College Football Picks: Predicting Final Scores for Every Game in Week 9

Stakes are high in Jacksonville for annual Georgia-Florida clash

The Week 9 edition of picking every game on the college football schedule is highlighted by the Florida-Georgia showdown in Jacksonville; a surprisingly pivotal Big Ten game involving Iowa and Penn State; and a key Pac-12 North game on the Farm between Stanford and Washington State. Here is every game on the Week 9 slate:

 

Thursday, Oct. 25

 

Ball State at Ohio

This will be only the fourth home game for Ohio this season. The Bobcats are 3–0 in Athens, with a narrow victory over Howard and blowout wins over UMass and Bowling Green. Expect another lopsided result. Prediction: Ohio 38, Ball State 17

 

Baylor at West Virginia

West Virginia is back in action for the first time since its shockingly bad offensive performance in a 30–14 loss at Iowa State two weeks ago. Was that showing in Ames an anomaly or a sign of things to come down the stretch in 2018? We might get a few clues Thursday night in Morgantown. Prediction: West Virginia 34, Baylor 27

 

Toledo at Western Michigan

Toledo is 1–2 in the MAC for the first time since 2008, when Tom Amstutz’s final team went 3–9 overall and 2–6 in league play. The 2018 Rockets are in danger of dropping to 1–3. Prediction: Western Michigan 30, Toledo 24

 

Appalachian State at Georgia Southern

Appalachian State is ranked in the Associated Press top 25 for the first time in school history. The Mountaineers will be ranked next week as well after a victory over their former Southern Conference rivals. Prediction: Appalachian State 34, Georgia Southern 17

 

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech did not play on a Thursday night in 2017 for the first time since 2001. Well, Thursday night football is back on the Hokies’ schedule this season, and Justin Fuente’s club will be seeking its first 4–0 ACC start since 2010. And Fuente will be seeking his first win over Georgia Tech, the only Coastal Division foe he has yet to defeat. Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Georgia Tech 20

 

Friday, Oct. 26

 

Louisiana Tech at FAU

Lane Kiffin’s second season at FAU hasn’t gone as planned. The Owls, who won their final 10 games in 2017, are 3–4 overall and 1–2 in Conference USA after a 31–7 loss at Marshall on Saturday. Prediction: Louisiana Tech 34, FAU 31

 

Miami (Fla.) at Boston College

Both teams are 5–2 overall and 2–1 in the ACC. For Miami, this record seven games into the season feels like a disappointment. For Boston College, it’s about what we expected. This is a pivotal swing game. Prediction: Boston College 24, Miami 20

 

Indiana at Minnesota

Minnesota is 0–4 in the Big Ten, and none of the four losses has come by fewer than 16 points. It’s still very early in the P.J. Fleck era, but the Golden Gophers need to show some progress soon. Prediction: Indiana 23, Minnesota 20

 

Wyoming at Colorado State

Wyoming is 0–4 in the Mountain West and has managed a total of 46 points in those four losses. Josh Allen ain’t walking through that door. Colorado State 21, Wyoming 14

 

Utah at UCLA

Utah has recovered from an 0–2 start in league play and has seized control of the Pac-12 South race after consecutive wins over Stanford, Arizona and, most important, USC. Beating UCLA, which has won two straight, would be another big step for the Utes in their quest to win the South title for the first time. Prediction: Utah 28, UCLA 24

 

Saturday, Oct. 27

 

Army at Eastern Michigan

Army improved to 5–0 against non-Power 5 teams this season with a thrilling 31–30 win over Miami (Ohio) in overtime on Saturday. The Black Knights have an amazing 15–5 record since the start of the 2017 season, and three of the five losses have come against Power 5 opponents. Prediction: Army 24, Eastern Michigan 21

 

Bethune-Cookman at Nebraska

Nebraska fans can exhale: Scott Frost has won a game as the head coach in Lincoln. He might even win two. Prediction: Nebraska 55, Bethune-Cookman 7

 

Clemson at Florida State

For a few years, this was the biggest non-traditional rivalry game of the year in college football. Not anymore. Clemson is a two-touchdown favorite on the road. Prediction: Clemson 34, Florida State 24

 

Central Michigan at Akron

Central Michigan, which lost for the seventh time this season last Saturday, will not play in a bowl game for the first time since 2013. The goal now for the Chippewas is to beat an FBS opponent — and that might be tough with three of the final four games on the road. Prediction: Akron 33, Central Michigan 17

