College Football Picks: Week 9 Predictions for Every Game

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistOctober 26, 2017

College Football Picks: Week 9 Predictions for Every Game

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    True championship contenders will be revealed during a compelling slate of college football action in Week 9.

    Penn State's trip to Ohio State highlights the schedule, which features four clashes between ranked programs. Elsewhere, Oklahoma State heads to West Virginia, Iowa State hosts TCU and North Carolina State meets Notre Dame for pivotal showdowns.

    In addition to Penn State and TCU, five of the nation's six other remaining unbeaten teams will take the field.

    All 56 games in Week 9 have been predicted, and they're ordered based on kickoff time. AP Top 25 teams are highlighted first within a specific time slot.


    Note: All recent results are from Winsipedia when matchups include two schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Top Saturday Early Games

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    No. 5 Wisconsin (7-0) at Illinois (2-5), noon ET

    Last meeting: Wisconsin beat Illinois 48-3 last November.

    "Illinois" and "stopping the run" haven't been featured in the same sentence unless a phrase like "is having enormous trouble" also makes an appearance. That is most decidedly bad news when Jonathan Taylor, who has three 200-yard outbursts this season, is coming to town. Wisconsin will run all over the Illini.

    Prediction: Wisconsin 38, Illinois 6


    No. 8 Miami (6-0) at North Carolina (1-7), noon ET

    Last meeting: UNC beat Miami 20-13 last October.

    Since Miami joined the ACC in 2004, North Carolina owns a 7-6 advantage in the series. The Tar Heels have also triumphed in the last two matchups. But this injury-riddled UNC team isn't close to the caliber of the 2015 or 2016 squads. Miami's penchant for slow starts may flare, but the 'Canes will eventually pull away.

    Prediction: Miami 34, UNC 20


    No. 11 Oklahoma State (6-1) at No. 22 West Virginia (5-2), noon ET

    Last meeting: Oklahoma State beat WVU 37-20 last October.

    If you like passing and scoring, this Big 12 matchup is a must-watch. West Virginia quarterback Will Grier leads the country with 26 touchdowns, and Oklahoma State signal-caller Mason Rudolph stands atop the FBS with 378.6 yards per game. We're giving OSU a slight edge because the defense has limited explosive plays this season, but Grier and Co. won't be far behind all game long.

    Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, West Virginia 34


    Rutgers (3-4) at Michigan (5-2), noon ET

    Last meeting: Michigan beat Rutgers 78-0 last October.

    Rutgers has started to compete with the middle tier of the Big Ten, but Michigan's talent level on defense is too much for the Scarlet Knights to handle. However, the Wolverines are still laboring to move the ball. Those issues will keep this clash relatively low-scoring.

    Prediction: Michigan 27, Rutgers 10


    Louisville (5-3) at Wake Forest (4-3), 12:20 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Louisville beat Wake Forest 44-12 last November.

    On paper, the 2016 matchup looks like a blowout. However, Louisville trailed 12-10 entering the fourth quarter of that game. It'll be similarly close this timealbeit with more scoring earlybut the result won't change. Wake Forest will pressure Lamar Jackson often, but his mobility will be the difference in an entertaining finish.

    Prediction: Louisville 31, Wake Forest 23

Other Saturday Early Games

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    Buffalo (3-5) at Akron (4-4), 11:30 a.m. ET

    Last meeting: Buffalo beat Akron 41-20 last October.

    Although Toledo has a superb offense, it's still a concern that Akron surrendered 626 offensive yards to the Rockets last week. Fortunately for the Zips, Buffalo is expected to rely on third-string quarterback Kyle Vantrease, per Jack Goods of the Buffalo News. Akron should be able to bounce back defensively after a 48-21 loss and edge the Bulls.

    Prediction: Akron 30, Buffalo 24


    Arkansas (2-5) at Ole Miss (3-4), noon ET

    Last meeting: Arkansas beat Ole Miss 34-30 last October.

    Over the last two weeks, opponents have racked up 1,125 yards and 93 points on Arkansas. Plus, first-string quarterback Austin Allen (shoulder) still isn't listed on the depth chart, so the Razorbacks will send out Cole Kelley. Ole Miss should have little trouble scoring early and often while containing the Arkansas offense.

    Prediction: Ole Miss 38, Arkansas 24


    Texas (3-4) at Baylor (0-7), noon ET

    Last meeting: Texas beat Baylor 35-34 last October.

