Week 8 was a friendly reminder that anything can happen on a given Saturday in college football. Then-No. 3 Oklahoma needed late heroics to beat Kansas. Tennessee played No. 4 Alabama within a score in the fourth quarter. Now that we're a week out, we can say it – Week 8 was a brutal one to find upsets. But with No. 8 Oklahoma State covering against Iowa State and No. 22 San Diego State taking care of business against Air Force, the upset picks weren't all bad.
Big-time matchups are back in Week 9 with three games between ranked teams. Each week, potential upsets are picked based on favorable matchups, context (i.e. location, rivalries, look-ahead games) or just good ol' fashion gut feel. For maximum effect, a spread of at least three points is required for consideration – the bigger, the better.
Important disclaimer: "upset" is defined by odds, not rankings.
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET | Where: Clemson, South Carolina
Clemson has won five straight games against Florida State with the last three victories by a combined 97 points. But now, it's the Tigers going through a massive backslide and offensive line issues. This is an opportunity for a program-building win that could quickly get Seminoles coach Mike Norvell back into the program's good graces. On the field, wins over North Carolina and Syracuse help bring hope that FSU is further along than it looks. Of note: Clemson is 0-7 against the spread. ATS: Florida State, SU: Clemson
When: Saturday, 10 p.m. ET | Where: Salt Lake City, Utah
It's unclear at this point whether UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson will be ready for prime time in Salt Lake City, but backup Ethan Garbers showed some juice after entering the tight loss to No. 8 Oregon down the stretch. Besides, UCLA at its core is a running team and Utah is fresh off blowing a two-score lead against Oregon State. Don't sell your Bruins stock too early. ATS: UCLA, SU: UCLA
When: Saturday, 6 p.m. ET | Where: Boca Raton, Florida
UTEP is a cool 0-25-1 all-time in games in the Eastern Time Zone. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for the Miners to buck the trend yet again. FAU played by far its best game of the season against Charlotte a week ago, but the Owls' offense has been inconsistent. If UTEP's outstanding D-Line can get after FAU QB N'Kosi Perry, the Miners' explosive playmakers can break free. UTEP is in the midst of its best start since 2005. ATS: UTEP, SU: UTEP
Purdue at Nebraska
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET | Where: Lincoln, Nebraska
Despite its losing record, Nebraska has been viewed as an underrated team, but a loss to Minnesota in which the Huskers struggled to get the Gophers off the field was a warning sign. Ranking the Boilermakers after beating Iowa was always generous, but the program still has a number of dynamic offensive playmakers that can stretch the field. Nebraska doesn't deserve more than a touchdown's worth of respect after how it has played in 2021. ATS: Purdue, SU: Purdue
When: Saturday, 10 p.m. ET | Where: Reno, Nevada
UNLV is one of just two winless programs in college football along with Arizona. In fact, coach Marcus Arroyo is winless in two years and 13 games as a head coach. But if you look closely, UNLV has played its last four opponents within one score, including ranked opponents Fresno State and UTSA, along with defending Mountain West champ San Jose State. Nevada is one of the toughest matchups left on the schedule, but UNLV will keep the train rolling. ATS: UNLV, SU: Nevada
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 9, and which top-10 team will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,900 in profit over the past five-plus seasons -- and find out.