2019 NCAAF Week 9 Weekend Preview

October 26, 2019

A cardinal rule of journalism was broken on Around The Corn last week…

To those that read my preview of the Clemson-Louisville game, it’s pretty obvious. To those that didn’t, it’s a simple one: check your frickin’ work.

Around The Corn has been balling on a budget since its inception, so K. Becks the mediocre writer is also K. Becks the below average editor. The only divergence from this was a short time in college when AP style tips were bestowed upon me from both classes and Bleacher Report folks. And yes, I understand how ridiculous the latter part of that sounds.

Unfortunately, things didn’t fare much better for me in the head-to-head prediction battle. Thanks to my gaffe and Louisville’s subsequent poor performance against Clemson, Keegan held bragging rights at the end of the weekend. The overall standings as of this week:

K. Becks – 27-14

Guests – 28-13

As we enter the last weekend of October, my buddy Ryan will join the blog to take his shot at increasing the lead for the guests.

Although we haven’t truly witnessed a weekend full of chaos yet, it does feel like we’ll have to wait until after the next calendar turn in order to get it.

As we take a look at the top games this week, let me know if you agree with that statement.

5 Games to Watch This Weekend

#13 Wisconsin at #3 Ohio State (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

What’s to make of the Wisconsin offense posting just 156 yards, second lowest total of the season for the Badgers, against the Big Ten’s second worst run defense? Frankly, Paul Chryst’s team has bigger issues. Yes, the stifling of a freight train offense is cause for concern for Wisconsin, as rushing touchdowns have accounted for 24 of its 37 total this season. But the defense, which is statistically phenomenal but allowed a weak Illini offense to run a balanced approach to victory last Saturday, should be shaking in its boots in anticipation of having to face the Buckeyes.

There isn’t a more complete offense in the country than Ryan Day’s, which is currently No. 5 in the country overall and No. 3 in terms of rushing yards per game. The dual threat ability of Justin Fields is overshadowed by the fact that he hasn’t needed to show off his legs much, both because of his passing skills and because of the resurgence of J.K. Dobbins and emergence of Master Teague. Wisconsin will have trouble stopping this offense, and its own offense will find it more difficult to run than it did against Illinois. Shocking, right?

My Pick: 34-20 Ohio State

Ryan’s Take: Ryan Day is a cold blooded killer and Ohio State is rolling. OSU’s front 8 on defense are the key to this game, if they can shut down the run game and force Wisco to throw the ball it will be a good ole fashioned ass whooping.

My pick: OSU

Gambling pick: OSU -14

#9 Auburn at #2 LSU (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The SEC is setting itself up to have a No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup before the Playoff any way you slice it, but Auburn will look to put an end to that talk on Saturday afternoon. With only the Florida loss on its record, the visiting Tigers still have an outside shot to climb back into contention before the first Playoff rankings are even released. But in order to do that, Auburn will need to be far better at taking care of the football than it was in its last Top 10 matchup.

To keep pace with the SEC’s most potent offense, Auburn will need to take advantage of every offensive possession it gets. And that means don’t turn the ball over four times. LSU has committed just five turnovers this entire season, so Gus Malzahn’s offense is unlikely to be bailed out by sloppy play from Ed Orgeron’s squad. Although this is the same offense that was being praised just a few weeks ago as one that had been rejuvenated by Malzahn’s playcalling, by weekend’s end a very different tune may be sung by the Auburn faithful. Expect the home team to win this game rather comfortably.

My Pick: 27-13 LSU

Ryan’s Take: Joey Burrows has turned into college football’s premier quarterback and it is awesome! The Athens, Ohio product is shattering records at LSU and continues to not only beat teams but cover spreads like it’s his job. Coach O will have the boys ready to go on Saturday.

My pick: LSU

Gambling pick: LSU -10.5

#15 Texas at TCU (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

Texas looked very shaky against Kansas at home last weekend, needing a last second field goal by Dicker the Kicker to break the hearts of Jayhawks fans that had already earned that potential happiness for just continuing to don the crimson and blue during football season. At this point, it’s no secret that Texas’s defense isn’t good enough to warrant Playoff conversation, but what happens to the Longhorns against a team with a solid defense and suspect offense? We’re about to find out.

The Horned Frogs are where they’re most comfortable, atop the Big 12 in total defense while struggling to move the football on offense at a rate similar to their peers. Unfortunately, this hasn’t led to the kind of success that Gary Patterson has hoped for in-conference, as TCU has started 1-2 in league play. While the defensive numbers are good, the best games for the Horned Frogs come against competition not nearly the caliber of Texas. It has been a sobering past couple of weeks for Longhorns fans, but Tom Herman’s crew will get the job done on the road this Saturday and further damage TCU’s defensive averages.

