Week 9 and Halloween are here and two National Title contenders hit the road for more than likely their final major roadblocks of the season. I went 5-1 last week with picks to bring my overall record to 27-19 for the season, so things are starting to look up for me. With both big games being at 8pm and the rest of day devoid of great games, we are going to be hoping for some upsets to shake up the landscape. Let's get to the picks
Saturday 1pm - Southern Miss at #15 Houston [92% of FanIQ is picking Houston]
Houston is still clinging to very outside BCS bowl chances and is certainly the favorite right now in Conference USA. If Houston wants to win Conference USA then these next two weeks will be key. First up is a dangerous Southern Miss team. Southern Miss comes in with a 5-3 record, the only problem is all three of their losses came on the road. Both teams are very good offensive teams with suspect defenses, like most Conference USA teams. Houston has one loss this year and it was a 58-41 loss to UTEP. Conference USA always comes through when it comes to entertainingly high scoring games, and I really don't see this one being any different. Cougars 49 Golden Eagles 38
Saturday 3:30pm CBS - #1 Florida vs Georgia in Jacksonville [82% of FanIQ is picking Florida]
The Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party takes place this weekend and if the last two years have shown us anything, it is that these two teams really don't like each other. Two years ago, as everyone remembers, after Georgia scored their first touchdown, the entire team went to the endzone and celebrated. Last year, in Florida blowout win over Georgia, Urban Meyer used all of his timeouts late in the game just to stick it to Georgia. Florida hasn't looked impressive all season and that really starts with the play of Tim Tebow. Tebow has been a mediocre quarterback at best this season. With the loss of his weapons at WR, he has struggled and leading to Coach Meyer "calling out" the Florida wide outs. Georgia on the other hand, isn't a very good team. Florida is favored by over two touchdowns but in this rivalry, you never know. I think Tebow rights the ship and leads the Gators to a resounding victory. Gators 35 Bulldogs 10
Saturday 8:00pm ABC or ESPN2 - #3 Texas at #14 Oklahoma St. [83% of FanIQ is picking Texas]
This is a game that Oklahoma St. fans have had circled all season. Halloween night in Stillwater. The Cowboy faithful know that if they are going to beat Texas, then this is the year. Colt McCoy and Texas have seemed to right the ship with last weeks victory over Missouri, but Missouri isn't a very good team. Oklahoma St. has only dropped one game all season (vs. Houston) and have actually been rather impressive in their other wins. Texas comes into this game with one of the best defenses in the nation while Oklahoma St. continues to have one of the most balanced offenses in the nation, even without big play WR Dez Bryant (suspended) and the Big 12's returning leading rusher Kendall Hunter (injury). If Oklahoma St. is going to have any chance to win this game, they must jam the Texas receivers and force Colt McCoy to throw deep. McCoy is completing a division 1 worst 36.6% of his passes more than 5 yards down the field. If Oklahoma St. can jam the receivers and not let Colt and Jordan Shipley get going, then they will be in this game until the very end. I have a gut feeling that Oklahoma St. is going to feed off the energy of the crowd and spring the Halloween surprise on Texas, putting them in the drivers seat for their first Big 12 South Title and even back in the national title picture. Cowboys 28 Longhorns 24
Saturday 8:00pm ABC or ESPN2 - #5 USC at #10 Oregon [61% of FanIQ is picking USC]
A home game at Autzen Stadium on Halloween night, that place will be rocking. The Pac-10 title and quite possibly a shot at the national title is on the line for both teams. Oregon has rebounded greatly from their opening night loss to Boise St. and currently sit in first place in the Pac-10. USC is about to play their fourth road game against a top 25 team. This game has all the makings of being a high scoring and highly entertaining game. Neither team has really played a great defensive game yet but each offense has been lighting up scoreboards all season, with both teams are averaging over 31 points per game. This game will come down to whichever team can get a stop at a key point in the second half. I think that the night game home crowd, which will be rockin and hyped up for this game big time, will give Oregon an edge and will rattle, for the first time all year, the freshman QB Matt Barkley. Oregon will squeak this one out, and put them right back into the nation championship picture. Ducks 45 Trojans 38
Now for my "Locks of the Week"
Georgia Tech (-11.5) over Vanderbilt
Arkansas (-36.5) over E. Michigan
Oklahoma (-27.5) over Kansas St.
TCU (-35) over UNLV
Oregon/USC OVER 47
LSU (-36) over Tulane
So there are my picks for the big games for week 9 of the College Football season. Tell me what you think of my picks while sharing yours below.