DK’s 2015 Week 9 CFB Game Picks

For the second straight week, I was one crazy, game-ending kicking game play away from an 8-2 record for the week. This time, I was victimized by a Georgia Tech blocked FG. Not to the extent that Florida State was victimized, but you get the point.

There are some gems in this weekend’s lineup of games, as conference races and the pecking order for this year’s College Football Playoff starts to come into focus. Let’s break down ten of these contests.

All game times in Eastern Daylight Time.

Week: 7-3 (.700)
Season: 50-27 (.649)

DK’s 2015 Week 9 CFB Game Picks

Georgia @ Florida (Saturday, October 31st, 3:30 p.m., CBS)

The winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat for the SEC East title. The backdrop: Georgia is making a QB change. Florida’s Treon Harris has exceeded expectations, and has the highest QBR in the country when facing a blitz. Florida’s record is better, and the Gators have a solid resume behind first-year coach Jim McElwain. The facts favor the Gators, but my gut says that the Bulldogs will get the win. I’m going gut over head in this one.

Pick: Georgia 24, Florida 21


Illinois @ Penn State (Saturday, October 31st, 12:00 p.m., ESPN2)

The Illini got off to a good start this season, before stumbling against better competition later. Penn State has a solid 3-1 conference record, and is a different team at Beaver Stadium. Expect this game to go just as you think it will. James Franklin’s Nittany Lions will roll.

Pick: Penn State 52, Illinois 31


USC @ California (Saturday, October 31st, 3:00 p.m., FOX)

This will be an intriguing matchup between two talented yet flawed teams in Strawberry Canyon. Southern Cal has been more loose (and dangerous) since experiencing that sudden in-season coaching change. The Gooden Bears are very explosive on offense, and get RB Daniel Lasco back from injury this week. Cal’s defense is still suspect though, and Interim Head Coach Clay Helton has Cody Kessler and the Trojan offense red hot (ask Utah). I’ll take the Men of Troy.

Pick: USC 38, California 35


South Florida @ Navy (Saturday, October 31st, 12:00 p.m., CBSSN)

It sounds weird to say it aloud, but this is a critical late season matchup between two of the better teams in the American Conference. Navy is not a surprise, but Willie Taggart’s South Florida Bulls have been a revelation of late, reeling off three straight wins to get to a respectable 2-1 record in the American’s East Division. Navy has yet to lose in conference play, but hasn’t achieved the praise of fellow AAC unbeatens Temple, Houston, or Memphis, likely owing to that lone loss at Notre Dame. QB Keenan Reynolds keys that hard-to-defend Midshipmen attack, and figures to lead his charges to victory again this weekend.

Pick: Navy 41, South Florida 32


Mississippi @ Auburn (Saturday, October 31st, 12:00 p.m., ESPN)

This week’s SEC Game of the Year (of the week) happens on The Plains, when Ole Miss comes to visit Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mississippi controls its destiny in the SEC West, much to Nick Saban’s chagrin. They’ll get the win this week, to keep the Tide uncomfortable for at least seven more days.

Pick: Mississippi 28, Auburn 21


Clemson @ North Carolina State (Saturday, October 31st, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2)

This game represents one of the few chances for Clemson to stumble, aside from the mega-matchup with the Seminoles that looms next weekend. Can Dabo’s crew can avoid looking past a very competent Wolfpack team, led by very competent QB Jacoby Brissett? Yep. No Clemsoning this weekend either.

Pick: Clemson 55, NC State 38


Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech (Saturday, October 31st, 3:30 p.m., ESPN)

Don’t look now, but the Pokes are unbeaten, and they threaten to spoil the party for either Baylor or TCU (or in-state rival Oklahoma), and steal a CFP bid for themselves. Hard to say that the Cowboys have what it takes to get it done for the rest of the season, but they have enough to get past the Red Raiders in Lubbock.

Pick: Oklahoma State 42, Texas Tech 31


Miami @ Duke (Saturday, October 31st, 7:00 p.m., ESPNU)

Head Coach-less Miami travels to Durham to catch these hands thrown by David Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils. The Canes will play with some freedom now that the sword of Damacles no longer hangs over the heads of the entire program, but Duke is still a better team, has a stingy defense, and is at home.

Pick: Duke 31, Miami 17


Notre Dame @ Temple (Saturday, October 31st, 8:00 p.m. ABC)

Philadelphia gets the College GameDay treatment for the first game in school history in which a ranked Temple team faces a ranked opponent. Let that one sink in for a moment… Do I have the guts to pick a Temple upset here, or is that just the Bacardi talking? Nope, it’s definitely the Bacardi. The Domers get the win.

Pick: Notre Dame 38, Temple 35


Stanford @ Washington State (Saturday, October 31st, 10:30 p.m. ESPN)

Stanford is vying to remain in the College Football Playoff race. The Cardinal is rolling behind Heisman Trophy candidate Joshua Garnett Christian McCaffrey and QB Kevin Hogan. On the other sideline, the Cougs have been one of the pleasant surprises in all of college football this season, and Pullman is a notoriously difficult place to play. A solid running game always travels well, though, and Stanford’s running game is more than just solid. David Shaw’s crew will get the win to remain in the national conversation.

Pick: Stanford 45, Washington State 35