't play in the Big Ten championship game, a bowl game or the national title game.
It has to be a bittersweet year for Ohio State coaches, players and fans.
Nevada was supposed to give Boise State a run for their money in the Mountain West.
Nevada was supposed to host the Broncos in the last game of the season for the Mountain West championship. However, someone forgot to tell the Wolf Pack that they can't keep losing MWC games if they want that to happen.
Saturday a pesky Air Force team took care of business at home beating Nevada. The final score was 48-31 in favor of the Falcons who improved to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the MWC.
Maybe they will play Boise State for the title? Oh, that's right, the Mountain West didn't schedule the Falcons and the Broncos this season.
As for Nevada, they fall to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the MWC, and they still have Fresno State and New Mexico on the schedule before they face the Broncos.