Week 9 is upon us and for those who really, really love college football, we have college football almost every day this week. As you peruse your lineup looking for that edge, you may also want to start stocking up for the playoffs.
However, you cannot make the playoffs without beating the opponent you have this week so take a look at some of our offerings to see if you can't tack on another 'W'.
Grade: A. Solid week from everyone.
Grade: C. Dunbar and Polk were surprises but the others petered out as predicted.
Start Em! Running Backs (BCS)
Rolandan Finch, Boston College vs. Maryland: Finch seems to have taken over the starting job for the Eagles and should have very little difficulty slicing through the soft Terrapin defense. The Terps are surrendering a staggering 215 yards on the ground per game. Finch should see the mid-20s in carries which should take him close to 130 yards and multiple scores.
Cameron Marshall, Arizona State vs. Colorado: Marshall has been a bit gimpy this season with a tender ankle, but had the bye week to rest and should be ready to do some damage to the reeling Buffs. The Buffs have been a sieve against the run which should produce a solid day for Marshall and the Sun Devils.
Stephen Houston, Indiana vs. Northwestern: This may seem odd, but hear me out. First of all, the Hoosiers have realized that they have atrocious quarterback play and have started to lean on their bruising tailback. Secondly, the Wildcats are giving up over 175 yards rushing per game, so Houston should rush for 100 yards and a score.
Mike Ball, Nevada vs. New Mexico State: Ball started off the season, but by the fourth game of the season was hampered by a sprained ankle. If there were any concerns about his health, they were shot down last week as Ball ran roughshod on Fresno State to the tune of 198 yards and a score while also catching a touchdown. When Ball goes up against New Mexico State, look for the Aggies to struggle trying to slow down Cody Fajardo and Ball, which should lead to yet another 100-yard day for the Nevada back.
Kenny Turner, New Mexico State vs. Nevada: Turner is an interesting story as he had just nine carries in the first three games combined but has since rushed for more than 100 yards in four straight weeks. This weekend against the Wolfpack should make it five as Turner is just too good to slow down right now, and the Pack are struggling against the run.
Zach Line, Southern Methodist vs. Tulsa: Line is about as automatic as they come in Conference USA, as the bruising back has rushed for more than 100 yards in every week but two, and he has reached the end zone in every game but two. (Consequently the two games he didn't score a touchdown he rushed for 120 and 163 yards.) Line is facing off against a much-improved Tulsa defense, but there is no reason to sit him now.
Sit Em! Running Backs (BCS)
Silas Redd, Penn State vs. Illinois: Redd has been on a tear lately, but against an Illini team that will be motivated after losing to Purdue, he will not be given running room easily.
Dustin Garrison, West Virginia vs. Rutgers: The Scarlet Knight defense is playing fast and loose which likely won't slow down the potent passing attack of Geno Smith and Co., but could mean a slow day for their frosh running back. Due to the nature of the offense, Garrison has been boom-or-bust this season, and I am leaning towards bust this one.
Joe Banyard, Texas-El Paso vs. Southern Mississippi: Banyard has shown signs of why TCU recruited him in the first place but has also been a dud at times. The UTEP offense is not as potent as it has been in previous years, and Banyard is sharing carries with Vernon Frazier and Leilyon Myers which makes him a risky play. Against the Golden Eagles, I just don't see Banyard taking off.
Ja'Terian Douglas, Tulsa vs. Southern Methodist: Much like Banyard from UTEP, Douglas is the victim of an offense that loves to get the ball into the hands of several players so it is unlikely that Douglas will even see the mid-teens in carries against the Mustangs. Add to the fact that June Jones' squad is especially tough against the run, and you have more than enough reason to bench Douglas.
Brandon Rutley, San Jose State vs. Louisiana Tech: Rutley was on a hot streak before going down with injury. In his one game back, Rutley managed just 70 yards and zero touchdowns against Hawaii. While Rutley struggled against the Warriors, he will find running even more difficult as he faces off against the Bulldogs' 24th-ranked rush defense.