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3 keys to Ole Miss vs. LSU
1:33 | College Football
3 keys to Ole Miss vs. LSU
Thursday October 23rd, 2014

Look to your left. Look to your right. One of the people next to you is still in the hunt for the College Football Playoff. Okay, maybe it's not that simple, but as Dennis Dodd of CBS mentioned this week, "More than a quarter of those 65 [Power 5] schools are still in the running. That's dismissing any two-loss teams, which you shouldn't. There are 12 more of those among the Power 5."

College Football
Week 9 college football picks: Ole Miss at LSU, USC at Utah; more

With so many teams left in the hunt, the opportunity to slide out of the picture comes down to just a few plays. Does the field goal go through the uprights? Can the defense get a critical stop? Will that third-down conversion spark a game-winning drive? 

Only four teams are going to play in the playoff. This isn't news. We already knew that. But which four?

Let's watch some more games and get closer to finding an answer. This is your perfect Saturday for Week 9.

The early slate

Noon: Texas at No. 11 Kansas State (ESPN)

Texas is getting better. Tyrone Swoopes is picking up the offense (and his confidence in the process) and the Longhorns' defense continues to play well. One of these games, they're are going to put it all together against a ranked opponent. It might not happen on the road against the Wildcats, but I wouldn't count out Texas to keep it close.

Noon: Maryland at Wisconsin (Big Ten Network)

Melvin Gordon is worth watching any time you can get the chance, and on an especially light afternoon, why not see if the Badgers running back can pick up another bushel of yards? (I'm not really sure what the conversion rate on bushels and yards is actually.)

Second screen specials

These are games that are tailor-made for your tablet, extra laptop, giant phone or any other device you use to stream things. Go crazy.

12:30 p.m.: North Carolina at Virginia (WatchESPN)

This is your ACC Coastal tablet game of the week presented by Cheerwine®.

Dog day afternoon

3:30 p.m.: No. 1 Mississippi State at Kentucky (CBS)

A game in Lexington is the CBS game of the week, and it's not a basketball game? What a world! 

• ROUNDTABLE: Can a two-loss team still make the playoff?

3:30 p.m.: Michigan at No. 8 Michigan State (ABC)

Rivalry games are always worth watching, even if one side isn't quite living up to its end of the bargain. The added bonus is to see if Michigan can rush for at least one yard against Michigan State's defense this year -- the Wolverines had minus-48 yards on the ground in last year's meeting.

• INSIDE READ: Who's in line for Michigan, Florida coaching jobs?

Second screen special

3:30 p.m.: No. 22 West Virginia at Oklahoma State (ESPN)

The Big 12 is a nice big bag of fun size Halloween candy this year, so no matter which two pieces you get, they're probably going to be enjoyable. 

3:30 p.m.: Florida Atlantic at No. 23 Marshall (Fox Sports 1)

Watch Marshall play football. Do it. You won't regret it. The Thundering Herd are really good.

• SCHNELL: Versatile RB Johnson key to Marshall's hopes for perfect season

Night moves

7:15 p.m.: No. 3 Ole Miss at No. 24 LSU (ESPN)

This might be the best game of the week, and we'll see if LSU can put in a better effort under the lights than it did at Auburn on Oct. 4. Ole Miss can't afford a slip-up in the SEC West, and the Rebels likely know they'll be getting the Tigers' best shot.

• STAPLES: To be more than SEC spoiler, LSU needs QB production

7:30 p.m.: No. 4 Alabama at Tennessee (ESPN2)

If disgruntled homecomings are more your style, watch Lane Kiffin's return to Knoxville, and make sure you read up on the game with Zac Ellis' piece on how Volunteers fans feel about Kiffin's return (hint: they want him linked with sewage forever).

Second screen specials

6 p.m.: No. 15 Arizona at Washington State (Pac-12 Network)

It's worth a glance to see how many passes Connor Halliday will attempt any given week. If he completes a bunch of those, maybe Wazzu can keep this game closer than expected.

8 p.m.: No. 13 Ohio State at Penn State (ABC)

Because everybody should enjoy a little more Big Ten now and then (even if it's just a guilty pleasure like binge watching "The Vampire Diaries" in secret). 

• LAYDEN: Three years after Sandusky scandal, where is Penn State?

Late night theater

10 p.m.: No. 20 USC at No. 19 Utah (Fox Sports 1)

Road teams are winning a ridiculous percentage of games in Pac-12 play so far this season, and USC would really like to increase that number. Between Utah's fabulous pass rushers and USC's individual talent all over the field, this should be pretty fun. 

• HAMILTON: The spectacular story of Utah's Nate Orchard

Second screen special

10:45 p.m.: No. 14 Arizona State at Washington (ESPN)

We've got a midnight Hawaii game too, if that's more your speed. But before we get to that, let's watch some more Pac-12 football and see if Shaq Thompson and the Washington defense can get consistent pressure on Arizona State as starting quarterback Taylor Kelly returns to the field.

• STAPLES: Answering your questions about the playoff, coaching carousel

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