By Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Here's a look at every game of the Week 9 college football schedule.
No. 60 BYU at No. 39 TCU
BYU will be playing on Friday night for the third time this season. The Cougars were lucky to win their previous two Friday games, edging UCF and Utah State by a combined 11 points. They will need to play their best game of the season to win in Forth Worth.
TCU 30, BYU 20
No. 77 Washington State at No. 4 Oregon
Oregon continued its assault on Pac-12 defenses last week in a 45–2 win at Colorado. The Ducks are averaging 46.3 points and 535.5 yards in league play.
Oregon 49, Washington State 14
No. 32 Baylor at No. 5 Oklahoma State
Nothing is guaranteed, but the Cowboys, up to No. 3 in the latest BCS rankings, could very well play for the national championship if they keep on winning. And beginning with this Saturday, three of the Pokes’ most difficult games — Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma — will be played in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State 51, Baylor 31
No. 6 Clemson at No. 24 Georgia Tech
Those of us waiting for Clemson to have a Clemson moment and lose to an inferior team when it’s least expected might be waiting for a long time.
Clemson 34, Georgia Tech 27
No. 7 Stanford at No. 21 USC
USC is coming off arguably the finest showing of the brief Lane Kiffin era, a 31–17 win over Notre Dame in South Bend. The Trojans will make Stanford sweat, but the Cardinal will do what they always seem to do — win by double digits.
Stanford 37, USC 23
No. 8 Arkansas at No. 53 Vanderbilt
The Commodores are stout on defense and especially strong in the secondary, but Tyler Wilson and the Razorbacks’ deep wide receiving corps will be too tough to slow down.
Arkansas 31, Vanderbilt 17
No. 9 Michigan State at No. 12 Nebraska
Iowa and Michigan are still in the picture, but there’s a very good chance that the winner of the Michigan State-Nebraska battle in Lincoln will represent the Legends Division in the first-ever Big Ten Championship Game.
Nebraska 24, Michigan State 21
No. 10 Virginia Tech at No. 66 Duke
Tajh Boyd is the obvious choice for first-team All-ACC honors at quarterback, but Logan Thomas needs to be in the conversation. Over the last three weeks, he has completed 66.7 percent of his passes and has averaged over 328.7 yards of total offense without throwing an interception.
Virginia Tech 33, Duke 10
No. 11 Wisconsin at No. 33 Ohio State
Not many people expected these two teams to be a combined 3–3 in the Big Ten at this point of the season.
Wisconsin 21, Ohio State 17
No. 14 Oklahoma at No. 13 Kansas State
Kansas State won five straight in this series from 1993-97 but has only won one time since, a 35–7 beatdown in the 2003 Big 12 Championship Game.
Oklahoma 31, Kansas State 21
No. 15 South Carolina at No. 44 Tennessee
Tennessee is a mess right now. The Vols are 0–4 in league play, have lost each of their last two games by 31 points and will be sending out a true freshman (Justin Worley) at quarterback this weekend.
South Carolina 28, Tennessee 17
No. 92 Colorado at No. 16 Arizona State
The Buffs have lost their four league games by an average of 29.0 points and have been outgained by a staggering 244.3 yards per game. Not good.
Arizona State 39, Colorado 10
No. 41 Missouri at No. 17 Texas A&M
Missouri, a disappointing 3–4, has yet to record a quality win. The Tigers will have ample opportunities to do so over the next month, with road trips to A&M and Baylor followed by home dates with Texas and Texas Tech.
Texas A&M 31, Missouri 27
No. 58 Iowa State at No. 18 Texas Tech
The losing team has scored at least 34 points in each of Texas Tech’s last five games. Iowa State has scored more than 26 points only once this season.
Texas Tech 47, Iowa State 28
No. 19 Georgia vs. No. 40 Florida (at Jacksonville)
Georgia has defeated Florida only three times in the past 21 games. This Gator club, however, could be the least imposing of the last two decades. The offense has issues — even if John Brantley is back at quarterback — and the defense has given up an average of 206.3 yards rushing in the last three games.
Georgia 27, Florida 17
No. 62 Purdue at No. 20 Michigan
Purdue is playing very well of late. The Boilers lost at Penn State, 23–18, two weeks ago, then returned home and upset Illinois, 21–14. Michigan hasn’t played since losing at Michigan State, 28–14, two weeks ago. It could be a struggle, but take the Wolverines at home.