    Baylor nearly put together a 25-point comeback in Week 8, but Matt Rhule's team dropped to 0-7, as it fell 38-36 to West Virginia. The Mountaineers piled up 12 tackles for loss against the Bears, and Texas should similarly capitalize on the offensive line's problems and make it an eight-game skid.

    Prediction: Texas 37, Baylor 27


    Virginia (5-2) at Pitt (3-5), 12:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Pitt beat Virginia 45-31 last October.

    The Cavaliers are facing a borderline must-win to reach bowl eligibility. Virginia's final month includes Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami and Virginia Tech. Though the Wahoos unexpectedly had major problems stopping Boston College last week in a 41-10 loss, their defense is usually stingy and will recover to corral Pitt's 89-ranked rushing attack.

    Prediction: Virginia 27, Pitt 20


    Cal (4-4) at Colorado (4-4), 2 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Cal beat Colorado 59-56 in September 2014.

    Kyle Frederickson of the Denver Post noted Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said there's an open quarterback competition in Week 9. That would be a concern against many Pac-12 opponents, but Cal's defense isn't the same without Devante Downs roaming the middle (lower body injury). Colorado running back Phillip Lindsay will propel the Buffs and push them closer to bowl eligibility.

    Prediction: Colorado 27, Cal 24


    Florida International (4-2) at Marshall (6-1), 2:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: FIU beat Marshall 31-14 last November.

    Florida International's worst performances have happened on the road. Marshall is not the place for that trend to change. The Thundering Herd boast a top-25 defense, while FIU is averaging just 344.3 yards per game on the road compared to 476.5 at home.

    Prediction: Marshall 30, FIU 17


    Kansas State (3-4) at Kansas (1-6), 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Kansas State beat Kansas 34-19 last November.

    Rivalries tend to have unexpected game paths, but the chances of Kansas' assembling a formidable offensive day seem improbable. The Jayhawks trudged to 127 yards on 108 snaps over the last two weeks. That, in all its wackiness, is not a misprint. Kansas State won't be as dominant, yet it'll easily notch a ninth consecutive win over Kansas.

    Prediction: Kansas State 33, Kansas 14


    Air Force (3-4) at Colorado State (6-2), 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Air Force beat Colorado State 49-46 last November.

    No team, aside from VMI, has scored fewer than 28 points on Air Force this season, so it'll be an immense challenge for the Falcons to stop Colorado State's balanced attack (ranked 10th nationally). The Rams will jump ahead quickly and survive an inevitable late charge from Air Force, which has scored double-digit points in the fourth quarter for five straight games.

    Prediction: Colorado State 41, Air Force 31


    San Jose State (1-7) at BYU (1-7), 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: BYU beat San Jose State 17-16 in November 2015.

    San Jose State and BYU rank 122nd and 125th nationally in yards per play, respectively. This should be an offensive struggle. However, San Jose State's inability to stop the run (ranked 128th) will allow the Cougars to uncharacteristically sustain a couple of drives and limp to their second win of the campaign.

    Prediction: BYU 24, San Jose State 17

Top Saturday Midafternoon Games

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    No. 2 Penn State (7-0) at No. 6 Ohio State (6-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Penn State beat Ohio State 24-21 last October.

    Ohio State hasn't grabbed much attention since falling to Oklahoma on September 9, but the Buckeyes have rattled off five straight victories of 31-plus points after that showdown. And Penn State, as dominant as it's been, has started slowly in both road outings in 2017. Ohio State won't let the Lions win the fourth quarter after Penn State's 17-0 showing in the final frame last year.

    Prediction: Ohio State 34, Penn State 27


    No. 3 Georgia (7-0) vs. Florida (3-3), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Florida beat Georgia 24-10 last October.

    During the last three years, Florida has toppled Georgia by no fewer than 14 points. Nick Chubb, Lorenzo Carter and the other seniors must be tired of getting trampled in this rivalry, and the Bulldogs are the more complete team in 2017. Florida's offensive troubles (23.7 points per game) will be on full display against a stout Georgia defense.

    Prediction: Georgia 27, Florida 10


    No. 4 TCU (7-0) at No. 25 Iowa State (5-2), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: TCU beat Iowa State 41-20 last September.

    Who would've thought Iowa State's offense would improve after quarterback Jacob Park unexpectedly took a leave of absence? Kyle Kempt has thrown for seven touchdowns in three games. However, TCU's defense should stop the run and make the Cyclones one-dimensional on offense. The Horned Frogs will grab a tight victory on the road.

    Prediction: TCU 31, Iowa State 24


    No. 14 NC State (6-1) at No. 9 Notre Dame (6-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: NC State beat Notre Dame 10-3 last October.

