College football Week 9 expert picks: Ohio State faces first true test

Its the final Saturday of October, but we’ll forgo clichéd references to Halloween or tricks or treats coming in Week 9 in the college football season. The story for the weekend is the games and there’s three significant matchups worth acknowledging 

No. 2 Ohio State heads to No. 13 Penn State in the first serious road game for the Buckeyes, who have played six of their first seven games at home. The Nittany Lions have hung with OSU for the past five games – all losses – so this shapes up as a close game that could swing the balance in the Big Ten East if they can pull of an upset in front of their raucous home crowd.

No. 3 Tennessee welcomes No. 19 Kentucky to Knoxville in a key SEC East showdown. The Volunteers are two weeks removed from their win against Alabama and a week away from their clash at No. 1 Georgia. They’ll have to be ready for the Wildcats, who have lost twice in the league but will have quarterback Will Levis and running back Chris Rodriguez at full strength Saturday.

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The final clash of ranked teams sees No. 9 Oklahoma State travel to No. 22 Kansas State. The Cowboys have played consecutive games against Baylor, TCU and Texas with the first two of those being on the road. Do they have enough energy to go again away from home against the Wildcats? Both teams have one loss in the league after falling to TCU in consecutive weeks, meaning the loser here has a huge hill to climb to reach the Big 12 title game. The winner faces a more manageable schedule in November.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY