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Fearless Rick's 2013-14 College Football Week 9 - Early Games

Welcome to the very best in winning NFL and College Football picks.
Rick Gagliano | October 24-26, 2013

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, October 24

7:30 pm Kentucky at Mississippi State (-10, 55) - Another in a series of bad games being televised on a national basis brings us the 1-5 Wildcats on the road against the 3-3 Bulldogs.

Every meaningful statistic (offense, defense, passing yards, yards allowed, etc.) favors Mississippi State, some by a wide margin, though the most glaring stat is the Bulldogs rushing (214.33 ypg) versus the Wildcat rushing yards allowed (213.33). These numbers suggest that Mississippi State will run at Kentucky all night, without opposition. Kentucky's anemic offense (20.33 ppg) will not be able to respond in any substantial way.

So, if you like your football in the ground and grind category, the Bulldogs are a solid. Miss. St. has won the last four in this annual match-up.

Prediction: Bulldogs 34 Wildcats 13


Friday, October 25

8:00 pm Boise State at Brigham Young (-7, 62 1/2) - Both teams are 5-2, so the winner could end up as a ranked entity come week ten.

Boise State was flattened at Washington in their opener, 38-6, but since have won five of six, the only loss a 41-40 decision at Fresno State.

BYU likewise lost their opener, on the road, 19-16, to Virginia and since has lost only to Utah (a solid team) and has a 38-20 win over Georgia Tech to their credit and won a 47-46 squeaker at Houston last week. These two met last season at Boise, the Broncos coming away with a 7-6 victory, so recent history suggests a close call, though the line is skewed toward the home team. Both are 4-1 ATS their last five, but the play is clearly the Broncos, who have more to gain in Mountain West - such as a rematch with Fresno in the MWC championship - than independent BYU. Boise should be motivated for a big road win.

Prediction: Broncos 23 Cougars 17


Saturday, October 26

12:00 pm Wake Forest at Miami (FL) (20 1/2, 54) - 6-0 Miami barely beat a mistake-prone North Carolina last Thursday, one of their worst efforts to date, though the result was a 27-23 road win. The Hurricanes were sloppy on offense and lost wideout Philip Dorsett for the season and Duke Johnson was knocked out of the game with concussion symptoms. Johnson, the main offensive threat, is listed as probable and will likely go.

Otherwise, the Miami offense is headed for disaster unless QB Stephen Morris plays better. He has been inaccurate with many of his throws and if Wake stops the ground game - a probability as the Deacons are improving against the run - Morris will be under pressure to perform.

With the massive line quoted here, it's a good idea to take the points because, while Wake Forest is an OK team at 4-3 with a solid defense (in four wins they've allowed only 41 points), Miami looks like a team on the verge of self-destruction. Wake has won two straight, over NC State and Maryland.

Prediction: Demon Deacons 27 Hurricanes 24


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12:00 pm Connecticut at UCF (-22 1/2, 49 1/2) - Now that Central Florida is ranked (#23, BCS) after knocking off Louisville last week, they are getting the high number treatment from the Vegas crowd. Playing at home against the 0-6 Huskies may be a mixed blessing, as the Knights may suffer a letdown after their 38-35 thriller over the Cardinals.

However, the game was on a Friday night, allowing an extra day of recovery. Central Florida is a quality team, a sleeper in terms of bowl games, with a 5-1 record, their only defeat a 28-25 loss at home to South Carolina. Additionally, four of their five wins have been on the road.

This game offers UCF to stamp themselves as a powerhouse worthy of a higher ranking. With excellence on both sides of the ball, this could turn into a serious rout if the Knights get going early.

Prediction: Knights 48 Huskies 20


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12:00 Nebraska (-11, 58) at Minnesota - The Golden Gophers got their first Big Ten win of the season, upsetting Northwestern, on the road, 20-17, last week, showing some serious resolve on defense while the offense continued its struggles (40 points in three conference games) and, getting a generous spread at home is a real plus in this annual meeting.

Since joining the Big Ten, Nebraska has dominated Minnesota, winning their two meetings by wide margins - 41-14 in 2011, 38-14 in 2012. Nebraska is ranked, as usual, with a 5-1 mark, their only loss to UCLA, 41-21, on September 14. Last time they hit the gridiron they were hammering Purdue, 44-7, and have had a week off since that pounding victory.

The Gophers will have their hands full containing the explosive Cornhusker offense (42.7 ppg), but will benefit from home field, fans and an improving defense.

Prediction: Cornhuskers 41 Golden Gophers 33


12:21 pm Vanderbilt at Texas A&M (-18, 70) - With each passing week, it's becoming more and more obvious that the Aggies simply cannot play defense in any kind of sustained manner, their latest matador-syle fiasco resulting in a 45-41 home loss to Auburn, dropping the Aggies to 5-2 and out of contention for a BCS bowl.

The line here is so completely devoid of reason that almost no further inspection or analysis is necessary. Vanderbilt socked it to Georgia last week, 31-27, and, despite being on the road for a second straight week, are capable of stunning the defense-deficient Aggies, despite the possible loss of QB, Austyn Carter-Samuels, who was injured (ankle) in the second quarter of the Georgia game. Redshirt freshman, Patton Robinette, came in and rallied the Commodores from a 13-point deficit last week and will start if Carter-Samuels is unable to go.

The way this game sets up is for Johnny Manziel to lead many scores, but Vandy answering on just about every possession. A high-scoring shootout virtually ensures a close game and possible upset.

Prediction: Commodores 46 Aggies 42

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2013, 2014, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.

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