The college football season is heating up. This weekend is Week 9, and there are some match-ups we can take advantage of. Here are my college football picks for Week 9…
Master of Their Own DOMEinion
The 16th ranked Syracuse Orange take on a down 4-3 Notre Dame team Saturday afternoon at the Dome to open up Week 9.
Syracuse comes at 6-1 after losing a close one last week in their much anticipated matchup against Clemson. The Orange had a 21-10 lead at half but just couldn’t hold on against a good Clemson team.
Syracuse is 8-3 at home over the last two seasons with marquee wins over NC State, Purdue, and Malik Willis-led Liberty.
Notre Dame has been largely irrelevant this season. They lost to 3-4 Stanford and it wasn’t even a big headline. The Irish come into this matchup off a blowout win over UNLV.
Sean Tucker and Garrett Shrader should be able to do damage on the ground against a Notre Dame run defense that is 62nd in the country.
Last week the Syracuse secondary forced two interceptions off of a struggling, young quarterback. This week they face another in Drew Pyne, look for that to be a deciding factor in this matchup.
This could very easily be a look ahead spot for the Fighting Irish as they get Clemson next week. This Syracuse team is very good in their own right, if slept on they’ll give you a gut punch.
My pick: Syracuse -2.5
Carolina on my Mind
In Week 9, North Carolina welcomes in the Pitt Panthers to Kenan for a pivotal ACC Coastal division matchup.
The Tar Heels are currently 6-1 and sit atop the Coastal division. Last week, Carolina was able to grind out a close win over rival Miami in Coral Gables.
Pitt has massively underachieved this year as they are currently 4-3 after being ranked 17th to begin the season. Last week the Panthers struggled in a 24-10 loss to Louisville.
North Carolina comes in with one of the hottest offenses in the country as they are top ten in both points per game and total yards per game, averaging over 40 points and 500 yards per game.
Meanwhile, Pitt comes in with a pretty good defense though it has not been as good as years past under Pat Narduzzi. The Panthers rank in the forties in both passing and rushing yards per game against. They are also in the sixties in points against per game giving up over 25 points.
I expect this game to be a shootout, especially given how bad the UNC defense has been this season. With that being said, I’m giving the edge to the home team here.
My pick: UNC -3
Coming off a close loss last week at home against Cincinnati, SMU hosts Tulsa in battle of 3-4 teams. Last week, the Golden Hurricane took care of business at home as they beat bottom-feeder Temple.
SMU came a two point conversion short of forcing overtime in a comeback bid against 21st ranked Cincy, this seems like a good get right spot at home for the Mustangs her in Week 9.
These two teams have very high powered offenses as they are both averaging over 30 points per game and over 425 yards per game overall.
Expect a ton of points in this game as both defense have struggled mightily this year allowing around 30 points per game and are in the bottom third of the country in yards against per game.
Led by stars like Tanner Mordecai and Rashee Rice, I believe SMU has the better personnel and will rise to the occasion as the cream of the crop.
My pick: SMU -2.5/Over 64
Woo Pig Sooie
Well, the schedule finally eases up a little bit for Arkansas after they’ve faced an absolute gauntlet the last four weeks. In Week 9, Arkansas is on the road against a struggling, turmoil-laden Auburn team.
The Razorbacks come in at 4-3 after an impressive road win over BYU two weeks ago before last week’s bye. Arkansas is 1-3 in conference with their lone win coming against now-ranked South Carolina in week two.
The Auburn Tigers are 3-4 with wins over Mercer, San Jose State and Missouri. Auburn narrowly beat a San Jose State team they should’ve blown out and they barely survived against Missouri after Mizzou fumbled in the end zone on a touchdown that would’ve won the game in overtime.
The main bugaboo for Arkansas this season has been in the secondary. The Hogs are giving up over 315 yards per game through the air which is 128th in the country. Luckily for them, Auburn is on their second quarterback, redshirt freshman Robby Ashford who has not fared well in SEC play. On the season, Auburn is 101st in the country in passing yards per game with just 207.6.
Conversely, Auburn has struggled mightily against the run allowing over 204 yards per game on the ground. Perhaps the biggest strength of the Razorbacks is their running game. The Razorbacks are ninth in the country with 240 rushing yards per game. I expect Sam Pittman to exploit that in this matchup. Look out for bug chuck plays all afternoon from Raheem Sanders and KJ Jefferson.
My Pick: Arkansas -3.5
In Week 9, UAB will travel to Boca Raton to take on Florida Atlantic in a pivotal Conference USA tilt.
UAB comes in at 4-3 and 2-2 in conference play. Last week the Blazers suffered a close loss to Western Kentucky in Bowling Green.
Willie Taggart’s FAU team is 3-5 and also 2-2 in Conference USA. The Owls lost a close one last week to UTEP by a score of 24-21.
Led by star tailback DeWayne McBride, the Blazers are eighth in the country in rushing yards per game with 241.6. Meanwhile, the FAU defense has been terrible against the run allowing 167.1 yards per game on the ground. I expect McBride and the UAB ground game to be able to do whatever they want in this one.
Additionally, the Owls secondary has allowed over 228 yards per game through the air good for 68th in the country. While UAB doesn’t throw the ball a ton, Brycen Hopkins has shown he is more than capable to make big plays against bad defenses.
My Pick: UAB -4.5
Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe
Week nine is a big week in the Big Ten. Penn State will be hosting Ohio State at noon on FOX and Michigan State will be heading to Ann Arbor to play for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.
Michigan comes in undefeated and ranked fifth in the country. On the other hand, Michigan State has struggled mightily after a surprise run last season. The Spartans come in at 3-4 even with an overtime victory last week over Wisconsin.
Michigan State’s defense has been god awful this season allowing over 150 yards on the ground, almost 270 through the air, and over 27 points per game.
I expect Michigan’s methodical, high scoring offense to have a field day here. Look for a huge game from Blake Corum as the Wolverines continue to spread out their lead throughout the contest.
On the other side of the ball Michigan State’s offense has been low scoring and very predictable. I expect Michigan’s vaunted defense to show up with a big performance in front of the home crowd.
The Spartans got blown out a few weeks ago in Columbus, I expect something similar here. The number is over three touchdowns and I’m not sure that’s big enough.
My Pick: Michigan -23
Big Ten Snoozefest
In perhaps the least anticipated matchup in Week 9 or perhaps ever, Iowa will welcome in Northwestern to Kinnick Stadium for a matchup of two of the worst offenses in college football.
The Hawkeyes enter this matchup at 3-4 coming off an embarrassing 54-10 loss to Ohio State where they couldn’t score a single offensive touchdown.
Northwestern comes in at 1-6 and hasn’t won a game since beating Nebraska all the way back in week 0. The Wildcats have lost six in a row which include losses to a group of five and an FCS team.
These two offenses have been notoriously atrocious this season. The Hawkeyes are dead last in yards per game with 227.3 and are third to last in points per game with 17. It doesn’t get much better for Northwestern. The Wildcats are 74th in the country in total yards per game with 389.1 but are averaging just 18.7 points per game. This is in part thanks to their 2.6 turnovers per game.
These two teams both play very good defense so this should be a slow and methodical field position type of game where points will be at a premium.
The over under for this game is 37.5 which is the second lowest total in college football history, yet I’m still somehow taking the under.
My Pick: Under 37.5
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