Scully's Week 9 NCAAF picks: Penn State defense will ensure cover
After it disposed of Clemson in Week 8, Pittsburgh has become the team to beat in the ACC.
More surprisingly, Baylor controls its fate, following a 6-1 start. They Bears have an important home matchup looming against Oklahoma in mid-November.
Baylor is one of our four picks in Week 9. Let’s get to the selections.
Texas vs. Baylor
Sat, October 30 2021, 4:00 PM
A dismal 2-7 last year, Baylor was picked to finish at or near the bottom of the Big 12 standings in preseason polls. Pundits were greatly mistaken about the nation’s 16th-ranked team.
The Bears are better at home and have delivered inspired victories over BYU, Iowa State, and West Virginia. They should be laying more points in this spot. Second-year coach Dave Aranda isn’t getting his due, and we’ll take advantage of the opportunity.
Texas enters in bad form, after a bye, and squandered double-digit fourth quarter leads in its last two games. The Longhorns haven’t been effective in the passing game or trying to defend it.
Baylor will rush for 200 yards or more and win going away.
NCAAF pick: Baylor -3.5
Penn State vs. Ohio State
Sat, October 30 2021, 11:30 PM
This isn’t the same Ohio State teams from recent years. The Buckeyes have regressed, and the points are appealing here with Penn State.
Battle-tested Penn State will slow Ohio State with quality defense. And if Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford isn’t limited, the Nittany Lions will have success in the passing game.
Penn State knows how to bring its best against Ohio State and has covered four of the last five games in the series. The Nittany Lions will be motivated for a top showing, after a disappointing loss at Illinois.
Oregon’s Week 2 win in Columbus was no fluke, and don’t be fooled by Ohio State’s five-game win streak. The Buckeyes have beaten bad teams, and those five opponents have a 10-21 record against FBS competition.
Ohio State may win, but Penn State’s defense will ensure a cover.
NCAAF pick: Penn St. +18.5
Florida State vs. Clemson
Sat, October 30 2021, 7:30 PM
Clemson can’t get its quarterback right this season. Two candidates are vying for the job in Week 9, and neither is any good. To make matters worse, top running back Kobe Pace, a valuable receiving option out of the backfield, will miss the game because of COVID-19 protocols.
Florida State has turned things around this month, with three straight wins, including victories over North Carolina and Syracuse, and the offense has finally found its rhythm. The Seminoles have a chance to win outright against Clemson’s pedestrian attack.
NCAAF pick: Florida St. +10.5
Washington State vs. Arizona State
Sat, October 30 2021, 7:00 PM
Following the dismissal of head coach Nick Rolovich, Washington State responded with a strong showing last week and took BYU to the wire in a two-point home loss, but the Cougars' complicated spread offense is missing its architect.
The Cougars also lost four key assistant coaches on the offensive side, and they’ll have trouble scoring against the Pac-12’s top-ranked defense.
Arizona St. blew a 21-7 halftime lead at Utah in their last outing, but the Sun Devils remain a top contender in the Pac-12 South. Their physicality will wear down Washington State, and Arizona State will win going away.
NCAAF pick: Arizona St. -14.5