 

Massachusetts at Connecticut

Connecticut’s epic defensive struggles continue. The Huskies are last in the nation in total defense (651.4 ypg) and have allowed at least 600 yards to each of their six FBS opponents. They are allowing a staggering 9.2 yards per play. Georgia State is next worst at 7.7 per play. Prediction: Connecticut 41, UMass 33

 

Purdue at Michigan State

How does Purdue handle success? We are about to find out. Fresh off a surprisingly easy 49–20 win over Ohio State, the Boilermakers find themselves as a slight underdog against a Michigan State team that managed fewer than 100 yards of total offense in a loss at home to Michigan on Saturday. Prediction: Purdue 24, Michigan State 17

 

Texas Tech at Iowa State

Can Texas Tech, a surprising 3–1 in the league, play its way into the Big 12 title game? We’ll find out over the next three weeks. The Red Raiders visit Iowa State and then host Oklahoma and Texas. Prediction: Iowa State 30, Texas Tech 28

 

Vanderbilt at Arkansas

Arkansas opened as a slight a favorite on Sunday afternoon, but Vanderbilt was listed a 1.5-point favorite by Monday morning. Both teams are 0–4 in the league, with a pair of close calls (Texas A&M and Ole Miss for Arkansas; Florida and Kentucky for Vanderbilt) and a pair of lopsided losses (Auburn and Alabama for Arkansas; South Carolina and Georgia for Vanderbilt). Prediction: Vanderbilt 27, Arkansas 23

 

Wake Forest at Louisville

The only two ACC teams without a league win get together in Louisville. Wake Forest’s season began in promising fashion (two straight wins), but the Demon Deacons have lost four of five, the last two (to Clemson and Florida State) by a combined score of 101–20. Louisville flirted with a win vs. Florida State in late September but has otherwise been uncompetitive against ACC opponents. Prediction: Louisville 28, Wake Forest 24

 

Wisconsin at Northwestern

Each of Northwestern’s five Big Ten games has been decided by 10 points or fewer, including four by four points or fewer. The Wildcats are 4–1 in the league, a half-game up on Wisconsin, Iowa and Purdue. They already have a win at Purdue and get a chance to knock off Wisconsin this weekend. That, however, will not be easy. Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 20

 

North Carolina at Virginia

Could we be headed toward a Virginia-Virginia Tech winner-takes-the Coastal title showdown in late November? It’s possible. Virginia is 3–1 in the league and likely will be favorited in its three ACC games leading up to the trip to Blacksburg — North Carolina and Pitt at home followed by at Georgia Tech. Prediction: Virginia 31, North Carolina 23

 

Coastal Carolina at Georgia State

Coastal Carolina is two wins away from bowl eligibility in its second season in the FBS ranks. The schedule is tough down the stretch, so the Chanticleers need to pick up this win in Atlanta on Saturday. Prediction: Coastal Carolina 27, Georgia State 20

 

Southern Miss at Charlotte

Southern Miss is one of 10 schools nationally allowing fewer than 300 yards per game. Nice work by Tim Billings, who was elevated to defensive coordinator after Tony Pecoraro bolted to conference rival FAU in the offseason. Prediction: Southern Miss 27, Charlotte 10

 

Oregon State at Colorado

Colorado’s offense has stagnated, averaging only 264 yards in consecutive losses at USC and Washington. The Buffaloes need Laviska Shenault back in the lineup to get back on track. Prediction: Colorado 35, Oregon State 10

 

TCU at Kansas

It’s been a rough few weeks at TCU, both on and off the field. Well, playing Kansas is usually an effective cure — at least for the on-the-field issues. Prediction: TCU 33, Kansas 17

 

Arizona State at USC

It appears as though freshman quarterback JT Daniels will not be in the lineup on Saturday. That's a significant blow to the USC offense. Prediction: USC 21, Arizona State 20

 

Cincinnati at SMU

Cincinnati fell from the ranks of the unbeaten on Saturday, losing a late lead en route to a 24–17 overtime loss at Temple. SMU won for the third time in the last four games, scoring on a 67-yard pass with 1:15 to play to top Tulane 27–23. Prediction: Cincinnati 30, SMU 20

 

Duke at Pittsburgh

It’s been a strange start to ACC play for Duke. The Blue Devils are 0–2 at home, with losses by 17 points to Virginia Tech and 14 to Virginia, and 1–0 on the road, with a 14-point win at Georgia Tech. The trend will be bucked this week. Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Duke 14

 

Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville, Fla.)

