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How To Football: Week 9

LSU sits front and center this weekend.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 LSU at Mississippi State Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We are without Wednesday night Fun Belt this week as we’re back to the standard Thursday-Saturday spread.

GameDay is doing their yearly FCS game, broadcasting live from Brookings, South Dakota. I’ll tell you why in a bit.

All rankings SP+.

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Death By SMU SMU Shift

  • SMU-Houston: Thanks to Boise State losing to BYU last week, the Mustangs are the class of the G5 and in the driver’s seat in the AAC West. They have yet to score less than 37 points in a game, and that was in the first game of the season on the road at Arkansas State. Houston, who appears to be simming the rest of the season and shipping their good players to 2020, has the 103rd ranked defense.
  • Jackson State-Prairie View A&M: This week’s HBCU spotlight shines on the SWAC when 3-4 (2-2) Prairie View hosts 2-5 (1-1) Jackson State.

Montez and Mel Shift

  • Colgate-Dartmouth: This week’s Ivy League spotlight shines on conference co-leaders Dartmouth (5-0, 2-0) hosting 2-3 (1-1) Columbia.
  • USC-Colorado: Since upsetting Arizona State 34-31, Colorado has dropped three straight to Arizona, Oregon, and Washington State. After the fluky win over Nebraska was followed with a loss to Air Force, it’s pretty obvious that Mel Tucker is going to need a minute to properly turn around the Buffs. Still, Steven Montez is a delight to watch, even if he is missing the necessary pieces around him.


  • Wisconsin-Ohio State: This game has pretty much lost all the luster it had following the Badger’s upset at the hands of Illinois last week. I think the Buckeyes were going to win before that, but now I’m sure of it. But here’s the human element of college football: if Wisconsin took that loss personally and the Buckeyes overlook them even in the slightest, then it could be trouble for the Big Ten.
  • Mississippi State-Texas A&M: This could be a pretty good game, all things considered, but there’s not a whole lot I can really say about it. Texas A&M definitely has the talent edge but we’ve seen firsthand how content the Bulldogs are to eat clock, play keep-away, and trust their defense. Definitely give this game a shot.
  • Oklahoma-Kansas State: Hey man, if South Carolina can beat Georgia and Illinois can beat Wisconsin, why not? Right? Right?
  • Miami-Pitt: With their loss to Georgia Tech last week, Miami now lies at the cellar of the ACC Coastal (the division without Clemson and FSU). This creates an awkward situation where they’re favored by less than a touchdown to Pitt, who is tied for the conference lead. Just like State-A&M, this one should be a pretty close game throughout.
  • Illinois-Purdue: This week in Numbers Don’t Care About Narrative: Purdue, without Rondale Moore and losers of four of their last five, are favored by a touchdown over Illinois, who just knocked off Wisconsin. This one looks to be another game that isn’t particularly good, but close throughout.

Stiff Dew Shift

  • Auburn-LSU: www dot andthevalleyshook dot com
  • Texas-TCU: SP+ is calling this one a toss-up, giving the edge to TCU by 1.2 points. Both teams have had disappointing seasons by both standards, with TCU losing three games and the Iron Skillet to SMU for the first time in what feels like since the death penalty. Texas dropping two games already and needing a game-winning drive to beat Kansas. I don’t think either coach will be placed on the hot seat with a loss, but this is a must-win regardless.
  • Oklahoma State-Iowa State: Speaking of disappointing seasons, the Cowboys are having a rough go of it. OSU has dropped three of their four dating back to the Texas game, allowing 45 to both Baylor and Texas Tech. Iowa State is the better team on paper, but they’ve been equally as disappointing on the field: they needed OT to beat Northern Iowa, lost El Assico, and spotted Baylor a 21-0 lead. The past three weeks they’ve gotten back to their expectations, but the can’t afford any more trip ups if they want to keep their title shot.
  • Penn State-Michigan State: Matchups make games, and Penn State has the eighth best offense while MSU sits at 11th. However, the Nittany Lions also have the 12th best defense and the Spartans have the 72nd best offense, so...
  • North Dakota State-South Dakota State: GameDay is justified for going to Billings! Not only is this a rivalry game, this is the FCS #1 vs. #3 and could be a title game preview. The Jackrabbits only have one loss on the season, a 28-21 loss to Minnesota on kickoff Thursday.

Baby Boomer Bowl Shift

  • Notre Dame-Michigan: The Wolverines are favored by less than a touchdown at home, for whatever The Big House at night is worth. I guess this is the move for after Auburn-LSU, but I’m not exactly enthused about it. Seeing the Irish’s offense (13) against the Wolverines (4) defense might be a fun matchup.
  • Missouri-Kentucky: Yeah, the evening shift this week isn’t great.
  • UCF-Temple: Of the Golden Knights two losses, only Pitt was a real true upset, Cincinnati is a good team. I’m not sure what version of UCF will show up Saturday night, but the Owls’ defense could give UCF fits all night and make it a game.
  • Texas Tech-Kansas: Like a said, not a great shift, but there are some plotlines to watch here. What exactly is Matt Wells’ Texas Tech? Are they just a random year zero mess trying to establish a consistent identity? Did Les Miles fix the Kansas offense by making a midseason change? Is that a real sentence I just typed?
  • Weber State-UC-Davis: Another FCS top 25 matchup between the #4 Wildcats and the #23 Aggies. Weber only lost two games, both to FBS SDSU 6-0 and Nevada 19-13, a total of 9 points. UCD lost four games, three coming against the gauntlet run of NDSU. Montana, and North Dakota all in a row. Ouch.

Nightcap Shift

  • Washington State-Oregon: The Cougars offense against the Ducks defense is worth the tune in alone.
  • Utah State-Air Force: The Good Aggies (coming soon to CBS) go on the road and are underdogs by a field goal to the Falcons. AF doesn’t have a great defense (83) so Jordan Love should be able to feast.
  • Cal-Utah: Yeah I got nothing.
  • San Diego State-UNLV: It’s football.