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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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College football winners and losers: Week 9

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Junior DL Fadil Diggs (10) sacks South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler during Texas A&M’s game vs. South Carolina at Kyle Field on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.

Winner: The King of Georgia
Georgia Tech redshirt sophomore quarterback Haynes King has had a unique college journey. In Week 9, he put up one of his better performances of his career, throwing for 287 yards and four touchdowns while accumulating 90 yards on the ground in a 46-42 victory over No. 17 North Carolina.
After backing up quarterback Kellen Mond at Texas A&M his freshman season, King was named the starter the next year. Unfortunately for King, he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2.
The following year, King was named the starter again for an Aggie team with high expectations. However, another nightmare occurred for him in Week 2 when A&M lost to Appalachian State and he only threw for 97 yards. King was replaced as starter the next week.
King now has the Yellow Jackets in position to potentially make a bowl game for the first time since 2018 with a pair of Top 25 victories. Maybe, just maybe, King was not the problem in College Station.
Loser: The Big 12’s playoff chances
No more Big 12 teams stand undefeated this season as Oklahoma fell 38-33 at Kansas in Week 9. Now it appears the Big 12 may be without a playoff team in 2023 as an undefeated team remains in all four of the other Power 5 conferences.
Anything can happen with four weeks left in the season, plus the conference championship games, but the chances do not look great. Even if Washington, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan or Ohio State drop a game, who knows if the committee would put the Big 12 champion in over them?
All things considered, the Big 12 appears as the weakest of the Power 5 conferences this season. In the non-conference, the Big 12 as a whole went 28-12, the worst out of the other P5 conferences, and 6-6 against other P5 schools.
Unless other teams around the country fall, it will be hard for the committee to have an argument for a Big 12 school in the playoffs.
Winner: Bo Nix
Oregon senior quarterback Bo Nix strengthened the Ducks’ postseason hopes with a star studded performance against No. 13 Utah in Week 9. Nix threw for 248 yards with a 77% completion rate and two touchdown passes in the Ducks’ 35-6 victory.
Nix has 21 touchdown passes with 2,337 yards and the fourth-best quarterback rate in the country at 85, making him a realistic Heisman candidate if he can keep up the momentum into the final weeks of the season.
With that dominant roll over one of the Pac-12’s most dominant defenses, Nix is showing the Playoff Committee the Ducks are here to stay in the top 10.
An undefeated Washington squad stands in the way of Oregon’s Pac-12 Championship chances, but it has an opportunity to flip the script versus No. 24 USC in Week 11.
Loser: Spencer Rattler
South Carolina senior quarterback Spencer Rattler appeared quite rattled in the 30-17 loss to the Aggies in Week 9.
Rattler was under distress all game with the A&M defensive front pressuring him into three costly intentional grounding penalties. In the Gamecocks’ mostly stagnant offense, he completed 20 out of 33 passing attempts, averaging only 5.3 yards per completion.
Rattler was also sacked four times and held to only 176 passing yards in just the second time this year he failed to break the 200-yard mark.
With the lackluster offensive performance, the Gamecocks moved to 2-6 on the season and suffered a fourth-straight loss, all to SEC opponents.
South Carolina faces off against Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Clemson after playing against Jacksonville State next in Week 10. If the Gamecocks still want a shot to make a bowl game, they need to win out the rest of the season and pray for a Thanksgiving miracle.
Winner: The Dukes
The No. 23 James Madison Dukes are undefeated on the season with a record of 8-0. They look to take the title of Sun Belt Conference champions this year with wins over the likes of Virginia, South Alabama and Old Dominion.
James Madison has shown what it takes to transition from the FCS to the FBS and find immediate success in the highest echelon of college football, having already won the 2022 Sun Belt Championship in their first FBS season.
The Dukes are on a roll once again, looking to vanquish any foes who may cross their path. Needless to say, these bulldogs are hungry and ready to feast on any lackluster FBS programs.
Senior quarterback Jordan McCloud has been on fire this year with over 2,000 passing yards and 18 passing touchdowns. The wide receiver duo of senior Reggie Brown and sophomore Elijah Sarratt has accounted for over 1,200 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches.
This team isn’t to be messed with and I can’t see any team taking the crown from the Duke Dog anytime soon. Watch out, because someone let the dogs out, and they look to do more than just win the Sun Belt this season.
Loser: State of Utah football
It was a bad week to live in Utah, or at least if you love college football. Both Power 5 teams that represent the state had devastating performances in Week 9. The BYU Cougars and the Utah Utes both lost by identical scores of 35-6 in two poor performances.
The Cougars were unable to find the end zone for all 60 minutes of play in Austin. The No. 7 Texas Longhorns decimated the decaffeinated defense with over 350 total yards.
Junior Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy raced past the visiting men of Brigham Young with a punt return touchdown in the first quarter. Needless to say, the boys in blue did not come to Texas on a mission.
The No. 18 Utes did not look much better than their counterparts as they too were dominated. The men in red could have used more preparation for their Pac-12 collision with the No. 6 Oregon Ducks. This deadly flock never let its foot off the gas in Salt Lake City and left webbed footprints all over Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Overall, the entire state will be looking for better performances from its football teams next week. The only team without a loss were the Utah State Aggies, who were on a bye.

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Matthew Seaver
Matthew Seaver, Sports Reporter
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