NCAA Week 9 Picks - Early Games

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NCAA Week 9 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 8 Results: Rick 6-10; Coin: 8-8
Cumulative: Rick: 68-64-3; 72-60-3

Thursday, October 28

7:30 pm Troy at #24 Coastal Carolina (-18, 52 1/2) - Upended by the solid, determined Mountaineers team of Appalachian State, 30-27, last week on the road, the Chanticleers may have an easier task with the Trojans, but that's hardly a given. Four teams in the Sun Belt East division are 2-1 in conference play, including Coastal Carolina, Troy, and Georgia State. With their win over the Chanticleers, Appalachian State has the upper hand with a win over Georgia State and their lone conference loss to Louisiana, in the West division, which, at 6-1 overall, should be ranked.

Troy is now in a similar situation as the Mountaineers were, with a chance to upset the only ranked team in the conference. They've not been beaten by more than 13 points (UL Monroe) and are coming off consecutive wins after switching quarterbacks from Taylor Powell to Gunnar Watson, who was the starter in 2020. Last season, Coastal Carolina defeated Troy, 42-38. Watson was injured in the fourth quarter. This figures to be another close, high-scoring contest.

Coin Flip: Troy

Prediction: Trojans 37 Chanticleers 35


Saturday, October 30

12:00 pm #2 Cincinnati (-24 1/2, 62) at Tulane - Safe to say the Bearcats survived a scare at Annapolis last week, coming out on top of a 27-20 score to remain undefeated at 7-0. Navy managed to score 10 unanswered fourth quarter points to reduce Cincinnati's lead to just seven and recovered an onside kick in the final minute. That's as close as the Middies could get, as Arquon Bush intercepted a Navy pass to finish the game.

The Bearcats shouldn't have as difficult a time with 1-6 Tulane. The Green Wave's last three losses have not been pretty: 52-29 at East Carolina; 40-22 vs. Houston; and, 55-26 at SMU.

Coin Flip: Cincinnati

Prediction: Bearcats 54 Green Wave 10


12:00 pm #6 Michigan (-4 1/2, 51) at #8 Michigan State - Both teams are 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten East division. Ohio State is also 4-0 in conference play within the division, making this a huge game and possible control of the conference. Notably, both the Spartans and Wolverines still have to play Ohio State and Penn State, so nothing is a given.

In games like this, it's usually not useful to look at stats, although, on defense, Michigan holds a slight edge, allowing just 14.3 points per game (2nd nationally) to Michigan State's 18.7. Rather, look at the rivalry status, which generally favors the home team. Michigan State has won six of the last eight meetings, including a 27-24 win last season at the Big House in Michigan. The the 4 1/2 points all day if you can.

The wild card is Michigan freshman QB J.J. McCarthy, who is a better runner and possibly a better thrower than starter Cade McNamara. Wake Forest transfer, RB Kenneth Walker III has been a terror all season. He'll go over 1000 yards in this game.

Coin Flip: Michigan

Prediction: Spartans 28 Wolverines 22


12:00 pm #9 Iowa at Wisconsin (-3 1/2, 36 1/2) - A lot of Iowa's luster came off when they lost to Purdue on October 16. Even more telling was Wisconsin's handling of the Boilermakers last week, dominating them for a 30-13 victory.

That certainly spells trouble for the Hawkeyes this Saturday. The 4-3 Badgers have losses to Penn State, Notre Dame, and Michigan and have won three straight since that loss to the Wolverines. They've relied on their defense to lead them, allowing just 27 points in those three wins, though, admittedly, Illinois, Army, and Purdue may not have been the most formidable of opponents. That said, the Illini defeated Penn State, Army gave Wake Forest all they could handle, and we already know about Purdue.

Coin Flip: Wisconsin

Prediction: Badgers 21 Hawkeyes 13



12:00 pm Texas at #16 Baylor (-2 1/2, 61 1/2) - With a 3-1 conference mark, the Baylor Bears are in the hunt for the Big 12 title, their only loss to Oklahoma State. Texas is 2-2 in the conference and capable of competing with the best in the Big 12, though their team seems a bit underdeveloped, having lost consecutive home games to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

The Bears are slight favorites at home, and should be able to dictate via their solid defense (18.7 ppg).

Coin Flip: Baylor

Prediction: Bears 42 Longhorns 24


12:00 pm Miami at #17 Pittsburgh (-10, 61) - Don't look now, but the 6-1 Pitt Panthers may be making a run at the national playoffs. A flukey loss to Western Michigan (44-41) is the only blemish on their resume, as they've pretty much cruised over every other opponent and QB Kenny Pickett is beginning to be mentioned as a Heisman candidate. The resume is pretty good. 68.9%, 2,236 yards, 23 TDs, 1 INT.

The rest of the schedule doesn't look too difficult (Duke, N. Carolina, Virginia, Syracuse), but first they have to get past Miami, which rejuvenated its offense with Tyler Van Dyke at QB and engineered a 31-30 upset of NC State last week. Pitt's defense is allowing 19.6 points per game, but their offense is 4th nationally, at 45.3. They have a huge edge here.

Coin Flip: Miami

Prediction: Panthers 48 Hurricanes 24


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