College Football Picks Week 8: Highlighting Saturday's Top Matchups

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College Football Picks Week 8: Highlighting Saturday's Top Matchups
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The college football season continues to heat up with more premier bouts between ranked adversaries.

Five of this week's many games pit two ranked opponents against one another, setting up an intense week of football that holds major implications over the ranks. The AP Top 25 is unlikely to look the same after Saturday.

Major bouts in the SEC, Pac-12 and ACC could shake up each conference. Here's a look at some of Saturday's best bouts.

College Football Week 8 Schedule for AP Top 25 Teams
Day Time (ET) Away Home Pick
Thur., 10/17 7:30 p.m. No. 10 Miami (FL) North Carolina Miami
Fri., 10/18 8:00 p.m. UCF No. 8 Louisville Louisville
Sat., 10/19 12:00 p.m. No. 11 South Carolina Tennessee South Carolina
Sat., 10/19 12:00 p.m. No. 15 Georgia Vanderbilt Georgia
10/19 12:00 p.m. No. 16 Texas Tech West Virginia Texas Tech
10/19 12:00 p.m. TCU No. 21 Oklahoma State Oklahoma State
10/19 12:21 p.m. No. 22 Florida No. 14 Missouri Missouri
10/19 3:00 p.m. No. 23 North Illinois Central Michigan Northern Illinois
10/19 3:30 p.m No. 24 Auburn No. 7 Texas A&M Texas A&M
10/19 3:30 p.m No. 9 UCLA No. 13 Stanford UCLA
10/19 3:30 p.m No. 18 Oklahoma Kansas Oklahoma
10/19 6:00 p.m. No. 20 Washington Arizona State Arizona State
10/19 7:00 p.m. Arkansas No. 1 Alabama Alabama
10/19 7:00 p.m. No. 6 LSU Ole Miss LSU
10/19 7:00 p.m. Iowa State No. 12 Baylor Baylor
10/19 8:00 p..m No. 5 Florida State No. 3 Clemson Clemson
10/19 8:00 p..m No. 25 Wisconsin Illinois Wisconsin
10/19 10:00 p.m. Washington State No. 2 Oregon Oregon
10/19 10:00 p.m. UNLV No. 17 Fresno State Fresno State

ESPN.com

 

No. 9 UCLA at No. 13 Stanford

Stanford has stolen much of the limelight from UCLA all season, but the Bruins enter as the higher-ranked squad.

UCLA held its ground once again with another quiet victory, topping California by a score of 37-10. Sophomore Brett Hundley dominated with 410 passing yards and three touchdowns as a tune-up for this week's showdown.

Meanwhile, Stanford's title hopes took a dramatic hit with a 27-21 loss to Utah. A week after narrowly defeating Washington, Stanford fell on the other side when Bubba Poole ran for 111 yards for the Utes.

UCLA has outscored its opponents by 27.6 points per game, having compiled 323.6 yards through the air and 223.4 yards on the ground. With running back Jordon James supplementing Hundley with 6.3 yards per carry, the Bruins have all the tools to enter hostile territory and escape with a colossal victory over the Cardinal.

Prediction: UCLA 30, Stanford 23

 

No. 24 Auburn at No. 7 Texas A&M

How far can Johnny Manziel carry the Aggies?

The sophomore has completed a dazzling 73.2 percent of his passes for 1,835 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. Throw in his 438 rushing yards and five additional scores and Manziel is a prime candidate to win his second Heisman Trophy in as many years.

But can the dynamic quarterback continue to mask a struggling defense that has surrendered 32 points per game? Against SEC competitors, Texas A&M has yielded 120 points through three games, all of which delved into shootout territory.

Despite scoring 62 points last week against Western Carolina, that's not a game Auburn wants to play. The Tigers, who failed to keep up with LSU, rely on controlling the ground game and keeping opponents in the low 20s. If the Aggies put up their usual 47, it will obviously be a long day.

Look for Manziel to do enough against Auburn to keep his school ranked in the top 10.

Prediction: Texas A&M 38, Auburn 30

 

 

No. 5 Florida State at No. 5 Clemson

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

In Saturday's game of the week, two top-five squads clash with possible BCS title implications at stake.

Another win against a major adversary would push Clemson closer to the doorstep of Alabama and Oregon, while another victory for Florida State would move the rising club up at least one more spot. 

Who will win?

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This matchup has everything to make it essential watching for any football fan. Clemson sports a well-balanced team that ranks 10th in FBS in offensive passing yards and opposing points scored. Florida State has earned a plus-208 point differential.

Most importantly, it has the star quarterbacks. Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston will both strut their stuff on prime time, trying to convince scouts of their pro potential while leading their college squads to the promised land.

Boyd, in his senior year, has completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,783 passing yards, 15 passing touchdowns and two interceptions. Winston's completion percentage resides at a sparkling 73.2 alongside 17 passing scores and two picks. So, these guys are really good.

This one is close, but Clemson gains the slight edge since it is battle tested with a season-opening win vs. Georgia. Clemson also sports the home-field advantage, which could rattle the opposing freshman quarterback.

Prediction: Clemson 41, Florida State 35

 

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