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The best upset picks for Week 9 of the college football season

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

October 25th, 2021

In the first hour of this past Saturday’s slate of games it looked like we were in for the craziest week of college football yet. Ultimately Oklahoma, Cincinnati, and Michigan pulled away victorious, and the AP Top 25 had one of the safest days of the year with only Oklahoma State and Penn State falling as Top 10 teams.

I was only able to find one underdog winner with West Virginia knocking off TCU. Let’s hope for more reliable defenses in Week 9 as we try to find a few more underdog winners.

Iowa vs. Wisconsin

Sat, October 30 2021, 4:00 PM

Wisconsin

Moneyline

-167

Spread

-3.5

Total

O 36.5

Iowa

Moneyline

+135

Spread

+3.5

Total

U 36.5

It is historically a bad strategy in college football to take a ranked team on the road as an underdog against an unranked opponent, and that is what we have here as Iowa travels to Wisconsin in a big matchup for the Big Ten West race.

The Hawkeyes are small underdogs and will enjoy having had the week off to prepare for Wisconsin following their disappointing loss to Purdue. That loss ruined a perfect season, but didn’t knock them off course for a potential conference championship.

Iowa has a strong defense and excellent special teams, and this is almost certainly going to be a low-scoring game. Wisconsin has the best defense in the division, but their offense has been abysmal, and in a game where points will come at a premium I like the Hawkeyes to do just enough with running back Tyler Goodson to keep pole position in the Big Ten West.

Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech

Sat, October 30 2021, 4:00 PM

Georgia Tech

Moneyline

-175

Spread

-3.5

Total

O 54.5

Virginia Tech

Moneyline

+135

Spread

+3.5

Total

U 54.5

Both the Hokies and Yellow Jackets come into this game off a loss, with Virginia Tech losing as favorites to Syracuse, while Georgia Tech is installed as the favorite after losing as a road underdog to Virginia.

Georgia Tech has some good skill position players and quarterback Jeff Sims is a dual-threat weapon, but the Yellow Jackets' defense is still young and unconvincing, ranking 92nd in the country in yards per play allowed defensively.

If the Hokies' offense is ever going to get going, this is the game for it. And sitting at 3-4 overall, if head coach Justin Fuente wants any hope of keeping his job beyond 2021, this is a must-win game.

Florida State vs. Clemson

Sat, October 30 2021, 7:30 PM

Clemson

Moneyline

-400

Spread

-9.5

Total

O 46

Florida State

Moneyline

+300

Spread

+9.5

Total

U 46

It wasn’t long ago that Florida State and Clemson were competing as national powers, but the mighty have fallen quickly.

Clemson is a shocking 4-3 overall, while FSU is riding a three-game winning streak to sit at 3-4.

The Clemson offense is a train wreck, especially considering the blue-chip talent it possesses. The Tigers are 112th in the country in yards per play, and while the Seminoles' defense is hardly an iron wall, they’ve improved in recent games and the defensive line has some next-level talent.

If the Seminoles are able to open holes and break a few explosive runs, they can beat a Clemson team that has yet to show it can keep pace offensively.

Purdue vs. Nebraska

Sat, October 30 2021, 7:30 PM

Nebraska

Moneyline

-265

Spread

-6.5

Total

O 49.5

Purdue

Moneyline

+210

Spread

+6.5

Total

U 49.5

Nebraska has a terrible time closing out close games, as evidenced by Scott Frost’s 5-17 record in one-score games.

Now Nebraska is favored by one score against a team with an NFL-talent wide receiver in David Bell and a veteran quarterback throwing to him. When the game is projected to be close, it makes sense to side against the Huskers.

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez is having a decent 2021 statistically but he has yet to prove his merit as a passer. This Purdue defense ranks in the top 25 in the country, and will be one of his stiffest tests yet.

Louisville vs. North Carolina State

Sat, October 30 2021, 11:30 PM

NC State

Moneyline

-250

Spread

-6.5

Total

O 59.5

Louisville

Moneyline

+195

Spread

+6.5

Total

U 59.5

The Louisville Cardinals are coming off a nice win against Boston College, and quarterback Malik Cunningham is a dual-threat quarterback who can excel in any given game against ACC competition.

The North Carolina State Wolfpack are coming off a dramatic loss to Miami and may be due for an emotional letdown off that close loss.

It is tiring to keep Cunningham in the pocket all day, and Louisville has scored at least 24 points in every contest this year. This is almost certainly going to be a close game late, and with Cunningham having the opportunity to cash us a nice plus-odds winner if he can scramble his way to the end zone, I like the value on the Cardinals.

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