Are you all revved up and ready to go for the 2013 college football season? Week 9 is here, and that means it’s time to break down all of the NCAA football odds that you have in front of you to sink your teeth into!
Last week was a week full of upsets, especially in the SEC, and we warned that there were a lot of teams that were going to have some issues. Now, we have teams that have moved 10 or more spots up the rankings just from a single week of carnage, and now, those new high ranking teams are the ones that have the bulls-eye on their backs.
One of the teams that pulled off a big shocker last week, the Tennessee Volunteers, are going to have the opportunity of the year. It’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination going into Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide, but if by chance they managed to pull off the stunner of all stunners, it would be the biggest win for the Volunteers in well over a decade. Head Coach Butch Jones has this team going in the right direction for sure. The team is a 28-point underdog, but at least there is a bit of complacency that could be in place for the Crimson Tide, who have the LSU Tigers on deck.
Meanwhile, there’s a new #2 team in the country, and the team resides in Tallahassee. QB Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles took over the #2 spot in the BCS this week by blowing out the Clemson Tigers in Death Valley. However, it’s time for a vintage sandwich game for the garnet and gold. The huge win over Clemson was last week, and the game against the Miami Hurricanes at home is next week. What’s left in the middle is homecoming against the NC State Wolfpack. For as hyped up as FSU normally is to play its homecoming games, this is a terrible spot to be in. Florida State shouldn’t lose this game as 31-point favorites, but there is a chance that this one could be closer than the average game. Remember that NC State won this game last season in Raleigh, and that effectively ended any chance that the Noles had of playing for the National Championship. FSU is laying 31. The team that Florida State is playing against next week, Miami, is giving three TDs in a sandwich game of its own against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
There are plenty of other huge favorites this week, as the top teams in the land really separate themselves from the pack. They might be playing against a team that was ranked in the Top 10 just last week, but the Oregon Ducks are still 23-point favorites, and for good reason against the UCLA Bruins. The Quack Attack is just rolling right through everyone, and an impressive win against a team that very well could end up being in the Rose Bowl still when push comes to shove would go a long way towards helping them get back into the #2 slot in the land. UCLA was beaten badly last week by the Stanford Cardinal, and that’s why this game is featuring such a massive point spread.
The Northern Illinois Huskies are giving 30.5 against the Eastern Michigan Eagles, but they aren’t nearly the biggest favorites of the week. The Idaho Vandals are +41 on the road against the Ole Miss Rebels, while the Baylor Bears, who have scored at least 69 points in all but one of their games this year, are -34.5 on the road against the Kansas Jayhawks a week after blitzing the Iowa State Cyclones 71-7.
Some undefeated teams could end up being the subject of potential upsets this week. The South Carolina Gamecocks would have been favored over the Missouri Tigers by at least a TD, and maybe a lot more. But after watching QB Connor Shaw get hurt for the second straight week and seeing the team lose its second game of the season, South Carolina is now a 2.5-point underdog against a team that has made a cataclysmic jump up the rankings to be the #5 team in the land. If Mizzou wins this game, it is clear sailing all the way to the SEC Championship Game, as the rest of the real contenders to the crown in this half of the division would already have two conference losses, one of which would be to Missouri. This is one of the biggest games that the Tigers have ever played in their history.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are undefeated as well at this point, but there comes a time in every season where a team that plays against a really weak schedule has to play someone of substance. In the case of the Red Raiders, that game comes against the Oklahoma Sooners. Going into Norman is no fun, and this is where we are going to figure out whether either of these teams are really legit or not. The Sooners are giving a TD against a team that they have had a good history against, but the Air Raid attack could have something to say about that come Saturday afternoon.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are -14.5 at home against the Penn State Nittany Lions, while another team ranked in the Top 10 but isn’t undefeated, the Stanford Cardinal, are going on the road to take on the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis. The Beavs haven’t lost a game against an FBS team this year, something that you might not realize because of the fact that they were beaten in a thrilling game to start the season against the Eastern Washington Eagles of the FCS. If Oregon State wins this one, it will firmly be back in the Pac-12 North title race. Stanford is -4.5, but this could be a game that comes right down to the wire.
There are four games that are going to be played in the middle of the week. The most notable of those games pits the Boise State Broncos up against the BYU Cougars. It’s not all that often that we see the Broncos as underdogs, especially in games like these. However, with QB Joe Southwick out of the fold, Boise State is getting a touchdown in Provo in what could be a real statement game for the Cougs. The Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns are -2.5 on the road on Tuesday night against the Arkansas State Red Wolves in a game that really could essentially lock up the Sun Belt title already this early in the season for the Cajuns. On Thursday, the Mississippi State Bulldogs are -10 against the Kentucky Wildcats, while the Marshall Thundering Herd are -8 in their first visit to Murfreesboro in Conference USA play against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.
‘Totals’ just came out on Tuesday afternoon, and the candidates for the highest and lowest scoring games of the week are very apparent and are easy to spot. Three games are lined at 70 or higher with the highest of the bunch being the 71 of the Wyoming Cowboys and the San Jose State Spartans. The lowest scoring ‘total’ of the bunch is the 46.5 of the Louisville Cardinals and the South Florida Bulls. South Florida does sit atop the AAC at this point at 2-0 in conference play, but no one figures the Cards to end up getting challenged a week after losing their undefeated season at the hands of the UCF Knights. Interestingly enough, both the Cards and the Knights are -21.5 to start off this week in their respective games. UCF is hosting the Connecticut Huskies in its first ever home game in the AAC.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.