College Football Picks Week 9: Top Teams Take Their Talents on the Road
For four straight weeks in a row, there has been a new No. 1 team in the nation. The three previous weeks, a No. 1 team fell. This week, Auburn has ascended to the top, despite the fact that Oregon is ranked No. 1 in both of the human polls. Can Auburn maintain this No. 1 ranking on the road?
As the season winds down, there is still little consistency atop the BCS. There are seven undefeated teams left in the nation. One has already played and won; the rest play on the road this upcoming Halloween weekend.
No. 1 Auburn at Ole Miss
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After taking the No. 1 BCS ranking, Auburn looks to be the first top-rated team in the country to keep that ranking in the past three weeks. Auburn has looked very dominant this season, including a big win against LSU last weekend. The week before, they beat Ryan Mallett-led Arkansas in a big way and only faltered this season in two early matches against Mississippi St. and Clemson.
Cam Newton has been spectacular this season, and for that reason, has become a favorite for the Heisman trophy. His opposite, Jeremiah Masoli, was once pegged as a frontrunner for the same accolade—until his stint with the Oregon Ducks was cut short due to legal difficulties. Masoli has a chance to help his old team by leading Ole Miss to a victory this weekend.
This should be a competitive match, but unlike the past few weeks, the No. 1 team will win in the end.
No. 2 Oregon at USC
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Perhaps the best test remaining on the Ducks’ schedule, USC has been playing some very good offense under Express Check-out Lane Kiffin. Unfortunately, their defense has been mediocre at best. The Coliseum is always a very tough place to play, and USC’s two losses have only come by six total points so far.
Regardless, the Trojans haven’t faced an opponent near the caliber of the Ducks this year. While USC’s offense is very good, it will be hard-pressed to keep up with the Ducks high-flying team.
The Ducks should win easily.
No. 5 Michigan State at No. 18 Iowa
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In the Big Ten matchup of the week, Michigan State heads to Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes. Michigan State has surprised many to this point in the season—not only by being competitive, but by going undefeated. This weekend they face a very talented Iowa team whose two losses have come at the hands of Arizona and Wisconsin by a total of eight points.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, this Iowa team is very underrated, and the Spartans will not come out undefeated. This should be a very close game, as many in the Big Ten are.
No. 6 Missouri at No. 14 Nebraska
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Another conference matchup ready for an upset. Nebraska’s defense and running game are its strengths, and up until defeating Oklahoma, Missouri had not played a meaningful game all season. Missouri nearly lost to San Diego State at home.
Nebraska’s one loss this season did come at home at the hands of a now-unranked Texas team. Again, the game should be close and hard-fought, as neither team is prolific on offense.
No. 8 Utah at Air Force
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Finally, Utah heads to face Air Force. As a non-automatic qualifier, Utah has only faced one ranked team thus far this year. Their defense has been stingy, rated third in the nation in both points and yards allowed.
But Air Force should pose no threat to Utah's continued winning streak. Next week, Utah faces TCU in a matchup of two of the three non-AQs left undefeated.
Other Games to Watch
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No. 13 Stanford at Washington: Washington has been very underrated this season, pulling off an upset over Oregon State at home.
No. 17 Oklahoma State at Kansas State: The previously undefeated Cowboys look to take out their frustrations on the Mark Mangino-less Wildcats.
No. 25 Baylor at Texas: Mack Brown’s team has been very inconsistent this year. Should be a competitive football game.