Week 8 College Football Picks and Preview
Last week: 5-2-1
All season: 41-34-3
West Virginia (-14) at Syracuse
Someone has to win the Big East this year and no team looks better fit to do it than West Virginia. As expected, the Dana Holgerson offense in Morgantown has been nothing short of spectacular in all games not playing against LSU. He may be pissed off at the fans, but on the bright side, at least he’s not in Stillwater anymore.
Syracuse is 4-2, which is really impressive considering Syracuse’s recent state. They lost by 21 to USC, lost to Rutgers, and beat Toledo and Tulane by a field goal. They have the benefit of the Carrier Dome but rank only 72nd in points for and 68th in points against.
North Carolina at Clemson (-11)
Clemson took another step in their way to national dominance, they won ugly against Maryland. Tahj Boyd didn’t play well and a comeback was required, something I never would have thought would happen the last four years.
The Tar Heels have slowly become one win away from being bowl eligible. Their only losses are to Georgia Tech and Miami, the Miami game was at home, but have narrow victories over Rutgers and Louisville. The line is a little big but I would say that Clemson is ten points better than North Carolina, and with the three points for the home team I like the Tigers to cover.
Oklahoma State (-7.5) at Missouri
Oklahoma State has one of the best offenses in the country and a dangerous passing attack with Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden. There coach has to be 45 now, well on his way in manhood.
Missouri is an interesting case because they score a lot of points, averaging over 35 a game, but have lost to a couple interesting teams in Arizona State and Kansas State. We’re not sure how good Kansas State is yet, who has beaten a couple good teams and a bunch of cupcakes. Through transitive property though I would say that Missouri is in the tier below Oklahoma State. But when you play against the Cowboys, mistakes compound. I like Oklahoma State to get an early lead and then slowly pull away.
Georgia Tech (+3) at Miami
This is turning out to be one of the best games of the ACC season. Miami has been an emotional roller coaster so far this year starting with the offseason problems. I expect to see a surge in recruiting because after Shapiro’s story, it’s clear the best place to play is at Miami. They have alternated wins and losses, most recently a win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Georgia Teach has been the model for efficiency and stumbled last week against an upstart Virginia squad. Quarterback Tevin Washington has been great passing the football with a 190.6 passer rating and a 13.28 yards per attempt average, totaling 1076 yards this season. I like Georgia Tech with the extra passing threat this year.
Utah (+2) at California
One of the big betting rules is that an away underdog that wins will mostly cover their next game. Last year Utah won at Pitt while being a 7-point underdog. California looks like Utah did two weeks ago, and that’s not a good thing. Utah has confidence and that makes them dangerous.
USC (+8.5) at Notre Dame
Ten years ago this game would be unreal and have College Gameday in attendance. Now it’s a mix of two teams fighting for quality bowl games and pride. Both of these teams have troubles closing games out and turnovers. Both these teams have killed themselves with turnovers. It’s interesting that USC is struggling on defense and under Brian Kelly in just his second year Notre Dame has a good defense. USC is putting up video game numbers through the air and Notre Dame’s offense can’t seem to get out of the way. Cal used the “lock off Woods” strategy to some success last week and I’m interested to see if Notre Dame tries the same thing.
Washington (+21.5) at Stanford
Stanford hasn’t played a bowl quality team yet. San Jose State, Duke, Arizona, UCLA, Colorado, and Washington State aren’t going to be making bowl games (WSU maybe). But what they have done is dominate every game they’ve played in. It will be interesting to see them play a team with a winning record and one that can hold on to the ball with a talented quarterback. At some point Vegas is going to start playing these lines in a way that sharps will play one side and the public will bet the other, and that starts now in the second half of the season.
Wisconsin (-8) at Michigan State
The Badgers travel to Sparta in a match featuring last year’s co-Big 10 champions. It’s an inter-division game between a Legend and a Leader. Wisconsin has covered every game they’ve played so far, like every other top 10-team. I like Wisconsin to cover this game, led by Heisman trophy candidate Russell Wilson. Michigan State doesn’t score enough points and doesn’t have many impressive wins while Wisconsin has looked unstoppable.
Oregon State at Washington State (-3)
Last year Washington State beat Oregon State in one of the surprise games of the PAC-12 season. The Cougars at that point were rising and came close to many wins. Oregon State was slowly coming to the conclusion that they weren’t going to be turning their season around in their yearly tradition of actually trying in the second half.
Oregon State has some momentum after blowing their feet off with their own landmines against BYU, and a victory over Arizona in a game that cost Mike Stoops his job. Oregon State has a shot at winning this game, but there’s something undeniable about the Cougar turnaround. If the Beavers win, it’s a turnaround.
Arizona beats UCLA
Oregon beats Colorado
Utah beats Cal
Washington State beats Oregon State
Notre Dame beats USC
Stanford beats Washington