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National Games to Watch: Week 9

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

​With a slew of ranked opponents getting ready to face-off, week nine is sure to give college football fans plenty of excitement, but the Utes are in a prime position to move up the rankings heading into week ten.

#13 Wisconsin vs #3 Ohio State Saturday 10:00 AM - FOX

​What once promised to be one of the best matchups the Big 10 had to offer in 2019 now carries a little less weight following Wisconsin’s upset loss to a dismal Illinois team last weekend, dropping the Badgers in the rankings and effectively eliminating them from playoff contention. Regardless, junior running back Jontahn Taylor still has a case as a legitimate Heisman candidate after amassing 957 yards and 15 touchdowns on 157 carries. As one of the nations top rushers, Taylor’s performance against the Buckeyes (who currently rank 8th nationally in rush defense) will go a long way in solidifying his status as a Heisman candidate, and an upset victory over OSU would certainly throw a wrench in the current playoff landscape, potentially opening the door for either Oregon or Utah to inch their way back in.

#9 Auburn vs #2 LSU Saturday 1:30 PM - CBS

​LSU finally has a barnburner behind center in senior Joe Burrow. Year in and year out, the Tigers were seemingly plagued by average at best quarterback play, and with that problem solved (at least for 2019), the Tigers are looking every inch of a true national contender, capable of dethroning Alabama in the SEC and beyond. Their next roadblock will come this weekend when the 9th ranked Auburn Tigers visit Baton Rouge as +10.5 underdogs. Assuming LSU continues to dominate as they have all season, Auburn would have two losses to their names, likely dropping them below the Utes, giving Utah a chance to sniff the top 10.

#8 Notre Dame vs #19 Michigan Saturday 5:30 - ABC

​Vegas has given this matchup a rare “even” spread, however ESPN’s Matchup predictor gives the Fighting Irish a 62.2% chance to claim victory this weekend in the Big House, a venue Notre Dame hasn’t won in since 2005. Utah fans need to remain hopeful that trend continues, as a two loss Notre Dame team would likely fall out of the top 10, giving the Utes the jolt they need to sneak in.