Across the Country – Week 9

Alabama Football

**Note: This was a print-only story**

No. 12 UCLA at No. 3 Oregon (Autzen Stadium – Eugene, Ore., 6 p.m. CT, ESPN)

Oregon took a slight hit in the first BCS standings of the season this week, partially for not having as strong of a schedule up to this point in the season as Florida State. That won’t be a problem the rest of the way for Oregon, who should reach the BCS National Championship game so long as they win out the rest of their games, starting with UCLA on Saturday. Much like Oregon, the Bruins have a high-powered offense led by a dynamic quarterback in Brett Hundley that should be able to keep pace with Oregon; however, in order to pull the upset, the Bruins will need to slow down Heisman frontrunner Marcus Mariota, a task no team has been able to do this season.

Penn State at No. 4 Ohio State (Ohio Stadium – Columbus, Ohio, 7 p.m. CT, ABC)

Ohio State sits as one of the last unbeaten teams left in the country, but few are noticing with Alabama, Florida State and Oregon all sitting above the Buckeyes in the polls. With few decent games left on its schedule, Ohio State must not only beat a respectable Penn State team, but win big to make up as much ground as it can in the polls. Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde have been difference makers since their returns from early-season absences, but the Nittany Lions should make it close, behind a defense ranked in the top 25 nationally.

No. 21 South Carolina at No. 5 Missouri (Faurot Field – Columbia, Mo., 6 p.m. CT, ESPN2)

If the secret wasn’t already out about Missouri, it should be by now: the Tigers are legitimate. After wins over Georgia and Florida the past weeks, the Tigers sit at a perfect 7-0 and are currently the favorites to win the SEC East. But waiting in the wings is South Carolina, who can keep pace with Missouri in the East if it can bounce back with a win, following last week’s upset loss at Tennessee. Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw is unlikely to play after spraining his knee last week, but South Carolina has an experienced backup in Dylan Thompson to fill the void. They also have Mike Davis, who quietly leads the SEC in rushing by a sizeable margin.

No. 6 Stanford at No. 25 Oregon State (Reser Stadium – Corvallis, Ore., 9:30 p.m. CT, ESPN)

Once upon a time, Oregon State lost to Eastern Washington of the FCS in their season opener. Since then, the Beavers have reeled off won six straight games, but have yet to face an opponent anywhere near Stanford’s caliber this season. Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion has put up video game numbers as a passer this season, but the Cardinal already proved last week in its win over UCLA that it can keep high-scoring offenses in check. With a win, Stanford all but eliminates Oregon State from Pac-12 contention and sets up for what will essentially be a Pac-12 North title game against Oregon on Nov. 7.

No. 10 Texas Tech at No. 15 Oklahoma (Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium – Norman, Okla., 2:30 p.m. CT, FOX)

The Red Raiders are one of the few remaining unbeaten left in the country, but it’s still uncertain whether first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s start is genuine or just a mirage. Freshman quarterback Davis Webb is off to a hot start for Texas Tech, throwing for over 400 yards in his first two starts the past two weeks, but the yards won’t come as easy against Oklahoma in Norman. The Sooners allow just under 150 passing yards per game, good for tops in the nation. Both teams have alternated wins in this series since 2005, with the Sooners gaining the upper-hand last season in Lubbock.

Vanderbilt at No. 16 Texas A&M (Kyle Field – College Station, Texas, 11:21 a.m. CT, GamePlan/ESPN3)

Both teams had surprising results last week: one good, one bad. The team with the surprisingly good result was Vanderbilt, which upset Georgia at home to pick up its first SEC victory of the season. That means the surprisingly bad result went to Texas A&M, which was handed its second loss of the season by Auburn. With the Aggies’ defense ranking 120th out of 125 teams, it would not be shocking to see the Commodores score in bunches to make this yet another close game for Texas A&M. At the same, though, it is hard to imagine Johnny Manziel and company, falling at home in back-to-back weeks.

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