With week nine in the books, here are 10 things we learned in college football.

Alabama-LSU will decide the SEC. After watching the level of play out of the SEC East this season, I can tell you for a fact whichever team wins this weekend’s Alabama-LSU will end up winning the SEC and earning a spot in Miami for the BCS National Championship Game.

Florida just isn’t quite there yet. The Gators used a great mix of opportunistic defense and a solid running game to jump out to a 7-0 start, but miscues and a lack of big playmakers caught up with Florida proving the program is still another year or two away from getting back on track.

If Notre Dame goes undefeated, the Irish should play in the title game. I wasn’t 100 percent sold on Brian Kelly’s team, but after watching its performance against Oklahoma, I believe the Fighting Irish are good enough to contend for a national title come January.

The Big Ten is just plain awful. The Big Ten has taken a major step back as a conference this season. If it weren’t for Ohio State – which is saddled with a postseason bowl ban – the league would have little to talk about this season. And worse yet, the league could send a three-loss team in the Rose Bowl.

Collin Klein is good, but how about Kansas State’s defense? Sure, the Wildcats quarterback tallied more than 300 total yards of offense and four touchdowns during a 55-24 win over Texas Tech, but the defense forced three turnovers and held Seth Doege in check for most of the game.

USC’s collapse is mindboggling. The Trojans came into the season surrounded by all sorts of hype and expectations thanks to a roster loaded with NFL-caliber talent, but none of that has translated on the field as mistakes and poor play have made USC nothing more than a footnote in the 2012 season.

Mack Brown has a Texas-sized problem. The Longhorns have looked nothing like the team that started the season 5-0 and have underwhelmed during back-to-back losses and a come-from-behind win over Kansas Saturday. If Texas continues to struggle, the seat under Brown will get very hot, very quickly.

Boise State is back in BCS Buster-mode. With only seven returning starters and no Kellen Moore to guide the team, it was easy to figure Boise State would be in a rebuilding year. However, the Broncos are 7-1 and continue to climb up the rankings, making a possible trip to a BCS bowl very much a reality.

Louisville fans better enjoy Charlie Strong while they can. The Cardinals’ success means that Strong could find himself on a lot of athletic directors short lists for vacant coaching jobs at the end of the season. Expect his name to come up several times as higher profile jobs become available.

You have to feel for Marcus Lattimore. The South Carolina running back is out indefinitely after suffering a gruesome knee injury during the Gamecocks’ win over Tennessee. In a show of support and respect, players from both teams surrounded him as he was carted off the field. 

 

Don't forget about Matt's Murschel's weekly mail bag. If you have any college football questions you would like answered or just issues or players you would like his thoughts on please email him at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.comFollow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.