Must-Bet College Football Games Week 9

Must-Bet College Football Games Week 9

Written by on October 25, 2022

There are six unbeaten teams left in the FBS, yet no one seems to be talking about TCU of the Big 12 as a national championship contender. Could the Frogs be on upset alert on Saturday at West Virginia? That’s one of two games we have our eyes on involving an unbeaten.

Week 9 College Football 2022 Analysis

No. 7 TCU at West Virginia (+7.5)

Noon start on ESPN. TCU is the only team without a loss in the Big 12 and would be in great position to reach the conference title game with a victory in Morgantown against a WVU team struggling overall at 3-4.

TCU comes off an impressive 38-28 win last week vs. Kansa State. The Wildcats’ backup quarterback Will Howard, in for the injured Adrian Martinez, led KSU to four consecutive touchdowns and a 28-10 lead midway through the second quarter. But Max Duggan threw for two touchdowns, Kendre Miller rushed for two more and the TCU defense held the Wildcats scoreless, with two turnovers and two missed field goals, over the final 38 minutes. Howard began the game 8-for-10 for 185 yards and two touchdowns plus a rushing score, but he went just 5-for-10 for 40 yards and an interception from there.

The Horned Frogs are 7-0 for the first time since 2017, when Head Coach Sonny Dykes was on staff as an offensive analyst. Dykes is just the second head coach in program history, joining Francis Schmidt in 1929, to win his opening seven games. At No. 7, TCU has its highest ranking since it was No. 4 in 2017, when Dykes was initially a Horned Frog.

TCU’s four wins this season over ranked opponents ties it with Tennessee for the national lead. TCU’s four consecutive games with a win over a ranked opponent ties for first nationally since 1996. The Horned Frogs are the only Big 12 team to accomplish the feat in the regular season. Before this year, TCU never had more than two straight weeks of defeating a ranked team.

The Frogs’ last two games have seen them rally from deficits of 17 and 18 points, respectively, against Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Since 1996, TCU is one of just two teams (Tennessee, 2016) to overcome deficits of at least 17 points in consecutive games to beat top-25 opponents. CU is third in the nation in scoring offense (44.7 points per game), total offense (522.1 yards per game) and yards per play (7.4).

West Virginia lost 48-10 at Texas Tech last time out and WVU’s training room more closely resembles a MASH unit with all of the walking wounded. Coach Neal Brown indicated this week that starting running back Tony Mathis Jr., starting left guard James Gmiter, starting cornerback Rashad Ajayi, and starting outside linebacker Lance Dixon will be out for Saturday’s game. That’s in addition to starting tight end Mike O’Laughlin, who was lost for the season during the Texas game.

Quarterback JT Daniels is coming off a three-interception performance at Texas Tech, but two of those picks were 50-50 balls that WVU receivers could have easily caught. For the season, the junior is completing 63.8% of his attempts for 1,686 yards and 10 touchdowns. Bryce Ford-Wheaton leads the receiver corps with 45 catches for 516 yards and five touchdowns, while senior defensive tackle Dante Stills needs one more tackle for loss to pass consensus All-America linebacker Grant Wiley’s school record 47½ TFLs.

Michigan State at No. 4 Michigan (-22.5)

Prime-time ABC game. You can usually throw the records out in this matchup – although Michigan is clearly the better team this year at 7-0 and the Spartans are just 3-4. However, last year MSU wasn’t supposed to beat Michigan, either, and did 37-33. The Wolverines have lost four of their past six as home favorites against the rival Spartans, but they haven’t been favored over MSU by this much at home — the line is currently Michigan by 22.5 — since 1992, when they won 35-10.

Saturday’s game will be the 115th meeting in the all-time series with Michigan State. The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 71-38-5, and have won 26 of the last 43 games played between the two schools dating back to 1979. U-M has compiled a 34-18 mark against MSU since 1970, with winning streaks of eight games (1970-77) and six games (2002-07) during that stretch of 52 games.

U-M is scoring 42.7 points per game and allowing 12.1 points against, on average. The only teams with top-10 rankings in scoring offense and scoring defense are Georgia (second, defense; eighth, offense), Ohio State (second, offense; fifth, defense), and Michigan (third, defense; sixth, offense). The only teams with an average scoring differential above 30 points are Ohio State (+34.7), Georgia (+32.5), and Michigan (+30.6).

Michigan’s +214 cumulative scoring differential trails only Ohio State (+243) and Georgia (+228) for the best in the nation. It’s the same figure posted by the 1976 squad through seven games, and the 2016 team (+238) is the only U-M team with a better mark since 1905. Blake Corum has 666 rushing yards and six touchdowns across four Big Ten games thus far, averaging 5.87 yards per carry in conference play. Across his last 12 Big Ten games (dating to 2021), Corum has totaled 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns on 5.95 yards per carry.

MSU head coach Mel Tucker is the first Spartan coach in program history to defeat Michigan in his first two meetings against the Wolverines. Michigan State has won five of the last seven meetings over Michigan in Ann Arbor, including three of the last four matchups. Four of those five wins came against ranked Wolverine teams. In addition, Michigan State has defeated Michigan 22 times when the Wolverines were ranked in the AP Top 25, including 12 wins in the top 10.

Michigan State ranks second among opponents in all-time victories over Michigan at Michigan Stadium. Only Ohio State (22) has posted more wins over the Wolverines than the Spartans (21) at Michigan Stadium (opened in 1927). In addition, only Ohio State (24) has recorded more wins over Michigan in Ann Arbor than the Spartans (23).

The team with the most productive ground attack has won 46 of the last 52 games in the MSU-UM series, with the only exceptions being in 2020, 2016, 2015, 2007, 2004 and 1995.

Expert Predictions

  • TCU and Michigan State against the spread
 
 

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