Each week, The Game Haus will preview every college football game featuring teams in The Associated Press Top 25. We’ll also give an expanded look at three Week 8 Top 25 matchups especially worth watching.
Here we go with our Week 9 Top 25 previews (all times Eastern):
No. 13 Wisconsin (6-1) at No. 3 Ohio State (7-0), Noon, Saturday
Scouting the Badgers: Some luster of this matchup was lost after Wisconsin’s shocking loss at Illinois. It’s time to see what this Badgers team is made of as it faces adversity in front of the biggest game of the season.
Scouting the Buckeyes: They probably don’t need to take Wisconsin lightly, because the Badgers should be determined to bounce back no matter how big a challenge Ohio State presents. It will be interesting to see how quarterback Justin Fields (30 total touchdowns) fares against a stout Wisconsin defense.
Winner: Ohio State
No. 9 Auburn (6-1) at No. 2 LSU (7-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Scouting the Auburn Tigers: The challenge will be to slow down an LSU offense that’s averaging an astonishing 48.0 points over three SEC games. Auburn has not allowed more than 24 points in a game, so it’s time to see what it’s got.
Scouting the LSU Tigers: While Alabama awaits these Tigers in a couple of weeks, there’s no reason to overlook Auburn. LSU is the better team, though it’s not perfect, and must continue to play with the confidence we’ve seen all season.
No. 8 Notre Dame (5-1) at No. 19 Michigan (5-2), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
Scouting the Fighting Irish: This might be the game of the day among our Week 9 Top 25 previews. Notre Dame last won at Ann Arbor in 2005, though it last played there in 2013. Still, the challenge is pretty big.
Scouting the Wolverines: Even if Jim Harbaugh has his sights set on returning to the NFL, he needs to keep this team focused on finishing strong. Michigan plays good enough defense to win this game, but the focus, as has been an issue with the Wolverines, needs to be there.
No. 16 SMU (7-0) at Houston (3-4), 7:30 p.m., Thursday
The Skinny: This is the best SMU football team, at least record-wise, since the days of the “Pony Express.” Houston is amid a rough season, but has won six in a row at home against the Mustangs.
No. 5 Oklahoma (7-0) at Kansas State (4-2), Noon, Saturday
The Skinny: The Sooners are inching their way up the Top 25, and are certainly playing like a team worthy of another trip to a College Football Playoff. Oklahoma has also outscored K-State 186-66 during a four-game winning streak in the series.
No. 20 Iowa (5-2) at Northwestern (1-5), Noon, Saturday
The Skinny: Offense is still an inconsistent pain for the Hawkeyes, who have totaled 41 points in the last three Big Ten games. Good thing for Iowa it’s allowing an average of 11.6 points this season. Northwestern has been held below 11 points four times in 2019.
No. 21 Appalachian State (6-0) at South Alabama (1-6), Noon, Saturday
The Skinny: It has been a year this week that Appalachian State lost its last football. A run of 12 straight wins has followed and South Alabama has dropped five in a row. So, 13 is looking pretty good for the Mountaineers.
Winner: Appalachian State
Oklahoma State (4-3) at No. 23 Iowa State (5-2), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: The Cyclones have averaged 40.3 points during a three-game Big 12 winning streak. They’ve been helped by freshman running back Breece Hall, who has rushed for 315 yards and five touchdowns in the last two games. On the downside, Iowa State has lost three straight at home to Oklahoma State.
Winner: Iowa State
No. 6 Penn State (7-0) at Michigan State (4-3), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: After squeaking by Michigan last weekend, the Nittany Lions might face an even bigger challenge Saturday. They’ve lost two straight and five of the last six versus Michigan State. That includes the last two meetings at East Lansing.
Winner: Penn State
Maryland (3-4) at No. 17 Minnesota (7-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: One has to go back to the 1941 for the last time Minnesota went 8-0. The way Maryland has struggled, the Gophers would appear to be in good shape to record their 10th consecutive victory dating back to last season.
No. 15 Texas (5-2) at TCU (3-3), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: There’s reason to be concerned about a Longhorns defense that’s allowing an average of 35.8 points in four Big 12 games. Remarkably, they’ve won three of those. However, TCU, though not playing the stingy kind of defense we expect from Gary Patterson’s program, presents an interesting challenge.
Arkansas (2-5) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0), 7 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: It’s not quite the Mac Jones era at Alabama, but this is his team while it waits for Tua Tagovailoa’s ankle to heal. That likely won’t matter this week, but LSU is lurking on Nov. 9
Boston College (4-3) at No. 4 Clemson (7-0), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: Clemson keeps winning, yet keeps dropping in the AP Poll. The Tigers have won 22 straight games, and No. 23 is looking good against a Boston College program that’s lost eight straight in this series.
No. 24 Arizona State (5-2) at UCLA (2-5), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: The Sun Devils need to bounce back after scoring three points and totaling a season-low 136 yards in a loss at Utah last week. They’ve won three of four versus the Bruins, who just rocked Stanford and should have some confidence.
California (4-3) at Utah (6-1), 10 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: Utah is getting it done on defense, allowing an average of 11.7 points on the season – and 23 total over the last three games. Cal, meanwhile, has not scored more than 17 in a contest during its three-game losing streak.
Washington State (4-3) at No. 11 Oregon (6-1), 10:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: The Ducks are undefeated since that heartbreaking opening loss to Auburn. That’s obviously a good sign, especially since Oregon has a good chance at ending its four-game skid versus Washington State.