The Lowe Down on Week Nine: Ole Miss, MSU get Ws

Matt Lowe

October 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm.

Look for Michigan State's Jeremy Langford to have a big game against Michigan. (Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports)

Welcome to Week Nine of The Lowe Down.

Is anyone besides me getting annoyed by all the College Football Playoff talk? I mean every waking second of the week all ya hear about on the airwaves or ESPN is this team winning out and being in, this one loss team being better than that one, the committee taking four conference champions and so on and so on.

Look, it’s still way too early to be making predictions. There is a ton of football left to be played. But I just wanted to remind you that back in the summer College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said that the teams selected for the four-game single elimination tournament will be decided by win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents and conference championships.

Now those aforementioned factors open up a lot of possibilities, but we are a little over halfway through the season and many teams sitting in the Top 10, primarily the SEC teams, still have to play a number of their highly-ranked brethren. And that means more losing will go down, which means we will eventually find out which teams are for real and which aren’t.

(Note: Sorry for a shorter version, I’m swamped with World Series projects.)

Last week’s record was 18-4, bringing the yearly record to 125-46. To the games we go…


Friday, October 24

No. 6 Oregon (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) vs. California (4-3, 2-3 Pac-12) Santa Clara, Calif. 9:00 p.m. CT

The Ducks are right in the mix for a College Football Playoff berth if they continue to win out, but they don’t need to get caught looking ahead to Stanford when they take on a high-scoring Cal team in Santa Clara Friday night. Cal quarterback Jared Goff is a talented player and he could find some daylight squaring off against an Oregon defense that’s been susceptible to good offensive teams. With that said, the Ducks win a thriller.

The Lowe Down: Oregon 54, California 45

In other Friday games:

South Florida 27, Cincinnati 34

BYU 20, Boise State 28

Saturday, October 25

Texas (3-4, 2-2 Big 12) at No. 11 Kansas State (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) 11:00 a.m. CT  

Game by game Texas appears to be getting better and Charlie Strong’s bunch may be catching K-State at the right time following its win over Oklahoma. But the Wildcats are a veteran team and veteran teams find a way to win no matter the circumstances. Look for Jake Waters to have another big game as Bill Snyder’s team moves to 4-0 in the Big 12.

The Lowe Down: Texas 23, Kansas State 35

Michigan (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten) at No. 8 Mich. State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) 2:30 p.m. CT

I understand this is a huge rivalry game, but Michigan is horrible and bad things happen to bad teams regardless if emotion plays any part in extra motivation. The Wolverines have been sound stopping the run, but they can’t do much of anything else right. The Spartans roll.

The Lowe Down: Michigan 10, Michigan State 43

No. 1Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 SEC) at Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC) 2:30 CT

Although Kentucky looked horrible in its loss to LSU last weekend, look for an inspired effort from the Wildcats with the No. 1 team in the country rolling into Lexington. Last year the Bulldogs won a hard-fought 28-22 game in Starkville, so don’t expect the Wildcat players to be intimidated by Dan Mullen’s team. The Kentucky defense along with its offensive line and quarterback Patrick Towles, will need to play out of their minds to pull the upset, but don’t be surprised to see a good game here … maybe.

The Lowe Down: Mississippi State 35, Kentucky 24

No. 3 Ole Miss (7-0, 4-0 SEC) at No. 24 LSU (6-2, 2-2 SEC) 6:15 CT

The Rebels look like a team of destiny but I think Hugh Freeze’s team may get a serious test in Baton Rouge. With Anthony Jennings back at quarterback, LSU seems to have found a groove on offense and its defense has played much better over the last two weeks. Ole Miss will get the W, but it won’t be easy.

The Lowe Down: Ole Miss 19, LSU 16

South Carolina (4-3, 2-3 SEC) at No. 5 Auburn (5-1, 2-1 SEC) 6:30 CT

Fresh off a bye week, Auburn will look to get back into the win column following its disappointing loss at Mississippi State. A few things the Tigers worked on during the bye week were cohesion along the offensive line, first down production on offense and developing more opportunities to rush the passer. Against South Carolina, it will be interesting to see how that practice field work translates to the field. If the Tigers expect to make a run at another SEC West title, they have to get better in those areas.  True freshman Braden Smith (6-6, 295) is expected to be more involved in the run game, possibly in unbalanced line looks, and Brandon King (6-2, 215) will be looked at as a speed rusher on passing downs. South Carolina has the talent to give Auburn a game, but if Gus Malzahn’s team plays well it should roll.

The Lowe Down: South Carolina 17, Auburn 38

No. 4 Alabama (6-1, 3-1SEC) at Tennessee (3-4, 0-3 SEC) 6:30 CT

Word out of Knoxville is that quarterback Justin Worley may not play against the Crimson Tide. Tennessee was already behind the eight-ball with a healthy Worley squaring off against Bama, but this really puts the Vols in a bad spot if their veteran QB cannot play. Alabama welcomes back starting center Ryan Kelly this week so it will be interesting to see if the Crimson Tide offense looks as good or better than it did a week ago with Kelly’s return.

The Lowe Down: Alabama 48, Tennessee 10

No. 13 Ohio State (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) at Penn State (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) 7:00 CT

There is some chatter about Ohio State getting back into the College Football Playoff picture but I just don’t see how you could put a team in the final four that lost to Virginia Tech. The Hokies are horrible. Period. With that said, J.T. Barrett is really playing well and he should once again post big numbers against a Penn State defense that has its share of holes. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg, a future pro, gives the Nittany Lions a fighting chance, but James Franklin’s team will need to play well and force some turnovers if it wants to pull the upset.

The Lowe Down: Ohio State 38, Penn State 27

No. 20 USC (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12) at No. 19 Utah (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) 9:00 CT

Don’t sleep on Utah in the Pac-12. The Utes have a powerful running game, led by stud tailback Devontae Booker — whose 229-yard rushing yards against Oregon State last week tied for the fifth-best mark in school history — and a defense, led by pass-rushing ace Nate Orchard, that is good enough to keep the team in every game it plays  from here on out. USC’s defense has slipped in recent weeks so look for Booker and quarterback Travis Wilson to have big games on the ground.

The Lowe Down: USC 23, Utah 30

No. 14 Arizona State (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) at Washington (5-2, 1-2 Pac-12) 9:45 CT

Star quarterback Taylor Kelly is back for Arizona State but it will be interesting to see if he can pick up right where he left off following a foot injury. If he can, the Sun Devils could be a dark horse in the Pac-12 title chase. But first things first, ASU must win a tough game against a Washington team that is extremely unpredictable. Will they? They should.

The Lowe Down: Arizona State 30, Washington 26

In other Saturday games:

UAB 17, Arkansas 45

North Carolina 33, Virginia 27

Minnesota 42, Illinois 14

Maryland 17, Wisconsin 36

Rutgers 23, No. 16 Nebraska 38

No. 25 UCLA 35, Colorado 27

Georgia Tech 23, Pittsburgh 26

Oregon State 17, Stanford 24

No. 22 West Virginia 35, Texas Tech 28

Texas Tech 23, No. 10 TCU 48

Vanderbilt 13, Missouri 34

No. 15 Arizona 35, Washington State 32

Syracuse 14, No. 21 Clemson 30