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The Crystal Ball: Week Nine

 

We have been passing the crystal ball around for the past eight weeks to take a look in to the future of the 2012 college football season. Today the ball lands in my hands and I could not wait to get a glimpse in to week nine of the season. After seeing what unfolded in week eight with Andy, I knew we would have some interesting storylines to follow in the final weekend of October.

Before the calendar flips to November we have some key match-ups taking place in the Big Ten as well as one of the best rivalries in the SEC. We also get a BCS contender playing host to a Notre Dame squad that seems to be ticking and making some legitimate noise in the national picture in college football.

Will Notre Dame be able to muster enough luck of the Irish to get out of Oklahoma with a key, perhaps signature, win? Only the crystal ball knows for now…

 

Notre Dame at Oklahoma

According to our trusty crystal ball, Notre Dame will head to Norman, Oklahoma for a big match-up after already picking up wins against Michigan, Miami and Stanford in wild fashion. The crystal ball also told me the Irish will come to Oklahoma after defeating BYU at home. But the national naysayers will want to see Notre Dame score a big victory on the road. Unfortunately, the crystal ball can not see Notre Dame being able to get out of Oklahoma with one.

The Sooners will be hitting a stride after some early season struggles. Wins against Texas and Kansas will have the Sooners back on track for what they hope ends up with a BCS championship run. Notre Dame will give them some trouble with an improving defense but Oklahoma's offensive line will pull through over four quarters to allow Landry Jones just enough time to make some plays when it counts.

Notre Dame jumps to the early lead, but Oklahoma prevails. Irish still gain national respect in defeat.

Oklahoma 27, Notre Dame 24

Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)

Aaron Murray and Georgia look for another win against Florida.

The Gators will head in to their annual match-up with rival Georgia coming off a loss to South Carolina. With that loss Florida will find themselves in a near must-win situation if they want to remain in contention for the SEC East title.

This should be another classic battle between the Bulldogs and Gators, but it will be Aaron Murray who comes through in the clutch, leading Georgia to an 87-yard touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter for the game-winning touchdown. Florida's offense will have run out of steam and will not be able to get down field for a late touchdown of their own.

With the loss Florida falls farther out of the picture in the SEC East, while Georgia regains a footing in the standings.

Georgia 30, Florida 26 

Michigan State at Wisconsin

The Spartans and Badgers meet once again and do not fail to provide another entertaining tilt. To this point the crystal ball has been very kind to Michigan State, with wins against Boise State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan already predicted. But things appear to be cloudy as the Spartans head to Madison.

Danny O'Brien emerges as one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten with a solid showing against a tough Spartans defense, but it will be Montee Ball who continues to show why he is a Heisman favorite. The Badgers and Spartans go back and forth for much of the game but it will be the home team celebrating a wild victory this time around. No Hail Mary or last second heroics will be needed, but it will be a tight contest from start to finish.

Will it be a Big Ten championship game preview? Probably.

Wisconsin 37, Michigan State 33

Michigan at Nebraska

Will Denard Robinson and Michigan elude Nebraska?

The Michigan Wolverines will start the 2012 season with lofty expectations from the national media, but our crystal ball has certainly told a different story. According to our trusty crystal ball the Wolverines will have already lost high profile games to Alabama, Notre Dame and Michigan State. Guess what. The pain doesn't end there.

The Wolverines will be coming off a home loss to little brother Michigan State the previous week, and Lincoln, Nebraska is hardly a place to look for a rebound win. Especially when you consider that Nebraska will be hungry for this game given the way last year's meeting went in Ann Arbor (Michigan thrashed Nebraska 45-17).

Nebraska's defense will find a way to stymie Denard Robinson's offensive production, although Shoelaces will seem to untie the Huskers defense often enough to make things interesting. But it will be Rex Burkhead who sets the pace for the Huskers, and somehow Michigan's defense will allow Taylor Martinez to have enough Eric Crouch moments to keep from getting off the field when they will desperately need it.

Nebraska picks up a key home victory and sends Michigan home with their fourth loss of the season (that we know of).

Nebraska 24, Michigan 23

Bonus Game: USC at Arizona

This game may be given the upset alert treatment here at Crystal Ball Run when we get to this point, but when I gazed in to the crystal ball I saw nothing but victory for the men of Troy.

Arizona will come in to this game struggling but they will muster up a first half that will draw national attention by coming up with some rare turnovers from a sloppy USC offense and Rich Rodriguez's offensive game plan will show off a couple new wrinkles to keep the Trojans on their toes. At the half Arizona will hold a slight lead, but the second half will be the Matt Barkley show as he works on his Heisman profile with a stellar showing in the second half as USC blows this one wide open.

USC 45, Arizona 27

To catch up on how we got to this point, check out the previous crystal ball predictions:

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 |

Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 |

Kevin McGuire is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast and managing editor of Bloguin's Nittany Lions Den. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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