It's the last week before the first College Football Playoff rankings are released
We saw upheaval in the top four last week when Purdue stunned the nation with a blowout win over Ohio State. Now, we enter the final week of play before the first release of the College Football Playoff committee rankings of 2018.
The jockeying for position has gone on all season. This weekend, however, some contenders face some tricky tests that will throw even more wrenches into the grinding process of selecting the best four teams in the country. You'll also see some conference championship pictures come into focus.
Here are the OUTRAGEOUS* college football predictions for Week 9.
Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 9
Drew Lock tosses six TDs vs. Kentucky
The Wildcats are sitting pretty in the SEC East right now, controlling their own destiny on the back of a stingy defense. That said, they have yet to encounter the sort of firepower that Lock and the Missouri Tiger offense bring to the table. The Tigers are much better than their 4-3 record. After going through a three-game gauntlet of Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, Missouri got back on track with a big win over Memphis, with Lock throwing for 350 yards and four TDs. Look for the Mizzou signal-caller to carry that momentum into this weekend's contest.
Northwestern takes down Wisconsin
After a shaky start to the season, it appears as though Pat Fitzgerald's Wildcats have figured out how to win games in 2018 — even if it's not always pretty. Northwestern has a formula — and a seasoned veteran at quarterback. The Wildcats know exactly who they are and what they need to do to come away with a win. Wisconsin is under all the pressure here, trying to hold off Iowa and Purdue in the West division and preserve a shot at the Big Ten title in Indianapolis. Look for a low-scoring, physical battle to shift Northwestern's way in the fourth quarter on the back of a big special teams play.
Houston beats South Florida by 20
When it comes to come of the Group of 5 teams getting love, a lot of people seemed to have forgotten about the Cougars. They sit at 6-1, score more than 48 points per game and have the best defensive player in the country in Ed Oliver. Look for an aggressive effort on both sides of the ball from Houston to completely overwhelm head coach Charlie Strong and his Bulls en route to blowout victory.
Oklahoma State stuns Texas
Texas might be the better team on paper, but the Longhorns' game against Kansas State is the only true road contest they've played in 2018. They're not in Kansas anymore — Welcome to Stillwater. Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has a very dangerous offense at his disposal, and he'll make sure the Cowboys have their feet on the gas pedal right from the start. Oh, and let's not forget about that raucous crowd that essentially sits on top of the field. This young and talented Texas team has not seen an atmosphere anything close to what they'll encounter on Saturday.
Florida State upsets Clemson
It'll be an early kickoff in Tallahassee, but the Tigers had better be wide awake. I expect Clemson to be on cruise control as they stare down a relatively ho-hum slate of games before the ACC Championship Game. While Dabo Swinney's Tigers are cruising, a talented Florida State squad will be on the other side of the field, looking to play spoiler. Since losing to Syracuse in blowout fashion back on Sept. 15, the Seminoles are 3-1 with only a one-point loss to the Miami Hurricanes. They seem to have found their way and are now looking to resurrect their season. I like a big day from Cam Akers to be the catalyst to yet another upset of a serious College Football Playoff contender.
*Remember, "outrageous" can be defined as “wildly exaggerated or improbable,” and “very bold, unusual, and startling.” These are "outrageous" predictions and should be treated as such.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! SBNation and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.