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What to Watch: Week 09 of the 2011 College Football Season

Sweet, sweet bye week. Sometimes I think the fans need the bye week just as much as the players do. "Just as much" is probably overstating it a bit, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that we could all use a week where we can relax and not be on edge about the outcome of a game. Even if we don't need it, our significant others and families probably do. LSU, as you all know, has a bye week too, which is just amplifying the national attention on our November showdown. One other unbeaten team, Boise State, has a bye week too. What a week to take off too. There are a bunch of absolute clunkers on given the number of critical losses last week. Some games that looked marquee a week or two ago have lost quite a bit of luster due to recent results. If you need a weekend to catch up on your "honey-do" list, this the weekend for it.

MISSOURI at TEXAS A&M (16) - FX - 11:00 a.m.

This Big XII conference game will likely be an SEC conference game next year. Might as well get a sneak peak of what's probably headed our way next year...and of course the West looks to be picking up the tougher of the two. Missouri's not very good this year and Texas A&M is likely to roll at home. We all know they're on their way here and yet it feels hyper bizarre to be typing it. Welcome Tigers and Aggies????

BAYLOR at OKLAHOMA STATE (3) - ABC / ESPN2 / ESPN-GP / ESPN3 - 2:30 p.m.

Even before Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech, Oklahoma State was in control of its own destiny for a berth into the national title game. The Sooner loss though put the spotlight firmly on the Cowboys and now we have to see if Gundy & Co. can survive the pressure of being top dog in the conference and near the top of the heap nationally. After this week, they still have to face Texas Tech, Kansas State and Oklahoma. Gundy should be able to handle it though right? I mean...he's a man...he's 40....

FLORIDA vs. GEORGIA - CBS - 2:30 p.m.

Georgia needs this win in the worst way possible. A loss won't eliminate them seeing as South Carolina still has a couple of potential conference losses on the schedule, but South Carolina holds the tiebreaker between the two so the Dawgs will dig themselves a hole they might not be able to climb out of with a loss here. Florida's still mathematically in it, though they'd need to run the conference table and get help from Auburn and Arkansas along the way. The East is still pretty wide open and this game will greatly impact who appears in Atlanta the first weekend of December.

OKLAHOMA (9) at KANSAS STATE (8) - ESPN - 2:30 p.m.

The Sooners look to get back in the driver's seat this weekend in Manhattan. With a little help along the way (needing Texas Tech to slip up) they're on the verge of controling their own destiny in the conference race and are ranked high enough to where they can position themselves as one of the best one loss teams if they run the table as they still have to face several high caliber opponents. Kansas State clearly wants to shut the door on Oklahoma and make the conference a two horse race and come into next week's game against Oklahoma State undefeated (that'd be two pretty epic clashes in one weekend along with our game.) Why do all of the interesting games have to come on at the same time?

SOUTH CAROLINA (13) at TENNESSEE - 6:15 p.m. - ESPN2

How in the name of all things good is South Carolina still only a one loss team? They still have to face Arkansas next week and Florida later in the season so they're anything but in the clear regarding the race to win the East. Tennessee? Well, they're not very good despite being able to hang with teams for a half. I hope the Gamecocks can run the table in conference so we can get a good revenge game in on them for last year...and hey, bonus for the Tennessee loss. Go Gamecocks.