Week 9 takeaways: Watch out for Kansas State as Big

With Week 9 in the books, the conference races are warming up.To this point, the focus in the Big 12 has actually been on Texas and Oklahoma, but with the Sooners suffering their first loss, things are more unsettled. Surging Kansas State is part of a five-team logjam at the top of the league, and the Wildcats’ upcoming match with the Longhorns takes on higher weight.Oregon made a statement in the Pac-12, however do not sleep on upstart Arizona because star-crossed conference. And while things are lining up for Florida State in the ACC, 2nd place is up for grabs with some surprising contenders.Here are a few of the top takeaways from the weekend.Kansas State’s Big 12 title defense is speeding up fast The Big 12 discussion to date has, understandably and properly, focused on Texas and Oklahoma. Those are the league’s most talented teams, they provided another impressive game at the Cotton Bowl a number of weeks back, and they’ll be leaving for the SEC after the season.But do not forget about the team that won the league in 2022, and suddenly looks really capable of safeguarding its champion. Kansas State fell off the radar after dropping games to Missouri and Oklahoma State, but Chris Klieman’s team has figured things out lately, which could be problem for Texas and its upcoming opponents. Seth Porter commemorates with Anthony Frias II after scoring a touchdown in Kansas State’s 41-0 win over Houston. Peter Aiken/Getty Images Klieman’s period is defined by signature wins– Oklahoma in 2019, 2020 and 2022, the Huge 12 championship game victory over TCU in 2015– but also has actually featured some dominant, bullying victories. Like, push your face in the dirt and smush it around type of stuff. Last season, the Wildcats walloped Oklahoma State 48-0 and Baylor 31-3– and those 2 groups reached the Huge 12 title game in 2021. Two weeks earlier, Kansas State stomped TCU 41-3 and followed up Saturday by handing Houston its first nothing loss( 41-0)because 2000. The Wildcats have actually locked out two challengers in back-to-back seasons for the very first time considering that 1936 and 1937. Although K-State’s defense has actually been strong all season, the offense needed to figure out some things, as quarterback Will Howard dealt with turnovers early on and the unit lacked a real game-wrecker like Deuce Vaughn. However Howard and freshman Avery Johnson have actually handled a two-quarterback system well lately, while DJ Giddens, Phillip Brooks, Treshaun Ward and others keep piling up backyards.”We have actually got to keep structure on what we have actually done the last couple of weeks,”offensive coordinator Collin Klein informed ESPN.”That’s win the line of scrimmage and make individuals alter and defend the width of the field with some of our jets, and some of our run game that has a great deal of variety to it with where it can hurt you. We have actually got to continue to forge ahead to establish those explosive plays down the field.” If we start striking and ended up being effective in a few of those locations, then we could be pretty unsafe.”Kansas State is very hazardous today, and a win at Texas today would put the Wildcats right in the mix to safeguard their Huge 12 crown.– Adam Rittenberg Texas’ red zone concerns continue Texas is 7-1, ranked No. 7 and can’t pay for another loss if it wishes to remain in the Big 12 hunt, much less be a College Football Playoff contender.But despite the Longhorns’35-6 drubbing of BYU on Saturday, there’s a huge concern down the stretch: their red zone issues. After coming away two times with no points inside the BYU 5, Texas ranks 120th in the nation in red zone performance. Kansas State, which is

headed to Austin this week, is ranked 3rd in red zone defense, which obviously is cause for alarm.Editor’s Picks 2 Associated Texas coach Steve Sarkisian is a gifted playcaller, and he’s breaking in a backup quarterback in Maalik

Murphy. The Longhorns have actually scored 30 or more points in their first eight games for the very first time in school history. But the issues have actually appeared in multiple ways in multiple games, most especially against Oklahoma, when the Longhorns put a protective deal with in the backfield and lined up in a jumbo bundle but were stopped four times on a range of appearances from the 1-yard-line.”It drew,” Sarkisian stated the following week.On one drive that started at the BYU 6, Sarkisian attempted 2 Wildcat looks with Murphy lined up at pass receiver and direct snaps to running back Savion Red, who had two brings for 4 backyards. Murphy then tried 2 passes, completing one on 4th down to Ja’Tavion Sanders, who was stopped at the 1. Texas likewise had a first-and-10 at the BYU 11 at the beginning of the fourth quarter and attempted a more conventional method. Murphy went 1-of-2 with a 10-yard completion to running back Jonathon Brooks, but Texas’two hurries, to CJ Baxter and Brooks, opted for an overall of minus-2 lawns. Again, the Longhorns left without points.It will bear seeing today. Texas has scored a touchdown on 49% of red zone trips, with just 13 teams in the country faring even worse. Kansas State allows a touchdown on simply 30%of opponents’drives, however Texas is even much better at

27.3%. Just Michigan ranks better than either of them at 11%.”I ‘d be lying if I didn’t tell you there’s a level of aggravation as it refers to that,”Sarkisian said Saturday night about his group’s failure to finish drives.”We have actually got to continue to dig deep into that.”– Dave Wilson Oregon clears course to Pac-12 title game Oregon wasn’t about to make the

exact same error twice.For the 2nd time in three weeks, it faced a top-15 foe in a hostile environment with an opportunity to make a reverberating statement. play 0:47 Bo Nix makes a great play to toss his second TD of the game Bo Nix fabricates a defender out and discovers Troy Franklin for a touchdown to offer Oregon a 21-3 lead.And it appears the Ducks found out a lesson from their trip to Seattle 2 weeks back, all however guaranteeing there will be a new Pac-12 champ after dispatching Utah– the conference’s two-time protecting

champ– in Salt Lake City.Dan Lanning’s group didn’t permit Utes quarterback Bryson Barnes to reproduce what he did 7 days earlier at the Coliseum against USC. Barnes (15-of-29 passing for 136 lawns and 2 interceptions)and the Utah offense handled simply 241 total lawns against the 16th-best defense in the country(303.6 backyards enabled per game). On the other hand, Ducks quarterback Bo Nix has worked his method back into the Heisman

Trophy race after tossing for 248 yards and 2 touchdowns while running for another rating.

