It’s the biggest stage for the Big 10 to have all season as the conference and College Football Playoff race begins to start heating up. Who is the top dog in the state of Michigan? Can Ohio State continue to dominate? And, will Iowa be able to rebound? Also, how will a couple of key showdowns in the state of Texas shape up the Big 12 and the AAC race? Now, let’s get into it as we look at the best matchups in college football with our 2021 week nine college football watch guide.
Note: All game times are in central standard time
2021 Week Nine College Football Watch Guide
We start our 2021 week nine college football watch guide with a big game in the Big 12 as the reeling Longhorns travel to Waco to face the surging Bears. This looks like two teams heading in opposite directions as far as the Big 12 conference race shapes up. Texas, sitting at 2-2 in conference desperately needs this game to get back into the conference race. Meanwhile, with only one conference loss, the Bears can remain in the thick of the race with a win at home.
Again, we have a top 10 team facing an unranked team on the road with the unranked team being the favorite. Wisconsin has won three straight including their most impressive performance of the season last week with a 30-13 victory over Purdue. The Hawkeyes had a week to get over the upset loss at the hands of Purdue with one of their toughest games remaining. This should be a hard-fought, low-scoring slugfest in the Big 10.
We stay in the Big 10 with the game of the day and perhaps the most unlikely of top 10 games based on where we thought these two programs were to begin the season. East Lansing will be hopping as a pair of 7-0 teams attempt to own the state of Michigan. The Wolverines might be a bit more battle-tested with games at Nebraska and Washington. But, they have ridden a tremendous running game with Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins that have over 1,300 yards and 20 touchdowns between them. For Michigan State, they have been much improved on the offensive side of the ball as well with Peyton Thorne at quarterback and Heisman hopeful Kenneth Walker III at the running back position.
The Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party resumes with Georgia as the top-ranked team in the land as a two-touchdown favorite over the Gators. Georgia comes into this game with one of the best defenses in the country in giving up about seven points per game along with a punishing running game. The Gators have alternated wins and losses each week for the last six weeks, but crazy things can happen in rivalry games. Can Florida muster up enough offense to make this a competitive game?
Normally, a top-five team hosting a team that just fired their head coach wouldn’t get a lot of attention. However, Oklahoma has made a living on playing to the level of their competition so this shouldn’t be any different. The offense has been much-improved under Caleb Williams but the defense continues to be a mystery. For the Red Raiders, Matt Wells was dismissed this week at 5-3 for the season. However, the gauntlet is tough with Oklahoma, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and Baylor to conclude the season.
Seeing these two storied programs come in with a combined record of 7-7 to say the least. The offense continues to be a problem who has only scored 20 or more points twice this season. But, it was the defense that uncharacteristically gave up nearly 500 yards of offense against Pitt. The Tigers are in danger of not even making the ACC Championship game so a win here is absolutely critical. Meanwhile, Florida State has shown signs of life in winning three straight. They will try to maintain their hot hand by running the football and playing solid defense.
After a bye week, the Wildcats return to action in a tough environment to face Mississippi State as we enter the evening session of our 2021 week nine college football watch guide. Kentucky has a favorable schedule down the stretch and an 11-1 regular season is not out of the realm of possibilities with a win in Starkville. The Bulldogs would like to forget their last home game with a 49-9 loss at the hands of Alabama. Quarterback Will Rogers must play better if the Bulldogs can spring the upset.
The biggest game in the SEC has us going to Jordan-Haire as Auburn looks to upset one of the Heisman leaders in Matt Corral and the Ole Miss Rebels. This is a big two-week stretch for the Tigers which go to Texas A&M next week so a win here is of vital importance. Auburn was very good in their 38-23 upset of Arkansas a couple of weeks ago. Much like Kentucky, Ole Miss has a good opportunity to finish the regular season with an 11-1 record and a possible SEC Championship Game appearance with another Alabama upset.
A couple of really hot AAC teams face off in the Lone Star State as 7-0 SMU faces 6-1 Houston. Cincinnati will be big SMU fans over the next few weeks. SMU faces Houston and Memphis on the road in back-to-back weeks. It’s followed by a home tilt against UCF before facing off with one another. Tanner Mordecai has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country in throwing 29 touchdowns this season. Houston has rebounded well after the opening week loss to Texas Tech by a combination of impressive and close victories.
Much like mentioned in the first game of our 2021 week nine college football watch guide, these are two teams going in opposite directions. After struggling early in the season, the Buckeyes are playing championship football on both sides of the ball. But, particularly on offense as the Ohio State has scored 50 in four straight games. Penn State is reeling after losing two straight with an injured starting quarterback and a struggling offensive line. Even though both losses were by a total of five points, they come into this game as nearly a three-touchdown underdog.
Notre Dame still has an outside shot at the playoffs if they can continue to win out. However, they have struggled with inconsistencies on both sides of the ball. But, that has been especially true at the quarterback position. Can Jack Coan take the Irish into the playoffs? The 4-3 Tar Heels have been a model of inconsistency all year on both sides of the ball. However, the combination of Sam Howell, Ty Chandler, and Jordan Downs give North Carolina a bevy of weapons that can stretch the Irish defense.