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Week 9 College Open Thread

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The last of the soft mid-season scheduled weeks, week 9 offers a bit of clearance at the top of the FBS to say goodbye to certainty...and to assumption.

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

So this is it. This is the last Saturday until nearly Christmas where you've got fair reason to leave the couch. Got a storage room to reorganize? Winterizing stuff that needs winterizing? Acceptable. Today's the day.

Because after this week, we get silly.

Every Saturday here on out is much more top-heavy than today and several weekends offer much more in the middle, the belly of college football.

There's still solid scouting to be done, but today's more about player matchups than the teams as a whole. Here's what I'm going for:

12:00pm

Texas (3-4) at #11 Kansas St. (5-1) - ESPN

The noon slate is pretty abysmal, but at least here you get KSU WR Tyler Lockett going up against a Texas defense with plenty of NFL talent. The real issue for the Longhorns is the offense. It's disjointed beyond belief this season. UT has gone to true sophomore Tyrone Swoopes at QB to mixed results. He's entertaining though, so at least this should be watchable.

Maryland (5-2) at Wisconsin (4-2) - Big Ten Network

I'm still a sucker for noon Big Ten games. Plus you get the explosiveness of Maryland's Stefon Diggs compared to Wisconsin's ground and pound offense led by RB Melvin Gordon. Lacking in entertainment, but scoutable.

3:30pm

Michigan (3-4) at #8 Michigan St. (6-1) - ABC

Three possible first rounders here in Michigan's TE/WR Devin Funchess along with MSU's DE Shilique Calhoun and QB Connor Cook. Throw in Michigan OLB Jake Ryan and Spartan FS Kurtis Drummond and this is right in the Rams' wheelhouse. Plus, if you're not riding the schadenfreude of Brady Hoke's clueless demise, you're less mean than I. And less fun.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand I'm skipping backups here. #1 Mississippi St. is playing too well for me to think Kentucky can pull the upset at home. Texas Tech is still kind of a mess as Kliff Kingsbury gets his hands around the program; heading to #10 TCU is problem too much to ask. #22 West Virginia at Oklahoma St.? The Cowboys might not have a single player drafted in the 2015 draft, and if you want to see WVU WR Kevin White (probably one of the two most improved players in the country along with Mississippi St. QB Dak Prescott), wait until next week when they take on TCU.

7:15pm

#3 Ole Miss (7-0) at #24 LSU (6-2) - ESPN

If you survive the early action, you deserve this. SEC plays savior today with this matchup, laden with narrative, stacked with importance to the college football landscape and STACKED with NFL talent.

#4 Alabama (6-1) at Tennessee (3-4) - ESPN2

South Carolina (4-3) at #5 Auburn (5-1) - SEC Network

Commercial viewing options are worth pointing to here. The SEC is cannibalizing itself this year, so don't be surprised if one of these is close late.

10:00pm

#20 USC (5-2) at #19 Utah (5-1) - FOX Sports 1

A little Pac-12 dessert. Utah's got some decent mid-round options like CB Eric Rowe Rams fans should eye. USC's issue isn't talent. They've got plenty of NFLers...but it's USC. Nevertheless, assuming Trojan QB Cody Kessler stays for his senior year, USC could be a strong, strong team in 2015.