Oregon’s 35-point effort marked the most points Utah had actually quit since a 42-32 loss at UCLA on Oct. 8, 2022. According to ESPN Stats & Info research study, the Ducks are 14-1 when Nix accounts for a minimum of 3 goals.

His 78.3 conclusion percentage leads all of the FBS and his goal to interception ratio (21-1)is about as excellent as it gets.The path to a 6th Pac-12 national championship look and a 5th title– both league highs– is there. Three of Oregon’s four staying games are at Autzen Arena, including its regular-season finale against Oregon State. Lanning’s group likely is still smarting over last year’s 38-34 loss in Corvallis.– Blake Baumgartner It’s time to speak about Arizona In a conference full of teams that attracted a great deal of attention this season, such as Oregon, Washington, USC and Colorado, the Arizona Wildcats have actually been the real surprise in the Pac-12 so

far. After back-to-back wins over ranked groups Washington State and Oregon State, Arizona has 5 wins, tying its win overall from last season and positioning the Wildcats one triumph from their first bowl berth considering that 2017. Even the Wildcats’ losses have been outstanding this season. They have lost three games (2 in overtime)by a combined 16 points and took both USC and Washington to the edge. The previous was a triple-overtime battle that came down to the last play, while the latter was a one-score game.Arizona’s return to relevancy has come under coach Jedd Fisch, who led the team to five wins last season after a one-win project in 2021 and has actually reversed

the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts

too. However it would be hard to picture this kind of season occurring had it not been for the abrupt rise of freshman quarterback Noah Fifita.Fifita’s very first start of the year came versus an undefeated Washington team following an injury to starter Jayden de Laura, and he hasn’t recalled given that. In four games, the freshman has actually amounted to 1,152 passing yards and 11 goals, jumpstarting the Wildcats’offense.

“There’s no flinch in Noah,” Fisch stated after Saturday’s win over Oregon State, when the quarterback completed 25 of 32 passes for 275 yards and 3 goals.” That provides you grace, that offers you self-confidence. … He did a wonderful job in running the group.”Things were already trending up for Fisch’s team,

however with Fifita under center, its future in the Big 12 next year and beyond looks far brighter than it may have appeared at the start of the season.– Paolo Uggetti Florida State’s CFP hopes still strong With Florida State off to its very first 8-0 start given that 2014, Mike Norvell has actually gotten Florida State back where the program believes it should be– at the leading edge of the national conversation. But the Seminoles can’t manage to slip up.Their September victory over Clemson got a great deal of attention, however with the Tigers now 4-4 after a loss to NC State, that victory in Death Valley does not resonate as prominently.Allstate Playoff Predictor How will Saturday’s top games impact the College Football Playoff chase after? What are the present odds for the top four? The Allstate Playoff Predictor has the answers. Check back weekly as the odds are upgraded following that week’s games. Their Labor Day weekend dismantling of LSU, however, is the crown gem on their résumé, and FSU backers will be rooting for Brian Kelly’s group to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday

night.According to ESPN Stats & Information research study, Jordan Travis(2,109 passing lawns, 18 TD passes)ended up being the first Florida State quarterback over the previous 20 seasons to account for 300 lawns of total offense and 4 touchdowns in one half Saturday, as the Noles dropped 34 first-half points on Wake Forest en route to a 41-16 win in Winston-Salem. Travis ‘connection with Keon Coleman (38 receptions for 538 yards and 9 touchdowns )continues to grow for an offense that is balancing 41.5 points per game. Coleman has been recharged after moving from Michigan State.The defense has been quite stingy as well, allowing a combined 14 pass completions over the last 2 weeks against Duke and Wake Forest.Miami and Florida stay on the schedule, and Louisville, surprising Virginia Tech or North Carolina, might be waiting in Charlotte on Dec. 2 with the ACC crown at stake.Florida State can supply a considerable obstacle for Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and Washington on the sport’s biggest stage. However it needs to get there initially.– Baumgartner Virginia Tech an unexpected second-place group in ACC Louisville lost to Pitt this season and Virginia Tech lost to Marshall, however the Cardinals and Hokies are connected for 2nd in the ACC behind undefeated Florida State– just as we all predicted.OK,

no one predicted it rather this way, although Louisville was a popular sleeper choice with the addition of favored alum Jeff Brohm taking over as coach. The more surprising team is Virginia Tech, which has won 3 of its previous four, with the only loss on the roadway to the Seminoles.While the three groups the Hokies beat are amongst the 4 worst groups in the conference standings, the fact Virginia Tech is sitting at 3-1 in ACC play should be considered development considering this group went 1-6 in the ACC in 2015, Brent Pry’s very first year as head coach.Behind dual-threat quarterback Kyron Drones and running back Bhayshul Tuten, the Hokies have considerably improved their rushing game. Both reviewed 100 lawns in a 38-10 win over Syracuse, in which the Hokies hurried for a season-high 318.

Even in the loss to the Seminoles, Virginia Tech rushed for 209 yards.Just how far that hurrying offense has come will be evaluated Saturday, when the Hokies and Cards play in Louisville in what– at least in the meantime– is a de facto tiebreaker game in the race for an ACC national championship berth. Louisville has the No. 9 rush defense in the nation and just held Duke to 51 yards on

the ground.ESPN analytics provides Louisville a 78 %opportunity to beat Virginia Tech. However in the ACC, anticipating the unforeseen is a repeating style.– Andrea Adelson

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