The final weekend of October is here and the spookiest day of the year — Oct. 31, Nick Saban’s birthday — is looming. So let’s enjoy this fine day of college football. We’ll keep you updated on the news, highlights and what the outcome of each Top 25 game means.
Jump to: Top 25 games | Best of Week 9
BEST OF THE WEEK
LeBron gives props to Ohio State
You can take the man out of Ohio, but you can’t take Ohio out of the man:
South Dakota goes all out for College GameDay
The show’s first trip to Brookings did not disappoint:
Just two Tigers in love
Outside of Tiger Stadium before Saturday’s LSU game against Auburn, there was a real-live wedding right there on top of a party bus, with purple and gold rings and cake and people wanting the officiant to talk louder and all.
— Connor O’Gara (@cjogara) October 26, 2019
Oh, you better believe it. pic.twitter.com/K52UVt0AN0
— Connor O’Gara (@cjogara) October 26, 2019
The Best from Brookings, Part II
The next Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit?!
Don’t just stand there, bust a move
Defensive lineman Jalar Holley can’t help but dance after Miami goes up 10-3 against Pittsburgh.
One player’s inspirational quest
Take an in-depth look at Minnesota holder Casey O’Brien’s path from battling cancer to fulfilling his dream of playing in a college football game.
Well, this is what I really call a party now
SMU’s turnover celebration is a full-on sideline party. We know because the sign indicates it is so.
Popping bottles on an elevated surface?
Yeah, this is a peak Dallas celebration. pic.twitter.com/Y0R2Vmd8kg
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) October 25, 2019
TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie shows his familiarity with the five-second rule after dropping his gum on the sideline in the Horned Frogs’ victory against No. 15 Texas on Saturday.
— Michael Schwab (@michaelschwab13) October 26, 2019
Never say never
Penn State at Minnesota is compelling. But there’s also that little game in Tuscaloosa to contend with. Stay tuned.
To Whom It May Concern pic.twitter.com/qNGRI6X9ZA
— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) October 27, 2019
Slip slidin’ away
Just because it’s cold and rainy in Ann Arbor, it doesn’t have to be miserable.
Slip ‘N Slide fun in Ann Arbor 🌧😂 pic.twitter.com/53XatQZ9M3
— ESPN (@espn) October 27, 2019
How’d they do that?
It was a good day if you enjoy incredible plays by receivers.
There was this one in San Jose State-Army:
San Jose State’s Bailey Gaither reaches over the back of the Army defender and tips the ball to himself, finally gaining control of the ball as he falls to his knees just inches from the back of the end zone.
One in Liberty-Rutgers:
Liberty WR Antonio Gandy-Golden hauls in the one-handed catch then fights off the defender for the touchdown.
And this, from Texas A&M-Mississippi State:
Kendrick Rodgers catches the ball and appears to be taken down by multiple defenders, but he rolls and keeps himself up to get into the end zone for a touchdown.
One more from South Carolina-Tennessee:
South Carolina QB Ryan Hilinski tosses to Bryan Edwards, who rises up and makes a remarkable one-handed grab just shy of the goal line.
TOP 25 GAMES
In order of game time; lines courtesy Caesars Sportsbook:
California at No. 12 Utah
Time: 10 p.m. ET
How to watch: Fox Sports 1
Line: Utah -20.5
And our best line: Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley finally turned the ball over last week — he was the last Power 5 starting quarterback to commit a turnover this season — and is among the national leaders in QBR. He ranks No. 5 behind the four presumptive Heisman favorites: Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma), Justin Fields (Ohio State) and Joe Burrow (LSU).
Washington State at No. 11 Oregon
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
How to watch: ESPN and ESPN App
Line: Oregon -14
And our best line: Oregon has all but wrapped up the Pac-12 North but has lost four straight in the series against Washington State. The Cougars have never beaten the Ducks five consecutive games.
What the results mean
No. 2 LSU 23, No. 9 Auburn 20
LSU has been lighting up scoreboards and outscoring everybody this season, but the Tigers proved Saturday that they could grind out a game as well. LSU had scored at least 42 points in six of its seven contests entering the game against an Auburn D buoyed by one of the best defensive lines in college football. But even with a couple of costly turnovers, and being stopped at the goal line on downs, LSU showed its grit and will now get a week off before going on the road to face Alabama on Nov. 9 in a game that should rival the Alabama-LSU showdown in 2011.
