Games to Watch: Week 9

Hannah Williford, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the October 29 Double Coverage flipbook.

No. 6 Michigan at No. 8 Michigan State

Oct. 30, 11 a.m. CT, FOX

Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, Michigan and Michigan State will make history this weekend. Both teams remain undefeated on the season, marking the first time the rivals will meet under this condition. Outside of a tight game with Nebraska in early October, Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines have sailed through the later weeks of the season. Michigan’s defense is ranked 11th in the nation, allowing an average of only 14.29 points per game. Meanwhile, Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker is ranked second in the nation for overall rushing yards, and could make the difference Saturday with a strong performance, causing mayhem and frustration for Harbaugh and the Wolverines.

No. 20 Penn State at No. 5 Ohio State

Oct. 30, 6:30 p.m. CT, ABC

After a fall from glory in Week 8 against Illinois, Penn State has reached a defining moment in its season. A one-loss Ohio State team put together an impressive performance this season after a loss to Oregon in September, but Penn State will be the first in a series of challenging games ahead for the Buckeyes. Following this Saturday’s Week 9 performance, Ohio State will have to face top-ranked Michigan and Michigan State teams to cap off its season. The Buckeyes have  been unbeatable on the offensive side of the ball this season, and are ranked No. 1 in the nation with talent on all fronts. While Penn State has held opponents to an average of about 15 points this season, this could prove fatal for the Nittany Lions, who couldn’t stop the rush against Illinois in Happy Valley.

No. 10 Ole Miss at No. 18 Auburn

Oct. 30, 6 p.m. CT, ESPN

Two of the strongest teams in the SEC West will battle in what promises to be a tight game on Saturday. While the Alabama Crimson Tide remains the conference favorite, one-loss Ole Miss and two-loss Auburn have put up strong performances throughout the season. While the Rebels average over 40 points per game, head coach Lane Kiffin’s defense has allowed almost 30 points. The War Eagles put up 38 points against Arkansas in Week 7, and have had time to prepare with a bye week in Week 8.

No. 1 Georgia at Florida

Oct. 30, 2:30 p.m. CT, CBS

When it comes to a rivalry game, a victory is never guaranteed. Despite Georgia’s dominating performance this year and Florida’s lackluster 4–3 season, the Cocktail Party is not a game to miss. For the Bulldogs, Saturday’s afternoon matchup is an opportunity for a lights-out defensive performance and a redemption after last season’s 28-44 defeat. For unranked Florida, the Bulldogs’ trip to the Swamp could be a make-or-break situation for head coach Dan Mullen, who is skating on thin ice this season after a handful of disappointing performances against Alabama, Kentucky and LSU.

Texas at No. 16 Baylor

Oct. 30, 11 a.m. CT, ABC

October has caused consistent heartbreak for the Longhorns. With two near-victories against ranked opponents Oklahoma and Oklahoma State — which ended in devastating losses — Texas is in desperate need for redemption. The Longhorns will get yet another chance to prove their growth under new head coach Steve Sarkisian with a matchup against Baylor. Apart from a game of struggle against Oklahoma State in Week 5, the Bears have created a strong offense this season, scoring an average of 38.29 points per game. A strong performance by an erratic Texas defense will be essential for a Longhorn victory.