Week Nine Games to Watch
October 26, 2013 in Uncategorized
By PJ Moran
Here are the top five games to watch for Week 9 of the 2013 college football season:
5. Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama
Tennessee has the unfortunate task of traveling to Alabama for this SEC battle. The Volunteers are coming off of their best win of the season, a 23-21 defeat of then #11 South Carolina. Tennessee did nothing special on offense, but the defense stepped up and flustered Connor Shaw. They are now 4-3 and look to be in bowl game contention. Alabama, on the other hand, is 7-0 and has not been tested in weeks. Besides the Texas A&M game, the Alabama defense has not given up more than ten points in a single game. When fans leaving early is your team’s biggest concern, you know things are going pretty well.
Tennessee has played very well against ranked teams this season, but this game will not be close. Alabama is one of the toughest places to play in the country, and they just so happen to be the nation’s best team too. Look for Alabama to keep Tennessee’s score in single digits.
4. No. 21 South Carolina at No. 5 Missouri
It’s pretty obvious by now that Missouri is no fluke. The Tigers knocked off a ranked opponent for the second week in a row, and they did so without their starting quarterback. Maty Mauk filled in nicely for the injured James Franklin, and Henry Josey had a huge game on the ground. The real story of this Missouri team though is the defense. It’s ironic that these two teams are playing this week, because Michael Sam has been having the season for Missouri that everyone though Jadeveon Clowney would have for South Carolina. Clowney has been only one of the struggles for the Gamecocks this season. Connor Shaw has had an up-and-down season, and his status for this game is in doubt after he sprained his knee in a loss last week against Tennessee. It will be up to running back Mike Davis to carry the offense in this one.
The wild ride for Mizzou will continue after this one. This game matches up one of the nation’s hottest teams against one of it’s coldest. To throw salt on the wound for South Carolina, this game is being played in Missouri. Although this is a game between ranked teams, it’s setting up to be a blowout.
3. No. 12 UCLA at No. 3 Oregon
UCLA surprised the nation by storming out of the gates to a 5-0 record, but Stanford handed them a reality check last week in the form of a 24-10 drubbing. Brett Hundley, who looked like a Heisman candidate before the game, could not get any rhythm going and threw two costly interceptions. He’ll look to rebound in this one, but Oregon’s defense is tough. The real story for Oregon though is their offense. They casually scored 62 points last week against Washington State, and Marcus Mariota has emerged as the Heisman frontrunner. Somehow, despite their absolute dominance this season, the Ducks fell one spot in the rankings. They’ll set out to prove why they are one of the nation’s best two teams in this one.
If UCLA thought playing at Stanford was tough, then they are in for a treat this week. Oregon’s offense simply cannot be stopped right now. Marcus Mariota has been nearly perfect all season long, and the running game is the second best in the nation. UCLA is a very good team, but this game might make them look like a peewee squad. The Ducks will roll.
2. No. 6 Stanford at No. 25 Oregon State
These might be two ranked Pac-12 teams, but they could not be any different. Stanford is a conservative offensive team that plays tough defense, while Oregon State airs the football out better than anyone in the nation. Last week the Cardinal defense shut down UCLA’s offense and Kevin Hogan managed the game brilliantly. However, if Stanford wants to win at Oregon State then Hogan will have to step it up. Ever since their shocking opening day loss at the hands of Eastern Washington, Oregon State has been on an absolute tear. Sean Mannion has already thrown for almost 3,000 yards and has put himself in Heisman contention, while wide receive Brandin Cooks is on pace for a record-breaking season. Oregon State’s offense has been an unstoppable force, while Stanford’s defense has been an immovable object. We’ll see what happens when they square off.
Edge: Oregon State
Upset alert! In what should be an instant classic, I’m taking Oregon State to pull it off in the last minute. The Cardinal defense might be able to slow down the Mannion-Cooks combo, but at the end of the day they will not be able to completely stop it. With this game being played at Oregon State, I like the Beavers in a close one.
1. No. 10 Texas Tech at No. 15 Oklahoma
The game of the week is a Big 12 showdown between Texas Tech and Oklahoma. The Red Raiders have shocked the nation by storming into the top ten behind their perfect 7-0 record. They boast the nation’s second best passing attack, and freshman Davis Webb has filled in admirably behind center. In his first two starts, he has thrown for almost 900 yards. After a crushing defeat in the Red River Rivalry, Oklahoma rebounded strongly with a win over Kansas last week. Blake Bell played well, throwing for two touchdowns and running for 53 yards. The real story behind Oklahoma’s success though is their defense. The nation’s ninth-ranked unit will have to play their best if they want to stop the machine that is Texas Tech’s offense.
The undefeated ride will come to end for the Red Raiders after this one. Texas Tech, and especially Davis Webb, has not seen a team like Oklahoma all year. The Sooners defense should torment Webb all game, and Blake Bell will put up points against a defense that has not played well the past two weeks. Add in that this game is being played in Norman, and the Sooners will take it.