NCAA Week 9 Picks - Late Games

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NCAA Week 9 Late Games

All times Eastern

Click here for early games.

3:30 pm #1 Georgia (-14, 51) at Florida - Somehow, the Gators came within two points of upending Alabama, then, a month later, lose to LSU, 49-42. Four Florida turnovers in that LSU loss had a huge impact, but the Gators also allowed 321 rushing yards to the Tigers. The Gators have been idle since that October 16 encounter, and will be either eager to set things straight or still questioning themselves heading into the World's Biggest Cocktail Party in Jacksonville.

Georgia also had last week off, but they won't suffer any confidence after handling Kentucky, 30-13 to go 7-0 on the season. This is likely the last big test for the Bulldogs, who face, Missouri, Tennessee, Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech the rest of the way. If they win out, the SEC East is theirs. They could even lose a game as they hold the tie breaker over 4-1 Kentucky. It's very doubtful they lose. It's doubtful the Gators score more than two touchdowns.

Coin Flip: Florida

Prediction: Bulldogs 38 Gators 13


3:30 pm Texas Tech at #4 Oklahoma (-20, 67 1/2) - The Sooners are 8-0, but nearly laid an egg in their 35-23 win at Kansas. They had to rally in the second half for the victory, but QB Caleb Williams emerged as a star once again, as he did against Texas a few weeks ago.

Spencer Rattler, the Sooner starter, has been spotty, and Williams may be the QB down the stretch against Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State in coming weeks. They're in the #4 spot, putting them inside the playoff picture, so they cannot afford a loss. They should get thins straightened out against the Red Raiders, whose only wins have been on the road (41-14 at Kansas; 23-20 at West Virginia), but so has their biggest loss, a 70-35 rough-up by the Longhorns. Look for the sooners to blow this open in the second half.

Coin Flip: Oklahoma

Prediction: Sooners 56 Red Raiders 27


3:30 pm Colorado at #7 Oregon (-24, 49) - Oregon held on for a 34-31 win at UCLA last week and remain the top dog in the PAC-12. Their 3-1 conference mark has them tied with the Beavers of Oregon State, a situation which may not be resolved until the final game of the regular season.

While the Ducks may not be world-beaters, they are much better than the visiting Buffaloes, which have scored just 106 points in seven encounters, an average of just 15.1 points per game. Oregon scores at double the rate and on defense, the two are roughly even. The Buffs are coming off a 26-3 loss at Cal, marking the fourth time this season they've lost by 20 or more points.

Coin Flip: Oregon

Prediction: Ducks 39 Buffaloes 14


7:00 pm #10 Ole Miss at #18 Auburn (-2 1/2, 66) - The Rebels may be running into a buzzsaw at Auburn. The Tigers are 5-2, ranked and coming off a solid 38-23 win at Arkansas last week on the heels of a 34-10 humbling by Georgia. Auburn's two losses are to the Bulldogs and Penn State, back when the Nittany Lions were good. They've regressed since September, while the Tigers have regrouped. The QBs are going to be fun to watch. Auburn's Bo Nix matches experience with Ole Miss QB Matt Corral. The Rebels' defense has been improving. Auburn's was never in doubt.

Coin Flip: Ole Miss

Prediction: Tigers 34 Rebels 27


7:00 pm #12 Kentucky (-1, 47) at Mississippi State - Tough call, but one has to side with Kentucky's consistency and 61 record. Mississippi State has been all over the map, compiling an unimpressive 4-3 record. Losing to Memphis and LSU, beating Texas A&M, then losing 49-9 to Alabama, before taking out their frustrations on poor Vanderbilt, 45-6. The Bulldogs should be named after a bird, the way they throw the ball around. Their highest rushing total for a single back in one game was 71. The last three game, their top back, Dillon Johnson, has rushed for 19, 24, and 34 yards.

If they can't run the ball (and it looks like they can't), the Wildcat defense will make their offense look like toy poodles.

Coin Flip: Kentucky

Prediction: Wildcats 34 Bulldogs 16



7:00 pm #19 SMU at Houston (-1, 62 1/2) - With a 55-26 win over Tulane last Thursday, the Mustangs have rolled to a 7-0 record and close to the top spot - along with Cincinnati, also at 3-0 - in the AAC. Houston leads the way at 4-0. The Cougars, who lead the conference in scoring and have the third-stingiest defense, are 6-1 overall, their only loss coming in their season opener, a 38-21 loss to Texas Tech on a neutral site.

Both teams like to throw the ball, the advantage going to SMU and QB Tanner Mordecai (71.1%, 2,320 yards, 29 TD, 7 INT. Houston takes a defensive edge (17.3 points allowed) into the contest, which could go either way. Take the Mustangs on an even-up basis, as the Houston defense may not be able to contain SMU's relentless offense the entire game.

Coin Flip: SMU

Prediction: Mustangs 46 Cougars 38


7:30 pm #20 Penn State at #5 Ohio State (-18 1/2, 59 1/2) - Despite Penn State's recent losses (23-20 at Iowa, 20-18, 9OT vs. Illinois) this is still a big test for the Buckeyes, who haven't been exactly lights out on defense the entire season. They have improved since their loss to Oregon, allowing season-wide, an average of 18.6 points per game. Trouble is, Penn State's defense allows just 14.7, sixth nationally.

Penn State's issue is in the ground game, where they are deficient, and Ohio State is allowing just 119 rushing yards per game, better than average, so they should be able to hold the line against the Lions. But are they nearly three touchdowns better, even at home?

Hard to tell, since Ohio State has handled pushovers, Akron, Rutgers, Maryland, and Indiana by a combined score of 231-44, none of them remotely close. Penn State's defense may be among the best in the country, but Ohio State is the #1 offense in the country, averaging 49.3 ppg. Unless the weather is awful, the Buckeyes should blow out the Lions.

Coin Flip: Penn State

Prediction: Buckeyes 44 Nittany Lions 17


7:30 pm North Carolina at #11 Notre Dame (-3 1/2, 62 1/2) - The one game the Fighting Irish really had to win, they lost. Their October 2nd, 24-13 loss to Cincinnati sent them tumbling down the rankings and out of the running for a shot at the national championship, largely because their schedule - especially on the back end - this season was pretty light. They can run the table. This is a game they should win, as was last week's homer against USC and next week's visit by Navy.

So, if the Irish finish 11-1, they have a shot, but somebody has to beat Cincinnati, or Oklahoma, or Georgia, or Alabama, or Ohio State, or, well, you get the picture.

North Carolina, at 4-3, has been a disappointment. Great offense, no defense. Notre Dame should be able to run up the score.

Coin Flip: Notre Dame

Prediction: Fighting Irish 48 Tar Heels 29


10:30 pm Fresno State at #21 San Diego State (-1, 45 1/2) - On the line is the top spot in the Mountain West West division, where the Aztecs are 3-0 after knocking off Air Force last week, 20-14. Fresno State is 3-1, via a 27-24 loss at Hawaii on October 2nd. Their only other loss was to Oregon, 31-24. They are a solid bunch, but note that both losses were on the road, giving the Aztecs an edge. An added advantage is San Diego State's 7-0 record, an unblemished mark the Aztecs won't easily give away.

The Aztecs last two wins have been tight ones. Prior to whipping Air Force, they had to go to double overtime for a 19-13 win over San Jose State. Both of those games were on the road. They should be more comfortable at home, their defense leading to a hard-fought win over a worthy foe.

Coin Flip: San Diego State

Prediction: Aztecs 26 Bulldogs 23


Click here for early games.


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