Is it a Quiet Week? Or Will Some Big Upsets Hit? – Week 9 Preview

A Pac-12 Elimination Game, A Possible Upset in the Big 12, and An ACC Matchup with Title Implications.

It’s not the greatest college football weekend if we’re being honest here. I’ll be watching games, but there is no national needle mover like OSU-PSU or Bama-Texas. In a normal year that game this week would be Florida-Georgia, and that game is still good this week, but Florida is down enough right now that the game doesn’t have the same weight to it. I think the same can be said for OSU-Wisco with Bucky being down for the last 2-3 years. 

Even though there aren’t massive name-brand games, there are games with postseason and long-term implications. The games I talk about this week will, or could affect multiple conference title races. And maybe some upsets happen. Upsets tend to strike when no one sees them coming (that’s why it’s an upset). I think it’s safe to say no one saw UNC blowing it to Virginia last week. Who could go down this week?

I have my picks for the week down below.  It was a little rough last week; I went 3-5, but I was 0.5 pts away from 4-4. It may have been risky picking the Wisconsin game as my favorite, but I just thought they would come through for me. I’m still hovering above .500, but just barely. One of these weeks I’ll have a good slip. 

What’s Happening this Weekend? 

I’ll be watching football for most of the morning and even early afternoon. But by 5:30ish I’ll be headed to Camp Randall for the monumental night game vs. An Ohio State. But there are other interesting games this weekend, and I have things to say about them.

  • Odds listed refer to spreads taken from FanDuel at the time of writing

11:00 AM CST: Not a Lot Going On

Maybe we get an upset on Saturday morning? Other than that, I don’t have a ton of excitement for the morning games. This might be quick, but let’s cover what’s going on in the AM. 

6 Oklahoma at Kansas (+9.5) 

This is the best game of the morning. I don’t think that’s debatable. But whyyy is it the best game of the morning?

  • Is it because it’s Kansas’s homecoming game? Nope.
  • How about because Oklahoma is a top 10 team and fun to watch? Fair point, but not that either.
  • Is it the electric atmosphere of a sold-out Kansas game? Okay, that’s just a funny sentence.

This is the game of the morning because Oklahoma will drop a game eventually. And on the road in conference is a prime opportunity for the loss to show itself.

I don’t want to call Oklahoma frauds, per se. But they are not the same caliber of team as Georgia, Michigan, OSU, Washington, etc. They can’t run the ball. They don’t play great defense. And did you see the game vs. UCF last week? UCF is not great, and they were a 2-pt play away from sending that game to OT.

This game is about Oklahoma, and whether or not they can continue winning games despite their flaws.

What to Watch By Conference at 11AM:

I would not blame you for sleeping in this Saturday. Maybe you catch the end of the 11AM games to see some upsets / wild finishes. But, if you’re like me, you are going to watch something. Most of us watch games based on the conference “our team” is in. Well here’s what your options are by conference. 

Big 12:
West Virginia at UCF (-7) 

If Oklahoma is blowing out Kansas, like they think they will, then this game should serve as an adequate backup. It should be a fun, high-scoring, competitive Big 12 matchup in the Bounce House. It has no bearing on the playoff or Big 12 Title game, but it should be an entertaining watch. 

4 Florida State at Wake Forest (+20.5) 

So Oklahoma is on upset alert this morning, loud and clear. Is FSU also on upset watch? There was a massive upset in the ACC last week (sorry UNC). The Noles are on the road, and they’ve lost their last 3 vs. the Demon Deacons. Maybe there’s more ACC chaos brewing.

I’ll say it’s not likely.

South Carolina at Texas A&M (-15.5) 

The Gamecocks are bad, like, really really bad. BUT, Texas A&M has only 3 of its 4 mandated losses. SEC folks have been calling them Texas 8&4 for a while now; since 2013 that’s their go-to record they know how to finish the regular season with – well, except last year’s 5-7.

A&M should win, but it’s the SEC, so anyone not named Vanderbilt can win. 

Big Ten:
Maryland at Northwestern (+13.5) 

Maryland is good. Northwestern is bad. But NW beat Minnesota, and Maryland lost to Illinois. The middle of the B1G is confusing. I expect the Turtles to win, but maybe NW will pull a win out of a hat at home. 

N/A – Sleep in

There are no morning Pac-12 games. Good for the fans out west, no one should have to deal with a 9AM local kickoff. Just tailgate and get ready for the big afternoon game coming up next. 

