College Football Week 8 Picks: Predictions for All the Big Games
Things are really starting to heat up on the 2010 college gridiron.
And with the official BCS standings now released and Week 8 quickly looming, it's time to break down the picks and predictions for all the upcoming games.
There will be a handful of Top 25 teams in action and squaring off, along with some non-ranked showdowns that should prove to be barn burners.
So without further ado, let's begin college football's Week 8 picks for the top 10 games.
10. North Carolina Tar Heels Vs. Miami (FL) Hurricanes
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Line: Miami -7
Why Tar Heels Should Win
The University of North Carolina's football season wears on, regardless of the chaos and controversy surrounding the university. With a 4-2 overall record and a 2-1 mark in the ACC, UNC has a solid chance of making something happen and pulling an upset win this weekend on the road. But in order for that to happen, the Tar Heels secondary must step up when called upon, as defense will be a key to the game.
Why Hurricanes Should Win
The Miami (FL) Hurricanes have an identical 4-2 overall record and 2-1 ACC campaign entering Saturday's contest. However, playing on it's home turf—and in front of it's home crowd—should give the Hurricanes enough of a lift to garner a victory. Beyond the home field advantage, Miami must also focus on limiting turnovers and penalties while maintaining a balanced offensive attack.
Regardless of the line only favoring Miami by seven, I foresee the Hurricanes winning Saturday's ACC showdown by 10 or more.
9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Vs. Clemson Tigers
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Line: Clemson -5.5
Why Yellow Jackets Should Win
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets swarm into Saturday's ACC showdown against Clemson with a 5-2 overall record and 3-1 conference mark. And if Georgia Tech can continue dominating games as it has thus far in 2010, picking up a road win on Saturday shouldn't be too difficult. The Yellow Jackets are also currently ranked No. 2 in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 328.1 yards on the ground per contest.
Why Tigers Should Win
The Clemson Tigers, regardless of holding a 3-3 overall record and 1-2 ACC mark, are favorites to win Saturday's ACC game against Georgia Tech. But Clemson's secondary has been solid thus far this season, ranking No. 29 in the nation in points against (19.3). If the Tigers'defense can clamp down for four straight quarters, Clemson should be able to wrap up win No. 2 in the ACC on Saturday.
Although the line favors the Clemson Tigers by 5.5 points, I believe Georgia Tech will storm into town and walk away as three-point winners.
8. Colorado Buffalos Vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
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Line: Texas Tech -2.5
Why Buffaloes Should Win
Colorado will be hosting the Big 12's Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday afternoon, as the Buffaloes aim to snap out of an 0-2 start to the season. The Buffaloes, coming off a 31-25 defeat to the Baylor Bears, are amongst the NCAA cellar dwellers in terms of points scored per game—with the Colorado offense averaging just 19.3 points per contest. Sure, Colorado could snap out of it and begin clicking on Saturday, but it may take a miracle in order for that to happen.
Why Red Raiders Should Win
I am honestly surprised the Texas Tech Red Raiders are just 2.5-point favorites heading into this week's road trip to Colorado. The Red Raiders are currently ranked No. 6 in the nation in terms of passing yards, with Texas Tech airing it out for 315.3 yards per game. And as long as the Texas Tech offense remains in rhythm from kickoff on, the Red Raiders should cruise to another 2010 victory.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders will storm into Colorado this weekend, garnering another win while beating the Buffaloes by seven or more.
7. Georgia Bulldogs Vs. Kentucky Wildcats
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Line: Georgia -1
Why Bulldogs Should Win
The Georgia Bulldogs, fresh off a 43-0 romp over Vanderbilt last weekend, aim to continue their winning streak this Saturday when hosting the Kentucky Wildcats. But Georgia, currently averaging 29.7 points per game, will likely have to score that much to pick up a win over Kentucky. Georgia, at 3-4 overall and 2-3 in the SEC, must also focus on playing stingy defense to come away victorious.
Why Wildcats Should Win
Kentucky could easily muster a road "upset" win this weekend over Georgia. The Wildcats, 4-3 overall with a 1-3 conference mark, are also fresh off a 31-28 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks in Week 7. And if Kentucky can continue riding that momentum in it's favor, the Wildcats may very well win on Saturday.
Although Georgia is favored by a mere one point in this weekend's showdown, I believe Kentucky will end up winning by three.
6. No. 23 Arkansas Razorbacks Vs. Mississippi Rebels
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Line: Arkansas -11
Why Razorbacks Should Win
Another SEC showdown and another major matchup. The Arkansas Razorbacks will be hosting the Mississippi Rebels on Saturday for Week 8, with the team aiming to bounce back after a 65-43 drubbing at Auburn last weekend. Regardless of Arkansas' 1-2 SEC record and 4-2 mark overall, the Razorbacks still rank No. 2 in the nation in terms of passing yards—throwing for 366.3 yards per game. As long as the Razorbacks continue airing it out with ease, a week 8 victory should come fairly easily.
Why Rebels Should Win
The Mississippi Rebels, 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the SEC, will be hitting the road for a tough matchup this weekend. And it's going to be very difficult for the Rebels to garner a win in Week 8. However, this same Arkansas football team did a decent job sticking around last weekend against former No. 1 Alabama—eventually succumbing to a 23-10 setback.
Arkansas will win this one in a blowout; Razorbacks by 16.
5. Baylor Bears Vs. No. 22 Kansas State Wildcats
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Line: Baylor -6.5
Why Bears Should Win
The Big 12's Baylor Bears, led by head coach Art Briles and sophomore sensation QB Robert Griffin III, are off to the school's best start since the conference was first established in the late 90s.
In addition, Baylor is averaging 301.4 passing yards per games—good enough for a No. 13 national ranking in that category. Baylor, 5-2 overall with a 2-1 conference record, aims to pick up win No. 6—and essentially a bowl-berth—when hosting Kansas State on Homecoming Saturday in Waco.
The Bears are also fresh off a gut-wrenching 31-25 victory on the road at Colorado and will be happy to return home to the comfy confines of Floyd Casey Stadium. With the crowd on Baylor's side, along with a team that appears stronger than anything Waco has ever seen, the Bears should be able to at least cover the spread—if not win by more.
As long as the Bears secondary remains grounded and the team doesn't allow any stupid penalties or costly turnovers, Baylor should easily capture it's third Big 12 win of the season on Saturday.
Why Wildcats Should Win
There are probably plenty of reasons as to why and how the No. 22 Kansas State Wildcats could beat the Baylor Bears on the road this weekend. But the simplicity of it is, it won't happen. Kansas State, 5-1 overall with a 2-1 mark in conference play, is coming off a 59-7 drubbing of Kansas on the road—proving the No. 22 team in the nation can handle it's business away from home.
However, I don't foresee that happening in Week 8 at Floyd Casey Stadium. The one way the Wildcats COULD pull off a weekend win would be if Kansas State's defense becomes superb overnight and learns to limit RGIII from destroying opponents at will.
And if it's not RGIII, the Bears running game has been solid in 2010 as well...
Baylor wins this one by 10, cementing a bowl berth and the resurrection of the Bears football program.
4. No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes Vs. No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers
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Line: Iowa -6.5
Why Hawkeyes Should Win
The No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes, 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten, will be hosting the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday for a Week 8 showdown. In Week 7, Iowa defeated Michigan 38-28 on the road, and the Hawkeyes will be returning home aiming to protect their home turf. Iowa's secondary, limiting opponents to just 13.2 points per game, has been extremely solid this season. That will have to continue if the Hawkeyes hope to beat the Badgers in Week 8.
