Major Shakeup Ahead? Week 9 College Football Preview
We’re getting down to the nitty gritty of the college football season, and this week could provide a massive shakeup, as three unbeaten teams all face exceptionally tough road games. Let’s jump on in.
1) #2 Oregon at USC— There’s been a lot of talk that this is USC’s “National Championship” game, what with those pesky bowl bans in effect. Ok, I’ll buy that, but USC’s ability to score makes this interesting. The Trojans have an elite offense that averages 37 points a game, which makes them well-suited to keep up with Oregon’s blur offense. Let’s face it: No team is likely to shut down the Ducks with less than a week’s prep time, so you’ve gotta outscore them. Oregon’s defensive numbers look good, but they allowed 600 yards to Arizona State and 520 to Stanford, so teams can move the ball on them. The Trojans should be OK for a half; Oregon tends to let teams hang around, but the Ducks usually turn on the jets in the second half.
2) #5 Michigan State at #18 Iowa— I’m not totally sure what outcome would constitute an upset here. Michigan State is ranked higher and unbeaten, but the game is in Iowa City, and most of what I read has the Hawkeyes as the favorite. The Spartans will get a boost from the reinstatement of top cornerback Chris L. Rucker, who recently served jail time, but Iowa’s got a quarterback in Ricky Stanzi who has only thrown two interceptions all season. Iowa’s stout defense has been gashed for 59 points in two weeks, but their defensive line remains top notch and should carry them to a win over State.
3) #6 Missouri at #14 Nebraska— See my opening for MSU-Iowa. Missouri’s coming off a program-defining win over Oklahoma, while Nebraska’s offense got back on track with a 51-point showing against Oklahoma State (not that scoring on Oklahoma State is difficult this season). The Tigers are poised to go 12-0 if they win this game, although they’d still have to win the Big 12 Title game. Much like Michigan State, this game is the Tigers’ last major test of the regular season, so if they pull off the win, things are going to get very interesting in the BCS.
Other interesting games: Florida vs. Georgia, #9 Utah at Air Force, #1 Auburn at Mississippi