The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released Tuesday for the first time this season, meaning crunch time is here for teams competing for the national championship. While there are three major rivalry shows on Saturday involving the top-five teams, none have less than two touchdowns. If disturbances occur, they will therefore be significant.
Booking the day are a few key Big Ten rivalries. No. 2 Ohio State opens at No. 13 Penn State in the Buckeyes’ first legitimate test of the season, one in which they are still a 15.5-point favorite, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Although the Nittany Lions have already suffered a loss during the campaign, they have home advantage against a rivalry they’ve struggled to beat over the past decade. In the nightcap, No. 4 Michigan hosted Michigan State as a 22.5-point favorite. The Spartans are simply hoping to prevent their season from collapsing completely, while the Wolverines aim to remain undefeated leading up to their showdown with the Buckeyes in the regular season finale.
Sandwiched in between is the SEC on CBS Game of the Week with No. 1 Georgia and Florida meeting at the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party. The 22.5-point spread in favor of the Bulldogs is the biggest in rivalry history, and they come in in a week bye the Dawgs were able to enjoy after taking Auburn and Vanderbilt with a combined 97 over the past two weeks. -10 had defeated. The Gators’ only losses this season have been against the currently-ranked teams – all of whom played hard – but they have yet to relive past glory under new coach Billy Napier.
By the time Saturday’s action ends, we’ll have a much clearer picture of what the first CFP rankings will look like once Tuesday comes around. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports all day for coverage of college football from kick-off. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games in Week 9.
Opportunities through Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern
florida vs. No. 1 Georgia
Featured game | Georgia Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators
3.30 pm | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App — Georgia will take the win and do it rather handily. The Florida defense will have no answer for what Todd Monken, the Bulldogs offensive coordinator, has come up with over the course of the week, and it’s impossible to create a scenario where Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson finally gets a downfield passing game. develops. That said, Georgia coach Kirby Smart will likely get his foot off the gas ASAP, allowing Florida to keep this within three touchdowns. Forecast: Florida +22.5 — Barrett Sallee
no. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Kansas State
Featured game | Kansas State Wildcats vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
3.30 pm | Fox, fuboTV (Try It For Free) — This matchup could end up being the game of the weekend and an eliminator in the running to rematch with TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game. Both teams have been beaten up and there are questions about who will even start as quarterback for Kansas State. However, last weekend proved that both Adrian Martinez and Will Howard are capable of leading this charge. If both teams have to rely on quarterback depth and supporting cast, give me K-State’s home over Oklahoma State. Prediction: Kansas State -1.5 — Shehan Jeyarajah
No. 19 Kentucky at No. 3 Tennessee
Featured game | Tennessee Volunteers vs. Kentucky Wildcats
7 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for Free) — These teams totaled 87 points last season, and they should be scoring big again. While the Wildcats have struggled offensively at times this season, QB Will Levis should be closer to 100% in a week. Kentucky is also expected to have leading wide receiver Tayvion Robinson back from a leg injury and proper tackle Jeremy Flax back from a hamstring problem. The weather is supposed to be great, and that means conditions will be ripe for scoring. Forecast: over 62.5 — David Cobb
Michigan State at No. 4 Michigan
Featured game | Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans
7:30 pm | ABC, fuboTV (Try Free) — Jim Harbaugh still hasn’t beaten Mel Tucker since the latter arrived at Michigan State. That changes on Saturday. The Wolverines are the deeper, more talented and more physical team at every level that comes in this matchup. Really, finding a single advantage for the state of Michigan in this game is a fool’s errand. There’s always the potential for weird rivalry game noises, but Michigan State may just not be good enough to even make things interesting. Prediction: Michigan -22 — Jeyarajah
No. 2 Ohio State at No. 13 Penn State
Afternoon | Fox, fuboTV (Try Free) — Penn State is at its best when it can run the ball. Ohio State’s defense has been incredible this season and the Buckeyes should be able to limit what Penn State does on the ground. That puts a ceiling on Penn State’s offensive production. That said, Penn State aligns better with Ohio State on the defensive side than most other teams, and it could force the Buckeyes to get into the run game more than usual. So if I’m guessing anything here, I’ll take the under. Prediction: Under 61 — Tom Fornelli
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 9, and which top-20 favorite is going down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread—all from a tried-and-true computer model that’s brought in nearly $3,000 in profits over the past six seasons—and find out.