Michigan 24, Purdue 20
No. 37 Illinois at No. 23 Penn State
About a month ago, I threw out the possibility that Illinois, with its relatively soft Big Ten schedule, could run the table. I was wrong.
Penn State 17, Illinois 10
No. 90 Kansas at No. 25 Texas
Kansas ranks last in the Big 12 defense (550.9 ypg) and is giving up over 125 yards more than the No. 9 team, Texas Tech.
Texas 38, Kansas 7
No. 61 Arizona at No. 26 Washington
Arizona played its finest game of the season in the debut of interim head coach Tim Kish, smacking UCLA, 48–12, on a nationally televised Thursday night broadcast. The Cats will have to play even better to hang with Washington.
Washington 38, Arizona 24
No. 73 Navy at No. 27 Notre Dame
Navy is 2–5 but has lost two games by three points and two others by one point. Notre Dame is 4–3, with two losses by four points or less. One more fact: Navy has won three of the last four in this series, including the last two in South Bend.
Notre Dame 31, Navy 27
No. 30 Wake Forest at No. 42 North Carolina
Wake Forest, which is 4–1 in the ACC, is a seven-point underdog at North Carolina, which is 1–3 in the ACC. The Heels’ schedule might have been a bit harder, but there is nothing really on their resume that suggests they should be a touchdown favorite.
Wake Forest 24, North Carolina 21
No. 29 West Virginia at No. 46 Rutgers
This is an important game for West Virginia. The Mountaineers need to play well and prove that last week’s stunning no-show against Syracuse (49–23 loss) was an aberration.
West Virginia 31, Rutgers 17
No. 55 NC State at No. 31 Florida State
NC State picked up a much-needed win last week, beating Virginia 28–14 on the road. It was the Pack’s first win against a BCS conference opponent this season.
Florida State 30, NC State 20
No. 78 Ole Miss at No. 34 Auburn
The Tigers have scored 17 points or less in four straight games, their longest such streak (in the same season) since 1999. They should have no problem topping the 17-point mark this weekend.
Auburn 31, Ole Miss 14
No. 36 Southern Miss at No. 93 UTEP
Southern Miss has been known for its offense under Larry Fedora, but the Golden Eagles were terrific on defense last week, holding SMU to 330 total yards en route to a 27–3 win.
Southern Miss 37, UTEP 17
No. 38 SMU at No. 54 Tulsa
Houston is the team to beat in C-USA West, but both Tulsa (3–0) and SMU (2–1) are in the conversation. This is a must win for SMU.
SMU 37, Tulsa 34
No. 43 Iowa at No. 101 Minnesota
The Gophers don’t play Indiana so we won’t know for sure which is the worst BCS conference team in the nation. The smart money, though, is on Minnesota.
Iowa 47, Minnesota 17
No. 45 Mississippi State at No. 84 Kentucky
These two teams are a combined 0–7 in the SEC and are struggling to put points on the board. Kentucky has scored a total of 20 points in three SEC games. Mississippi State scored 34 against Auburn but managed a total of 28 in its ensuing three league games.
Mississippi State 20, Kentucky 7
No. 47 Syracuse at No. 71 Louisville
Syracuse was surprisingly dominant in a 49–23 win over West Virginia last Friday night. The Orange must now prove they can get it done in back-to-back games.
Syracuse 24, Louisville 20
No. 48 California at No. 68 UCLA
The Rick Neuheisel era hit a low point last week in a 48–12 loss at Arizona. The Bruins gave up 254 yards on the ground to a Wildcat team that was ranked 119th in the nation in rushing.
California 21, UCLA 20
No. 74 Oregon State at No. 50 Utah
Oregon State has played better of late and now has a healthy Malcolm Agnew in the backfield. Utah has scored 14 points or less in each of its four Pac-12 games.
Oregon State 24, Utah 14
No. 57 Northwestern at No. 100 Indiana
Both teams have lost five straight games. Northwestern, however, has been competitive; four of the five losses have come by 10 points or less.
Northwestern 41, Indiana 14
No. 97 Wyoming at No. 59 San Diego State
San Diego State is home to the nation’s No. 1 rusher, Ronnie Hillman (138.8 ypg). Wyoming is ranked No. 100 in the nation in stopping the run.
