College Football Picks: Week 8 Predictions for Every Game
While the most recent slate of games provided a bit of separation within the Big 12 and SEC, we might as well call Week 8 "Pac-12 Saturday."
The latest AP Top 25 includes four Pac-12 programs―Oregon, Utah, Arizona State and Washington―and they're all preparing for one of the ranked schools. Throw in Arizona's trip to USC, and the conference's hierarchy will be clear by Sunday morning.
Penn State will host Michigan in the only other matchup between Top 25 teams. That may suggest a relatively quiet weekend is coming, but it means any upset could be a dramatic one.
Last week, South Carolina pulled off a stunner at Georgia. Will another top-ranked squad fall to an unranked foe this Saturday?
The predictions are initially organized based on AP ranking in ascending order. The remainder are listed chronologically after a preview of the five best games between unranked teams. All odds are courtesy of Caesars and accurate as of Tuesday.
AP Nos. 25-21
No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington (3:30 p.m. ET, Oregon -3)
For prediction, see No. 12 Oregon.
Louisiana-Monroe at No. 24 Appalachian State (3:30 p.m. ET, Appalachian State -14.5)
Appalachian State navigated the ever-treacherous midweek road game last Wednesday and returns home for a favorable matchup. Louisiana-Monroe ranks fifth-worst nationally with 5.7 yards allowed per carry. App State should be able to control this matchup on the ground and improve to 6-0.
Prediction: Appalachian State 34, ULM 24
Purdue at No. 23 Iowa (Noon ET, Iowa -18)
Two weeks ago, this seemed like a definite Iowa victory. Then on Saturday, Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer broke out for 420 yards and three touchdowns. Was that simply a bad Maryland defense, or are the Boilers ready to compete? We'll need a little more evidence before jumping on the Boilermakers' train.
Prediction: Iowa 27, Purdue 17
No. 22 Missouri at Vanderbilt (4 p.m. ET, Missouri -21)
After losing to UNLV in embarrassing fashion, Vanderbilt dropped to 1-5 on the season. Every loss has been by a margin of 18-plus points. Missouri, meanwhile, is averaging 474.3 yards and 38.8 points per game, so there's little sense in picking against the Tigers.
Prediction: Missouri 34, Vanderbilt 14
Tulsa at No. 21 Cincinnati (3:30 p.m. ET, Cincinnati -17)
Remove the understandable loss at Ohio State, and Cincinnati boasts one of the nation's most effective defenses. The Bearcats have otherwise allowed no more than 24 points. Collapsing at home against Tulsa, which is 116th in yards per play (out of 130 FBS programs), would be stunning.
Prediction: Cincinnati 33, Tulsa 17
AP Nos. 20-16
No. 20 Minnesota at Rutgers (3:30 p.m. ET, No Line)
Since defeating Massachusetts to begin the campaign, Rutgers has scored a total of 23 points in five games. We're not going to waste any more of your time.
Prediction: Minnesota 41, Rutgers 7
Temple at No. 19 SMU (3:30 p.m. ET, SMU -7.5)
This result basically hinges on SMU's pass defense. While the Mustangs have allowed just 6.4 yards per attempt and a 56.7 percent completion rate, they've surrendered multiple passing scores in every game and 18 touchdowns through the air. Temple isn't explosive, but it is efficient enough to slowly, consistently move the ball.
Prediction: Temple 30, SMU 27
No. 18 Baylor at Oklahoma State (4 p.m. ET, OSU -3.5)
Losing senior linebacker Clay Johnston (knee) is a massive issue for Baylor. He'd collected 58 tackles, nearly doubling the next-highest contributor (Terrel Bernard, 30) through six games. Oklahoma State needs Spencer Sanders to stop throwing so many inaccurate passes, but the Cowboys should be able to lean on star runner Chuba Hubbard against the Johnston-less defense.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 34, Baylor 30
No. 17 Arizona State at No. 13 Utah (6 p.m. ET, Utah -14)
For prediction, see No. 13 Utah.
