By Stewart Mandel
October 28, 2011
College Football Pickoff: Week 9
Saturday, Oct. 29
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 4 Stanford (7-0) at No. 20 USC (6-1)
The Cardinal have won their past two games at the Coliseum, beating the Trojans on a last-second field goal in 2010. USC will be amped for this game. But Stanford is a consistent, experienced team unlikely to be fazed by the atmosphere or the tougher competition. With the passing game a focal point this week, Cardinal star Andrew Luck will have a huge night.
Noon (ESPN) No. 9 Michigan State (6-1) at No. 13 Nebraska (6-1)
Michigan State enters this game with the nation's No. 2 defense, and Nebraska's 42nd-ranked unit has been disappointing in comparison. But in its only two road games of the season, against Notre Dame and Ohio State, Michigan State has managed just 13 and 10 points, respectively. Coming off two huge home wins, the Spartans will suffer a letdown.
3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 11 Oklahoma (6-1) at No. 10 Kansas State (7-0)
Texas Tech rendered the Sooners mortal last week, but Bob Stoops doesn't do two-game losing streaks. He hasn't had one since 2003, and he's never dropped consecutive conference games. Kansas State's defense is strong enough to keep it in the game, but Oklahoma's defense -- fired up after last week's debacle -- will put a muzzle on Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) Baylor (4-2) at No. 3 Oklahoma State (7-0)
This is likely another Big 12 quarterback shootout, with Baylor's Robert Griffin III going head-to-head with Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden. Both rank among the top eight nationally in total offense, but the Cowboys are undefeated because they have a potent running game, too. The Bears have two losses because they can't stop the run or the pass. Weeden and Co. will pull away in the second half.
8 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 12 Wisconsin (6-1) at Ohio State (4-3)
Expect Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes' previously woeful offense to come out looking sharper and more dynamic following the bye week. They'll look to control clock and keep the Badgers' powerful offense off the field. But Bret Bielema's team will rebound from last week's heartbreaking loss at Michigan State and pound OSU with Montee Ball and James White.
7:15 p.m. ET (ESPN2) No. 14 South Carolina (6-1) at Tennessee (3-4)
There's certainly upset potential here, with South Carolina playing its first game without star running back Marcus Lattimore against a Vols team that has hung tough despite numerous injuries. But Derek Dooley is trotting out freshman quarterback Justin Worley, who's yet to throw a pass, against ferocious Gamecocks pass-rushers Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney. Bad recipe.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) Illinois (6-2) at No. 21 Penn State (7-1)
Who's starting at quarterback for the Nittany Lions this week? Who cares? Penn State's defense is holding opponents to 13.1 points per game, fifth-best nationally. Hurt by a non-existent rushing attack, Illinois has scored a combined 21 points in losses to Ohio State and Purdue the past two weeks. JoePa will do what he likes best: run the ball and stuff the run.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 25 West Virginia (5-2) at Rutgers (5-2)
Rutgers has a defense capable of slowing down Geno Smith and the Mountaineers' offense much like Syracuse did last week, but it lacks an offense to keep pace. Star receiver Mohamed Sanu (65 catches, 683 yards) can only do so much. Meanwhile, Dana Holgorsen will make sure Smith's confidence isn't affected by last week's uncharacteristic performance.
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) Georgia (5-2) vs. Florida (4-3)
The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party has caused a 21-year hangover for the Dawgs, who have gone 3-18 since 1990. That includes a bunch of losses when they were expected to win, like they are this year. But Florida's offense has too many problems, even with quarterback John Brantley possibly returning, and the Bacarri Rambi-led Georgia defense is No. 6 nationally.
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 6 Clemson (8-0) at Georgia Tech (6-2)
UPSET SPECIAL: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd (24 TDs, 3 INTs) has been sensational. Receiver Sammy Watkins is a game-breaker. The Tigers are legit, but their undefeated run must end at some point, and this feels like the week. Following consecutive losses, the Jackets are in must-win mode if they want to stay alive in the ACC Coastal. They should be able to run the ball better this week.
Record Last Week: 4-6               Record This Season: 49-31
Week 9 Preview
Source:SI previews the best of the Week 9 action, including Stanford-USC, Michigan State-Nebraska and more.

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