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Week 9 College Football Preview: Picks on Georgia-Florida, Oregon-Utah, Colorado-UCLA AND MORE!

Credit: Georgia athletics

It's Wednesday, and - I can't believe I'm saying this - but it's time to make some Week 9(!) college football picks!!!!!

Put simply, last week was an abomination, as we had our worst week overall. It started with James Franklin crapping the bed against Ohio State, and bluntly, never really got better from there. Thankfully we had Michigan (a program spewing integrity right now) to save what would've been an otherwise disastrous day late.

Still, as Lamar Jackson once said - "Nobody cares, work harder" and with it, it's time to get to this week's picks.

As always, it's time to press on.

One, if you're not subscribed to the "College Football Betting Podcast" please make sure to do so. Win or lose, we give out - I believe - the best college football betting knowledge anywhere.

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Now, to the Week 9 picks.

South Carolina at Texas A&M (UNDER 54): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Say what you want about this game, but it is a matchup between two SEC teams at the top of one very important metric: Fan bases mostly likely to put a "for sale" sign on their head coaches lawn (Arkansas was in the mix here until Sam Pittman bought some time for himself by firing his offensive coordinator this week).

But hey, the good for Shane Beamer and Jimbo Fisher is that hey, someone has to win this game, right? RIGHT?!?!?

Still, rather than picking a side in a game A&M is favored by two touchdowns, I'm just going to go ahead and take the UNDER here.

From the Texas A&M perspective, if we've learned one thing the last few weeks, it's that Jimbo Fisher has absolutely zero confidence in his quarterback and innate confidence in his defense. He is playing field position, willingly punting and taking timeouts into the locker room at halftime like he's Jim Tressel at the peak of his powers. Of course in Jimbo's defense, he has a defense that leads college football in both sacks and tackles for loss.

Do I still think he should be a bit more aggressive on offense? Sure. But that defense is legit.

As for South Carolina, I've watched way too many of their games this season (and been on the wrong side of every one of those bets) and I can confidently say that their offense can basically be boiled down to one play: Roll Spencer Rattler out, and try not to get him killed.

I'm not totally sure that works against this A&M defense.

It's a matchup between one coach who doesn't believe in his offense, and another coach who doesn't have one. Give me a 21-10 Texas A&M win, and easy under hitting here.

Mississippi State at Auburn (-6.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Last week we unveiled our two favorite betting strategies of the 2023 college football season:

  • Michigan is an auto-bet until further notice. Admittedly, we probably know why they've been destroying the number against the spread in the Big Ten this year, but that's another conversation for another day

  • Follow the Hugh Freeze bread crumbs from his Monday press conference

The second one, for those unfamiliar, goes as follows: All season long, Hugh Freeze has been brutally honest about the state of his program. Like a good friend, he tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear, and we've ridden it to success. And unfortunately for Auburn fans, that basically means he's going to tell you on Monday whether he actually believe that he can win that week or not.

He basically admitted Auburn had no chance in both the Texas A&M and LSU games, and we rode that to success. Last week, he was more cautiously optimistic against Ole Miss, and they were a half point from covering.

Well, this week not only does Freeze seem confident, but more importantly, this Mississippi State team is terrible.

I watched wayyyyyy too much of the Mississippi State-Arkansas game last week, and I'm here to tell you: That game had nothing to do with the Bulldogs finding something, and everything to do with the Hogs bottoming out as a program.

Auburn is far from a finished product, but they are the better team here.

They win and cover.

Florida vs. No. 1 Georgia (-14.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

It's the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, and coming off a bye both teams are fresh. And it feels like - coming off a wild comeback win over South Carolina two weeks ago - the Billy Napier era finally has some momentum.

Against a beat up Georgia team with no Brock Bowers, that means we see a competitive back-and-forth game, right?

I'm not sold.

First off, as thrilling as that victory over South Carolina was, they really couldn't run the ball (2.2 yards per carry) against a South Carolina team that, as mentioned above, has a terrible defense. Not exactly a great sign. Most of the offense was Ricky Pearsall going wild, something I just can't see happening against the No. 1 pass defense in the SEC against Georgia.

Beyond that, Georgia has had two weeks to get ready for this game and figure out ways to move the ball without Bowers. For all the love that every other quarterback in college football has gotten this year - Penix, Nix, McCarthy etc. - not enough people are talking about just how good Carson Beck has been.

Add in the fact that this is the type of game Georgia thrives in - the one where Kirby Smart can pseudo-convince his team that they're being doubted, and I think we have a rout in Jacksonville.