No. 16 Michigan vs. No. 7 Penn State (7:30 p.m. ET, PSU -9)
For prediction, see No. 7 Penn State.
AP Nos. 15-11
Kansas at No. 15 Texas (7 p.m. ET, Texas -22)
The Jayhawks showed a shred of promise early in the season when they handled Boston College on the road. However, a couple of blowout losses to TCU (51-14) and Oklahoma (45-20) have squashed any small hope of a surge for Kansas. Texas should be motivated after falling to rival Oklahoma last week.
Prediction: Texas 49, Kansas 21
No. 14 Boise State at BYU (10:15 p.m. ET, No Line)
BYU has a limited offense and mediocre run defense. That's a big problem against the Broncos, who are stingy defensively and are starting to run effectively. Home-field advantage won't be meaningful unless the Cougars' serviceable secondary forces Boise State's QB―whether it's Hank Bachmeier, Chase Cord or even Jaylon Henderson―into a couple of turnovers.
Prediction: Boise State 38, BYU 21
No. 17 Arizona State at No. 13 Utah (6 p.m. ET, Utah -14)
Are the Sun Devils for real? That, in various forms, is the prevailing question of this contest. ASU has nice victories over Michigan State and Cal, but those offenses are bad. Utah, on the other hand, is tied for seventh nationally at 7.2 yards per play. While the Utes have the edge, this game is a major opportunity for Arizona State.
Prediction: Utah 32, Arizona State 20
No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington (3:30 p.m. ET, Oregon -3)
Oregon sits at 3-0 in Pac-12 play, and every other North Division team has at least two conference losses. If the Ducks win Saturday, they'll basically secure a place in the Pac-12 title game. Washington's defense may frustrate Justin Herbert, especially if Oregon stubbornly leans on quick passes and the running game. However, the Ducks can ride their own defense―one that hasn't allowed more than seven points in five straight outings―to a low-scoring win in Seattle.
Prediction: Oregon 24, Washington 16
No. 11 Auburn at Arkansas (Noon ET, Auburn -18)
This could be a look-ahead game for Auburn since LSU awaits in Week 9. But after losing to Florida and having last Saturday off, the Tigers should be ready to seize control of this SEC tilt quickly. Arkansas, barring sudden improvement in a passing game that mustered 122 yards at Kentucky last Saturday, is unlikely to move the ball regularly.
Prediction: Auburn 38, Arkansas 17
AP Nos. 10-6
Kentucky at No. 10 Georgia (6 p.m. ET, Georgia -25)
Despite the Bulldogs' shocking loss to South Carolina, the Georgia defense excelled and allowed just 297 yards. Considering how the offense had performed before Week 7, it's fair to expect a bounce-back performance against Kentucky. The Wildcats have ceded five-plus yards per carry in four straight games.
Prediction: Georgia 34, Kentucky 17
No. 9 Florida at South Carolina (Noon ET, No Line)
North Carolina and Alabama diced South Carolina's coverage, but four other opponents have failed to crack seven yards per passing attempt. If the Gamecocks could keep Jake Fromm below the mark, surely they could do the same to Kyle Trask. Yet without a few takeaways―they had four against UGA―SC's margin for error is small.
Prediction: Florida 27, South Carolina 17
No. 8 Notre Dame (idle)
Tony Jones Jr. scampered for a career-high 176 yards to help Notre Dame clip USC 30-27 last week. The Irish will be hoping to maintain that effectiveness when they travel to Michigan in Week 9.
No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State (7:30 p.m. ET, PSU -9)
One month ago, Wisconsin obliterated a visiting Michigan team. That continued a tenure-long trend for head coach Jim Harbaugh on the road against ranked opponents. Can the Wolverines break the slide at Penn State? Given that the Nittany Lions haven't surrendered more than 13 points all season, the answer doesn't look promising.
