Oregon quarterback Bo Nix, right, hands off the ball to running back Noah Whittington in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Games to Watch in Week 9 of College Football

So far in the 2023 college football season, each week has given us multiple rememberable games. This week, the trend will likely continue.

The ultra-competitive Pac-12 gives us another Top 25 matchup, two ranked ACC teams both look to bounce back after a lost last week and a top 4 team will travel to yet another hostile environment against a competitive team.

No. 8 Oregon vs No. 13 Utah

Both Oregon (6-1) and Utah (6-1) come into Saturday’s game with one PAC-12 lost under their belt. With how jampacked this farewell PAC-12 season has become, this game will have ramifications on who goes to the PAC-12 championship. This matchup is among the best this week in college football.

Utah’s homefield advantage and suffocating defense are the two factors that should help the No. 13 Utes against the No. 8 Ducks. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham confirmed that senior quarterback Cam Rising would miss the entire year with a knee injury in Whittingham’s post game conference last week. Whittingham also announced that Bryson Barnes will continue to be the starting quarterback.

For the Ducks, they are relying on their offense. In particular, quarterback Bo Nix will be at the head of this dynamic Oregon offense. It should be encouraging that USC hung up 32 against the Utes last week. But with the game being played in Salt Lake City, it will be a tough road ahead for the Ducks.

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. EST.

No. 20 Duke vs No. 18 Louisville

With Duke quarterback Riley Leonard potentially missing Saturday’s game, things could go terribly wrong for the Blue Devils. When Leonard left the game in last week’s 38-20 loss to FSU, backup quarterback Henry Belin IV went 1-6 for 7 yards.

When Leonard went down with the ankle injury, the defense went down with him, allowing three straight touchdown drives to end the game. In order for Duke to pull the upset in Louisville, the defense will need to be the anchor. While the wheels may not be falling off just yet for Duke, this Louisville offense is no easy group to manage.

In Jeff Brohm’s first season with the Cardinals, he has team ranked for the first time since 2020. But last week’s lost to Pitt was humiliating for Louisville. The Cardinals scored zero points in the second half, and allowed the Panthers to score 24 unanswered points.

One thing in Louisville’s favor is that they are undefeated at home so far this season, including a win against Notre Dame.

Both teams will have something to prove on Saturday, with kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. EST.

No. 3 Ohio State vs Wisconsin

This game does not look that great on paper, with the Buckeyes favored by more than two touchdowns. But the last time Ohio State beat Wisconsin at Camp Randall by more than one score was in 2000. The past two matchups in Madison ended in overtime – both which ended in an Ohio State victory. While not expected to be close, Wisconsin has a big opportunity to shock the college football world.

Moral of the story here is that Wisconsin has played Ohio State close in the past two decades. Looking into this year’s game, these rosters are on opposite ends.

Wisconsin’s reliance on the run game, specifically on the shoulders of running back Braelon Allen, could make their offense one-dimensional against a very good Buckeyes defense. SMU-transfer quarterback Tanner Mordecai was expected to do big things in Madison. So far, he has as many picks as touchdowns and has thrown for less than 200 yards in three straight games.

In order for Wisconsin to win outright, the Badger defense will need to keep the Buckeyes out of the endzone. For Ohio State, the Buckeyes come in Saturday with loads of momentum after defeating Penn State in Columbus a week ago.

In his post-game press conference, Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day said his team should’ve won by more against the Nittany Lions.

Kickoff is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EST.

About Nick VanZandt

Nick VanZandt is a senior journalism student at the University of Florida and this is his third semester working for WRUF.

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