College football Week 8: Picks and preview


The Week 8 college football schedule involving ranked teams is limited but still features some intriguing matchups, most notably in the Big 12. 

Here are our previews and predictions (point spreads courtesy of DraftKings, current at the time of publication and subject to change) for those contests featuring teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 and other interesting matchups.

All times Eastern. Statistics in parentheses are from the 2022 season unless otherwise noted.

 

1 of 20

No. 14 Syracuse (6-0, 3-0 in ACC) at No. 5 Clemson (7-0, 5-0 in ACC), Noon, Saturday, ABC

No. 14 Syracuse (6-0, 3-0 in ACC) at No. 5 Clemson (7-0, 5-0 in ACC), Noon, Saturday, ABC

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY Network

Syracuse has been one of the better stories through the first half of the 2022 season, but this is where we see how seriously they should be taken. A 24-9 home win over then-No. 15 North Carolina State last week was a move in the right direction when it comes to solidifying its success. The Orange have allowed 79 points in six games, but Clemson averages 38.6. Oh yeah, the Tigers have won 37 consecutive home games and have outscored Syracuse 144-50 while going 4-0 in their Death Valley meetings as ACC members.

Prediction: Clemson (-13 1/2)

 

2 of 20

Iowa (3-3, 1-2 in Big Ten) at No. 2 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 in Big Ten), Noon, Saturday, Fox

Iowa (3-3, 1-2 in Big Ten) at No. 2 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 in Big Ten), Noon, Saturday, Fox

Kyle Robertson/USA TODAY NETWORK

Ohio State leads the nation averaging 48.8 points. Iowa is tied for 127th — out of 131 FBS squads — at 14.7 per contest. On the flip side, the Hawkeyes sit third in the country, allowing 9.8 points a game. So, the Buckeyes’ offense could be challenged. Then again, their defense ranks 10th in the nation allowing 15.7 points per contest. If Iowa’s defense can remain stingy, this could be an interesting affair. Ohio State has won the last seven meetings with the Hawkeyes at home, but the teams haven’t played in Columbus since 2013 — or anywhere since 2017.

 Prediction: Iowa (+29)

 

3 of 20

No. 21 Cincinnati (5-1, 2-0 in AAC) at SMU (3-3, 1-1 in AAC), Noon, Saturday, ESPN

No. 21 Cincinnati (5-1, 2-0 in AAC) at SMU (3-3, 1-1 in AAC), Noon, Saturday, ESPN

Albert Cesare/ The Enquirer/USA TODAY NETWORK

Don’t look now, but Cincinnati is quietly putting together a nice follow-up season to its memorable run to the College Football Playoff in 2021. It hasn’t always been easy, but the Bearcats are undefeated since opening with a seven-point loss at then-No. 19 Arkansas. They’ve allowed an average of 19.2 points since that defeat, which does not necessarily bode well for an SMU group that just ended a three-game skid by holding off Navy last week. Cincinnati has won three straight in this series.

Prediction: Cincinnati (-3)

 

4 of 20

UT Martin (4-2) at No. 3 Tennessee (6-0), Noon, Saturday, SEC Network

UT Martin (4-2) at No. 3 Tennessee (6-0), Noon, Saturday, SEC Network

Randy Sartin/USA TODAY Sports

We assume there will not be any fans storming the field or goal-post teardowns following an expected Volunteers victory this weekend. Tennessee is off to its best start since its 13-0 national championship season of 1998. UTM might be ranked 18th in the STATS Perform FCS Poll , but it’s obviously not strong enough to win in Knoxville. Are the Vols still riding that Alabama high? Josh Heupel seems smart enough not to allow that to happen, especially with Kentucky and Georgia waiting in the wings.

Prediction: Tennessee (OFF)

 

5 of 20

No. 7 Mississippi (7-0, 3-0 in SEC) at LSU (5-2, 3-1 in SEC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, CBS

No. 7 Mississippi (7-0, 3-0 in SEC) at LSU (5-2, 3-1 in SEC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, CBS

Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss has met every challenge to date, but this might be its first serious road test after winning at Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt. Though the Rebels beat LSU 31-17 last season, they’ve dropped six straight at Baton Rouge since last winning there in 2008. Also, keep an eye on Ole Miss quarterback Jaxon Dart, who has thrown 655 yards with three touchdowns but has also been intercepted three times in the two previous 2022 road contests. Meanwhile, LSU remains an enigma but has wins over Mississippi State, Auburn, and Florida, so there is plenty of intrigue with this matchup.

