October 27, 2017
By: Doug Heater

Heading into week 9 of the college football season, one might need a breather from the past few weeks, with upsets and close games a more common theme than not. No rest however, as week 9 gives us a handful of must watch games. Here is my Top 5.

    #5-USC vs. Arizona State. Yes, this one. A 10:45pm eastern time kick. Don’t go to sleep on this one. Here is a few reason’s that I picked this game. One, I will be attending it, so that is the biggest reason. Second, if your Washington, and still want a chance at making it to the College Football Playoff, I would think you would want ASU to keep winning, the only team to knock you off this season, and hope they represent the Pac 12 South in the championship game at 9-3, and you could avenge your only loss, much like Oregon did in 2014 to Arizona. Plus, ASU has won back to back Pac 12 games against Washington and Utah, and has looked pretty stout. USC still has plenty to play for, a possible 10-2 regular season and a shot at winning the Pac 12 title.

    #4-Georgia vs. Florida. What used to be called “The World”s largest outdoor cocktail party”. Some might say that this should be an easy game for the Bulldogs, my #2 team in the country. But watch out for Florida. Still an outside chance to win the SEC East, and a win over one of their biggest rivals would definitely right the ship, from what has been a rocky season. Georgia, coming off a bye week, should be rested, but the Gators have won the last 3 in this matchup. Georgia also has South Carolina and a road game against Auburn coming up the next two weeks. No chance however they look past the Gators who have lost to Michigan, LSU and Texas A&M this season. The last two by a combined 3 points.

    #3-TCU vs. Iowa State. Can’t believe I’m saying that, but have you actually seen how good ISU has played this season? The “upset” win over Oklahoma is just one notch on their belt. I still think that the Horned Frogs are the most complete team in the Big 12, they run the ball and play defense, something that we are not accustomed to in that conference. However, this will be a tough atmosphere to play in this Saturday, and could go a long way in setting up TCU on their way to a possible title run. Iowa State has only one win in the series with the Frogs, a 37-23 victory in 2006. TCU has Texas and at Oklahoma the next two weeks. Good luck.

    #2-N.C. State vs. Notre Dame. Who honestly thought this would have this much riding on it back in August? The Wolfpack is coming off a bye, and has an actual league game next Saturday against Clemson on their mind. They have won 6 straight since losing on the opening weekend to South Carolina, which includes a road win over Florida State, and most recently a home victory over Lamar Jackson and Louisville 39-25. The biggest question for N.C State is have they built the kind of program that can win in back to back weeks against quality competition? This is easily their biggest game under Dave Doeren, and might be the biggest game in some 5 to 10 years. For the Irish, can they maintain the same emotion that carried them through a pasting last week of USC? This game last season was played in a hurricane, literally, and forced head coach Brian Kelly to be questioned about some of the decisions that he made. No question’s lately, winning has quieted the critics, and another win places Notre Dame squarely in the playoff conversation, if last week’s win didn’t already do that.

    #1-Penn State vs. Ohio State. I think regardless of either team’s record coming into this game, we would consider this to be the highlighter of the weekend. After what happened last year with the blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, then Ohio State making it into the playoff and Penn State left out, what more can you ask for? Oh, and you have two Heisman Trophy candidates on each side of the field in Saquan Barkley for PSU, and J.T.Barrett for the Buckeyes. The winner is of course not assured of anything, but it will go a long way in setting up whichever team that is, to go to the playoff. Each team still has pesky Michigan State on the schedule, Penn State has them next week, and of course Ohio State still has Michigan left at the end of the year. This one could be one of the biggest games of the season, and quite possibly one of the best regular season games in quite some time. 

    Enjoy the games this weekend, I know I will. I will take a look next at my top 10 teams in the country, and just in case you haven’t peaked ahead to the week 10 slate, do that, it is outstanding.