College Football Picks: Week 9 Predictions for Every Game

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2019

College Football Picks: Week 9 Predictions for Every Game

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Although an upset loss removed the possibility of two Top 10 matchups in Week 9, the upcoming slate still boasts a trio of showdowns between Top 20 teams.

    Second-ranked LSU will host No. 9 Auburn in a pivotal SEC West battle. Elsewhere, third-ranked Ohio State welcomes No. 13 Wisconsin, and No. 9 Notre Dame heads to 19th-ranked Michigan.

    College Football Playoff dreams may be crushed this weekend.

    The predictions are initially organized based on AP ranking in ascending order. The remainder are listed chronologically after a preview of the five best games between unranked teams. All odds are courtesy of Caesars and accurate as of Tuesday.

AP Nos. 25-21

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    No. 25 Wake Forest (idle)

    For the first time in program history, Wake Forest has six-plus wins in four straight seasons. The Demon Deacons still have an outside shot at winning the Atlantic Division, though Clemson stands as the clear ACC favorite.

            

    No. 24 Arizona State at UCLA, 7:30 p.m. ET (ASU -4)

    UCLA has started to run effectively, but ASU ranks 18th nationally with 3.1 yards allowed per carry. Unless the Sun Devils falter in that area and Jayden Daniels has a nightmare game as a passer, this shouldn't be especially close. UCLA has ceded 2,187 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air in only seven games.

    Prediction: Arizona State 31, UCLA 21

            

    Oklahoma State at No. 23 Iowa State, 3:30 p.m. ET (ISU -10.5)

    Last week, turnovers again ruined Oklahoma State. Baylor turned a fumble recovery into the game-sealing score. The Cowboys now have six straight games with multiple giveaways, and expecting a correction on the road against Iowa State seems unwise.

    Prediction: Iowa State 38, Oklahoma State 27

               

    No. 22 Boise State (idle)

    Gone are the dreams of an undefeated season. However, the Broncos are still unbeaten in Mountain West play and remain a key contender for the Group of Five's berth in a New Year's Six bowl.

             

    No. 21 Appalachian State at South Alabama, Noon ET (App State -25)

    Since scoring 21 points at Nebraska and 37 against Jackson State, South Alabama hasn't cracked 17 points. Short of a dramatic trend reversal, the Jaguars won't be a threat Saturday. Appalachian State should improve to 7-0.

    Prediction: Appalachian State 42, South Alabama 17

AP Nos. 20-16

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    No. 20 Iowa at Northwestern, Noon ET (Iowa -10.5)

    Iowa is a pretty boring team, but the Hawkeyes still win. Northwestern, on the other hand, so thoroughly lacks execution on offense that it's frustrating to watch. While strange things are possible in a slow-paced game, picking the Wildcats against a defense allowing the 10th-fewest yards per game would be an odd choice.

    Prediction: Iowa 26, Northwestern 14

             

    No. 8 Notre Dame at No. 19 Michigan, 7:30 p.m. ET (Michigan -1)

    For prediction, see No. 8 Notre Dame.

            

    No. 18 Cincinnati (idle)

    Other than an understandable loss to Ohio State, Cincinnati has a quintet of double-digit-point wins along with a victory over UCF. Now that Boise State has dropped a game, the Bearcats are fully deserving of their place as the G5's front-runner in the NY6 chase.

             

    Maryland at No. 17 Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. ET (Minnesota -17)

    Throw out the beatdown of Rutgers, and Maryland has allowed 330-plus passing yards in three straight competitive games. Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan, meanwhile, has posted no fewer than 8.8 yards per attempt in any game this season.

    Prediction: Minnesota 38, Maryland 17

AP Nos. 15-11

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    No. 15 Texas at TCU, 3:30 p.m. ET (Texas -1)

    Texas seems to be throwing a bunch of defensive calls at the metaphorical wall and seeing that nothing is sticking. However, TCU's inconsistent aerial attack will be the Horned Frogs' undoing because the Longhorns can sell out on stopping the run.

    Prediction: Texas 36, TCU 24

            

    No. 14 Baylor (idle)

    Are we going to see Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game? The Bears are 7-0 and host Texas in the penultimate week of the regular season. If they reach that matchup at 9-1, the showdown could decide Oklahoma's opponent in Arlington.

              

    No. 13 Wisconsin at No. 3 Ohio State, Noon ET (Ohio State -14)

    For prediction, see No. 3 Ohio State.

              

    Cal at No. 12 Utah, 10 p.m. ET (Utah -19)

    Since Chase Garbers suffered a shoulder injury, Cal has trudged to 13.7 points per game. The bright side is the defense has allowed an average of only 20.7 in that stretch, but Utah's 13th-ranked unit is even stingier. The Utes probably won't win in a blowout, but it won't necessarily be uncomfortable.

    Prediction: Utah 24, Cal 10

              

    Washington State at No. 11 Oregon, 10:30 p.m. ET (Oregon -14)

    Perhaps the 31-point rout of Colorado has provided a spark for Washington State's defense, but the unit had allowed 500-plus yards in three straight games. We'll be late adopters if there is real improvement post-Tracy Claeys' resignation. Justin Herbert should be headed for another three-touchdown day.

    Prediction: Oregon 34, Washington State 24

AP Nos. 10-6

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    No. 10 Georgia (idle)

    Though a rain-filled evening didn't help, Georgia's offense struggled again last weekend. The Bulldogs desperately need to clean up that side of the ball before challenging Florida on Nov. 2. At 6-1, Georgia cannot afford another loss if it wants to repeat as SEC East champs, let alone reach the College Football Playoff.

            

    No. 9 Auburn at No. 2 LSU, 3:30 p.m. ET (LSU -11.5)

    For prediction, see No. 2 LSU.

              

    No. 8 Notre Dame at No. 19 Michigan, 7:30 p.m. ET (Michigan -1)

    Moral victories are not valuable, but the second-half fight Michigan showed in the loss at Penn State was at least encouraging. If the Wolverines can prevent back-breaking explosive plays from happening in the passing game, they can hold off Notre Dame at home.

    Prediction: Michigan 24, Notre Dame 22

              

    No. 7 Florida (idle)

    After playing seven straight Saturdaysand going 6-1Florida finally has an idle weekend. The Gators could effectively secure the SEC East crown with a victory over Georgia in Jacksonville.

             

    No. 6 Penn State at Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. ET (Penn State -6)

    In James Franklin's tenure, Penn State is 1-4 against Michigan State. Until the Spartans looked completely anemic at Wisconsin, it seemed an upset was possible. But this is a miserable MSU offense, and the defense ceded 931 combined yards to Ohio State and Wisconsin. Not even the team's strength is doing well lately.

    Prediction: Penn State 27, Michigan State 16

AP Nos. 5-1

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    No. 5 Oklahoma at Kansas State, Noon ET (Oklahoma -24)

    Kansas State hasn't cracked five yards per play in the last three games. Barring a truly spectacular defensive dayand there's no evidence that is possibleOklahoma will cruise to another win.

    Prediction: Oklahoma 48, Kansas State 14

             

    Boston College at No. 4 Clemson, 7:30 p.m. ET (Clemson -34)

    Trevor Lawrence is battling a sophomore slump. No question about it. Clemson's defense is bailing him out, though, holding six of seven opponents to 14 points or fewer. Boston College has a terrific running game, but Lawrence should still be effective enough opposite a defense allowing 8.2 yards per pass to lift the Tigers.

    Prediction: Clemson 42, Boston College 14

              

    No. 13 Wisconsin at No. 3 Ohio State, Noon ET (Ohio State -14)

    So far, Ohio State has allowed a paltry 2.6 yards per rushing attempt. If Wisconsin fails to run successfully, the possibility of an upset is extremely low. The Badgers can frustrate Justin Fields, but Illinois showed the value of explosive plays. And few offenses are more capable of breaking off huge gains than Ohio State's.

    Prediction: Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 17

             

    No. 9 Auburn at No. 2 LSU, 3:30 p.m. ET (LSU -11.5)

    Similar to the outlook of Auburn's trip to Florida, the burden on freshman quarterback Bo Nix to carry the offense will probably be too heavy. Auburn's offensive line tends to struggle against good/great competition, and LSU has an excellent run defense. Trusting Joe Burrow over Nix is the safe, but probably correct, choice.

    Prediction: LSU 30, Auburn 17

               

    Arkansas at No. 1 Alabama, 7 p.m. ET (Alabama -32.5)

    Since the Crimson Tide will be without Tua Tagovailoa (ankle), they're likely to lean pretty heavily on the running game. While that's technically better for the Razorbacks than defending Tagovailoa and Co., their last two opponents have totaled 628 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

    Prediction: Alabama 42, Arkansas 14

The 5 Best Unranked Battles

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    Virginia at Louisville, 3:30 p.m. ET (Virginia -3.5)

    That loss to Miami is looking increasingly bizarre for Virginia, which steamrolled Duke 48-14 last week. Louisville has exceeded expectations in Scott Satterfield's debut year, but a defense allowing 455 yards and 33.4 points per game is a big problem.

    Prediction: Virginia 38, Louisville 24

             

    Tulane at Navy, 3:30 p.m. ET (Navy -3.5)

    Memphis pounded Tulane 47-17 in what could've been a marquee game. Will the Green Wave rebound opposite a Navy rushing attack that is averaging 345 yards? Consider us skeptical, particularly since Navy's own run defense has played well in 2019.

    Prediction: Navy 34, Tulane 21

             

    Duke at North Carolina, 4 p.m. ET (UNC -3.5)

    Excluding the loss to Alabama, Duke has allowed more than 350 yards once. Yet the Blue Devils are 4-2 in that stretch because the offense has a combined 11 turnovers in recent losses to Pitt and Virginia. North Carolina is the favorite anyway, but this scoreline could get ugly if Duke doesn't protect the ball.

    Prediction: North Carolina 31, Duke 20

                

    UCF at Temple, 7 p.m. ET (UCF -10.5)

    Six of UCF's nine turnovers happened in its two losses. If Dillon Gabriel throws a couple of interceptions, this result will probably flip in Temple's favor. However, the Owls have allowed too many explosive passing plays lately for comfort.

    Prediction: UCF 31, Temple 24

             

    Utah State at Air Force, 10:15 p.m. ET (No Line)

    Jordan Love entered the season with NFL hype, but he's trudged to 6.8 yards per attempt with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions. Maybe the susceptible Air Force secondary offers the perfect chance to rebound, but an excellent rushing attack and home-field advantage give the Falcons the edge.

    Prediction: Air Force 27, Utah State 20

The Rest of the Slate (1/3)

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    Miami at Pitt, Noon ET (Pitt -4.5)

    Prediction: Pitt 27, Miami 24

    Mississippi State at Texas A&M, Noon ET (Texas A&M -10)
    Prediction: Texas A&M 31, Mississippi State 20

    Illinois at Purdue, Noon ET (Purdue -8)
    Prediction: Purdue 34, Illinois 20

    San Jose State at Army, Noon ET (Army -10)
    Prediction: Army 28, San Jose State 17

    Bowling Green at Western Michigan, Noon ET (WMU -26.5)
    Prediction: Western Michigan 45, Bowling Green 17

    Liberty at Rutgers, Noon ET (No Line)
    Prediction: Liberty 28, Rutgers 24

    Southern Miss at Rice, 1 p.m. ET (Southern Miss -10)
    Prediction: Southern Miss 34, Rice 23

    Ohio at Ball State, 2 p.m. ET (Ball State -2.5)
    Prediction: Ball State 36, Ohio 31

    Nevada at Wyoming, 2 p.m. ET (Wyoming -14)
    Prediction: Wyoming 35, Nevada 20

    Western Kentucky at Marshall, 2:30 p.m. ET (Marshall -6)
    Prediction: Marshall 27, Western Kentucky 24

    New Mexico State at Georgia Southern, 3 p.m. ET (GSU -14)
    Prediction: Georgia Southern 27, New Mexico State 20

The Rest of the Slate (2/3)

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    Indiana at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m. ET (No Line)
    Prediction: Indiana 31, Nebraska 24

    Arizona at Stanford, 3:30 p.m. ET (No Line)
    Prediction: Arizona 28, Stanford 17

    Syracuse at Florida State, 3:30 p.m. ET (No Line)
    Prediction: Florida State 27, Syracuse 23

    Florida International at Middle Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. ET (FIU -2.5)
    Prediction: FIU 31, Middle Tennessee 24

    Florida Atlantic at Old Dominion, 3:30 p.m. ET (FAU -14)
    Prediction: Florida Atlantic 27, Old Dominion 16

    North Texas at Charlotte, 3:30 p.m. ET (North Texas -4)
    Prediction: North Texas 28, Charlotte 21

    Central Michigan at Buffalo, 3:30 p.m. ET (Buffalo -2.5)
    Prediction: Buffalo 27, Central Michigan 24

    Eastern Michigan at Toledo, 3:30 p.m. ET (No Line)
    Prediction: Eastern Michigan 31, Toledo 23

    Miami (OH) at Kent State, 3:30 p.m. ET (Kent State -2.5)
    Prediction: Miami (OH) 23, Kent State 19

    Akron at Northern Illinois, 3:30 p.m. ET (NIU -23.5)
    Prediction: Northern Illinois 35, Akron 10

    Connecticut at Massachusetts, 3:30 p.m. ET (UConn -10)
    Prediction: UConn 31, UMass 26

    South Florida at East Carolina, 3:45 p.m. ET (USF -2)
    Prediction: East Carolina 23, South Florida 20

    South Carolina at Tennessee, 4 p.m. ET (South Carolina -4.5)
    Prediction: South Carolina 27, Tennessee 24

    Hawaii at New Mexico, 4 p.m. ET (Hawaii -10)
    Prediction: Hawaii 35, New Mexico 20

The Rest of the Slate (3/3)

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    Memphis at Tulsa, 7 p.m. ET (Memphis -11)
    Prediction: Memphis 38, Tulsa 24

    Texas Tech at Kansas, 7 p.m. ET (Texas Tech -3.5)
    Prediction: Kansas 42, Texas Tech 38

    Texas State at Arkansas State, 7 p.m. ET (Arkansas State -12.5)
    Prediction: Arkansas State 34, Texas State 20

    Troy at Georgia State, 7 p.m. ET (Georgia State -1)
    Prediction: Georgia State 27, Troy 22

    Missouri at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. ET (Missouri -11)
    Prediction: Missouri 20, Kentucky 17

    Colorado State at Fresno State, 7:30 p.m. ET (Fresno State -14)
    Prediction: Fresno State 34, Colorado State 24

    Louisiana Tech at UTEP, 8 p.m. ET (Louisiana Tech -21)
    Prediction: Louisiana Tech 42, UTEP 20

    San Diego State at UNLV, 10:30 p.m. ET (SDSU -13)
    Prediction: San Diego State 31, UNLV 16