Prediction: LSU (-1 1/2)

 

6 of 20

No. 20 Texas (5-2, 3-1 in Big 12) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1 in Big 12), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC

No. 20 Texas (5-2, 3-1 in Big 12) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1 in Big 12), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC

Brett Rojo/USA TODAY Sports

The storyline for this marquee Big 12 matchup is the status of Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders (1,639 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, three interceptions, 309 rushing yards, eight rushing TDs), who is dealing with a shoulder issue. Riding a three-game winning streak, Texas will game plan for Sanders to play but be ready if he does not. The Longhorns have allowed 41 points in the last three games and won their most recent trip to Stillwater in 2020. After blowing a 30-16 fourth-quarter lead to lose in two overtimes at then-No. 13 TCU last weekend, the Cowboys try to avoid dropping back-to-back regular-season contests for the first time since October 2019.

Prediction: Oklahoma State (+6 1/2)

 

7 of 20

No. 9 UCLA (6-0, 3-0 in Pac-12) at No. 10 Oregon (5-1, 3-0 in Pac-12), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Fox

No. 9 UCLA (6-0, 3-0 in Pac-12) at No. 10 Oregon (5-1, 3-0 in Pac-12), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Fox

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

This will be only the sixth time in Autzen Stadium history that two top-10 teams will meet . And pits the only undefeated squads in Pac-12 play against each other. This is just the second road game for UCLA, which won at Colorado last month, and has claimed six of its last seven league contests away from home. Oregon, though, has won 22 straight home games dating to a 38-31 loss to then-No. 7 Stanford on Oct. 13, 2018. Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet has rushed for 615 yards and averaged 7.1 per carry this season but was held to 35 yards on 15 carries during a 34-31 home loss to the Ducks in 2021.

Prediction: Oregon (-6)

 

8 of 20

Memphis (4-3, 2-2 in AAC) at No. 25 Tulane (6-1, 3-0 in AAC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Memphis (4-3, 2-2 in AAC) at No. 25 Tulane (6-1, 3-0 in AAC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Scott Sewell/USA TODAY Sports

Ranked for the first time since 1998 , Tulane is drawing plenty of excitement. And not just around New Orleans. Quarterback Michael Pratt (1,560 yards, 11 touchdowns, three interceptions, four rushing TDs) is worth keeping an eye on. The Green Wave have also allowed just 46 points in four games a home, which did include a 37-24 loss to Southern Miss last month. Tulane has just two wins in its last 15 meetings with Memphis. However, each has come in the last two at New Orleans.

Prediction: Tulane (-7)

 

9 of 20

Boston College (2-4, 1-3 in ACC) at No. 13 Wake Forest (5-1, 1-1 in ACC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ACC Network

Boston College (2-4, 1-3 in ACC) at No. 13 Wake Forest (5-1, 1-1 in ACC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ACC Network

Danny Wild/USA TODAY Sports

Back from an open week, Wake Forest aims for a third straight victory. Pay attention to Wake’s Justice Ellison, who has rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries in the last two games. BC is giving up 152.7 yards on the ground per game and is 1-6 on the road in the ACC, dating to last season. The Demon Deacons have won the last two in this series, but both came at Boston College, which has won the last three in Winston-Salem.

Prediction: Wake Forest (-20 1/2)

 

10 of 20

No. 24 Mississippi State (5-2, 2-2 in SEC) at No. 6 Alabama (6-1, 3-1 in SEC), 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

No. 24 Mississippi State (5-2, 2-2 in SEC) at No. 6 Alabama (6-1, 3-1 in SEC), 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports

The obvious question is how Alabama rebounds from its wild loss a Tennessee. More specifically, what about a defense that just allowed 385 passing yards and 52 points against the Volunteers? Mississippi State averages 35.4 points but totaled 33 in its losses at LSU and Kentucky. The Bulldogs have also averaged just 7.9 points during a 14-game losing streak against the Crimson Tide. Alabama’s mettle is on the line, as well as its College Football Playoff future.

Prediction: Mississippi State (+21)

 

11 of 20

Minnesota (4-2, 1-2 in Big Ten) at No. 16 Penn State (5-1, 2-1 in Big Ten), 7:30 p.m., Saturday,, ABC

Minnesota (4-2, 1-2 in Big Ten) at No. 16 Penn State (5-1, 2-1 in Big Ten), 7:30 p.m., Saturday,, ABC

Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

Penn State’s undefeated start ended after Michigan outscored James Franklin’s group 25-3 in the second half last week. That said, the Nittany Lions return home and should feel confident for a “White Out” game against a Minnesota group that’s been outscored 46-24 in losing consecutive contests to Purdue and Illinois. Plus, the Golden Gophers could be without injured starting quarterback Tanner Morgan. Penn State has won the last three home meetings with Minnesota, but the teams haven’t met at Happy Valley since 2016.