Prediction: Penn State 20, Michigan 13
No. 6 Wisconsin at Illinois (Noon ET, Wisconsin -31)
Illinois has played three Big Ten games, giving up 973 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. And now, they need to defend Jonathan Taylor and his 137.5 rushing yards per game. Good luck with that.
Prediction: Wisconsin 42, Illinois 7
AP Nos. 5-1
West Virginia at No. 5 Oklahoma (Noon ET, Oklahoma -33.5)
Turnovers have crushed West Virginia lately; seven giveaways in the last two games led to 35 combined points for Texas and Iowa State. Oklahoma doesn't create many takeaways, but the point is WVU cannot afford to give quarterback Jalen Hurts and Co. a short field. Otherwise, a likely OU win only turns into a blowout.
Prediction: Oklahoma 45, West Virginia 21
No. 4 Ohio State 52, Northwestern 3 (Friday Night)
The Buckeyes romped to another a huge win Friday behind a four-touchdown performance from Justin Fields at Ryan Field.
No. 3 Clemson at Louisville (Noon ET, Clemson -24.5)
After edging Boston College 41-39, Louisville handed Wake Forest its first loss with a 62-59 track-meet win. Head coach Scott Satterfield's impact on the Cardinals is positive and clear. At the same time, the defense has allowed 1,753 yards and 133 points to three ACC opponents. Clemson should run all over Louisville, but at least the offense might have 30-point potential this time around?
Prediction: Clemson 56, Louisville 24
No. 2 LSU at Mississippi State (3:30 p.m. ET, LSU -19.5)
Mississippi State just lost to Tennessee. For an SEC team, is there anything more deflating than losing to a conference foe from the Volunteer State? Have fun trying to stop this LSU offense.
Prediction: LSU 52, Mississippi State 17
Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama (9 p.m. ET, Alabama -34.5)
Florida and Georgia combined to outscore Tennessee 77-17 and outgain the Vols 967-582. Does anyone really think quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Alabama won't accomplish the same?
Prediction: Alabama 51, Tennessee 7
The 5 Best Unranked Battles
Iowa State at Texas Tech (Noon ET, Iowa State -7)
Texas Tech has a chance to spring the upset if the passing game excels. Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, Iowa State has ceded 6.1 yards per attempt all season and never more than 7.4 in a game. They'll need a few takeaways to shift this contest.
Prediction: Iowa State 31, Texas Tech 23
Duke at Virginia (3:30 p.m. ET, Virginia -3.5)
What a mess the ACC Coastal Division has become. Duke recently lost to Pittsburgh, Virginia fell at Miami and the loser of this matchup will be hoping for a bit of chaos. Virginia is 9-1 in its last 10 home games and has the stronger defense―one allowing a meager 4.5 yards per snap and 277.2 per game.
Prediction: Virginia 26, Duke 17
Tulane at Memphis (7 p.m. ET, Memphis -4.5)
Memphis has an above-average offense, but a comparable defense can present a big issue. The Tigers have allowed 740 rushing yards over the last three games, and Tulane has five showings of 298-plus yards on the ground. If Memphis can't stop the run, Tulane wins.
Prediction: Tulane 31, Memphis 27
Florida State at Wake Forest (7:30 p.m. ET, Wake Forest -2.5)
Wake Forest's defense has been a weakness lately. Will a struggling FSU ground game take advantage of the problem, or will it not matter? The Seminoles seemed to be slowly improving before Week 7, but Clemson made them look helpless. Wake Forest and its efficient offense will avoid the upset we were ready to pick.
Prediction: Wake Forest 34, Florida State 27
Arizona at USC (9:30 p.m. ET, USC -10)
Both teams are quietly 2-1 in Pac-12 play, locked in a four-way tie atop the South Division. Neither team has showed much consistency, so expectations for this game may vary immensely around the CFB world. On this corner of the internet, we're favoring a USC club that is 3-0 at home over an Arizona defense that struggles to generate pressure. Still, confidence in either team isn't particularly high.
