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Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 9

Author:
Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh

The Big Ten ended up winning the day last weekend on the back of Penn State's upset of Ohio State. Everything about the game — from the blocked field goal to the fans to the suddenly unstoppable defensive front of Penn State — was nothing short of outrageous.

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This weekend, the Big Ten takes center stage once again with a trio of matchups that have the potential to completely re-route the road to the College Football Playoff. Additionally, we'll see a contender from the ACC fall, a Group of Five team's New Year's Six dream die and two dark horse contenders make serious statements.

Here is the outrageousness on tap for Week 9.

Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 9

Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin all fall

Northwestern will be playing with house money and a lot of confidence when the Wildcats head to Columbus to take on a Buckeye team that had its heart ripped out last weekend. Conventional wisdom says Ohio State will bounce back and maul the Wildcats based on talent alone. The problem with that thought process is the fact that Northwestern has yet to get run off the field this season — losing three games by a combined 14 points. Pat Fitzgerald's team has logged three straight wins by an average of more than 10 points per game. Look for a well-coached Northwestern squad to frustrate a young Buckeye team still learning how to rebound after a loss.

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In East Lansing, the Michigan State Spartans will be the team with nothing to lose. Nobody expects them to win this game, yet only the fifth-year seniors on Michigan State have actually ever lost to the Wolverines. Look for Michigan State to get pressure on Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight from all three levels of the defense and to control the game with a power-rushing attack that has become a hallmark of the recent Spartan success.

Up in Madison, the Badgers are beginning to feel the effects of that brutal schedule. Their top players continue to suffer injuries that keep them out for extended periods of time — if not the rest of the season. The Cornhuskers, meanwhile, are starting to get healthy at the right time and should be close to 100 percent in terms of impact players being available. Look for Nebraska's secondary to render the Wisconsin offense one-dimensional, making points hard to come by for quarterback Alex Hornibrook and the Badger offense. On the other side of the ball, Nebraska has too many versatile weapons for a battered Wisconsin defense to account for. Huskers win and take total control of the Big Ten West.

Florida State upsets Clemson

The Seminoles are going to be a matchup problem on both sides of the ball for Clemson. I'm not sure the Tigers can consistently slow down both wide receiver Travis Rudolph and running back Dalvin Cook. On defense, the presence of Florida State cornerback Tavarus McFadden and his nose for the ball this year is likely going to alter how quarterback Deshaun Watson and Clemson's offense attack the Seminoles. The records are out the window in this one. This game is about talent, and Florida State has more of it.

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South Florida ends Navy's New Year's Six dream

I was wrong about Navy losing last week. Let's give this another try. This game, like Florida State-Clemson, also is about talent. South Florida has the athletes on offense to offset any earlier impact the unconventional Navy offense will have on the scoreboard. Look for this Friday night contest to be a national coming out party for USF head coach Willie Taggart in a season where it's looking like there will be plenty of high-profile jobs open come December. A Bulls win knocks Navy out of the New Year's Six bowl race.

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Washington and West Virginia win blowouts on the road

The Huskies and Mountaineers have looked great as of late, but still have plenty of skeptics questioning how good these two teams really are. That ends this weekend. Watch as Washington travels to Utah and comes away with yet another dominating Pac-12 win. Then West Virginia will be doing the same in Stillwater as the Mountaineers easily take down the Cowboys and get their quarterback, Skyler Howard, some whispers in what, to this point, is a very boring Heisman conversation.

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— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.