Games to Watch: Week 9

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  • No. 9 Notre Dame at No. 21 Temple
  • Saturday — 7 p.m. — ABC

If you had this game as Week 9’s only matchup between ranked opponents, you’re lying. The Fighting Irish lost their starting quarterback and running back early in the season and lost at Clemson. Nevertheless, Notre Dame remains in the top 10 behind sophomore quarterback DeShone Kizer and senior running back C.J. Prosise. But Temple has been the most surprising team this season. A decade ago, the Owls were knocked out of the Big East for not being competitive enough. Now — with a little bit of luck — they could potentially make it into the New Year’s Six bowls. Mark this as a sneaky good game to
watch Saturday.

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  • No. 8 Stanford at Washington State
  • Saturday — 9:30 p.m. — ESPN

Texas fans have very strong memories of Mike Leach during his tenure at Texas Tech, but after getting the boot from Lubbock, he’s more or less fallen off the face of the earth. But Leach appears to have the Wildcats turned around, winning three-straight Pac-12 games for the first time since 2003. A win over stout Stanford would put Washington State into the driver’s seat to get to the conference title game, and possibly put an end to the conference’s playoff hopes. It’s not a flashy matchup, but it’s a must-watch late Saturday night.

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  • No. 12 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
  • Saturday — 2:30 p.m. — ESPN

Last Saturday was a rough one in Stillwater for a school that’s had more than its share of tragedies this decade. The Cowboys will no doubt come out playing for their university like they did last week. But Lubbock isn’t the easiest place to win — just ask 2008 Texas or 2015 TCU. The Red Raiders’ season might be unraveling before their very eyes, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury will have them up and ready to pull an upset. The shootout on the plains will be one to keep an eye on.

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  • USC at California
  • Saturday — 2 p.m. — FOX

Yes, a showdown between unranked teams might just be the best game of the weekend. The Trojans took down undefeated Utah in convincing fashion just weeks after Steve Sarkisian was fired as head coach. Meanwhile, the Bears got obliterated by UCLA last Thursday, but with Jared Goff leading the offense, Cal should bounce back nicely. It’s not a marquee matchup, but it’s definitely the best of the mid-afternoon slate.