The stakes are quite large in Jacksonville. Kentucky is still very much in the picture, but it just feels like the winner of this game will end up representing the East in the SEC Championship Game. Florida is surging, having won five straight since its home loss to Kentucky. Georgia, meanwhile, lost by 20 points at LSU two weeks ago. Strange things happen in this rivalry. Go with the Gators in the upset. Prediction: Florida 27, Georgia 24

 

Illinois at Maryland

Here’s a fun fact: Only one of Maryland’s seven games has been decided by fewer than 21 points (the Week 1 34–29 win over Texas). The Terps’ other three wins have come by 31 points (Bowling Green), 29 points (Minnesota) and 27 points (Rutgers), and the three losses have come by 21 points twice (Temple and Michigan) and 23 points (Iowa). Prediction: Maryland 42, Illinois 20

 

Iowa at Penn State

Is Iowa a legitimate threat to win the Big Ten title and sneak into the College Football Playoff? We’ll find out in the next two weeks, after the Hawkeyes’ trips to Penn State and Purdue. Prediction: Penn State 24, Iowa 21

 

Kansas State at Oklahoma

Oklahoma got back on track last week, rolling up 536 yards of offense in a 52–27 win over TCU in Fort Worth. The Sooners have scored at least 45 points in each of their last three games. Expect more of the same in Norman this weekend. Prediction: Oklahoma 48, Kansas State 17

 

Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion

Brent Stockstill returned to action last week for Middle Tennessee, and that was enough for the Blue Raiders to edge Charlotte, 21–13, to improve to 3–1 in C-USA. They should be 4–1 after this weekend. Prediction: Middle Tennessee 34, Old Dominion 21

 

Northern Illinois at BYU

Northern Illinois concludes a brutal non-conference schedule with this trip to BYU. The Huskies have also played at Iowa and Florida State and hosted Utah. They are 0–3 in the non-league games and 4–0 in the MAC. Prediction: BYU 21, Northern Illinois 13

 

South Florida at Houston

South Florida is 3–0 in the AAC — but it’s not the most impressive 3–0. The Bulls have defeated East Carolina by seven, Tulsa by one and UConn by eight. Not exactly the cream of the crop in the league. Houston has also defeated Tulsa and East Carolina (but has done so by 15 and 22 points, respectively) and also has a 49–36 win at Navy. The Cougars are the better team. Prediction: Houston 44, South Florida 21

 

New Mexico at Utah State

Utah State is the only team in the Mountain Division without a league loss. The Aggies are 6–1 overall, with the only loss coming by seven points at Michigan State in Week 1. They shouldn’t have too much trouble with New Mexico this weekend. Prediction: Utah State 37, New Mexico 17

 

Rice at North Texas

Rice is still seeking its first win over an FBS opponent in Mike Bloomgren’s first season. The closest the Owls have come to a victory? A 14-point loss at Hawaii in early September. The hunt for a victory will continue. Prediction: North Texas 42, Rice 13

 

Kentucky at Missouri

One team is 4–1 in the SEC, with a road win at Florida and home wins over Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The other team is 0–3 in the league, with a loss at home to Georgia and road losses to Alabama and South Carolina. The 0–3 team is listed as a seven-point favorite. The boys in Vegas know something. And I agree with them. Prediction: Missouri 28, Kentucky 20

 

UNLV at San Jose State

San Jose State is one of two teams nationally without a win (UTEP is the other), but the Spartans have come close on several occasions. Last Saturday, they dropped a 16–13 heartbreaker at San Diego State. This could be the week! Prediction: San Jose State 28, UNLV 24

 

Washington at California

Washington State’s win over Oregon on Saturday was good news for Washington. The Huskies, 4–1 in the Pac-12, once again control their destiny in the Pac-12 North. It must start, however, with a win over California. And it should. Prediction: Washington 30, California 17

 

Arkansas State at Louisiana

Arkansas State has given up 35 points in each of its last two games. It’s not a problem when you score 51, as the Red Wolves did last week against Georgia State. The previous week, however, they scored only nine in a loss at home to Appalachian State. Prediction: Arkansas State 31, Louisiana 27

 

Boise State at Air Force

Boise State QB Brett Rypien rebounded nicely from a two-game stretch in which he threw two touchdowns and five interceptions with a 308-yard, four-TD, no-INT game in the Broncos’ 56–28 win over Colorado State. Boise State will need Rypien to be very good down the stretch to edge out Utah State in the Mountain Division race. Prediction: Boise State 30, Air Force 20

