College Football Week 9 Picks
Oklahoma’s defense has given up an average of just 12 points per game this season. Can they keep that up versus Texas this weekend? (Photo via Oklahoma State Athletics)

The college football season is cruising along, as we have now reached Week 9 on Halloween weekend. All kinds of spooky events have occurred so far. For one thing, Alabama has another Heisman caliber quarterback Mac Jones. Who expected that? Also, where did Zach Wilson come from? The formerly unknown BYU signal-caller has played like the best quarterback in college football.

We’ve seen some top teams, such as Oklahoma, Texas, and Penn State stumble. Meanwhile, teams like Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, and BYU have garnered national attention for their play thus far. There have certainly been some tricks to this season, especially due to the constant schedule changes because of COVID-19 (apologies for my senseless Halloween puns).

Onto Week 9, I am 4-2-1 in the past two Saturdays. I fell for the sucker’s bet by picking Minnesota last weekend but have connected on most of my other picks. Week 9 offers a few solid games, including Ohio State vs. Penn State and the Michigan vs. Michigan State rivalry. However, neither of those games are in the forecast for my picks. Let’s dive into the three games to bet on in Week 9.

NOTRE DAME (-20.0) vs. GEORGIA TECH

Notre Dame has been a confusing team this season. One week they go out and score 40+ points, and then the next, they score 12. Ian Book is a wild card under center, but the Notre Dame offensive line, skill positions, and defense all seem legit. On the road against a weak Georgia Tech team, I believe that the Fighting Irish should thrive once again. Last week, they destroyed a Pittsburgh defense discussed as one of the best in the country. I’m banking on a similar performance from Ian Book and Co. Give me Notre Dame by three touchdowns in their Saturday showdown versus the Yellow Jackets.

OKLAHOMA STATE (-3.5) vs. TEXAS

Who would have thought the best team in the BIG 12 would be led by their defense. The Cowboys defense is allowing an average of 12 points per game. Additionally, Oklahoma State’s starting quarterback Spencer Sanders has returned from injury, giving them a significant boost on the offensive end. Hubbard has performed adequately thus far, and weapons Tylan Wallace and Dillon Stoner should have a good day against a shaky Texas secondary.

The Texas offense has been very inconsistent this season and may struggle if Oklahoma State’s defense comes to play. This game will determine whether the Cowboys defense is for real or a product of a weak schedule. However, a home matchup against the Longhorns favors Oklahoma State. Sanders should lead the Cowboys to at least 30 points, and the defense could keep this one out of reach. For my headline pick, give me Oklahoma State by at least a score over Texas.

ILLINOIS (+7.5) vs. PURDUE

Is this the Lovie Smith upset game we’ve all been waiting for? Not quite, as Purdue is not as talented as Penn State, Michigan, or Ohio State. However, I think this program can win big games, this game being one of them. Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters struggled in a game against Wisconsin last week that got out of hand quickly. Still, I’d like to see more of Brandon Peters, as I think he could compete to be one of the better signal-callers in the Big Ten.

Purdue had a big win in their opener against Iowa last weekend, led by their defense. David Bell will be a tough challenge for the Illinois secondary, but another game without Rondale Moore might be challenging for the Boilermakers. The Illini defeated Purdue last season and have the capability to do it again. Although talented, Purdue’s defense is nothing close to Wisconsin’s. Illinois should have a much easier time moving the ball and getting scores. For my upset pick of Week 9, give me Illinois over Purdue with the spread.

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