College football week 9 picks

(No movie quote of the day since there will be two posts today)

Here are the intriguing matchups for week nine:

Week eight record: 10-2 (83.3 percent)
2016 record: 70-26 (72.9 percent)
All-time record: 180-90 (66.6 percent)

Tonight:

Virginia Tech WR Isaiah Ford.
Virginia Tech WR Isaiah Ford.

No. 25 Virginia Tech (5-2) at Pitt (5-2)
Heinz Field
Pittsburgh
Line: VT -3.5

It’s hard to pick against Virginia Tech right now. The Hokies are playing really well – winning four of their last five games and outscoring opponents 191-67. Pitt’s defense is one of the worst in the country – ranking No. 89 in scoring defense. I think the Panthers will have a hard time slowing down Virginia Tech’s offense, and I don’t think they have what it takes to outscore the Hokies either. I think Virginia Tech pulls away late and keeps it rolling.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, Pitt 20

Cal QB Davis Webb.
Cal QB Davis Webb.

Cal (4-3) at USC (4-3)
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles
Line: USC -20.5

USC has been a completely different team since Sam Darold took over at quarterback – winning three out of four games. Cal’s offense is one of the best in the nation, but USC’s defense is pretty good. The Trojans have held opponents to just 51 points in their last three games and rank No. 28 in scoring defense. I think USC manages to score points on Cal’s porous defense, and slow down the Golden Bears’ offense. I think this game will be a blowout.

Prediction: USC 44, Cal 24

Saturday:

Michigan S Gabriel Peppers.
Michigan S Gabriel Peppers.

No. 2 Michigan (7-0) at Michigan State (2-5)
Spartan Stadium
East Lansing, Mich.
Line: MICH -24.5

Michigan is by far the superior team and Michigan State can’t do anything right right now. The Spartans stole a win in Ann Arbor last year in heartbreaking fashion. I’m sure that game is in the back of Michigan’s mind and the Wolverines want revenge.

Prediction: Michigan 41, Michigan State 7

Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph.
Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph.

No. 10 West Virginia (6-0) at Oklahoma State (5-2)
Boone Pickens Stadium
Stillwater, Okla.
Line: WVU -3.5

This is a game West Virginia usually loses in years past, but this feels like a different team. WVU has a very balanced offense, and Oklahoma State is subpar defensively in stopping the run (No. 82) and passing efficiency (No. 92). The Mountaineers have the better defense and I think it’s going to be difficult for the Cowboys to outscore them. Oklahoma State stole a win in Morgantown last year and I’m sure WVU hasn’t forgot about it and wants to return the favor.

Prediction: West Virginia 31, Oklahoma State 28

Florida LB Jarrad Davis.
Florida LB Jarrad Davis.

No. 14 Florida (5-1) vs. Georgia (4-3)
EverBank Field
Jacksonville, Fla.
Line: FLA -8

I really want to pick Georgia because I don’t think Florida is that good. However, the Bulldogs’ offense ranks No. 93 in scoring and Florida’s defense is very good. I think Georgia will be ready to play this week after the embarrassing loss to Vanderbilt two weeks ago and having extra time to prepare after a bye week. Points will be scarce in this game, but Florida gets Luke Del Rio back at quarterback which I think will help the Gators outscore Georgia.

Prediction: Florida 20, Georgia 15

Baylor RB Shock Linwood.
Baylor RB Shock Linwood.

No. 8 Baylor (6-0) at Texas (3-4)
Royal Texas Memorial Stadium
Austin, Texas
Line: BAY -3.5

In the previous two meetings, Texas has held Baylor’s offense to less than 60 points combined – the only team to do so in the Big 12. Even though the Longhorns have been horrifically bad on defense this season, they’ve been playing better ever since Charlie Strong took over the unit a few weeks ago. Strong’s back is against the wall and he’s coaching for his job, I feel like he’s got some tricks up his sleeve for this game. I haven’t been impressed with Baylor this season, and I think the Texas crowd helps the Longhorns to pull off the upset.

Prediction: Texas 49, Baylor 44

TCU RB Kyle Hicks.
TCU RB Kyle Hicks.

Texas Tech (3-4) at TCU (4-3)
Amon G. Carter Stadium
Fort Worth, Texas
Line: TCU -9.5

Both of these offenses have the capability to light up the scoreboard. I think Texas Tech wants revenge for the heart-breaking loss that TCU gave the Red Raiders last season. However, I don’t think Texas Tech has the defense to slow down TCU’s offense and win this game. The Horned Frogs are starting to get healthy and their defense is playing better. I think TCU slows down Patrick Mahomes and Texas Tech’s offense just enough to get the win.

Prediction: TCU 55, Texas Tech 45

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Northwestern (4-3) at No. 6 Ohio State (6-1)
Ohio Stadium
Columbus, Ohio
Line: OSU -27.5

Ohio State is coming off a very bad loss to Penn State, and I think Urban Meyer will have his team ready to play for this game. I love Pat Fitzgerald as a head coach, but Ohio State has too much talent and has home-field advantage. I like the Buckeyes to win big and get back on track on their quest for a Big Ten championship.

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Northwestern 16

Wisconsin WR Jazz Peavy.
Wisconsin WR Jazz Peavy.

No. 7 Nebraska (7-0) at No. 11 Wisconsin (5-2)
Camp Randall Stadium
Madison, Wis.
Line: WIS -8.5

The world can finally see just how good Nebraska really is this week. Up until this point, the Cornhuskers have only played two teams with a winning record, and haven’t beat a team by more than 15 points since week two against Wyoming. I think Wisconsin is the best two-loss team in the country. The Badgers play really good defense and I think the third time facing a top-10 opponent will be the charm.

Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Nebraska 16

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze.
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze.

No. 15 Auburn (5-2) at Ole Miss (3-4)
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Oxford, Miss.
Line: AUB -4

I think the injuries are starting to take a tole for Ole Miss. The Rebels haven’t beat anyone good this season and their season is starting to spiral out of control. Auburn is playing really good football right now – winners of four in a row. I think the Ole Miss crowd keeps the Rebels in the game, but I think Auburn’s defense will be too much for Chad Kelly.

Prediction: Auburn 27, Ole Miss 23

Florida State RB Dalvin Cook.
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook.

No. 3 Clemson (7-0) at No. 12 Florida State (5-2)
Doak Campbell Stadium
Tallahassee, Fla.
Line: CLEM -4

Even though Florida State’s defense has struggled this season, it’s been playing better the last two games – giving up just 25 points combined. I think Florida State’s defense will play well because of Clemson’s lack of an identity offensively, and it’s extra week of preparation. Jimbo Fisher has never lost to Clemson in Tallahassee, and I don’t think that’ll change this year. I think the Seminoles get the upset at home.

Prediction: Florida State 27, Clemson 24

Game of the week:

Utah head coach Kyle Wittingham.
Utah head coach Kyle Wittingham.

No. 4 Washington (7-0) at No. 17 Utah (7-1)
Rice-Eccles Stadium
Salt Lake City
Line: WASH -11

I’m not sure that Utah is that good because the Utes have struggled against lesser competition this season – like narrowly defeating USC, UCLA, and Oregon State, and losing to Cal. Rice-Eccles Stadium is one of the toughest venues in the Pac-12. I think Utah keeps the game close, but I think Jake Browning and Washington find a way to get it done on the road.

Prediction: Washington 34, Utah 28

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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