Auburn has the defense to play with anybody in the country, but the Tigers simply haven’t been good enough or consistent enough offensively in their two SEC road losses this season, to pull out those games. But then, that’s often the case when you’re playing a true freshman quarterback. The brutal schedule has also worked against Auburn, and it doesn’t get much easier. The Tigers still have to face Georgia and Alabama at home in November. — Chris Low
No. 3 Ohio State 38, No. 13 Wisconsin 7
The Buckeyes passed their toughest test of the season and once again looked like the most complete team in college football. They certainly have the nation’s best defender in end Chase Young, who dominated Wisconsin. The Badgers showed you can hit Justin Fields, but they couldn’t slow down the Buckeyes quarterback, or explosive backfield mate J.K. Dobbins, who is on his way to a huge junior season. The triple threat of Fields, Dobbins and Chris Olave on offense, and the Young-led defense, which barely resembles the unit we saw last season, sends Ohio State into November as an overwhelming favorite to return to the playoff for the first time since 2016. For Wisconsin, the inability to block Young or generate a consistent first-down rushing attack severely limited its options on offense. The Badgers have to identify more options on offense beside running back Jonathan Taylor, and generally play better away from Madison, which has been an issue for years. The Badgers still have a very good defense and can still win the Big Ten West, but likely must win out. — Adam Rittenberg
Kansas State 48, No. 5 Oklahoma 41
The Sooners’ playoff hopes took a hit Saturday with a surprising 48-41 loss at Kansas State. The much-improved defense looked anything but for large stretches of the game and gave up a whopping six rushing touchdowns after having allowed that many in the first seven games combined. The Sooners’ offense was inconsistent, too. OU is left with no margin for error if it hopes to return to the playoff. The Sooners must win out. That means beating Iowa State, winning road games at Baylor and Oklahoma State and, of course, the Big 12 title game. — Sam Khan Jr.
No. 6 Penn State 28, Michigan State 7
Coach James Franklin said after Penn State beat Michigan State that the bye week is coming at a good time for his team so it can get healthy and rest after a tough three-game stretch. Minnesota is next on the schedule, and the Nittany Lions have found a good balance of offense and defense in the past few games, particularly against the Spartans. At 8-0, neither Franklin nor his players will look too far ahead, but there is potential for this team to find itself undefeated when it visits Ohio State on Nov. 23 in a matchup that could determine who gets a berth in the Big Ten championship game. — Tom VanHaaren
TCU 37, No. 15 Texas 27
The Longhorns are trending in the wrong direction. After a 4-1 start, Texas has lost two of its past three and was a Cameron Dicker field goal against Kansas away from a three-game skid. On Saturday, TCU intercepted Sam Ehlinger a career-high four times and the banged-up Texas secondary got picked apart by a freshman QB, TCU’s Max Duggan. The Longhorns’ path to a Big 12 title-game berth is now an uphill one after the loss to the Horned Frogs, but if they don’t start playing better, quickly, it’ll be a moot point. — Sam Khan Jr.
No. 16 SMU 34, Houston 31
It wasn’t pretty, but the Mustangs got to 8-0 with a three-point victory over Houston on Thursday. The passing attack wasn’t as sharp as it usually is, but Xavier Jones dazzled with his running ability, showing both his agility and his sheer power. The fact that SMU was able to play less than its best, on the road on a short week, and still come away with a win is a sign of how good the Mustangs are, but they can’t afford to be flat with a road trip against a good Memphis team looming in Week 10. — Sam Khan Jr.
No. 17 Minnesota 52, Maryland 10
With Minnesota’s convincing win over the Terps, and Wisconsin suffering its second loss earlier in the day, the Golden Gophers gained further separation in the Big Ten West. The question is if they can keep it up, as three of the final four opponents are ranked (No. 6 Penn State, No. 20 Iowa and No. 13 Wisconsin), and ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) gives the Gophers less than a 50% chance to win each of them. — Heather Dinich
No. 20 Iowa 20, Northwestern 0
The Hawkeyes’ defense was the difference, holding scoreless Northwestern to 64 rushing yards. Iowa has yet to earn a statement victory, but has an opportunity to play spoiler in the Big Ten West. If Iowa runs the table, beating both Wisconsin and Minnesota along the way, and Wisconsin also beats Minnesota, the Hawkeyes can still play for the Big Ten title. The only remaining game ESPN’s FPI doesn’t favor Iowa to win is Nov. 9 at Wisconsin (20.2%). — Heather Dinich
No. 21 Appalachian State 30, South Alabama 3
The App State defense was a question mark early in the season, but it has rounded into form, to say the least, allowing just 17 points in three games. The Mountaineers outgained the Jaguars 445-139, cruising in soggy conditions. Now only one more game — a Halloween night visit from Georgia Southern on ESPNU — remains before one of App State’s biggest-ever games: a trip to South Carolina that could have massive New Year’s Six bowl implications. — Bill Connelly
Oklahoma State 34, No. 23 Iowa State 27
There are no weeks off in a Big 12 as balanced as this. Oklahoma certainly learned that the hard way in Manhattan, Kansas, but so did an Iowa State team poised to take advantage of the Sooners’ misstep. The battered Oklahoma State defense baited Brock Purdy into three late interceptions, taking one back for the winning points, and Iowa State fell despite a yardage advantage. Luckily, a rebound opportunity comes quickly: After a bye, the Cyclones welcome Oklahoma to town. — Bill Connelly