    In 2016, these programs met in a monsoon. Nothing from that clash applies to Saturday's game. It's likely the trenches will decide this contest with College Football Playoff implications, and NC State's front seven is sensational. The Wolfpack will be in position to steal a win if the Irish must settle for field goals, but Notre Dame's 83.3 red-zone touchdown rate is No. 5 nationally and will provide the difference.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 27, NC State 20


    UCLA (4-3) at No. 12 Washington (6-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: UCLA beat Washington 44-30 in November 2014.

    UCLA's defense finally appeared last Saturday, but it's reasonable to mark an asterisk next to that Justin Herbert-less Oregon team (broken collarbone). Washington must rebound from a putrid offensive day in the loss to Arizona State two weeks ago, so it's not a given the Huskies will defeat Josh Rosen and the Bruins. Aided by a terrific defense, though, UW will win the turnover battle and protect home field.

    Prediction: Washington 27, UCLA 17


    No. 16 Michigan State (6-1) at Northwestern (4-3), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Northwestern beat MSU 54-40 last October.

    Justin Jackson basically determines whether Northwestern is competitive. The senior running back is averaging 123.5 yards in wins compared to 36.3 in losses. Michigan State has the nation's No. 8 rush defense, giving the Spartans an important advantage during what should be a defensive struggle.

    Prediction: Michigan State 20, Northwestern 17


    Houston (4-3) at No. 17 South Florida (7-0), 3:45 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Houston beat USF 27-3 in November 2014.

    Houston has tossed at least one interception in six of seven games, and South Florida has picked off one pass in every contest this season. The Bulls lead the country with 16. While the offense is most recognizable thanks to a three-headed rushing attack led by Quinton Flowers, defense will carry USF past Houston.

    Prediction: South Florida 31, Houston 20

Other Saturday Midafternoon Games

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    Appalachian State (5-2) at Massachusetts (1-6), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Appalachian State beat UMass 28-17 in December 2006.

    Three weekends apart, Massachusetts recorded back-to-back 50-point games. Hanging 50 in a loss to Ohio was unanticipated, but Georgia Southern is a mess. Appalachian State should reveal whether that improvement is for real since its defense is decent. That unit provides the Mountaineers with a slim edge, but UMass is a larger test than we would've anticipated in late September.

    Prediction: Appalachian State 34, UMass 27


    Georgia Southern (0-6) at Troy (5-2), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Georgia Southern beat Troy 28-24 last December.

    After a surprising midweek loss to South Alabama, Troy responded with a complete performance in a 34-10 triumph over Georgia State. The Trojans need a little help, but they're still in the picture for the Sun Belt title. Considering how we just called Georgia Southern a mess, you can imagine where this prediction is headed.

    Prediction: Troy 41, Georgia Southern 13


    Indiana (3-4) at Maryland (3-4), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Indiana beat Maryland 42-36 last October.

    The big question for Indiana hasn't changed all season: Will the offense take advantage of the opportunities the defense presents? Most recently, the Hoosiers lost to Michigan in overtime and held Michigan State to three points entering the fourth quarter. Maryland is Indiana's first unranked Big Ten opponent of the year, so we'll see whether the Hoosiers are deflated or ready for a hot finish.

    Prediction: Indiana 26, Maryland 17


    Louisiana Tech (3-4) at Rice (1-6), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Louisiana Tech beat Rice 61-16 last October.

    A promising September hasn't carried into October for Louisiana Tech, yet Rice has consistently been searching for answers this season. The Owls rank 124th nationally on offense, and the opposite unit has allowed 6.5 yards per snap. Louisiana Tech will build an early lead, and Rice isn't built to play from behind.

    Prediction: Louisiana Tech 30, Rice 13


    Vanderbilt (3-4) at South Carolina (5-2), 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: South Carolina beat Vandy 13-10 last September.

    Perhaps a bye week helped Vanderbilt regain some of its defensive form. Alabama wrecked the Commodores, and they couldn't do anything to stop Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss in the ensuing games. Vandy's lack of a scoring punch will be its downfall, but this should be the defense's best outing in a month.

    Prediction: South Carolina 20, Vanderbilt 17


    Florida Atlantic (4-3) at Western Kentucky (5-2), 4:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: WKU beat FAU 42-3 last October.

    Lane Kiffin's crew began the year slowly, but there might not be a hotter offense in the country. The Owls have accumulated 1,793 yards and 165 points over their last three games and are ready to challenge an inconsistent Western Kentucky team. Florida Atlantic will continue its hot streak and knock off the Hilltoppers.