My Pick: 42-20 Texas

Ryan’s Take: I have no idea how this game is a Pick em’. Texas is getting back to being a good program and TCU has lost to KSU, SMU and ISU. I guess Vegas probably knows something we don’t, but I just don’t see how TCU can pull this one off, especially with the ugly ass jersey they are rocking this weekend.

My Pick: Texas

Gambling pick: Texas

Tulane at Navy (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

There are a lot of AAC games coming up this season that will fly under the radar because one or both teams will be unranked, but the truth is that the conference is harboring a lot of solid football programs. Two of them will face off against each other in Annapolis on Saturday afternoon, where first downs could be hard to come by. This isn’t to say that the Midshipment and Green Wave can’t move the football – both can do so. But the way in which they do is in direct competition with what each defense does best.

Navy and Tulane are first and second, respectively, in the AAC in rushing yards per game. Not surprisingly, Navy is the national leader in rushing offense and has been enjoying a resurgence of sorts behind senior quarterback Malcolm Perry. His 14 touchdowns leads the conference and is a testament to his ability to run the triple option offense extremely effectively. On the other side, Tulane’s Justin McMillan is talented enough as a passer to keep the Navy defense honest. If McMillan has success through the air, the Navy defense may soften up enough to allow Tulane to gash the Midshipmen via the run. It will require a balanced performance to knock off Navy at home.

My Pick: 30-27 Navy

Ryan’s Take: This is a great matchup of unranked teams that have both put together a great season. Both teams have solid wins and close losses against Power 5 teams. The big x-factor here is that Navy is a very run heavy offense and Tulane has a stout run defense that is only giving up 95 yards a game. If Tulane can take Navy out of its comfort zone and make them throw the ball, they can come out with a big win.

My Pick: Tulane

Gambling Pick: Over 56.5

#8 Notre Dame at #19 Michigan (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET)

The Wolverines return to the Big House for a Saturday night matchup with the Fighting Irish, the first game under the lights in Ann Arbor since the two schools clashed in 2013. It will be tough for this one to match the excitement of the 2013 battle, but for it to come anywhere close Michigan will have to find a way to score more points than it did the last time it played at home. Unfortunately, points have come at a premium against the best competition that Michigan has faced this season.

While it would be easy to make the argument that rumors of Jim Harbaugh’s seat heating up would be enough for the Wolverines to come out and play inspired, the reasoning for Michigan having a good shot at the upset in this one runs deeper than that. Notre Dame’s offense has been inconsistent this season, despite Ian Book’s solid play. The Fighting Irish don’t run the ball well enough to salt the game away if they get an early lead, and Michigan’s offense adjusted decently well in the second half of last weekend’s game. Expect Notre Dame to have the upper hand early, but Michigan’s defense will clamp down late and help secure a close victory.

My Pick: 23-21 Michigan

Ryan’s Take: I hate both of these teams. This is one of those games that will be fun to watch because either way one of these teams is walking away with a loss. I do think that Notre Dame is a more solid team than Michigan is. Mostly because Michigan is a bunch of frauds and Shea Patterson can’t throw. Michigan is about to lose in the big house to another rival and Harbaugh is going to be sending out his resume to NFL teams.

My pick: ND

Gambling pick: ND PK

5 Games to Flip To

#5 Oklahoma at Kansas State (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

Another weekend, another team that will try to stop Oklahoma’s offense. At least this weekend’s challenger boasts the Big 12’s best pass defense…

#6 Penn State at Michigan State (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

It wasn’t as easy as ATC thought it would be, but the Nittany Lions still got things done against Michigan. Now it’s time for revenge against the Michigan school that was able to upset Penn State last season.

Central Florida at Temple (Saturday, 7 PM ET)

Catching Cincinnati will be tough given the way the Bearcats have played this season, but this is a must win game for two teams looking to keep pace in the AAC East.

California at #12 Utah (Saturday, 10 PM ET)

How well Justin Wilcox’s defense can contain Zach Moss and the Pac-12’s leading rushing offense will determine how close this game is in the fourth quarter.

Utah State at Air Force (Saturday, 10:15 PM ET)

The balance of power has clearly swung to the Mountain division of the MWC this season, where both teams are fighting for positioning at the top of the standings along with, not surprisingly, Boise State.

In the past, I’ve asked readers to let me know if they’d like to be guests on Around The Corn to make weekly college football picks. And while that invite still stands (email kbecks@aroundthecorn.com or message me on Facebook or Twitter if interested), the truth is that I’m basically asking friends and family on a weekly basis. Writing is a passion of mine, as is commenting on sports. But sharing those two passions with others are what has always made this worthwhile. So tell me what you think of the site and let me know what could be done better, or what would make you come back without prompting. I’d really appreciate it.

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