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Week 9 Football: What to Watch

A look at games that might pique your interest

Clemson v NC State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Well, it’s another week where I’m late getting this out as the NMSU-LT game has already wrapped up. The Aggies won that game by 3 to reach bowl eligibility for the second straight season, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished at New Mexico State since the 1960’s. Jerry Kill, Dave Doeren’s predecessor at Northern Illinois, is an amazingly good coach.

So, yes, you have all the CUSA action you can want on Tuesday and Wednesday, then some ACC and Sun Belt action on Thursday. That ACC game (Syracuse @ VT) is really of no consequence, except to get an advanced look at the Hokies, NC State’s Nov 18th opponent. That Georgia State vs Georgia Southern game is where it’s at, though. Even though both teams are a game back of James Madison in the Sun Belt East standings, the winner will actually have the inside track at the East division title since the Dukes aren’t eligible for the conference title (dumb rule, NCAA) and both teams have ODU (the other team with 1-loss in that division) remaining.

Find something else to do on Friday night. Go to a haunted house or something. That FAU-Charlotte game isn’t going to be worth it.

Saturday’s noon slate is really unappealing, but the mid-day slate is amazing.

Of course, it all starts with Clemson visiting NC State at 2:00pm. Despite there being no conference title aspirations at play - at least not unless some absurdness happens the rest of the year - but this should be a high intensity, hard fought game between two teams with excellent defenses.

Starting at 3:30pm, you get Georgia vs Florida in “the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party”, or whatever not-as-cool-as-that name they’re calling it now. You also get Duke @ Louisville in what is essentially an elimination game for the ACC Championship.

In another potential conference championship elimination game during the mid-day group of games, Utah hosts Oregon. The Utes appear to have finally found something of an offense over the last two weeks while the Ducks defense suddenly looks a bit shaky. Could - and should - be a great game.

And in one more potential conference championship elimination game - and in a game I’m sure I’ll be one of the few here keeping tabs on - Miami (OH) heads to Ohio to battle for the MAC east lead. Both teams have Buffalo, with whom they are tied atop the standings, left on their schedules.

As you get into the evening, Wyoming and Boise State face off in what is effectively yet another conference title elimination game with each team having a loss in MWC play and Air Force and UNLV each still sitting undefeated in conference play.

And in keeping with that theme, Troy and Texas State battle for the top of the Sun Belt West standings. If you haven’t been paying attention, first year head coach G.J. Kinne (yes, the former Tulsa QB) has the team just a single game shy of being bowl eligible for the first time since 2014.

Tennessee-Kentucky and tOSU-Wisconsin will get all the pub in the late night games, but let’s be real. While it might be a fun game to watch, neither the Vols nor the Wildcats are winning the SEC East (they each already have a pair of conference losses) and Ohio State is going to destroy Wisconsin. On the other hand, Old Dominion and their streak of six straight one-possession games plays at undefeated James Madison, a team led by former Chuck Amato assistant Curt Cignetti. That game should get your attention.

For the west coasters, insomniacs, and football junkies - or any convergence thereof - the Oregon State at Arizona game is going to be fantastic. It would be kinda humorous to see Clemson transfer D.J. Uiagalelei play for a conference title in a very strong Pac 12 the year after being the scapegoat for so many of Clemson’s offensive woes.

Go Wolfpack!

Rankings for SP+ Ratings and Sagarin Ratings listed, respectively, ahead of each team’s name.


92/120 New Mexico State @ 108/126 Louisiana Tech - 7:00pm - CBSSN

51/76 Lilberty @ 89/85 Western Kentucky - 7:30pm - ESPNU


94/114 Jacksonville State @ 123/165 Florida International - 7:00pm - CBSSN

122/147 UTEP @ 121/160 Sam Houston State - 8:00pm - ESPN2


48/58 Syracuse @ 66/69 Virginia Tech - 7:30pm - ESPN

71/78 Georgia State @ 87/91 Georgia Southern - 7:30pm - ESPN2


100/94 Florida Atlantic @ 124/132 Charlotte - 7:30pm - ESPN2


11/9 Florida State @ 63/72 Wake Forest - 12:00pm - ABC

9/6 Oklahoma @ 36/37 Kansas - 12:00pm - FOX

125/135 UConn @ 83/77 Boston College - 12:00pm - ACCN

19/20 Clemson @ 54/57 NC State - 2:00pm - CW

2/4 Georgia @ 30/36 Florida - 3:30pm - CBS

26/27 Duke @ 27/32 Louisville - 3:30pm - ESPN

56/46 BYU @ 6/7 Texas - 3:30pm - ABC

5/10 Oregon @ 24/18 Utah - 3:30pm - FOX

47/65 Pittsburgh @ 8/12 Notre Dame - 3:30pm - NBC

80/90 Virginia @ 23/28 Miami - 3:30pm - ACCN

79/88 Miami (OH) @ 84/84 Ohio - 3:30pm - CBSSN

78/73 Wyoming @ 67/59 Boise State - 5:30pm - FS2

81/86 Marshall @ 75/81 Coastal Carolina - 6:00pm - NFLN

16/14 Tennessee @ 25/45 Kentucky - 7:00pm - ESPN

52/53 Troy @ 88/112 Texas State - 7:00pm - ESPN+

4/2 Ohio State @ 28/23 Wisconsin - 7:30pm - NBC

22/21 North Carolina @ 74/92 Georgia Tech - 8:00pm - ACCN

99/108 Old Dominion @ 41/47 James Madison - 8:00pm - ESPNU

15/17 Oregon State @ 34/42 Arizona - 10:00pm - ESPN

82/87 UNLV @ 55/56 Fresno State - 10:30pm - FS1