There are three huge games on the college football Week 9 schedule, and a couple more have our attention as particularly ripe with entertainment value.
These are the five most compelling matchups in college football this weekend.
No. 13 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Ohio State
A week ago, this matchup would have been billed as one of the most important college football games of the year. Then Wisconsin left its dominant defense in Madison and was upset by Illinois — the most stunning loss of the season so far. Needless to say, a bit of the luster has been scrubbed off this Big Ten showdown.
However, Wisconsin could potentially get back into the playoff chase with a resounding win over the Buckeyes, followed by a flawless finish and the Big Ten title. Over on the Ohio State side, if the Buckeyes can keep plugging away and blow out their rival, they’d continue to be one of the favorites to win it all this season.
If Wisconsin brings the kind of defense we saw before the upset last weekend, there’s a chance the Badgers can actually slow down Justin Fields and Co. If not, this is going to be a blowout in favor of the home team.
No. 9 Auburn vs. No. 2 LSU
A huge SEC clash with national championship implications, this game offers the Tigers yet another chance to seize the No. 1 overall seed away from Alabama.
Joe Burrow, who should now be the Heisman favorite due to the Tua Tagovailoa injury, leads one of the nation’s most explosive offenses. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been a revelation in recent weeks and gives LSU incredible balance.
Auburn, meanwhile, has a prime opportunity to get back into the playoff conversation with an upset win in Baton Rouge. If that’s going to happen, the Auburn defense must play its best game of the season, and freshman Bo Nix has to be flawless.
Oklahoma State vs. No. 23 Iowa State
The main reason to tune into this game is that two of the best offensive players in the nation are going to be on the field.
For the Cowboys, it’s all about running back Chuba Hubbard. He leads the nation in rushing by nearly 300 yards over the next-best back and is a highlight machine.
Over on the Iowa State side, quarterback Brock Purdy averages 312 passing yards per game, and the Cyclones feature a handful of weapons for him to target.
Offensive fireworks should abound in this Big 12 showdown.
No. 8 Notre Dame vs. No. 19 Michigan
For the second weekend in a row, Michigan finds itself in the national spotlight as a featured team for ABC’s prime-time game of the week. Last weekend, it went poorly for Big Blue and head coach Jim Harbaugh, who now seemingly has one of the hottest seats of any big-time coach in the nation.
On that note, should the Wolverines get taken out by Notre Dame at the Big House, the calls for Harbaugh to get the ax will only grow more pronounced.
Things look much different for Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish. With one loss on record, they still have an outside shot to make it to the College Football Playoff. But all that changes with a loss Saturday night to Michigan.
Look for Ian Book to outplay Shea Patterson as Notre Dame ekes out a must-win game in Ann Arbor.
No. 24 Arizona State vs. UCLA
The reason this game could be a compelling watch has everything to do with the two young quarterbacks starting under center for their respective teams.
Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels is coming off an atrocious outing against Utah. However, he should have a huge game going against UCLA’s tepid defense and is one of the most electric players in the nation.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson just helped the Bruins beat Stanford for the first time in an age, and when he gets hot it’s amazing entertainment.
As a side note, should Chip Kelly’s team pull off an upset for the second week in a row, it would signal that his time in Southern California may not be up, after all.