Lamest time window: Early. It’s a fantastic fall festival day, as long as you’re back for the mid-afternoon slate.
Noon: Put No. 6 Oklahoma on upset watch at Kansas (Fox). I’m also sticking with my prediction that UCF gets its first Big 12 win against West Virginia (FS1).
2: Clemson and North Carolina State (CW) are both down, but this is interesting because a win at Raleigh isn’t a given for the Tigers. A loss would be Clemson’s first four-defeat season in a dozen years.
3:30: Florida vs. No. 1 Georgia (CBS) is an annual must-watch. If it’s ugly or lopsided, No. 8 Oregon at No. 13 Utah (Fox) is an elimination game in the Pac-12 title race.
7: Tampa Bay Tech alumnus Michael Penix Jr. needs two touchdown passes to tie Jake Locker and Brock Huard for the fourth most in Washington history (53). He and No. 5 Washington should hit that against Stanford (FS1).
7:30: I can’t talk myself into an upset, but I’m intrigued by what No. 3 Ohio State does at Wisconsin (NBC).
8: How will No. 17 North Carolina respond at Georgia Tech (ACC Network) after last week’s shocking loss to Virginia? Plant High alumnus Jordan McCloud is also worth watching as he leads No. 25 James Madison against Old Dominion (ESPNU).
10:30: No. 11 Oregon State can stay in the playoff hunt by beating one of the nation’s most improved teams, Arizona (ESPN).
Local of the week
Wake Forest defensive lineman Justin Williams (Armwood High)
The Demon Deacons won’t have a shot at upsetting No. 4 Florida State unless they stop the Seminoles’ run game. And they won’t be able to do that without a big showing from Williams, a 6-foot-2, 282-pound first-year starter.
Stat of the week
FSU’s defense hasn’t allowed a second-half point since Will Shipley scored a third-quarter touchdown for Clemson. That’s a second-half stretch of 108:31.
Eye on the NFL draft
Kamari Lassiter has a shot at becoming the fourth Georgia defensive back drafted in the first round since 2019. Pay special attention if he’s lined up against UF’s top receiver prospect, Ricky Pearsall. Another potential matchup to watch: Florida edge rusher Princely Umanmielen against Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims. Umanmielen is getting NFL buzz, while Georgia seems optimistic Mims — a projected top-10 pick — can return from an ankle injury.
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This week in Coach Prime…
Deion Sanders and Colorado still have some juice; No. 23 UCLA is removing some seat-covering tarps to boost capacity for homecoming. The Buffaloes join Georgia, Iowa, Notre Dame and Tennessee as the only teams to play in front of a sold-out crowd every game so far. We’ll see if the open date helped Colorado bounce back from its collapse against Stanford.
There’s more at stake for No. 16 Louisville than its first nine-game, home winning streak since the Lamar Jackson era (2015-16). The Cardinals’ showdown with No. 20 Duke will have a big impact on the ACC championship race. Both have one loss in the division-less ACC, so the winner will join FSU and North Carolina as the top contenders to make the Dec. 2 conference title game in Charlotte, N.C.
With starting quarterback Quinn Ewers out, Maalik Murphy will try to keep No. 7 Texas’ playoff hopes alive against BYU. The real intrigue is whether another freshman Arch Manning, sees the field — a possibility the Longhorns haven’t ruled out. Manning is one of the top recruits of the modern era and the nephew of Peyton and Eli.
Turnovers are a key in every game but will be especially important in Utah-Oregon. The Ducks lead the nation with only one lost turnover all season; the Utes are tied with FSU for third (four lost). One takeaway could be the difference in whether Utah extends its home winning streak to 19 games.
Is this the week for UCF?
The Knights are still looking for their first Big 12 win and hosting West Virginia on homecoming is their latest, best shot. The Mountaineers are solid but unspectacular in most categories. One key will be UCF’s Tre’Mon Morris-Brash, who is tied for second nationally with 14 tackles for loss. Can he pierce the offensive line enough to slow down a deep running back room?
Miami’s strength vs. Virginia’s strength
The Hurricanes have the ACC’s best run defense, allowing only 2.73 yards per carry and 79.6 yards per game. Virginia will challenge that behind quarterback Tony Muskett and a rotating cast of running backs; the Cavaliers have rushed for 200 yards in back-to-back games and are trying to have their first three-game streak since 2004.
“It would’ve killed a lesser man, but I’m okay.” — Texas San Antonio coach Jeff Traylor after his pinky was smashed in a mouse trap. His staff put them in players’ lockers to remind them not to “eat the cheese” — an apparent metaphor for outside distractions. One made its way to a lectern, where Traylor inadvertently set it off.
By the numbers: Week 9
33.91 Yards per kickoff return by Miami’s Brashard Smith, who leads the nation
3-13 Conference record for Big 12′s newcomers UCF, Cincinnati, BYU and Houston
24 Consecutive wins by Georgia, the longest active streak in the country. Washington is next (14), followed by FSU (13)
165 Career wins by Clemson’s Dabo Swinney. Beating North Carolina State would move him out of a tie with Frank Howard for the most in Tigers history
76 Career wins by North Carolina State’s Dave Doeren. Beating Clemson would move him into a tie with Earle Edwards for the most in Wolfpack history
0 All-time bowl appearances by Texas State. The Bobcats — coached by former UCF assistant GJ Kinne — can become eligible for one by beating Troy
699 All-time victories for Oregon
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