Week 9 storylines: Big doings in Big Ten; Georgia out for revenge

    Bill Connelly is a staff writer for ESPN.com.

After a couple of weeks of lower-magnitude games, the fight card for Week 9 of the college football season is an absolute knockout. The main event — the first Michigan-Michigan State game between AP top-10 teams since 1964 — has massive implications, but the undercard is one of the deepest of the season.

We’ll learn a ton about how the Big Ten and Big 12 races will play out, and we get Georgia’s revenge attempt over a Florida team that lapped it a year ago. We have full-on rock fights (Iowa-Wisconsin), potential points festivals (Virginia-BYU) and everything in between.

Here’s everything you need to know about a mammoth weekend of college football.

The battle to become Ohio State’s top contender

No. 6 Michigan at No. 8 Michigan State (noon, Fox)

The round robin of the Big Ten East’s primary contenders has finally begun. Granted, Ohio State-Penn State has lost some luster with the Nittany Lions’ back-to-back losses, but the stakes in East Lansing are as big as they’ve ever been for the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.

We might finally learn what happens when Michigan has to pass

Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines found they suddenly had a lot to fix this past offseason. The offense had averaged just 18 points per game in four losses and was mostly starting over at quarterback. The defense had allowed 35 points per game, and Harbaugh decided to replace legendary coordinator Don Brown with a fresh face: former Baltimore Ravens assistant Mike Macdonald.

The changes have worked beautifully. The Wolverines have scored at least 31 points in six of seven games while also allowing 17 or fewer in six. They got sucked into a slog against Rutgers and needed some late heroics to win at snakebitten Nebraska, but they’ve still outscored opponents by an average of 23.4 points, and they’re seventh in my SP+ rankings and fourth in ESPN’s FPI.

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