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College Football 2018 Week 9 Preview
Saturday, 2018 October 27 - 11:10 am
Michigan has a bye; N.C. State plays Syracuse; Penn State takes on Iowa.

Michigan: Bye
Michigan rests up before a big matchup against Penn State next week.

N.C. State at Syracuse, 7:00 PM ESPN2
Syracuse looks better on paper than they do in real life. They came very close to upsetting Clemson, but that was the Clemson game where they had to play a walk-on quarterback. They beat Florida State, but that was at the depths of FSU's incompetence this season. And they're 6-2, but close wins against sucky UNC and mediocre WMU are padding those stats.

Syracuse's offense has shown to be capable of putting up some points. Quarterback Eric Dungey is a dangerous dual-threat who's put up 1900 all-purpose yards already this season; though, he was pulled in favor of redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito in last week's overtime win over UNC.

The defense is porous. This looks like a good bounce-back opportunity for the Pack offense, after being dismantled by Clemson. Expect Ryan Finley to play with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and put up well over 300 yards.

Prediction: N.C. State 44, Syracuse 42.

Penn State vs. Iowa, 3:30 PM ESPN
Iowa is on a bit of a surge here. The entire Big Ten West seems to be on a surprising upswing, especially after Purdue's takedown of Ohio State last week. For Iowa's part, they've been steadily chugging along behind a stout defense and a typically Iowan grind-it-out offense, behind experienced quarterback Nate Stanley.

This will be a big test for Penn State, who's been struggling to regain its offensive identity after two tough losses this season. Last week's win against Indiana was sluggish, and Penn State can ill-afford another slow start this week.

Vegas has Iowa as a 5.5 point underdog here, but... man, I don't know. How many coaching errors from James Franklin does that allow for? It's a home game for Penn State, but it might be a cold rainy day, which will dampen a lot of the crowd enthusiasm. If it's a depressing slog of a game, I don't like Penn State's chances.

Prediction: Iowa 20, Penn State 16.

Games to Watch on TV
Since Michigan is on a bye I'll probably be doing yard work today, but there are some good games to catch for those of you staying in.

At noon, #20 Wisconsin plays Norhwestern on Fox, and this is a game with significant implications for the Big Ten West race. Red-hot Purdue plays Michigan State on ESPN, and a Purdue win here will vault them into the Big Ten title conversation and make me say "ha ha". #2 Clemson plays at Florida State on ABC, and this is one of the few times I won't mind if Clemson wins, because the less I hear of that FSU war chant, the better.

At 3:30, #17 Penn State plays #18 Iowa on ESPN. But your Game of the Week is #9 Florida at #7 Georgia on CBS, which might be effectively a play-in game for the College Football playoffs.

At 7:00, #22 N.C. State plays Syracuse on ESPN2. Also there's an important Pac 12 matchup as #14 Washington State plays #24 Stanford on the Pac12 network.

At 8:00, #6 Texas plays at Oklahoma State on ABC, and that'll be another trendy upset pick this week.
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