October in college football is for thinning out the ranks of the unbeaten. November, in turn, thins out the one-loss herd.
But if Saturday doesn't provide a few upsets, November is going to have its work cut out. Heading into Week 9's games, the one-loss house party included Alabama, Oregon, Auburn, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Georgia, TCU, Kansas State, Ohio State, Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Utah, Nebraska, Minnesota, and even Duke.
If LSU trips Ole Miss in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday, the Rebels might not be able to get through the one-loss door without fire marshall approval. It's a logjam, to be sure, one that will take time to sort itself out.
This, however, doesn't look like the week for it.
Michigan, Texas, Cal, Illinois, Texas Tech, South Carolina, and Tennessee -- 23-26 between them -- are among the downtrodded tasked with knocking off a one-loss team this weekend.
Here are 11 other things you need to know about Week 9 in college football:
- Anyone else? Four Big Ten running backs -- Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, Indiana's Tevin Coleman, Minnesota's David Cobb and Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah -- have already cracked the 1,000-yard barrier, but nobody else in a "power five" conference has turned the trick. But one from the ACC, Pittsburgh's James Conner, is primed to join the party. Conner has 959 yards and will be playing at home Saturday against a Georgia Tech run defense ranked No. 94 in the country and allowing 188 yards a game.
- Unwelcome back, coach. Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin's much-anticipated --, err, much-loathed -- return to Rocky Top will draw the ire of Tennessee fans far and wide. Kiffin's Crimson Tide offense rolled up more than 600 yards against Texas A&M last week. The Volunteers will counter with the sixth-ranked pass defense in the NCAA. And a lot of boos. And who knows what else.
- Little victories where everything is big. There will be no championship of any kind for Texas in Charlie Strong's first season, and there might not even be a bowl. But what the Longhorns can still achieve is a signature win over a ranked opponent. Kansas State doesn't exactly qualify as a national power, but the Wildcats are ranked No. 11 and have yet to lose a Big 12 game.
- As long as we're on the subject of wounded powerhouses ... Michigan visits Michigan State Saturday, and it's not likely to be pretty. The Wolverines carry a bit of momentum, coming off a win over Penn State and an idle date over the last two weeks. But when Michigan State's stout defense is on the field against Michigan's anemic offense, first downs could be hard to come by for the Wolverines, much less points.
- NFL prospects abound among skill position matchups this week. Here are three wide receiver-cornerback battles worth watching Saturday: Colorado WR Nelson Spruce vs. UCLA CB Ishmael Adams; Michigan WR Devin Funchess vs. Michigan State CB Trae Waynes; Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong vs. Washington CB Marcus Peters.
- And here's one not to watch, unless you just like offense. West Virginia's Kevin White, who hasn't been held under 100 yards receiving the entire season, is set to shred a porous Oklahoma State secondary for yet another Ben Franklin day in the yardage department. OSU coach Mike Gundy said White is "going to play the game for a long time."
- Looking for a pass-rush battle? You won't do much better than Clemson's Vic Beasley working against Syracuse offensive tackle Sean Hickey, which one NFC scout termed "an exposure matchup."
- Upset Alert I. Don't let what looks like an off-year for LSU fool you. When playing in Death Valley, especially at night, the Tigers are fully capable of giving Ole Miss all it wants and more. LSU has the offensive line to generate a running game against the Rebels' active front seven. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace has a bad game in him somewhere this season, and trips to Baton Rouge send a lot of visiting passers home with a headache.