Why Badgers Should Win
The Wisconsin Badgers, ranked No. 13 in the latest BCS standings, enter Saturday's contest with an overall record of 6-1 while going 2-1 in Big Ten play. Last week at home against Ohio State, Wisconsin destroyed the one-week-wonder former No. 1 Buckeyes to propel the Badgers up the poll ladders. And although Wisconsin will be facing a very tough challenge and a superior secondary in Week 8 on the road, the Badgers should be able to pick up a win if the team remains focused and plays solid football on both sides of the ball.
Regardless of Iowa being 6.5-point favorites heading into Saturday's Big Ten contest, I believe Wisconsin will win by six.
3. No. 11 Missouri Tigers Vs. No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners
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Line: Oklahoma -6
Why Tigers Should Win
This game should be quite a barn-burner. Missouri, 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12, enters this weekend's showdown following a 30-9 victory at Texas A&M in Week 7. The Tigers secondary has also been phenomenal in 2010, limiting opponents to a mere 10.8 points per game (No. 2 in the nation in that category). In addition, Missouri is putting up 34.5 points per game—and if the Tigers can muster that against the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners, they COULD pull off their biggest upset of the season on Saturday.
Why Sooners Should Win
The Oklahoma Sooners, the newest No. 1 team in the nation—at least according to BCS standings—will be hitting the road to face Big 12 foe Missouri on Saturday. Oklahoma, 6-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play, is currently ranked in the Top 20 nationally in both points (No. 17 with 36 points per game) and passing yards (No. 12 with 303 yards). And as long as the Sooners continue riding a remarkable high to start 2010, Oklahoma should coast to win No. 7 of the season in Week 8 on the road.
Although Oklahoma is only favored to win by six, I believe the Sooners will beat Missouri by 10 or more on Saturday.
2. No. 14 Oklahoma State Cowboys Vs. No. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers
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Line: Nebraska -3
Why Cowboys Should Win
The No. 14 Oklahoma State Cowboys enter Saturday's Big 12 showdown with the No. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers with an undefeated record. And although Nebraska is favored to win this weekend's contest, I believe Oklahoma State can secure a win at home as long as the team maintains composure and remains focused on the task at hand.
Oklahoma State also currently ranks No. 2 nationally in points (49.5 points per game) and No. 3 nationally in passing yards (361 yards). The Cowboys, fresh off a 34-17 victory at Texas Tech in Week 7, should be able to continue their undefeated streak on Saturday.
Why Cornhuskers Should Win
The No. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers, 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12, enter this weekend's showdown following a 20-13 loss to the Texas Longhorns. But Nebraska's secondary has been superior this season, ranking No. 9 nationally while limiting opponents to just 14 points per game.
The Cornhuskers rushing game has been superb in 2010 as well, with the team averaging 302.2 yards per game on the ground (No. 4 nationally).
Forget about the line favoring Nebraska by three, I foresee the Oklahoma State Cowboys rolling to a seven-point win in Week 8.
1. No. 4 Auburn Tigers Vs. No. 6 LSU Tigers
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Line: Auburn -4.5
Why Auburn Tigers Should Win
The No. 4 Auburn Tigers, 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC, are having an absolutely amazing campaign in 2010. Auburn looks to continue it's ride on Saturday when the team hosts the No. 6 LSU Tigers, also undefeated, in Week 8.
In Week 7, Auburn defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks 65-43—and the team is currently ranked No. 6 in points for (40.7) and No. 6 in rushing yards (283.7 yards per game). As long as Auburn can continue playing up to that level, the home Tigers will beat the road Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
Why LSU Tigers Should Win
The No. 6 LSU Tigers are 7-0 overall and 4-0 in conference play and will be aiming to keep things rolling this weekend on the road at Auburn. LSU, fresh off a non-conference 32-10 spanking against McNeese State in Week 7, has been playing remarkable defense this season.
And that is what it will take for the LSU Tigers to win on the road this week. IF the road Tigers secondary can limit Auburn's offense, LSU could easily escape with a win.
With Auburn favored to win by 4.5 points, I believe the "experts" are pretty much right on the money with this contest; Auburn by six.
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org