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Clemson-Florida State and Washington-Utah lead the way in Week 9’s college football bets, odds

Two undefeated teams have tough road tests to navigate this week.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Last week MC&J was pretty much treading water. We lost a couple games on .500 but things probably could have turned a lot worse. Huge misses on Ohio State and Arkansas were tough to swallow, but on to another week.

Last week ATS: 5-7 (2-3 National, 3-4 B1G)

Season ATS: 50-55-3 (20-24-1 National, 30-31-2 B1G)

National games:

No. 10 West Virginia (-4) v. Oklahoma State - 12:00 PM EST - FOX

Mike Gundy will be trying to notch his 100th career win as a head coach, but to do so he’ll have to do it against some familiar faces. Not only will Gundy be matching wits with West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen, who spent the 2010 season as Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator, but current West Virginia offensive coordinator Joe Wickline was previously the offensive line coach at Oklahoma State from 2005 to 2013.

The Mountaineers are one of just seven Power 5 conference teams that is currently undefeated. What has propelled West Virginia to an unbeaten record so far this year has been their defense. Not only did West Virginia hold Texas Tech to 17 points in Lubbock a couple weeks ago, but last week the Mountaineers only gave up 10 points to TCU.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph has had a strong start to the season, throwing 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions. The Cowboys could have a chance at the upset if freshman running back Justice Hill ran like he did last week, gaining a career-high 162 yards in the win over Kansas.

At first glance I thought this might be a game where one of the unbeatens fell, but I just think West Virginia’s defense is playing too good. Mike Gundy will have to wait another week before getting his 100th win.

West Virginia 34, Oklahoma State 24

No. 14 Florida (-7.5) v. Georgia - 3:30 PM EST - CBS

Here we have The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (or whatever they call it these days) sponsored by Nick Saban. Florida head coach Jim McElwain was part of Saban’s staff at Alabama, serving as offensive coordinator from 2008 till 2011. During that time, Kirby Smart was also in Tuscaloosa as Saban’s defensive coordinator. Both head coaches look to have bright futures ahead of them, but let’s not think they are challenging Saban anytime soon.

Both teams certainly should be fresh for this game since they both had the luxury of a bye week last week. The extra week to prepare came at the right time for Georgia, as the Bulldogs have lost three of their last four, including a 17-16 loss to Vanderbilt in their most recent outing. At least the Bulldogs have Nick Chubb or else Georgia would be even more unwatchable than they are now. If the Bulldogs have any hopes of winning this game they’ll need a performance out of Chubb like in the season opener, where he ran for 222 yards against North Carolina.

It’s highly unlikely that we’ll see Chubb run for quite that much, since Florida is playing tremendous defense this season. The only time this season Florida has allowed more than 14 points in a game came in the loss to Tennessee. The offense of the Gators is still a work in progress, but I think they won’t need much as the Florida defense will suffocate the struggling Georgia offense.

Florida 24, Georgia 13

No. 4 Washington (-10.5) v. No. 17 Utah - 3:30 PM EST - FOX Sports 1

Washington continues their march towards the College Football Playoff, but on Saturday they face what might be their toughest test the rest of the regular season. Aside from an overtime win against Arizona, every victory by the Huskies this year has been by at least 24 points. It might be a little much to ask the Huskies to win by 24 points at Rice-Eccles Stadium, but right now all Washington needs are wins to be a part of the playoff, it doesn’t matter by how much.

Utah quarterback Troy Williams will have a little extra motivation in this game since he started his college football career at Washington before transferring to Utah following the 2014 season. The Huskies will most likely be a little more worried about another Williams in the Utah backfield, though. After a brief retirement, running back Joe Williams has burst back onto the scene for the Utes. After rushing for 179 yards against Oregon State a couple weeks ago, last week Williams ran for a school record 332 yards against UCLA.

Utah is tough to top at home, but Washington is in a whole different class right now. What sets the Huskies apart from a lot of other teams right now is that Washington jumps on teams early and doesn’t let up. In the first half this year, Washington has outscored opponents 200-24. Jake Browning has already passed for 26 touchdowns this year and he certainly is going to add to that total on Saturday, as the Huskies jump out early and don’t let Utah get back into the game.

Washington 41, Utah 27

No. 8 Baylor (-3) v. Texas - 3:30 PM EST - ABC

For the fourth straight year, Baylor has started the season 6-0, which is something no other FBS team has done over the same time period. The Bears will likely make it 7-0 and since Charlie Strong and the Longhorns are a mess. Who knows what Strong would give to have a 6-0 start right now.

I just can’t see how Texas is going to stop Baylor in this game. The Longhorns are giving up 32.6 points per game this year, so to call the Texas defense a dumpster fire might be a bit of an understatement. Baylor might score double that on Saturday, as the Bears are averaging nearly 550 yards of total offense per game.

Texas actually has a pretty good offense that can put points on the board, but it is wasted with how bad the defense is. Shane Buechele has thrown 15 touchdowns this year, while running back D’Onta Freeman has 855 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. The contributions from Buechele, Freeman, and the rest of the Texas offense won’t be enough since they’ll get no help at all from the defense trying to stop this potent Baylor offense.

Baylor 48, Texas 31

No. 3 Clemson (-5) v. No. 12 Florida State - 8:00 PM EST - ABC

Saturday night in Tallahassee should be quite a treat. Florida State has their backs against the wall, since they need some losses from Clemson and Louisville to get back into the ACC Atlantic division race. With games left against Syracuse, Pitt, Wake Forest, and South Carolina following this game against the Seminoles, Clemson faces their last true test of the regular season on Saturday night.

Prior to the North Carolina State game, Clemson received a boost with the return of Hunter Renfow after the tight end missed the previous four games with a broken bone in his hand. The good news didn’t last too long for the Tigers, since Wayne Gallman suffered a concussion during the game, and Clemson nearly lost to the Wolfpack. The bye week last week certainly helped Gallman, who will return to the field on Saturday night.

Florida State has to be wishing they were getting healthy like Clemson is, but it seems like key players keep getting injured. Not only is talented defensive back Derwin James still on the sidelines following a knee injury earlier this year, but the Seminoles lost another defensive back when Nate Andrews was injured for the season against Miami. Even with the injuries, Florida State’s defense has improved immensely of late, allowing just 25 points over the last two games after allowing 177 in the first five games of the year.

With talents on offense like running back Dalvin Cook and quarterback DeAndre Francois, it isn’t crazy to think that the Seminoles could take down Clemson, but I just don’t see it happening. Clemson looks more like the offense we saw in the couple games before the close loss to North Carolina State, while Florida State reverts back a little into some of the poor play they exhibited earlier in the season.

Clemson 30, Florida State 20