Week 9 will be the last week of games before the first College Football Playoff rankings are released, so the focus will be on games that could potentially impact those teams.
The 2022 college football season has now reached the point of critical mass. The season’s first College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Nov. 1, and this week’s games will have a lot to say about how the committee views some of the top teams in the country.
The current top six teams in the nation are all facing important ranked opponents or potentially hazardous rivalry games, so the thought that we could see a fruit basket turnover by next Tuesday is not an odd prospect at all.
Looking back at my Week 8 picks before moving into this week’s predictions and spreads.
Upset: Syracuse gave Clemson everything they could handle, but came up just short. However, they did beat that two-touchdown spread as I predicted they would.
Lock: Texas A&M, you make me sad. Jimbo, polish that resumé. The Aggies were solidly whipped by the Gamecocks as solidly as my pick was whipped for both the spread and over/under.
1-2 last week on picks brings me to 10-9 on the season. Here are my picks for Week 9 with odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Penn State Nittany Lions
Saturday, October 29
12:00 PM ET
College Football Week 9 Upset Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes vs Penn State Nittany Lions
Many may scoff at this as an upset pick, but I firmly believe that we haven’t seen the best of Penn State this season yet, and a home game against a potentially playoff-bound Ohio State Buckeyes squad may be what brings out their A-game.
Historically, James Franklin doesn’t do well against Top 10 teams, and the Nittany Lions may very well lose this one, but I’m convinced it will be a closer game than 15 points. Ohio State has faced little opposition yet, and this will be their first (and possibly only) test until they meet Michigan in the regular-season finale.
Overall, PSU is 4-4 ATS, 0-1 vs ranked teams, and 0-1 as an underdog this season which makes this a difficult pick, but every team has its betting anomaly, and this should be the one for the Nittany Lions.
Pick: Close game, with Ohio State winning by no more than 10. Second half surge by Penn State makes it closer.
Moving out west to a potential playoff team who everyone, including me, dismissed after the first two weeks of the season.
Cal Golden Bears
Saturday, October 29
3:30 PM ET
College Football Week 9 Lock: Oregon Ducks vs Cal Golden Bears
After Oregon’s dismantling by Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, it was widely believed that new head coach Dan Lanning would need a full season to get his team to a point of contending in both the Pac-12 and on the national stage.
Seven weeks later, the Ducks are back in the top ten, leading the charge in the Pac-12, and have an outside shot at making the College Football Playoff if things fall into place outside their control.
Offensively, the Ducks — and quarterback Bo Nix — have found their groove, and are a very dangerous and balanced team. Oregon should be able to score easily and often against a Cal defense that is giving up 22.6 points per game on average and is only scoring 23.
Look for Oregon to run the ball a lot and wear down a Golden Bears defensive line that already gives up 117 rushing yards per game.
Over/Under on this game is 58.5, and the Ducks may score 50 on their own.
Pick: Ducks by a bunch, 65 or more total points scored
So what’s the game to stay away from this week? It’s a big rivalry down south that you should avoid at all costs.
Saturday, October 29
3:30 PM ET
College Football Week 9 Bad Bet: Georgia Bulldogs vs Florida Gators
The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (yeah, I said it) is on tap in Jacksonville, Florida this weekend, and the Bulldogs and Gators are teams headed in different directions and with different agendas in mind.
If you pick the Bulldogs to cover that 22.5 points, it’s a bad bet. If you pick the Gators to keep the game close, it’s a bad bet. Essentially, unless Steve Spurrier is standing on the Florida sidelines tossing his visor and massaging the officials for more calls his way, this is never a good game to bet on.
Georgia is undoubtedly beginning to feel some pressure and probably senses Tennessee in the rearview. While that might not be enough to cause a loss against a hapless Florida team, it might be enough to keep the game closer than three scores.
Then again, Georgia may run roughshod over the Gators. Combine all that with Georgia being 4-3 ATS this year, and your guess is as good as mine.
Pick: Georgia wins, but a close game casts some doubt over them as a No. 1 team
The Strangest Thing We Saw in College Football Week 8
When the season began, everyone was looking at Miami as a team who could potentially challenge for an ACC title under new head coach Mario Cristobal.
Seven weeks and four losses later, the Canes don’t even look like they could challenge the best high school team in Miami (is Central on their schedule?).
But nothing could have prepared home crowd Miami fans for what they saw in the Week 8 matchup against Duke.
The Canes tied an FBS record with eight total turnovers – five fumbles and three interceptions, including a pick-six. They kept the Duke offense in short-field mode.
In Miami’s eight-turnover game, Duke had scoring drives of:
The stuff of ACC Coastal legend. We may never see it again
— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) October 22, 2022
Yes…The U is back…to losing again.
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