Well, friends, the college football machine rumbles on to Week 9. We’re quickly approaching that time of the year where the dust starts to settle and the playoff picture becomes clearer. It’s close, but we’re not there yet. We may be a little old to be trick-or-treating but at least we’ve still got plenty of time for surprising upsets and spooky matchups!
|Day||Time||Home Team||Away Team||Spread|
|Thu||04:00 PM||Pittsburgh||North Carolina||-10.5|
|Thu||04:30 PM||Eastern Michigan||Western Michigan||17|
|Thu||04:30 PM||Georgia Southern||Texas State||-16.5|
|Thu||04:30 PM||Miami (Ohio)||Buffalo||11.5|
|Thu||04:30 PM||Texas Christian||West Virginia||-11|
|Thu||07:30 PM||Arizona State||Oregon||-9|
|Fri||04:00 PM||Connecticut||East Carolina||-3|
|Fri||04:00 PM||Wake Forest||Louisville||14|
|Fri||05:00 PM||Rice||Louisiana Tech||11|
|Fri||07:15 PM||Utah State||Wyoming||-20|
|Sat||01:00 PM||Southern Methodist||Tulsa||-5.5|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Arkansas State||Georgia State||-13.5|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Duke||Miami (Florida)||-9.5|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Iowa State||Texas||15|
|Sat||04:00 PM||North Texas||Texas-San Antonio||10|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Utah||Oregon State||-18.5|
|Sat||05:00 PM||New Mexico State||Idaho||-4.5|
|Sat||05:00 PM||Temple||Notre Dame||15|
|Sat||07:30 PM||Hawaii||Air Force||13.5|
|Sat||07:30 PM||Washington State||Stanford||-1|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Cincinnati||Central Florida||-20.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Florida State||Syracuse||-20|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Navy||South Florida||-10.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Old Dominion||Western Kentucky||12.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Penn State||Illinois||-9.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Texas A&M||South Carolina||-12|
|Sat||09:30 AM||Boston College||Virginia Tech||-6|
|Sat||10:00 AM||Ball State||Massachusetts||-13|
|Sat||11:00 AM||Akron||Central Michigan||2.5|
|Sat||11:30 AM||Southern Mississippi||Texas-El Paso||-19.5|
|Sat||12:00 PM||California||Southern California||-5.5|
|Sat||12:00 PM||Virginia||Georgia Tech||10|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Appalachian State||Troy||-20|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Colorado State||San Diego State||3|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Nevada-Las Vegas||Boise State||16|
|Sat||12:30 PM||North Carolina State||Clemson||12.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Texas Tech||Oklahoma State||-9|
Georgia at No. 11 Florida (Spread: -5)
Our model has Florida favored in this matchup though this game has lost a bit of luster with Georgia running back Nick Chubb’s knee injury and the season-ending suspension of Florida’s quarterback Will Grier. Regardless, it’ll be a rivalry matchup with SEC conference championship implications. Florida is coming off a bye after a tough loss to LSU two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Georgia is trying to forget last year’s embarrassing 38-20 loss where Florida scored its first touchdown on a fake field goal attempt. Facing a tough Florida defense, it will certainly take a massive effort from quarterback Greyson Lambert to propel the Bulldogs to victory.
No. 9 Notre Dame at No. 21 Temple (Spread: 15)
The consensus matchup of the weekend features a team that’s not usually associated with marquee matchups: the Temple Owls. As one of only 12 remaining unbeaten FBS teams, Temple faces Notre Dame in arguably their biggest and toughest game of the season.
That being said, Vegas and our model predict that Notre Dame will blow out Temple. It’s true — Temple has a tough defense and a great running back in Jahad Thomas, but it’s hard to overlook their soft schedule. However, Notre Dame is coming off of a bye week and their game is on Halloween so you never know what might happen. And besides, who doesn’t love a good underdog story?
Interesting note: This will be the first ranked matchup in Temple’s history and the 212th ranked matchup for Notre Dame.
No. 12 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (Spread: -9)
Our model has Texas Tech as a nine-point favorite while Vegas odds have Oklahoma State as a one-point favorite, but it’ll depend on how much fight is left in Texas Tech after a tough loss to Oklahoma last week.
Texas Tech has proven they can score on anyone (see TCU game), but it’s their defense that may lose them the game. Texas Tech’s defense has given up 561.5 yards per game this season, which means that there is no question Oklahoma State will be able to at least get some points on the board. Aside from somehow managing to keep up with Texas Tech’s scoring, the other key for Oklahoma State’s defense is to force turnovers and give their offense the opportunity to attack the Red Raider’s porous defense. This could be possible considering Oklahoma’s defense has only allowed 18.9 points per game this season.
Maybe Texas Tech will score a ridiculous number of points, maybe Oklahoma State will take advantage of Tech’s porous defense and be on its undefeated way. Who knows. Tune in to find out.
USC at California (Spread: -5.5)
It’s that special weekend of the college football season for USC football fans, the Weekender. This year, though, fans should be in for a more exciting game than in previous years. Though Cal has lost two straight since a 5-0 start, don’t expect them to roll over and play dead. On the other hand, USC pulled off its biggest win of the year against Utah, looking every bit like the explosive, talented team everyone thought we were in the preseason.
So I know what you’re thinking, after such a great performance last weekend, why does our model have Cal as the 5.5 point favorite? One possible explanation is that the Trojans and the Bears have similar offensive stats with 38.9 points per game and 492.0 total offensive yards and 37.9 points per game and 504.6 total offensive yards, respectively. The same goes for yards allowed with the Trojans allowing 395.4 yards and Cal allowing 420.3 yards. The first factor likely skewing our model in favor of Cal is their slightly lower turnover margin of 0.67 versus the Trojans of 1. Second, the large home field advantage biased in our model could also help explain why our prediction is the opposite of Vegas and ESPN.
However, if the Trojan defense can continue to make plays like they did against Utah and the offensive line can give Kessler enough breathing room, we think the Trojans can come away from the Weekender victorious and remain in the hunt for the Pac-12 Championship.
Data provided by cfbstats.com
Team logos courtesy of sportslogos.net
Patrick Vossler is a senior majoring in economics. His column, “College Football Pick’em,” runs every week.