    Prediction: Florida Atlantic 38, Western Kentucky 30


    Austin Peay (5-3) at No. 18 Central Florida (6-0), 5 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Austin Peay beat UCF 24-21 in October 1984.

    There aren't many stories better than Austin Peay snapping a 29-game losing streak and now challenging for a Football Championship Subdivision playoff berth. However, the Governors won't be able to write a memorable chapter after taking on UCF's dynamic offense and stingy defense.

    Prediction: UCF 52, Austin Peay 14


    Louisiana-Monroe (3-4) at Idaho (2-5), 5 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Idaho beat Louisiana-Monroe 34-31 last October.

    Idaho's final shot at a power-conference team as a member of the FBS started wonderfully. But after scoring that first touchdown, the Vandals surrendered 37 straight points. They'll have sustained success against Louisiana-Monroe, though. ULM can move the football but rarely stops its opponent from doing the same.

    Prediction: Idaho 37, Louisiana-Monroe 27

Top Saturday Evening Games

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Utah (4-3) at Oregon (4-4), 5:45 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Oregon beat Utah 30-28 last November.

    Oregon badly misses Justin Herbert. Since his injury, the Ducks have totaled 252 passing yards on 55 attempts, throwing one touchdown and five interceptions. But they'll be able to ride Royce Freeman and the rushing attack against a Utah defense head coach Kyle Whittingham just called "soft," per Dirk Facer of the Deseret News, and spring a mini-upset at home.

    Prediction: Oregon 27, Utah 24


    Minnesota (4-3) at Iowa (4-3), 6:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Iowa beat Minnesota 14-7 last October.

    Something about Kinnick Stadium awakens the Iowa defense. The unit has ceded an average of 25.0 points in three road games but limited opponents to a meager 13.5 in four home outings. So long as Minnesota cannot run the ball consistently, the Hawkeyes will improve to 4-1 in Iowa City this season.

    Prediction: Iowa 24, Minnesota 17


    Mississippi State (5-2) at Texas A&M (5-2), 7:15 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Mississippi State beat Texas A&M 35-28 last November.

    In its last two contests away from Starkville, Mississippi State allowed 915 yards and 80 points while the offense contributed just 13 total points. However, the opponents were Georgia and Auburn. Texas A&M doesn't have the same caliber of offense, so the Bulldogs should shake their road woes despite the unwelcoming environment.

    Prediction: Mississippi State 31, Texas A&M 23


    Duke (4-4) at No. 13 Virginia Tech (6-1), 7:20 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Virginia Tech beat Duke 24-21 last November.

    Duke has dropped four straight gamesincluding the last three by seven points apieceand a glaring problem is less production from the rushing attack each week. The Blue Devils need to fix that problem before traveling to Virginia Tech, because it's rare to beat the Hokies without succeeding on the ground.

    Prediction: Virginia Tech 30, Duke 17


    Tennessee (3-4) at Kentucky (5-2), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Tennessee beat Kentucky 49-36 last November.

    Coincidentally, both teams lost 45-7 in Week 8 and previously fell to Florida in a heartbreaking manner. What fun! Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is receiving valuable snaps for his future, but the freshman hasn't led a touchdown drive in two starts. It's difficult to trust the Vols at all. 

    Prediction: Kentucky 20, Tennessee 15

Other Saturday Evening Games

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    Texas State (1-6) at Coastal Carolina (1-6), 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: This is the first all-time meeting.

    On the bright side, one team is destined to end a six-game losing streak. The whole "defense" thing has plagued both programs, but Coastal Carolina has shown a little bit of promise offensively over the last four weeks thanks to quarterback Tyler Keane.

    Prediction: Coastal Carolina 30, Texas State 17


    Missouri (2-5) at Connecticut (3-4), 6:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Missouri beat UConn 9-6 in September 2015.

    Two years after the nonconference tilt counted 15 total points, this matchup is tied for the highest over-under (76.5) of Week 9, according to OddsShark. This is a perfect time for Drew-Lock-against-non-power-competition to appear. He's totaled 25 touchdowns compared to two interceptions in Missouri's last five such matchups, and just three defenses have allowed more passing scores than UConn's 20.

    Prediction: Missouri 48, UConn 28


    Old Dominion (2-5) at North Texas (4-3), 6:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: This is the first all-time meeting.

