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2023 College Football Week 9 Sleeper Picks

By Hank Blaine

One of the top quarterbacks in the Mid-American Conference has been lost for the season as Miami of Ohio’s Brett Gabbert injured his right leg during a 21-17 home loss to Toledo in Week 8, leaving the stadium in an ambulance. . He has started every game since arriving at Miami in 2019 (38 total) and passed for more than 7,000 yards in his NCAA career. Here are three potential sleeper picks Saturday for Week 9.

Top 2023 College Football Week 9 Sleeper Picks

BYU Cougars vs. Texas Longhorns

  • When: Saturday, October 28th, 2023. 3:30pm EST
  • Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
  • College Football Odds: BYU (+17.5) // Texas (+17.5)

Texas will begin life without starting QB Quinn Ewers. The Heisman candidate suffered a grade 2 AC joint sprain in his right shoulder during the No. 7 Longhorns’ win over Houston on Saturday night and is expected to miss time. Coach Steve Sarkisian said Ewers would be week to week but did not offer a more specific timetable. Maalik Murphy is expected to start in his place over touted freshman Arch Manning as UT wants to redshirt him. Murphy entered and only attempted two passes in the win over the Cougars but looked steady while quarterbacking the offense for two possessions, including the game-winning drive. Murphy has excellent size and arm strength that, along with an additional year in Sarkisian’s offense, made him a clear No. 2 in the pecking order as the 2023 season approached over Manning. Texas put a renewed focus on the run game vs. the Cougars with 53 yards and the deciding touchdown in the fourth quarter of the 31-24 win.

Sarkisian is part of a BYU legacy of elite quarterback play, leading the Cougars at the position during the 1995 and 1996 seasons. He won the Sammy Baugh Trophy in 1996, was named an All-American and led the Cougars to an NCAA-record 14 wins, including a Cotton Bowl victory and No. 5 ranking to finish the 1996 season. BYU ranks sixth in the Big 12 in scoring defense (24.3 ppg) and 11th in total defense (396.7 ypg), while ranking 11th in scoring offense (27.6 ppg) and 14th in total offense (301.9 ypg). QB Kedon Slovis is fourth in the Big 12 in passing yards (1,513) and tied for fifth in passing touchdowns (12). Wide receiver Chase Roberts ranks 10th in the conference in receptions (29) and receiving yards (43), while running back LJ Martin is 12th in rushing yards 438. The Longhorns and Cougars will play for the first time since 2014. BYU leads the all-time series 4-1 with a 2-1 mark in Austin.

2023 College Football Week 9 Pick: BYU

Colorado Buffaloes vs. UCLA Bruins

Who will start in Pac-12 play for the Bruins? UCLA coach Chip Kelly made a switch at quarterback this past Saturday for the second time this season, going back to veteran Ethan Garbers against Stanford after five up-and-down games with true freshman Dante Moore at the helm. While Garbers returned to the starting lineup and delivered an effective performance in the No. 23 Bruins’ 42-7 win at Stanford, it does not mean the fourth-year junior will be the first man up against Colorado on Saturday. Kelly reiterated his belief UCLA has three quarterbacks capable of playing at a high level in Garbers, Moore and Kent State transfer Collin Schlee. “And we’re one of the fortunate teams in the country, we have depth at quarterback,” Kelly said Monday. “I believe Ethan’s a starter at the Power 5 level, Dante’s a starter at the Power 5 level, and Collin Schlee’s a starter at the Power 5 level, so that’s a luxury that not a lot of people have.” Garbers was 20 of 28 passing for 240 yards and two touchdowns with 51 yards rushing against the Cardinal. Moore, a five-star recruit, took over the starting position in Week 2 against San Diego State and had started every game since to mixed results before this past Saturday.

Colorado has been off since a crushing 46-43 double OT home loss to Stanford on Oct. 13 as CU blew a 29-0 lead. A 46-yard field goal by Stanford’s Joshua Karty at the end of regulation tied the game at 36-36 to force overtime. Both teams scored touchdowns in the first extra period, but Stanford intercepted CU quarterback Shedeur Sanders in the end zone on the Buffs’ second possession. Stanford then drove the ball to the CU 13-yard line to put Karty in position for the game-winning 31-yard field goal. Colorado finished with a slight 532-523 edge in total yards but the Cardinal had a 408-208 edge in the second half and overtime, as Stanford outscored Colorado 46-14 after intermission. Shedeur Sanders finished 33-for-47 for 400 yards and five touchdowns. He also led CU in rushing with 37 yards on 13 carries, despite being sacked four times. Two-way standout Travis Hunter returned to the lineup for Colorado after missing the last three games. He finished with 13 catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns and was also credited with five tackles.

2023 College Football Week 9 Pick: Colorado

Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Coastal Carolina coach Tim Beck said starting quarterback Grayson McCall is doubtful to face Marshall after sustaining a scary hit in the win at Arkansas State last Saturday and spending a night in the hospital. McCall ended his run with a slide and took a hard hit from Red Wolves defensive back Trevian Thomas late in the Chanticleers’ 27-17 victory. McCall’s head appeared to bounce against the turf. McCall, the three-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, lay on the ground for several moments before he was carted off the field and taken to a hospital, where he remained overnight for tests and observation. McCall hit a milestone shortly before suffering his injury, surpassing 10,000 passing yards for his NCAA career. This season, McCall has passed for 1,919 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. Redshirt senior Jarrett Guest, who took over at quarterback following McCall’s exit, is seemingly in line to start against the Thundering Herd.

Will Marshall have star running back Rasheen Ali? He was surprisingly ruled out last Thursday against James Madison and the Herd lost 20-9. . The tailback has been absolutely electric, collecting 641 yards and 11 scores on the ground thus far to go along with 15 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. He is No. 2 in FBS with his scoring average of 12.0 points. Field position played a huge part in a defensive affair as James Madison forced Marshall into a long field throughout the contest. Of Marshall’s 13 drives in the game, seven of them started inside the team’s own 10-yard line.

2023 College Football Week 9 Pick: Coastal Carolina

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READ MORE: 2023 College Football Week 9 Odds, Overview & Picks