It’s week nine of college football, and we’re almost into November and the home stretch of the season. My picks recovered slightly from my 0-3 performance in week 7. I went 2-1 straight up and 1-2 against the spread. That brings my numbers (thru five weeks of picking games) to 8-7 straight up and 6-9 against the spread. Here are three games to keep an eye on:

No. 20 Wisconsin at Northwestern – Noon on FOX

Did you know that the two Big Ten teams with the best record in Big Ten play over their last 12 games are Wisconsin and Northwestern? It’s true! The Wildcats have won 11 of their last 12 Big Ten games and the Badgers have won 18 of their past 19.

This isn’t quite a Big Ten West elimination game, but a loss in this game puts you behind the eight-ball since four Big Ten West teams (Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue, and Northwestern) all have just one loss.

Clayton Thorson broke the record for most career wins by a Northwestern QB last season and has added to it this year. He doesn’t wow you, but he gets results. The senior signal-caller has thrown for just more than 1,900 yards and is completing 61.1 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and seven picks. He’s a great leader for Pat Fitzgerald’s team.

If you’re into weird stats, the Wildcats are averaging 24.3 points per game and are allowing 24.6 points per game. You’re reading that correctly — despite its 4-3 record, Northwestern is currently allowing more points per game than it is scoring. The Wildcats are averaging just 78.1 yards on the ground and 296.3 yards through their air per game. That ranks 128th and 20th in the country, respectively. The key for Thorson will be spreading Wisconsin out and buying enough time to find his receivers.

The Badgers have gotten a fantastic sophomore campaign from Jonathan Taylor. He’s averaging 6.5 yards per carry and has run for more than 1,100 yards this season. Wisconsin is fourth in the country in average rushing yards per game with 282.1, making Alex Hornibrook’s job a lot easier under center.

The Line: Wisconsin (-5)

My Pick: This game was close last year and it could be again this year, but I think the Badgers are the better team, and I’m taking them to win and cover the spread.

No. 9 Florida at No. 7 Georgia – 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS

The annual neutral-site game in Jacksonville, Fla., often referred to as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” is always a must-watch for college football fans across the Southeast and the country.

The stakes are very high. Lose, and you’re out of the SEC East race and the College Football Playoff. Win, and you’ve still got a chance.

If you’re a Florida fan, you like the passing yards (1,406) and TD-INT ratio (3-1) you’re getting from Feleipe Franks, but the completion percentage (56.6 percent) makes your stomach turn.

If you’re Georgia, you have to wonder why the Bulldogs don’t give the ball to Elijah Holyfield more. The kid leads the team in rushing and is averaging 7.5 yards per carry! How do you only give him 7 carries against LSU when you need to establish the run early?

Many Bulldogs fans want to see more of Justin Fields, but will Kirby Smart take playing time from Fromm, the quarterback who took them within a couple plays of a national championship, for the talented-but-still-raw freshman? Fromm is fifth in the country in passing efficiency, and he’ll need to be efficient and effective if he doesn’t want to get pulled.

Both Georgia and Florida are coming off of bye weeks, so I expect both teams to be well-prepared. I’m certainly not expecting a shootout. Georgia’s scoring defense is ranked 13th in the country, and Florida’s scoring defense is ranked 16th. A mere 0.3 points per game separates the two, giving me confidence that we’re going to see a physical, bruising game between two teams with outstanding defenses that love to run the ball to set up the pass.

The Line: Georgia (-6.5)

My Pick: After the shellacking that Georgia took on the road at LSU two weeks ago, I think the Bulldogs are going to be locked-in for this game. I’m going with the Paws over the Jaws and taking Georgia to win and cover.

No. 14 Washington State at No. 24 Stanford – 7:00 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Network

ESPN’s College GameDay came to Pullman for the first time ever last week, and the Cougars delivered. They raced out to a 27-0 lead at halftime and upset No. 12 Oregon.

That was a very emotional weekend, so the key for Mike Leach’s squad will be whether they can move on and deliver that kind of performance at The Farm against a tough Stanford team. Stanford’s expectations were certainly much higher at the start of the year, but the health of running back Bryce Love, last year’s Heisman runner-up, has limited the Cardinal.

Stanford QB K.J. Costello has been airing it out, but the ground game is so important to what Stanford looks to do every week. They play a physical style of football on both the offensive and defensive lines and want to control the tempo of the game. Despite the fact that he had 50 rushing yards combined in the opener against San Diego State and last week’s game against Arizona State, and has already missed two games this season, Love still leads the team in rushing by more than 150 yards. They’re just not the same without him being effective and they don’t have an effective replacement.

While Costello and JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who’s third in the nation in touchdown catches with nine, have a great rapport, the Cardinal will likely need something more if they want to keep up with Washington State’s offense.

Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” is firing on all cylinders again this season. The Cougars are averaging over 400 passing yards per game this season, making them the nation’s top passing offense. Washington State QB Gardner Minshew leads the nation in passing yards per game with a staggering 392.1 and is second in the country in passing yards with 2,745, just 56 behind Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. He also has 23 touchdown passes and just six picks.

Oregon, who as I wrote earlier was getting crushed at halftime, scored on its first three possessions coming out of halftime and made it a 10-point game before Washington State pulled away with a late touchdown.

The Cougars, the last remaining team in the Pac-12 with only one loss, are the conference’s slim and last remaining shot at getting a team into the CFP. If Stanford wins, it’ll be another disappointing overall year for the Pac-12.

The Line: Stanford (-2.5)

My Pick: It’s a testament to David Shaw’s coaching that Stanford is so tough to beat without its star running back, but a banged-up or absent Bryce Love is a huge advantage for Washington State. I’m taking the Cougars to win and cover on the road.

Noah Niederhoffer (@Noah715) is a producer at SiriusXM and a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Originally from Atlanta, he now lives in Washington, D.C.