 

NC State at Syracuse

NC State lost for the first time this season, managing a season-low 297 yards in a 41–7 loss at Clemson. Syracuse rallied to beat North Carolina in overtime last Saturday and is one win away from bowl-eligibility. There could be a bit of a quarterback controversary, however. Dino Babers benched Eric Dungey in the fourth quarter on Saturday in favor of Tommy DeVito. Babers said early this week that he is keeping his decision for this week’s game in-house so that NC State has to prepare for both QBs. The drama! Prediction: NC State 33, Syracuse 30

 

New Mexico State at Texas State

Texas State is 0–6 against FBS opponents and has scored 21 points or fewer in three of its past four games. Everett Withers needs to start winning some games. Prediction: Texas State 24, New Mexico State 20

 

Tulane at Tulsa

Tulsa has lost six straight games since opening the season with a 38–27 win over Central Arkansas and has lost 16 of 19 dating back to the start of the 2017 season. Tulane has been a disappointment as well — outside of a surprising 40–24 win over Memphis in late September. The Green Wave are 2–5 overall and need to win four of their final five to reach bowl-eligibility in Year 3 under Willie Fritz. Prediction: Tulane 30, Tulsa 21

 

Texas A&M at Mississippi State

Texas A&M is a surprising underdog at Mississippi State, which has lost three of its last four games and scored a total of 16 points in those three losses. Texas A&M is 5–0 against teams not named Clemson or Alabama and is 6–1 against the spread this season. The Aggies are the better team. Prediction: Texas A&M 24, Mississippi State 14

 

Washington State at Stanford

It’s basically an elimination game in the Pac-12 North. Both teams are 3–1 and have yet to play Washington. Some weird things would have to happen for the loser of this game to end up in the league title game. Prediction: Stanford 28, Washington State 24

 

FIU at Western Kentucky

FIU is quietly 5–2 overall and 3–0 in Conference USA in Butch Davis’ second season. The Panthers are also 5–1 against the spread against FBS opponents. Western Kentucky, on the other hand, is 1–6 overall and is coming off a heartbreaking (and very wild) 37–34 loss at home to Old Dominion. The locals — who fondly remember the glory days of the Jeff Brohm era — are not happy with second-year coach Mike Sanford. Prediction: FIU 33, Western Kentucky 26

 

Tennessee at South Carolina

This the fourth time in the last five games in the series that neither team has been ranked. Previously, at least one of the teams was ranked in 23 of 25 meetings. Prediction: South Carolina 26, Tennessee 20

 

UAB at UTEP

UAB is in control of the C-USA West race after Saturday’s 29–21 win over North Texas. The Blazers still have to play Southern Miss at home and Middle Tennessee on the road, but they are the safe bet to represent the West in the league title game. Prediction: UAB 41, UTEP 10

 

Notre Dame vs. Navy (in San Diego)

This might be the worst Navy team since 2002, Paul Johnson’s first season as the head coach. The Midshipmen have lost four straight and are 4–11 in their last 15 games. Everything points to a big Notre Dame win … but this just seems like a great spot for Ken Niumatalolo’s club to play its best game of the season. And while Notre Dame is 7–0, the Irish have struggled at times — against Ball State (won by eight), Vanderbilt (by five) and Pittsburgh (by five). Navy could make the Irish sweat a bit. Prediction: Notre Dame 30, Navy 20

 

Texas at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State has been held to 17 points or fewer in two of its four Big 12 games — something that happened only one time in the previous three seasons. Prediction: Texas 27, Oklahoma State 20

 

Hawaii at Fresno State

Fresno State has won its three Mountain West games by a combined score of 86–13 and has outscored its opponents overall 266–88. Jeff Tedford has done a tremendous job at his alma mater. Prediction: Fresno State 37, Hawaii 20

 

Oregon at Arizona

Oregon must regroup after Saturday’s loss at Washington State. The Ducks are just 2–9 in their last 11 road games. This will not be easy. Prediction: Arizona 27, Oregon 24

 

San Diego State at Nevada

San Diego State has been flirting with disaster but has somehow managed to win six straight games. The Aztecs beat winless San Jose State by three points last Saturday, their fifth straight win by seven points or fewer. Prediction: San Diego State 27, Nevada 21

 

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