University of Washington

5 things to watch in college football in Week 9

Washington quarterback Jake Browning’s profile as a Heisman Trophy candidate continues to grow.
Washington quarterback Jake Browning’s profile as a Heisman Trophy candidate continues to grow.


There are three games between top-25 teams this week, and one of them is No. 4 Washington’s trip to No. 17 Utah. The other two: No. 11 Wisconsin hosts No. 7 Nebraska in a Big Ten showdown, and No. 3 Clemson visits No. 12 Florida State in ACC action. Fun fact: Mike Riley’s Nebraska team is still undefeated, at 7-0.


Jake Browning’s profile as a Heisman Trophy candidate only continues to grow. ESPN and Sports Illustrated both listed Browning as the No. 2 candidate through the season’s first eight weeks, behind only Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the clear-cut frontrunner. It would still take a lot for Browning to surpass Jackson, but it would almost be an upset at this point if UW’s sophomore quarterback isn’t at least invited to the ceremony in New York.


After Ohio State’s surprising loss at Penn State last week, the Huskies moved up to No. 4 in both polls. Might there be more room to move this week? No. 3 Clemson has a tough game at Florida State, while No. 2 Michigan visits Michigan State — a game that appeared before the season to be pretty important, but is now lacking luster after the Spartans’ 2-5 start. No. 1 Alabama is idle this week.


The Texas Tech Red Raiders hold a 3-4 overall record and are 1-3 in Big 12 play. They are not a very good football team. But man, are they fun to watch. They rank fifth nationally in offensive yards per play and second in scoring offense (at 50.3 points per game). But they play precisely zero defense, allowing more yards per play and points per game than all but one other team in the country. Last week, they piled up 854 yards of total offense against Oklahoma — and gave up exactly 854 yards — in a 66-59 loss. Next up: Saturday at TCU. Strap in.


There are some enticing point spreads involving Pac-12 teams this week, but the surest bet might be Washington State, which is favored by only 13 1/2 points at Oregon State. The Beavers’ pass defense is solid and OSU is getting better, but the Cougars have one of the best offenses in the country, and the Beavers aren’t good enough offensively to keep up.

Christian Caple: