NCAA College Football Week 9 Picks - Early Games

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NCAA College Football Week 9 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 8: Rick: 6-8; Coin: 6-8
Cumulative: Rick: 48-64-1; Coin: 59-53-1

Friday, October 25

9:00 pm USC (-13 1/2, 62 1/2) at Colorado - Wins over Stanford, Utah, and Arizona, and a loss to Washington has the Trojans sitting atop the PAC-12 South, where the Buffaloes are 1-3 (3-4 overall).

While USC doesn't possess an offense that can routinely light it up, they may have their way against the Colorado defense, which has allowed the most points of any team in the conference (244). Colorado has home field going for them, where they play better (2-2). Close losses to Air Force (30-23 OT) and Arizona, 34-31, plus USC's 0-3 road record make this a touch choice.

Coin Flip: USC

Prediction: Trojans 31 Buffaloes 24

Saturday, October 26

12:00 pm #13 Wisconsin at #3 Ohio State (-14, 49 1/2) - The Buckeyes enter this fray untouched, at 7-0, while the Badgers unexpectedly dropped a 24-23 decision at Illinois last week and are 6-1.

These are the two best defenses in the conference, with Ohio State allowing 56 points total and Wisconsin 53. They're also the top and #3 offenses in the Big Ten, with Ohio State averaging 49.7 ppg to the Badgers' 39.7.

With such an outstanding statistical match-up, it's uncommon to see such a massive line, but the belief is that the Buckeyes are on their way to the national championship final four and even the best teams in the conference cannot stop them. Hard to dispute that.

Coin Flip: Wisconsin

Prediction: Buckeyes 28 Badgers 10

12:00 pm #5 Oklahoma (-23 1/2, 57 1/2) at Kansas State - Leading the nation in scoring, at a robust 50.4 points per game, the Sooners are poised to move up a notch in the rankings, though those ahead of them - Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Ohio State - all appear headed for victories this weekend.

Oklahoma may have to just pour on the points in order to garnish some respect, but Kansas State stands in their way. The Wildcats have the best defense in the Big 12, but the second lowest-scoring offense (181 points). The Sooners score at nearly double their pace, which would be in keeping with the usual whippings they put on conference foes. Other than a 34-27 win over Texas, Oklahoma hammered Texas Tech by 39 points, Kansas by 25, and West Virginia by 38.

Coin Flip: Oklahoma

Prediction: Sooners 45 Wildcats 17

12:00 pm #20 Iowa (-10, 37 1/2) at Northwestern - Usually a tough team to figure, this year's Northwestern squad is simply awful. Their defense is adequate, but the offense is the worst in the conference and seemingly not getting any better after being drubbed mercilessly by Ohio State last week, 52-3. They're 0-4 in the Big Ten and 1-5 overall.

Iowa doesn't exactly bowl anybody over, but their defense is top notch and their only losses were at Michigan, 10-3, and hosting Penn State, 17-12. A solid bunch that doesn't turn the ball over, the Hawkeyes could be the best play of the week.

Coin Flip: Iowa

Prediction: Hawkeyes 27 Wildcats 10

3:30 pm #9 Auburn at #2 LSU (-10 1/2, 59) - Crushing every team in its path, LSU has rocketed all the way to #2 in the rankings, impressively beating Florida, 42-28, and Mississippi State, 36-13, in consecutive weeks. This is a critical game because LSU hosts Alabama next week.

Auburn will not be a pushover. They're 6-1 and vying with both Alabama and LSU for the top spot in the SEC West. Auburn lost to Florida on October 5 and they won't see home turf for the whole month, as this is their third straight road game and this game is possibly at the toughest location of all. An Auburn win would be a huge upset, but expect a tight one here.

Coin Flip: LSU

Prediction: LSU Tigers 27 Auburn Tigers 24

3:30 pm #6 Penn State (-6 1/2, 44 1/2) at Michigan State - Penn State has to be the best 7-0 team nobody knows about. The Nittany Lions have beaten two straight ranked teams, winning at Iowa, 17-12, and last week topping Michigan, 28-21, at home. While these games were probably closer than the coaches may have liked, the Penn State players showed grit and determination.

This is the third straight ranked foe for the Spartans, and the first two haven't gone well, losing at Ohio State, 34-10, and Wisconsin, 38-0. Michigan State's offense is going in reverse and the Nittany Lions will likely put it in neutral.

Coin Flip: Michigan State

Prediction: Nittany Lions 30 Spartans 14

3:30 pm #15 Texas (-1 1/2, 59) at TCU - Coming off two straight road losses at Iowa State and Kansas State, the Red Raiders might want to take out some frustration on the Longhorns, whose only conference loss was by a touchdown to Oklahoma. The Texas defense has fallen apart, having given up an average of 35.8 points per game over their last four trips to the gridiron, but they managed to win three of those games, including outlasting Kansas last week, 50-48.

This could be an old West shootout with the Longhorns on the short end.

Coin Flip: Texas

Prediction: Horned Frogs 42 Longhorns 37

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