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National Preview: Week Nine

Depending on how you look at it, there's anywhere from one to four undefeated teams that are in serious jeopardy of losing their perfect record this weekend. If I had to bet, I think one of them will go down, but as always with college football, the second you come to expect something to happen, circumstances change.

Both Alabama and LSU are on their bye weeks, which is convenient because they'll need the time to prep for their game next weekend in Tuscaloosa. Perhaps you've heard about it.

As always, all times listed are Eastern.

The Headliners

(4) Stanford Cardinal @ (20) USC Trojans (8 pm, Saturday)
Line: Stan -7.5

One of the few areas of concern last week for the USC defense was that they weren't able to really corral Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert. While that didn't come back to hurt the Trojans in that game, if they don't do a better job of defending the TE then Stanford is going to run them out of their own stadium. The Stanford murder machine offense was on full display last week, as they put up over 60 points on a good Washington team. Even more impressive than the point total was how the Cardinal put the points up. Three running backs went for over 90 yards, and Andrew Luck picked yet another defense apart with play action and three TEs that will be playing in the NFL. USC has a chance to stay in the game because Stanford's secondary is fairly suspect, but I don't think it'll be enough. I'll be surprised if Stanford doesn't win by at least two touchdowns.

(11) Oklahoma Sooners @ (10) Kansas St. Wildcats (3:30 pm, Saturday)
Line: OU -13.5

A loss in this game would effectively remove the Sooners from the Big 12 title chase, and be a huge blow to their chances of securing a BCS at-large bid. Luckily for them, though, the Sooners have history on their side in this game. Oklahoma hasn't lost back to back Big 12 conference games since before Bob Stoops took over in Norman. It also helps that Kansas State won't be able to exploit the weaknesses in their defense like Texas Tech could, as K-State pretty much just runs the ball every play. The Wildcat defense will need to turn in another sterling performance for them to have any chance of knocking off Oklahoma, because their offense will not be able to keep up if the game turns into a shootout. I like the Sooners to get back on the right side of the wins column in a big way.

Worthy of your Consideration

Baylor Bears @ (3) Oklahoma St. Cowboys (3:30 pm, Saturday)
Line: OSU -14

Oklahoma State is a fun team to watch, and Baylor has Robert Griffin III. This game is going to be unbelievably fun based on that alone, it really doesn't matter what the score is.

(6) Clemson Tigers @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8 pm, Saturday)
Line: CU -3.5

At this point, it's probably safe to say that Clemson's undefeated run is one of the biggest surprises of the season. Georgia Tech always presents a difficult matchup, simply because the triple option can open up a defense like a tin can if the defense is unprepared. However, the Ramblin' Wreck have looked pretty bad recently, and I'm extremely skeptical that they'll be able to slow down Clemson's offense. Lord help me, I think I'm finally starting to believe in Clemson.

(14) South Carolina Gamecocks @ Tennessee Volunteers (7:15 pm, Saturday)
Line: USC -4

Both teams in this game are regular MASH units at this point. The Vols are without QB Tyler Bray and WR Justin Hunter, and the Gamecocks will be without RBs Marcus Lattimore and Bruce Ellington. I'll be very curious to see how Carolina responds in their first game after losing Lattimore for the season, because he was their offense. Don't expect a whole lot of scoring.

Missouri Tigers @ (16) Texas A&M Aggies (Noon, Saturday)
Line: A&M -15

These are two of the squirrelier teams in the country, and attempting to predict how this game will go is almost pointless. As soon as you think A&M can be counted on for a late game collapse, they go out and absolutely bury Baylor. Missouri seems to be a competent team, but can't quite seal the deal against teams with more talent. Just based on being at home, I think A&M should win, but if the Aggies don't lock down James Franklin and Henry Josey, anything is possible for the Tigers.

(22) Georgia Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators, in Jacksonville, FL (3:30 pm, Saturday)
Line: UGA -3

Georgia has a history of getting embarrassed at the Cocktail Party, but for the first time in a while they appear to be the better team. Florida is expected to get QB John Brantley back this week, but who knows how effective he'll be. I'm tempted to lean Florida here just because of the recent history, but I think Georgia is more than overdue to win one of these.

(25) West Virginia Mountaineers @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3:30 pm, Saturday)
Line: WVU -7

Eric LeGrand is leading Rutgers out of the tunnel. That alone is reason to watch this. Or the beginning at least.

Avert Your Eyes

Washington State Cougars @ (7) Oregon Ducks (3 pm, Saturday)
Line: UO -36.5

(8) Arkansas Razorbacks @ Vanderbilt Commodores (12:20 pm, Saturday)
Line: Piggy -10

(15) Virginia Tech Hokies @ Duke Blue Devils (Noon, Saturday)
Line: VT -15

Rice Owls @ (18) Houston Cougars (8 pm, Thursday)
Line: UH -27.5

Iowa St. Cyclones @ (19) Texas Tech Red Raiders (7 pm, Saturday)
Line: TTU -15

Colorado Buffaloes @ (23) Arizona St. Sun Devils (6:30 pm, Saturday)
Line: ASU -31

On bye week: (1) LSU, (2) Alabama, (5) Boise St., (24) Cincinnati

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