Prediction: USC 37, Arizona 28
The Rest of the Slate (1/2)
Georgia Tech at Miami (Noon ET, Miami -18)
Prediction: Miami 31, Georgia Tech 14
Houston at UConn (Noon ET, Houston -22)
Prediction: Houston 44, UConn 17
NC State at Boston College (Noon ET, NC State -3.5)
Prediction: NC State 34, Boston College 27
Kent State at Ohio (Noon ET, Ohio -7.5)
Prediction: Ohio 35, Kent State 21
Toledo at Ball State (2 p.m. ET, Toledo -1.5)
Prediction: Toledo 27, Ball State 24
Central Michigan at Bowling Green (2 p.m. ET, CMU -11.5)
Prediction: Central Michigan 31, Bowling Green 16
TCU at Kansas State (2:30 p.m. ET, TCU -3.5)
Prediction: Kansas State 28, TCU 27
Oregon State at Cal (2:30 p.m. ET, Cal -10.5)
Prediction: Cal 31, Oregon State 17
Northern Illinois at Miami (Ohio) (2:30 p.m. ET, NIU -2.5)
Prediction: NIU 24, Miami 21
New Mexico at Wyoming (3 p.m. ET, Wyoming -20)
Prediction: Wyoming 38, New Mexico 21
Coastal Carolina at Georgia Southern (3 p.m. ET, GSU -6.5)
Prediction: Coastal Carolina 31, Georgia Southern 27
North Carolina at Virginia Tech (3:30 p.m. ET, UNC -3.5)
Prediction: North Carolina 34, Virginia Tech 28
Buffalo at Akron (3:30 p.m. ET, Buffalo -17)
Prediction: Buffalo 35, Akron 21
Indiana at Maryland (3:30 p.m. ET, Indiana -5.5)
Prediction: Indiana 30, Maryland 14
Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech (3:30 p.m. ET, Louisiana Tech -1)
Prediction: Louisiana Tech 36, Southern Miss 31
South Florida at Navy (3:30 p.m. ET, Navy -14)
Prediction: Navy 27, South Florida 20
The Rest of the Slate (2/2)
Middle Tennessee at North Texas (4 p.m. ET, North Texas -8.5)
Prediction: Middle Tennessee 24, North Texas 20
Old Dominion at UAB (4 p.m. ET, UAB -16)
Prediction: UAB 31, Old Dominion 14
Charlotte at Western Kentucky (4 p.m. ET, WKU -8.5)
Prediction: Western Kentucky 26, Charlotte 14
Rice at UTSA (6 p.m. ET, Rice -4)
Prediction: UTSA 24, Rice 21
Maine at Liberty (6 p.m. ET, No Line)
Prediction: Liberty 27, Maine 20
East Carolina at Central Florida (7 p.m. ET, UCF -33.5)
Prediction: UCF 45, East Carolina 14
San Diego State at San Jose State (7 p.m. ET, SDSU -8)
Prediction: San Diego State 27, San Jose State 17
Colorado at Washington State (7 p.m. ET, WSU -13)
Prediction: Washington State 42, Colorado 21
Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan (7 p.m. ET, WMU -9)
Prediction: Western Michigan 35, Eastern Michigan 24
Army at Georgia State (7 p.m. ET, Army -6.5)
Prediction: Georgia State 27, Army 24
UTEP at Florida International (7 p.m. ET, FIU -24)
Prediction: FIU 38, UTEP 13
Texas A&M at Ole Miss (7:30 p.m. ET, Texas A&M -6.5)
Prediction: Texas A&M 31, Ole Miss 21
Nevada at Utah State (10:15 p.m. ET, Utah State -21)
Prediction: Utah State 36, Nevada 24
Air Force at Hawaii (11 p.m. ET, Air Force -3)
Prediction: Air Force 37, Hawaii 31