    Though a trip to Virginia Tech doesn't help this discrepancy, Old Dominion is averaging 6.7 points on the road compared to 28.3 at home. North Texas is more vulnerable defensively, but the Mason Fine-led scoring attack will swiftly put the game out of reach anyway.

    Prediction: North Texas 38, Old Dominion 20


    UAB (4-3) at Southern Miss (5-2), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: UAB beat Southern Miss 45-24 in November 2014.

    Powered by versatile running back Ito Smithsave for a cramp problem last weekSouthern Miss has registered five-plus yards per play in six straight outings. UAB, which has five consecutive one-possession finishes, will stay within striking distance, but Smith will push USM to a double-digit margin of victory.

    Prediction: Southern Miss 34, UAB 24


    Nebraska (3-4) at Purdue (3-4), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Nebraska beat Purdue 27-14 last October.

    Nebraska is mediocre at best, and Purdue is frustratingly inconsistent. For example, the Boilermakers outgained Rutgers 474-217 last week yet still lost 14-12. Turnovers usually shape a matchup like this, and the Huskers are a negative-four on the year compared to plus-two for Purdue. The trend favors the Boilers, and so does home field.

    Prediction: Purdue 27, Nebraska 23


    New Mexico (3-4) at Wyoming (4-3), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: New Mexico beat Wyoming 56-35 last November.

    Other than a bad showing at Fresno State, New Mexico has been competitive in Mountain West action. The problem is the Lobos took on Boise State and Colorado State, arguably the two best teams in the conference. As long as New Mexico doesn't allow Wyoming to establish a rushing attack, the Lobos will snatch a low-scoring road win.

    Prediction: New Mexico 24, Wyoming 20

Saturday Night Games

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    Georgia Tech (4-2) at No. 7 Clemson (6-1), 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Clemson beat Georgia Tech 26-7 last September.

    Tempo and spacingand an injury to Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryantwere key ingredients to Syracuse's pulling off the upset two weeks ago. Georgia Tech is the polar opposite offensively, and Bryant, though he's 80-85 percent, per TigerNet, is expected to play. Barring an in-game setback to Bryant, Clemson will navigate a pesky GT team.

    Prediction: Clemson 31, Georgia Tech 20


    Texas Tech (4-3) at No. 10 Oklahoma (6-1), 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Oklahoma beat Texas Tech 66-59 last October.

    At this point, you'd think it'd be clearer which defense will show up for Oklahoma and Texas Tech. However, both units are trapped somewhere between passable and flawed. Given that debate, we're siding with the better offensethough a few red-zone stands by Texas Tech could make the fourth quarter interesting.

    Prediction: Oklahoma 45, Texas Tech 33


    Arkansas State (4-2) at New Mexico State (3-4), 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Arkansas State beat NMSU 41-22 last November.

    Arkansas State has scored 43 points or more in three consecutive games, and the hot streak should continue Saturday night. A victory will follow provided the Red Wolves prevail in the turnover battle. New Mexico State is plus-three in wins compared to minus-six in losses.

    Prediction: Arkansas State 41, New Mexico State 31


    UTSA (4-2) at UTEP (0-7), 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: UTEP beat UTSA 52-49 last October.

    Opponents are no longer overwhelming UTEP, but the offense still can't do much. The Miners' season-best output is just 287 yards, and they haven't averaged five yards per snap in any game. UTSA will score quickly and cruise past the in-state foe.

    Prediction: UTSA 34, UTEP 14


    No. 15 Washington State (7-1) at Arizona (5-2), 9:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Washington State beat Arizona 69-7 last November.

    The question for this Pac-12 meeting is simple: Can Khalil Tate run effectively enough to overcome a problematic defense? Washington State has ceded just eight 20-plus-yard runs this season, yet Tate has 13 such scampers himself. We're saying close, but not quite.

    Prediction: Washington State 38, Arizona 33


    Boise State (5-2) at Utah State (4-4), 10 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Boise State beat Utah State 21-10 last October.

    Non-power opponents have labored to move the ball on Boise State, and that's an ominous sign for Utah State. Yes, the Aggies have reached 588 yards in three of their eight contests, but those happened against the No. 119 and No. 123 defenses in the FBS and an FCS school that is 4-4. Boise State will ride its defense to a win.

    Prediction: Boise State 31, Utah State 20


    UNLV (2-5) at Fresno State (5-2), 10 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: UNLV beat Fresno State 45-20 last October.

    What a tremendous job Jeff Tedford has done in his first season at Fresno State. The Bulldogs are 4-0 in conference play and recently earned the tiebreaker over San Diego Statethe only other West Division team to have fewer than three Mountain West losses. They can move within one victory of sealing a place in the conference title game by defeating a defensively challenged UNLV squad.

