A Look Around College Football – Week Nine
Each week of a college football season is different. Some weeks are special because they feature dozens of intriguing matchups spread across the various regions and conferences in the country. Some weeks look utterly boring at first glance, but then provide a series of surprises that remind fans and pundits why they were drawn to the sport in the first place. Still other weeks are remembered by the sporting public because of a few large-scale showdowns between brand-name schools, the kinds of clashes that are epic in scope and scale.
It's this last kind of week that college football fans and experts can look forward to in week nine. A few games are going to own the stage while most other contests fade into the background.
Two of the bigger games of the week are conference clashes in the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference. Texas Tech has only one Big 12 loss to its credit, and that came against a formidable Oklahoma squad. When the Red Raiders face the unbeaten Kansas State Wildcats this Saturday, they'll have a chance to tie for the Big 12 lead and create a three-way logjam with the Wildcats and the Sooners. What adds to the intrigue in this contest is that Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville has beaten six top-five teams in his career at both Auburn and Tech. He's done the deed twice at Texas Tech – last year against Oklahoma and a few weeks ago against a West Virginia side that was No. 5 at the time. If Tuberville can ambush No. 4 KSU this weekend, his reputation will only grow, catapulting the Red Raiders into the national spotlight. Kansas State boasts the Heisman Trophy frontrunner, Collin Klein. No other player comes particularly close to Klein at the moment, meaning that the most prestigious individual award in American sports is his to lose. Klein, though, won't mind too much if his team's success eclipses his Heisman candidacy. Kansas State has a very real chance of playing for the BCS national championship. The Wildcats will be favored in every remaining regular-season game they'll play in 2012.
The big game in the Southeastern Conference is Georgia's matchup with Florida in Jacksonville, one of the few neutral-site rivalries that endures in this sport. Florida can wrap up the SEC East championship with a win, but Georgia can take over first place in the division if it can pull off the upset.
However, as big as those two games are, they will both take a back seat to the sexy prime-time tilt between Notre Dame and Oklahoma. These are two of the most distinguished programs in all of college football. They'll both be battling for BCS bowl positioning in this game, while the Irish will also attempt to remain alive in the national title hunt.
Notre Dame's defense has carried the Irish throughout the season, but it has not faced a particularly imposing offense all season long. That could change against Oklahoma. The Sooners have addressed a number of concerns on their offensive line and are scoring with regularity right now. Quarterback Landry Jones has been very comfortable the past three weeks, and Notre Dame's job will be to get him out of that comfort zone on Saturday night. Oklahoma's defense enjoys a considerable matchup advantage against Notre Dame's offense, so the Fighting Irish will need to force two or more interceptions from Jones if they want to have a good chance of winning in Norman, Okla., at night.
By Matt Zemek
Copyright 2005-2009, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.