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Week 9 Preview- The Halloween Short List

The list of games that I’m interested in this week is exceptionally short but not without relevance. Three of the top 5 teams in the BCS standings all face difficult challenges that could have major implications on the national title race. As luck would have it three of the games I’m most interested in this week are all in prime time while the trick-or-treaters are out in force. By employing a combination of TV’s, laptops, an iPhone and putting my 20 month old son to work handing out candy I think I might be able to pull it off. What are the chances that Florida, USC and Texas can all survive tough tests on Halloween? Someone has to lose right? We’ll see…..

Thursday 29 October
North Carolina at Virginia Tech- Both of these teams are looking to bounce back from losses Thursday night at Lane Stadium. Based on the fact that North Carolina has an anemic offense and the Hokies have a solid defense I don’t see the Heels putting many points on the board. The same situation exists to a lesser degree when the Hokies have the ball but they always seem to manage banging out three touchdowns which should be plenty to dispose of North Carolina.

Friday 30 October
West Virginia at USF- These two teams are nipping at the heels of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the Big East which isn’t exactly saying a lot. They should put together a relatively entertaining Friday night game though. I’ll go with Noel Devine to run for 200 and carry the Mountaineers to victory in a shootout.

Saturday 31 October
Florida at Georgia (Jacksonville)- After watching Florida struggle a little bit on offense the last few weeks this game is a lot more interesting than it previously appeared. Both Urban Meyer and ESPN’s chosen one Tim Tebow have addressed the Gator offensive struggles this week with terms like "frustration" etc. In the weeks that have followed Tebow getting KO’d at Kentucky the Gators have looked vulnerable while Everybody’s All American has put together a series of relatively pedestrian performances. Meyer and Tebow both badly want to go undefeated for the first time in school history and the WWL would love nothing more than to have the legend of Tebow grow with a 2nd Heisman and another title. I have thought both were highly probable until the last couple of weeks but all of those things are looking less and less likely to me every week. That said with a big game on Saturday Tebow will jump right back to the heart of the Heisman conversation and Florida will still be on track. But if the Gators play like they did last Saturday in Starkville Georgia will beat them. The Bulldogs are currently sitting on a disappointing 4-3 record but beating the Gators could make their season. So which Gators show up on Saturday? The Gators that got all the preseason hype or the Gators that were screwing around against Mississippi State last weekend? This is a huge game for both teams and if that isn’t enough to get the Gators back into gear we might be watching Tebow make another one of those "Promise" speeches on Saturday evening. Flip a coin on this one it is going to be interesting.

Kansas at Texas Tech- After bashing his players for having "Fat Little Girlfriends" in the wake of the Raiders loss to hapless Texas A&M; last weekend Mike Leach is hoping to get his boys back on track when they host Kansas this Saturday afternoon. I’m liking their chances. I think they will pull a classic Texas Tech and bounce back from badly losing a game they were supposed win by going nuts on the Jayhawks.

Washington State at Notre Dame (San Antonio)- I already talked about this one in detail so feel free to scroll down a post. Short version the Irish should roll in the Alamodome.

South Carolina at Tennessee- I think Kiffin and co. will knock off Spurrier to get back to .500. Sadly for Lane this one is going to get lost in an already full prime time slate.

USC at Oregon- This game is for all practical purposes the Pac-10 championship and also carries major BCS implications for both teams. I’m not totally sold on Oregon and I just can’t see the Ducks doing much damage against the USC defense. The Quack Attack goes down in this one.

Texas at Oklahoma State- There are many parallels between this game and the instant classic the Horns lost to Texas Tech in Lubbock last season. Night game on the road against a team with a prolific offense, the home fans are calling for a blackout and the list goes on. Solely based on the fact that the Horns lived that nightmare last season I don’t think they will let it happen again. In all reality Texas truly controls its own destiny and I think they have clear sailing to the BCS Championship Game if they can survive this trip to Boone’s house.