Purdue at Nebraska (-2.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FS1

This feels like the absolute sucker bet of the week, and if I get burned by it, so be it. But I've got to ride MY CORNHUSKERS.

That's right, after decades in the darkness, don't look now, but Nebraska is umm, not awful this year. They have quietly won four of their last five, with the only loss coming to Michigan (insert your commentary here). And keep in mind, their first two losses were actually competitive, as they held a late lead against Minnesota before blowing it in the final five minutes (as the ick of the Scott Frost era hadn't worn off yet), and were competitive with Colorado, until Jeff Sims turned the ball over 287 consecutive possessions.

Then there's Purdue, and well, I don't really know what they are in Year 1 of the Ryan Walters era. Walters is a defensive guy, yet the Boilermakers defense is second worst in the Big Ten. And the offense isn't much better.

So yeah, Nebraska wins and covers.

And if you're still not sure, well, does this look like a team that's ready to fight for its coach?

No. 21 Tennessee at Kentucky (UNDER 51.5): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Fun fact for you: In 10 games against Tennessee as Kentucky head coach, Mark Stoops is 2-8 straight up. The only wins Kentucky has in that stretch are 2017 and 2020, two seasons that ended with Tennessee firing its coach (Butch Jones and Jeremy Pruitt).

Therefore, it's kind of wild to think about: In an era where Kentucky is about as good as its ever been, and Tennessee is about as bad as it's ever been, the Vols still somehow own the Wildcats. Just wild.

Because of it, it's hard for me to pick Kentucky to win as a home underdog, and instead I'm going to take the UNDER.

The bottom line is, as weird as this sounds, these two teams are a lot alike this season. Both heavily rely on their run games (Tennessee has the No. 1 run game in the SEC, Kentucky's Ray Davis is the league's leading rusher) and neither really trust their veteran quarterbacks all that much.

Where things get interesting though, is that both these teams have Top 25 run defenses in the country.

So, when both coaches want to run the ball, and both defenses thrive at stopping it, what does that give you: A game that ends 20-17 one way or the other, and an easy under.

No. 3 Ohio State at Wisconsin (UNDER 43.5): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC

I know we're going heavy on the unders this week, but let's get honest for a second: Injuries are piling up. The weather is turning. And bluntly, this might be my favorite bet of this weekend.

Right now, the only real things we know about Wisconsin are two-fold: One, with sixth-year senior Tanner Mordecai out to injury, their offense has umm, stalled. Redshirt freshman Braedyn Locke is in, and two weeks ago against Iowa, the Badgers managed just six points. Last week against Illinois - the worst defense in the Big Ten - they had to rally to win late.

So that's Point No. 1 on what we know on Wisconsin: The offense isn't good. And now they're facing a truly elite Ohio State defense? Even at home that's probably not a great sign.

Then there is Point No. 2 on Wisconsin: Their defense is actually very good, as they rank No. 26 nationally in yards per play allowed. The only time an opponent has broken the 21-point mark against them is when they traveled all the way to Pullman, Washington and Wazzu (love those Cougars!) put up 31.

Well, we all watched the Ohio State offense last week. While it's easy to forget (because they won) Ohio State honestly wasn't all that good. They struggled to move the ball, and even if they are a bit healthier this week, I still don't expect them to put up a lot of offensive fireworks under the lights of Camp Randall.

Expect Ryan Day to play it close to his vest and rely on his defense.

Ohio State wins 20-6, and the under cashes with ease.

Stay aways:

No. 20 Duke at No. 18 Louisville (-4) - Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: One of two Top 25 matchups that I just have no feel for. Duke is one of the most well-coached teams in college football this year, but Riley Leonard's uncertain status makes this a total stay away.

No. 8 Oregon (-6.5) at No. 13 Utah - Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX: This is probably the biggest game of the weekend, and I'd love to hand out a winner, but I just can't get myself excited about either side. The 6.5 feels too much for me, especially with Oregon on the road, and especially given that they haven't face a defense anything like Utah's this year. Utah's offense has been abysmal all year, and I'm not sold they "fixed" anything last week as much as they just "played USC."

This is the definition of "stay away."

Colorado at No. 24 UCLA (-17) - Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC: Speaking of the definition of "stay away" I present you this game. I do think Colorado will be fresh and refocused off their bye, but a team that runs the ball and stops the run effectively is a REALLY tough matchup for them, and those are the two things UCLA does well. On the flip side, UCLA is in the process of juggling quarterbacks, and the crowd at the Rose Bowl is sold out - meaning it will likely be a decided pro-Colorado group.

Stay away city here.


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