Game of the Week 

This is not the 1st time I have declared “Game of the Week” to be in the Pac-12, and it won’t be the last. This conference’s swan song is full of hyped, ranked matchups in fan-filled, raucous stadiums. This matchup is between future Big 12 and B1G heavyweights, but today it’s for a shot at the Pac-12 Championship game. 

8 Oregon at 13 Utah (+6.5) 

Where to start? I’ve already talked about these teams quite a bit this season. How about I lead with the home team? 

Utah is always underrated. They are playing their 3rd string QB, and it doesn’t matter, they still managed to beat USC. Actually, it’s fitting to say they own USC and Lincoln Riley. They’ve beaten him (them) at home, on the road, and at a neutral site. 3-0 in the last 2 years, pure domination. 

Let’s linger on the “at home” part of that trifecta. I’ve called Husky Stadium in Seattle the best home-field advantage in the Pac-12. Eugene probably has something to say about that, but Utah has actual numbers on their side to prove me wrong. Throw out the COVID year (there were no fans in the stands) and what is Utah’s home winning streak? 

27 games. Yeah, 27 consecutive home victories (if we throw out 2020), that’s a lot. If you average 7 home games per year, that’s about 4 years without losing a home game. 

Oregon has their work cut out for them.

To me, this doesn’t end there though. QB is clearly in Oregon’s favor. Both teams play good defense, and both teams can run the ball, but Oregon has the better QB. Every program in the country would take Bo Nix over Bryson Barnes (maybe not Iowa, they are allergic to points). 

Another thought. How do I (and you) think Oregon compares to USC? Because Utah and USC were very evenly matched for most of the game last week. If Oregon really is a cut above USC, then wouldn’t they also be a cut above Utah? Just a thought.

Whoever wins this game will be one step closer to the Pac-12 title game (vs probably Washington). The loser is probably out of it. It’ll only be their second conference loss, but this is a loaded conference. Plus both losses will be to teams in contention to make the title game, which does not bode well when tiebreakers are applied.

Hopefully, the Pac-12 delivers another great one on Saturday afternoon.

2 More 2:30 Games

So Oregon at Utah is the main event, but there are some other games at 2:30 worth watching. I’ll be brief, but consider these games for channel flipping or your second screen. 

The Cocktail Party:
1 Georgia vs. Florida (+14.5) 

I love rivalries, therefore, I have to care about this game. Not a lot, but at least a little. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is a staple SEC matchup that must be played every year forevermore (Even after the SEC expands and threatens to bench multiple rivalries in order to maintain an 8 game conference schedule). Sorry for the tangent. 

Anyway, this game has Graham Mertz, and he’s playing way better than he did at Wisconsin. If he beats Georgia, it will hurt me, yet strangely, I don’t think I’ll be surprised. Georgia is still a big favorite. I think Georgia drops a game this season, I’m just not sure this is the week to call upset. 

It would be cool if they stopped playing this game in Jacksonville and changed it to a home and home series. I’m sure the fans and season ticket holders would love to see this rivalry matchup in their own backyards one day. 

The ACC Championship Race:
20 Duke at 18 Louisville (-4.5) 

With UNC losing to Virginia last week, there is a clear 3-team race for the 2nd spot in the ACC Championship game (FSU gets the 1st spot).

Louisville, Duke, and UNC all sit at one conference loss a piece and have not played each other yet. 

Louisville’s schedule is weird, they don’t play FSU or UNC this year, so winning now would put them way ahead in the 3 team race. Duke on the other hand has already played FSU (and lost), and they play UNC later this season. If the Blue Devils win this Saturday, then Duke vs. UNC football will have implications usually reserved for hardwood. 

This is also a ranked vs. ranked match, which is pretty scarce this week. Maybe check it out if you’ve got time. 

Primetime: B1G, SEC, or Pac-12

Primetime. The time for big games and legendary home environments. Well… the big games part is true, but I don’t know about the home environments this week. The 1st game I’ve listed will absolutely deliver, it’s the other 2 I have my doubts about. 

3 Ohio State at Wisconsin (+14.5) 

This upset potential is there. OSU is a monster, but special things can happen at Camp Randall. Check out our full preview of the game in this week’s Wisco Wednesday.  

21 Tennessee at Kentucky (+3.5) 

I think Georgia is winning the SEC East, you think Georgia is winning the SEC East, so why are we talking about an SEC East game without Georgia?