San Diego State 41, Wyoming 17
No. 86 Boston College at No. 63 Maryland
It hasn’t quite been a “dream” season for Maryland’s first-year head coach, Randy Edsall. The Terps are 1–3 in the ACC and have only one win vs. an FBS opponent.
Maryland 27, Boston College 24
No. 64 Air Force at No. 120 New Mexico
New Mexico has lost its last two games by a total of 118–7. The Lobos’ best shot at a win this season will come on Nov. 12 when UNLV visits Albuquerque.
Air Force 41, New Mexico 0
No. 65 Nevada at No. 110 New Mexico State
Nevada is in control of the WAC race, with a 2–0 mark (only undefeated team) and a victory over Fresno State.
Nevada 31, New Mexico State 18
No. 99 North Texas at No. 67 Arkansas State
Arkansas State is 5–0 against non-BCS conference teams. It might be time for ASU fans to make reservations for the New Orleans Bowl.
Arkansas State 28, North Texas 17
No. 107 UAB at No. 70 Marshall
UAB broke into the win column last week with a surprising 26–24 victory over UCF. The winning streak, however, will likely end at one.
Marshall 27, UAB 17
No. 115 Tulane at No. 72 East Carolina
Tulane sunk to a new low last week, losing at home to Memphis, 33–17, in the first game without Bob Toledo.
East Carolina 44, Tulane 0
No. 114 Memphis at No. 79 UCF
Memphis is 1–0 in its last one road game.
UCF 37, Memphis 10
No. 80 San Jose State at No. 88 Louisiana Tech
San Jose State is playing well, with three wins in its last four games, but Louisiana Tech is probably better than its 3–4 record indicates. The Bulldogs have lost to four solid teams — Southern Miss, Houston, Mississippi State and Hawaii.
Louisiana Tech 30, San Jose State 20
No. 81 Hawaii at No. 113 Idaho
The Warriors are 1–3 on the mainland this season, with the only win coming at Louisiana Tech. Idaho has yet to beat an FBS team.
Hawaii 31, Idaho 13
No. 82 UL-Lafayette at No. 112 Middle Tennessee
UL-Lafayette saw its six-game losing streak snapped in surprising fashion — a 42–23 loss at Western Kentucky.
UL-Lafayette 27, Middle Tennessee 24
No. 89 Ball State at No. 87 Western Michigan
Western Michigan must regroup after a shocking 14–10 loss at Eastern Michigan. The Broncs were good enough to win at UConn and scare Illinois (23–20), but couldn’t find a way to win in Ypsilanti.
Western Michigan 31, Ball State 27
No. 95 Buffalo at No. 108 Miami (Ohio)
Buffalo trailed Northern Illinois 31–10 heading into the fourth quarter last week. The Bulls scored three straight touchdowns, including two in the final five minutes, but missed a game-tying extra point with 2:35 remaining.
Buffalo 28, Miami (Ohio) 24
No. 98 Bowling Green at No. 116 Kent State
Something doesn’t quite add up about Kent State’s defensive stats. The Golden Flashes rank No. 22 in total defense yet only rank No. 73 in scoring defense.
Bowling Green 31, Kent State 3
No. 102 Colorado State at No. 117 UNLV
UNLV is responsible for one of the more surprising scores of the season. The Rebels are 1–5 on the season and rank among the worst in the nation in total offense and total defense yet defeated Hawaii, 40–20, back in Week 3.
Colorado State 27, UNLV 17
No. 104 Western Kentucky at No. 105 UL-Monroe
The Hilltoppers opened the season with four straight losses but have rebounded to win three straight. Tailback Bobby Rainey has averaged 161.0 yards during the winning streak.
Western Kentucky 27, UL-Monroe 24
No. 109 Army at Fordham
The Black Knights will be without starting quarterback Trent Steelman, who hurt his foot in a 44–21 loss at Vanderbilt.
Army 38, Fordham 14
No. 111 Central Michigan at No. 119 Akron
Central Michigan, which has lost to Eastern Michigan and Ball State in recent weeks, is in desperate need of a win. The Chips should get one.
Central Michigan 31, Akron 10
Last week — 38–13
Season — 345–70