Week Eight Predictions
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Here we go again. Week eight of the season is upon us, with teams beginning to jockey for title runs and bowl eligibilty. I put my 77% winning percentage on the line trying to climb to the top of the Pick'em Contest standings. As we all get ready to see what another weekend of exciting games will bring us, here are my predictions for week eight:
#4 Oklahoma State (6-0, 3-0) at Missouri (3-3, 1-2) – 12:00 – FX – At 49.2 ppg scored, Oklahoma State is one of the most powerful offensive teams in the nation. Led by Brandon Weeden's 2,098 yards and 14 scores, the Cowboys don't plan on being outscored anytime soon. Mizzou has a decent defense, but I expect OSU to win this one going away. Oklahoma State, 44-17.
North Carolina (5-2, 1-2) at #7 Clemson (7-0, 4-0) – 12:00 – ESPN – Until my squad loses, these games will just keep getting more and more stressful. I am glad this one is in Death Valley. UNC has a defensive front as good as most anyone's, and also have an offensive duo in WR Dwight Jones and QB Bryn Renner that have produced a lot of yardage. Brenner has 14 TD tosses so far - eight of them to Jones. CU wins, but not before the Heels put a scare into them. Clemson, 33-25.
#9 Arkansas (5-1, 1-1) at Ole Miss (2-4, 0-3) – 12:21 – SECN – The Razorbacks would have to play seriously bad to lose here. Ole Miss just is not a very good football team, while Arkansas could hang with anybody nationwide for most of a game. I see Arkansas putting some kind of whooping on a hurt, beaten up Rebel squad. Arkansas, 40-20.
Maryland (2-4, 1-2) at Florida State (3-3, 1-2– 3:30 – ABC – Not in a million years did I think FSU would lose four of their first seven games, but I am predicting loss number four in game number seven right here. Maryland QB C.J. Brown was a total pain in the rump for my Tigers' defense a week ago (162 yards rushing, 177 yards passing), and had he run the ball just a little more, I hate to think what the outcome may have been. I think FSU will also have trouble with him, as UM is starting to find themselves under Randy Edsall. Maryland, 36-30.
#17 Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1) at Iowa State (3-3, 0-3) – 3:30 – ABC – I am not a fan of Aggie Coach Mike Sherman. Not against him the man, but against him the coach. He is mediocrity in a headset, and as long as he paces the A&M sideline you can expect his .523 winning percentage over three and a half seasons to remain just about that (.482 in Big 12 play). With all of this noted averageness, I do think he is just good enough to take his squad on the road to win at Iowa State. Texas A&M, 30-20.
#13 Nebraska (5-1, 1-1) at Minnesota (1-5, 0-2) – 3:30 – ABC – This should be a blood bath. I have often wondered how Minnesota could be so bad at football for so long. Yes, I know they are buried beneath snow most of the year, but still, a big school with lots of fans and resources, and...they suck yearly. Nebraska scores a bunch and wins big for their first Big Ten road win. Nebraska, 48-17.
#22 Georgia Tech (6-1, 3-1) atMiami (3-3, 1-2) – 3:30 – ABC - This is a tough game to pick. The ACC Coastal is a huge mystery this year as GT, VT, UNC, Miami and even UVA look pretty good sometimes, and pretty bad other times. The Canes Beat UNC a week ago, leading by 24 early on. GT lost their perfect season to the Cavaliers in an upset nobody could have predicted...In this one, I am picking GT to get back on their feet and take down Miami in Miami. Georgia Tech, 38-28.
#20 Auburn (5-2, 3-1) at #1 LSU (7-0, 4-0) – 3:30 – CBS – If there is any team in America that will not be intimidated by playing in Tiger Stadium, it is Auburn. These two sets of Tigers have played one of the best rivalries in America the last two decades, with Auburn leading 10 wins to 9 since 1992, when they started playing each other every season as division-mates. This year, another great game should be expected, but I feel LSU (even missing a few guys) is a little too strong to be beaten right now. LSU, 35-27.
#21 Penn State (6-1, 3-0) at Northwestern (2-4, 0-3) – 7:00 – B10N - Don't look now, but JoePa is putting together another big season in College Station. They don't have the star player, or the high-powered fancy offense that garners lots of attention. But they play fundamental football and solid defense, and nearly every weekend, they leave the field with a W. Here comes another one over lowly NU. PSU, 29-17.
Tennessee (3-3, 0-3) at #2 Alabama (7-0, 4-0) – 7:15 – ESPN2 – I like the energy UT is playing with. They haven't won too much, but I see a fight in them under second year Coach Derek Dooley. I see them getting back into the top 25 in the next year or so. But when you ask a team to go into Tuscaloosa and beat the Tide, you are asking for a bunch. The Vols have the guys in the trenches to stay with Bama for a while, but I think by the time 60 minutes is up, Alabama wins convincingly. Alabama, 39-17.
USC (5-1, 3-1) at Notre Dame (4-2, 2-1) – 7:30 – NBC - There were quite a few weekends in decades gone by where this was THE game not only of the weekend, but of the whole season. And while USC is still a top 25 type program, ND has a ways to go - I don't care what Lou Holtz says. Simply because of their name, and all of their history, I am always tempted to pick them at home. But I feel USC is a better team, and if they play well - which I am predicting them to do - they should beat the Irish. USC, 30-21.
Texas Tech (4-2, 1-2) at #3 Oklahoma (6-0, 3-0) – 8:00 – ABC – Eventually, some team high up in the rankings is going to lose. Always happens. But so far in 2011, being in the top five has provided a blanket of security for every team not named Oregon. I don't see Oklahoma being the first top five team to lose since weekend one. TTU can score (43.8 ppg), but so can OU (45.3 ppg) and the differnce is that OU plays defense (11th nationally compared to TTU at 82nd). Oklahoma, 45-24.
#6 Wisconsin (6-0, 2-0) at #16 Michigan State (5-1, 2-0) – 8:00 – ESPN – This may be the toughest pick in this whole slate of games. I like the Badgers, but they haven't really played a tough slate yet. And MSU continues to prove me wrong. This is a battle of UW's top-ranked offense against the Spartan's and their 4th ranked defense. Once again, I am going to pick Michigan tate to take a loss as I feel Wisconsin can just score at will on most anyone. Wisconsin, 42-24.
#25 Washington (5-1, 3-0) at #8 Stanford (6-0, 4-0) – 8:00 – ABC - As I have said before many times, I love Washington's uniforms. Best in the West. It is a refreshing change to see the Huskies back in the mix. But I think Stanford will put a big damper on this nice season with a decisive win. UW has improved, but the Cardinal are among the best squads in the country. Stanford, 40-20.
Oregon State (1-5, 1-2) at Washington State (3-3, 1-2) – 10:30 – I am not sure how this critical matchup found its way into the 15 games of the Pick'em Contest, but here it is. In a battle to try to be the worst in the Pac-12, I will take OSU to remain in the driver's seat with another loss. WSU will be two wins away from a BOWL GAME if they can get their 4th win of the year here. Washington State, 35-28.
* All rankings BCS, all times Eastern
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