What To Watch: Pac-12 Takes Center Stage In Week 9

By October 28, 2023 (9:00 am)Football

After several weeks of packed slates full of ranked matchups, the college football schedule is taking a bit of a step back this time around.

With several big teams on an off week and others matched up in winnable games, there are only two games between ranked teams this week, though that isn’t to say there aren’t games during every time slot worthy of tuning into.

Here are some of this week’s top matchups:

No. 8 Oregon at No. 13 Utah (3:30 p.m., FOX): This is the undisputed best game of the weekend, and rightfully so as it features two of the best teams in the Pac-12, as well as college football as a whole.

Oregon is looking to rebound after a loss to Washington and a close win over Oregon State, while Utah is coming off a massive win over USC. With the Trojans already with two losses, this game could go a long way in deterring who is facing undefeated Washington at the end of the season.

Unfortunately for Utah, the team confirmed earlier this week that quarterback Cam Rising is out for the season. But on the flip side of things, the Utes have mostly been able to operate without him behind a strong rushing attack and even stronger defense.

Oregon is led by veteran quarterback Bo Nix, who has had a resurgent season with 2,089 yards and 19 touchdowns to just one interception, and it has the makings of a good one in Salt Lake.

No. 20 Duke at No. 18 Louisville (3:30 p.m., ESPN): Neither Duke nor Louisville has been able to maintain momentum after strong starts to the season, but this still has the makings of a good one that still have implications when it comes to the ACC.

The Blue Devils are 5-2 in conference play while the Cardinals are 6-1. Along with North Carolina, which sits at 6-1, these are the teams best positioned to potentially face Florida State in the ACC Championship Game.

The biggest concern heading into this game is Duke quarterback Riley Leonard, who remains a game-time decision. Things will sway in Louisville’s favor should Leonard not take the field, but if he plays, buckle up.

No. 21 Tennessee at Kentucky (7 p.m., ESPN): It’s been a disappointing season for Tennessee, which suffered a loss earlier this season to Florida and blew a lead last week against Alabama to fall to 5-2. But a win over Kentucky – with games remaining against ranked Missouri and Georgia – could be just the thing to get the Volunteers back in a rhythm.

The Wildcats have not been their usual imposing selves this season under head coach Mark Stoops, with the defense allowing 23.6 points per game and the offense struggling to get into a groove, especially in recent back-to-back losses to Georgia (51-13) and Missouri (38-21).

The Volunteers will be looking for more out of quarterback Joe Milton, who has thrown for just 371 yards over his last two games, and has only 12 touchdowns to four interceptions, not the followup that head coach Josh Heupel was hoping for after last season’s record-breaking offense for Tennessee.

Other notable games on the schedule include:

  • No. 4 Florida State at Wake Forest (12 p.m., ABC)
  • No. 6 Oklahoma at Kansas (12 p.m., FOX)
  • Indiana at No. 10 Penn State (12 p.m., CBS)
  • Miami (Ohio) at Ohio (3:30 p.m., CBSSN)
  • BYU at No. 7 Texas (3:30 p.m., ABC)
  • Pitt at No. 14 Notre Dame (3:30 p.m., NBC)
  • Purdue at Nebraska (3:30 p.m., FS1)
  • No. 1 Georgia at Florida (3:30 p.m., CBS)
  • No. 24 USC at California (4 p.m., P12N)
  • No. 5 Washington at Stanford (7 p.m., FS1)
  • No. 3 Ohio State at Wisconsin (7:30 p.m., NBC)
  • Vanderbilt at No. 12 Ole Miss (7:30 p.m., SECN)
  • No. 11 Oregon State at Arizona (10:30 p.m., ESPN)
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