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College Football Week 9 Picks: 10 Best Locks to Take Against the Spread

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2010

College Football Week 9 Picks: 10 Best Locks to Take Against the Spread

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    College Football Week 9 picks provide plenty of love for the underdogs.

    Many prognosticators like USC's chances of outscoring Oregon, while Houston Nutt's history of pulling off upsets provides reason to believe there could be some drama in Oxford Saturday.

    Elsewhere, Michigan State and Missouri look to stay perfect against daunting conference foes Iowa and Nebraska on the road.

    Is the BCS in for yet another shakeup this weekend?

    Here's a look at the 10 best locks to take against the spread in Week 9.

No. 10: Cal at Oregon State

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Line on Betus.com

    Oregon State at -3

    Why Oregon State is Vulnerable

    The Beavers have played a brutal schedule this season and have been inconsistent at times offensively. 

    After Ryan Katz started the season slowly, he took care of the ball prior to throwing three picks last week at Washington.

    With James Rodgers out for the season, the Beavers might not have enough weapons against Cal.

    Why Cal Will Win

    As usual, Cal's defense has been the problem this season. 

    Jeff Tedford's offense hasn't been perfect either, but Shane Vereen and plenty of young, talented receivers should be able to flourish against Oregon State.

    Prediction

    Cal 34, Oregon State 27.

No. 9: Northern Illinois at Western Michigan

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    Line on Betus.com

    Northern Illinois at -8

     

    Why Northern Illinois is Vulnerable

    The Huskies' offense has taken since quarterback Chandler Harnish returned to the starting lineup. 

    In the end, NIU's attack starts and ends with Chad Spann running the ball.

     

    Why Western Michigan Will Win

    After a slow start to the season, Broncos' quarterback Alex Carder has been getting better each week. 

    Western Michigan keeps Spann under control and pulls off the upset at home.

     

    Prediction

    Western Michigan 30, Northern Illinois 23.

No. 8: Louisville at Pittsburgh

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Line on Betus.com

    Pitt at -9

    Why Pitt is Vulnerable

    Tino Sunseri has Pitt's offense alive again, but the Panthers could overlook a Louisville team that has shown improvement this season.

    Why Louisville Will Win

    The Cardinals have won three out the last four games and have looked good doing it. 

    Bilal Powell has been dynamic on the ground for Charlie Strong's team and should find room to run against the Panthers.

    Prediction

    Louisville 26, Pittsburgh 21.

No. 7: Texas Tech at Texas A&M

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Line on Betus.com

    Texas A&M at -7

    Why Texas A&M is Vulnerable

    This might be the most surprising line of Week 9. 

    As usual during Mike Sherman's reign in College Station, the Aggies haven't been able to beat a quality opponent yet this season and have struggled with turnovers.

    Why Texas Tech Will Win

    Tommy Tuberville inherited a veteran squad from Mike Leach, and has already posted a win over Baylor this season. 

    The Red Raiders should have no problem moving the ball Saturday afternoon.

    Prediction

    Texas Tech 37, Texas A&M 28.

No. 6: Tulsa at Notre Dame

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Line on Betus.com

    Notre Dame at -8 1/2

    Why Notre Dame is Vulnerable

    In the wake of tragedy in South Bend, the Irish look to circle the wagons against a potent Tulsa attack. 

    Depending on the weather conditions Saturday, this game could be an absolute shootout with both defenses figured to be overmatched. The Golden Hurricane can match touchdowns with almost any team in the country.

    Why Tulsa Will Win

    G.J. Kinne and Damaris Johnson lead the way for Tulsa's offense, and all the pressure is on Notre Dame to avoid another difficult loss. 

    An improved running game allows the visitors to steal a win in South Bend.

    Prediction

    Tulsa 38, Notre Dame 34.

No. 5: Florida vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville)

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Line on Betus.com

    Georgia at -3

    Why Georgia is Vulnerable

    The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party doesn't quite have the usual fanfare this year.

    Georgia has started to put things together since A.J. Green has returned, but the 'Dawgs are far from a perfect team.

    Why Florida Will Win

    Florida had a week to think about things after losing to Mississippi State at home. 

    Georgia's defense hasn't been as good as advertised this season, and the Gators should find a way to move the ball. Don't expect Washaun Ealey to rack up five touchdowns this week.

    Prediction

    Florida 20, Georgia 17.

No. 4: Oklahoma State at Kansas State

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Line on Betus.com

    Oklahoma State at -5

    Why Oklahoma State is Vulnerable

    Besides being without stud receiver Justin Blackmon, the Cowboys have plenty of concerns heading into Saturday's game in the Little Apple. 

    After being gashed by Nebraska last week, the 'Pokes defense could be in for another long day.

    Why Kansas State Will Win

    Kansas State has actually found just enough balance on offense that Daniel Thomas doesn't have to carry the rock every play. 

    Look for Thomas to outshine Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter and lead his team to victory.

    Prediction

    Kansas State 44, Oklahoma State 34.

No. 3: Michigan at Penn State

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Line on Betus.com

    Michigan at -3

    Why Michigan is Vulnerable

    After being horrible on offense for much of the season, Penn State went crazy last week against Minnesota. 

    Michigan's defense isn't much better than the Gophers' weak unit. Even with Denard Robinson ready to go, Rich Rod could be in for another tough conference loss.

    Why Penn State Will Win

    The lack of depth on Michigan's defense simply cannot be understated. 

    Rob Bolden has passed his concussion tests and is expected to play. This could be the week Evan Royster, Silas Redd and Stephfon Green explode in the running game.

    Prediction

    Penn State 30, Michigan 24.

No. 2: Stanford at Washington

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Line on Betus.com

    Stanford at -7

    Why Stanford is Vulnerable

    Stanford's offense is dominant, but the defense is among the Pac-10's worst. 

    It's starting to look like Jim Harbaugh's team will need to score at least 30 points in every game to have a chance to win.

    Why Washington Will Win

    Jake Locker needs all the help he can get to improve his declining NFL draft stock. 

    Playing against Stanford's defense should give him a great chance to succeed while helping Steve Sarkisian pull off his second upset of the season.

    Prediction

    Washington 41, Stanford 37.

No. 1: Florida State at North Carolina State

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Line on Betus.com

    Florida State at -3 1/2

    Why Florida State is Vulnerable

    The Seminoles have the win over Miami on the resume this season. But other than that, Jimbo Fisher's team is still lacking a big win. 

    If the game becomes a shootout, Russell Wilson and N.C. State have the edge.

    If FSU wins Thursday, don't expect another loss this season until potentially in the ACC Championship game.

    Why North Carolina State Will Win

    Wilson arguably has the best group of receivers around him in the ACC. 

    When N.C. State takes care of the ball, they are very difficult to beat. Tom O'Brien gets a much-needed statement win in conference play.

    Prediction

    North Carolina State 37, Florida State 27.

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