  •  It’s a rivalry game.
  •  It should be a good game. 
  • Kentucky isn’t “supposed” to be good at football, so it’s cool when they are.

“Good game” is relative. Good means the score should be close, not that it will be high scoring (in this case). Both teams have rush-first offenses, and both teams have great defensive lines. This will look like SEC football circa 1995.

Colorado at 23 UCLA (-16.5) 

After a bye week, Deion is back. Do I think Deion will win? No. Does that matter to Deion? Also no. Colorado is easily the most volatile team of all time. It feels like they can win every game, and they’ve proven they can lose every game. 

Two-way player Travis Hunter was back for the Stanford collapse and was phenomenal on offense. Unfortunately, he looked a little gassed on defense in the 2nd half, and that contributed to the loss. I guess one is bound to get a little tired when you play 154 snaps in 1 game of football. I look forward to seeing what he does after a week of rest. 

UCLA has 2 conference losses, that should make them out of the Pac-12 title race… should. Here’s the thing, it doesn’t. They don’t have to play Oregon or Washington this year. If they just keep winning their games, maybe a weird tie-breaker goes their way at the end of all this. Chip Kelly’s got to embrace his inner Dory. Just keep winning.

Sneaky Good Game After Dark

I don’t cover after dark football all the time, usually because the games are bad, but also because I don’t want to be up that late every Saturday. This week should be an exception. I’ll want something to do after the Badger night game, and wherever I am I hope this game is on. 

11 Oregon State at Arizona (+3.5) 

Arizona is a real football team. I know the Pac-12 is loaded, and we can’t act like every team has a shot to win the conference, but Arizona can certainly affect who won’t win it. 

They absolutely found a gem in QB Noah Fifita. 34/43 and 342 yards against Wazzou last week was no fluke. Arizona’s last 3 games: lost to Washington by 7, took USC to Overtime, and obliterated WSU 44-6. Toss some respect Arizona’s way.

Oregon State, be afraid. In the preseason I had Oregon State making the Pac-12 title game. I’m not backing down from that prediction, but this game has me worried. The Beavers have not been the same team on the road as they have been at home. 

The defense is giving up:

  • 32 points per game on the road. 
  • 12 points per game at home. 

That is a massive split. Either the D has to fix that, or QB DJ Uiagalelei will have to put the team on his shoulders in Tucson. Or option 3, Arizona hands a playoff contender their 2nd loss. Whatever happens, I expect this to be a great game after dark.  

Spread Picks*:

3-5 last week was not very good. I was right there with Air Force; I had them -11.5 and they won by 11. Can’t win them all. This week I only have 6 picks. It’s a little light, but I think I’ll do a little better if I only pick the top of my list. Let’s see how it goes. 

Houston at Kansas State (-16.5)
The real Kansas State has shown up in the last couple of weeks. They blew the doors off TCU last week; they’ll do the same to Houston this week.

Oregon (-6.5) at Utah 
Utah could win this game… I just think Oregon is the better team. By a lot

Purdue at Nebraska (-2.5)
Purdue is bad. Nebraska is improving every week under 1st year coach Matt Rhule. The Cornhuskers take care of business at home.

Wyoming (+5.5) at Boise State – Upset Pick
Wyoming is really freaking good. Boise State is having a down year. Yes, they’ll be playing on the blue turf, but the wrong team is favored.

Tennessee at Kentucky (+3.5) – Upset Pick
Never pick anyone the week after they play at Alabama. Tennessee loses to Bama twice, i.e. Kentucky wins this game.

Cincinnati at Oklahoma State (-7.5) – Favorite Pick
Mike Gundy flipped a switch about 3 weeks ago. It makes no sense. OK State went from dreadful to explosive overnight. Cincinnati has been a letdown all year. And I’ve read reports that team morale is low. I expect the Cowboys to win by 30. 

How I’ve Done so far this Season:

Upset Picks must be +3 or greater to be “Upsets”

Favorite Picks: 5-4 (Finally got a favorite right)
Upset Picks: 3-6 (Upset of the week was UNC, I did not see that coming)
Total Record ATS: 33-32-1 (3-5 last week – back to losing)

*These picks are to express my opinion on games from a point spread perspective. I am not advocating for you, the reader, to gamble on any of these games. Please bet responsibly.

Want more Walk On Fan? Check out my Top 25 ballot from earlier this week and tell me where I was right, and where I was wrong. Okay, I know how this works, just tell me the teams I have ranked wrong.

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This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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