    Prediction: Fresno State 42, UNLV 17


    No. 21 USC (6-2) at Arizona State (4-3), 10:45 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: USC beat Arizona State 41-20 last October.

    USC's national championship hopes are basically dashed, and now Arizona State could take an unexpected advantage in the Pac-12 South Division. Both programs enter the matchup with one conference loss. ASU's sudden defensive surge tethered with the Trojans' inept showing at Notre Dame makes the upset enticing, but we're trusting Ronald Jones II to come through for USC.

    Prediction: USC 27, Arizona State 24


    San Diego State (6-2) at Hawaii (3-4), 11:15 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: SDSU beat Hawaii 55-0 last November.

    In a matter of two weeks, San Diego State has plummeted from Group of Five standout to just another team. That's a shame considering the talent of running back Rashaad Penny. He'll help the Aztecs get back on track opposite Hawaii, which has given up the third-most yards per snap this season.

    Prediction: San Diego State 34, Hawaii 24

Midweek Games

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    Eastern Michigan (2-5) at Northern Illinois (5-2), 7 p.m. ET Thursday

    Last meeting: NIU beat Eastern Michigan 31-24 last November.

    Eastern Michigan is riding a frustrating streak of five consecutive one-possession losses, and a road trip to Northern Illinois won't offer the winning cure. The Huskies will shut down EMU's running game and contain quarterback Brogan Roback just enough to keep the annoying trend alive for the Eagles.

    Prediction: Northern Illinois 26, Eastern Michigan 20


    Toledo (6-1) at Ball State (2-5), 7 p.m. ET Thursday

    Last meeting: Toledo beat Ball State 37-19 last November.

    Earlier in the season, it seemed Ball State would be an upset-minded annoyance in conference play. But after losing three straight games by at least 28 pointsand most recently by 47 to Central Michigan—it's clear that's not going to happen against the MAC front-runner. Toledo will cruise past the Cardinals and their weak defense.

    Prediction: Toledo 47, Ball State 13


    South Alabama (3-4) at Georgia State (3-3), 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday

    Last meeting: South Alabama beat Georgia State 13-10 last October.

    Both teams should move the ball successfully, but red-zone scoring will separate the teams. That advantage goes to South Alabama. The defense has only surrendered four touchdowns in 13 red-zone possessions over the last three games. Conversely, Georgia State has ceded seven touchdowns in 11 trips during the same span.

    Prediction: South Alabama 27, Georgia State 24


    No. 20 Stanford (5-2) at Oregon State (1-6), 9 p.m. ET Thursday

    Last meeting: Stanford beat Oregon State 26-15 last November.

    Bryce Love is due for another big performance. Oregon State ranks 101st nationally against the ground game and has allowed seven 100-yard rushers this season. Stanford will dent the scoreboard early and win this Pac-12 matchup comfortably.

    Prediction: Stanford 45, Oregon State 10


    Tulane (3-4) at No. 24 Memphis (6-1), 8 p.m. ET Friday

    Last meeting: Memphis beat Tulane 24-14 last October.

    Though a 34-28 loss to South Florida last Saturday is somewhat misleading, Tulane has typically played up to its competition in 2017. Besides, the late flurry showed the Green Wave won't stop competing until the final whistle. Memphis will dispatch its American Athletic Conference foe, but Tulane will stick around into the fourth quarter.

    Prediction: Memphis 41, Tulane 28


    Florida State (2-4) at Boston College (4-4), 8 p.m. ET Friday

    Last meeting: FSU beat Boston College 45-7 last November.

    Noted offensive juggernaut Boston College has posted back-to-back 500-yard showings. If there was any danger in Florida State not taking the Eagles seriously, that's gone now. FSU's advantage on defense should propel the team in Chestnut Hill, but a couple of turnovers would swing this matchup in BC's favor.

    Prediction: Florida State 24, Boston College 17


    Tulsa (2-6) at SMU (5-2), 9 p.m. ET Friday

    Last meeting: Tulsa beat SMU 43-40 last October.

    Entering Week 9, Tulsa has given up 603.3 yards per game on the road. Meanwhile, SMU has recorded at least 6.2 yards per snap in every showing except a 5.4-yard clip last Saturday when it toppled Cincinnati on the road. The Golden Hurricane will score a bit, but they'll be unable to keep up with the Mustangs.

    Prediction: SMU 48, Tulsa 31