Prediction: Penn State (-5)

 

12 of 20

No. 17 Kansas State (5-1, 3-0 in Big 12) at No. 8 TCU (6-0, 3-0 in Big 12), 8 p.m., Saturday, FS1

No. 17 Kansas State (5-1, 3-0 in Big 12) at No. 8 TCU (6-0, 3-0 in Big 12), 8 p.m., Saturday, FS1

Scott Sewell/USA TODAY Sports

A matchup of the only remaining undefeated teams in Big 12 play. TCU last started 7-0 in 2017 and will try to beat four straight ranked opponents for the first time since 2014. Meanwhile, Kansas State is looking for a fourth consecutive victory while also trying to win three straight Big 12 games for the first time since 2017. So, there’s plenty of intrigue for a contest between two teams that most pundits probably did not expect to be sharing the league lead this late in the season. The Wildcats have won the last three in this series.

Prediction: TCU (-3 1/2)

 

13 of 20

Kansas (5-2, 2-2 in Big 12) at Baylor (3-3, 1-2 in Big 12), Noon, Saturday, ESPN2

Kansas (5-2, 2-2 in Big 12) at Baylor (3-3, 1-2 in Big 12), Noon, Saturday, ESPN2

Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports

OK, the bloom seems like it’s off the Jayhawks’ rose after that surprising 5-0 start. Still, Kansas scored 73 points in losing to TCU and Oklahoma by a combined 17. Not having injured quarterback Jalon Daniels is an obvious issue, but the Kansas defense that allows 30.0 points per game is not ready for prime time. Then again, Baylor has yielded 79 points in losing its last two versus Oklahoma State and West Virginia. The Bears, though, have won 12 straight in this series — by an average margin of nearly 37 points.

Prediction: Baylor (-7 1/2)

 

14 of 20

Duke (4-3, 1-2 in ACC) at Miami, Fla. (3-3, 1-1 in ACC), 12:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN3

Duke (4-3, 1-2 in ACC) at Miami, Fla. (3-3, 1-1 in ACC), 12:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN3

Jaylynn Nash/USA TODAY Sports

Miami halted its three-game losing streak with a rather pedestrian six-point victory at two-win Virginia Tech last weekend. Inconsistency has plagued the Hurricanes, who rank in the bottom half of the ACC in rushing yards per carry (4.0) and scoring (30.7 points per game). Miami, though, has won 15 of the last 18 versus Duke, which is looking to avoid a third consecutive loss overall and 1-3 following its 3-0 start.

Prediction: Duke (+9)

 

15 of 20

Toledo (5-2, 3-0 in MAC) at Buffalo (4-3, 3-0 in MAC), 1 p.m., Saturday, ESPN+

Toledo (5-2, 3-0 in MAC) at Buffalo (4-3, 3-0 in MAC), 1 p.m., Saturday, ESPN+

Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

Could this be a preview of the Mid-American Conference Championship Game? Well, this is a matchup of the league’s current division leaders. Buffalo is averaging 36.5 points during its current four-game winning streak and yielded 34 total in the last three. Toledo, meanwhile, has averaged 47.3 points during a three-game winning run and features the MAC’s most versatile performer in quarterback Dequan Finn (1,397 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, five interceptions, 455 rushing yards, six TDs). These teams don’t meet often, but Buffalo has won the last two get-togethers.

Prediction: Buffalo (+7)

 

16 of 20

UNLV (4-3) at Notre Dame (3-3), 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Peacock

UNLV (4-3) at Notre Dame (3-3), 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Peacock

Michael Caterina/USA TODAY NETWORK

Just when it seemed Notre Dame was back on track with three straight wins, they scored 14 in a two-point home loss versus Stanford. The Irish rank 101st in the nation in average passing yards (208.3 per game). Meanwhile, UNLV has allowed 230 or more through the air four times this season. So, there’s an opportunity for Notre Dame to improve in that area. The Rebels have lost 26 straight games against ranked opponents, but Marshall and the then-one-win Cardinal have already pulled off upsets in South Bend. Don’t be surprised by anything.

Prediction: UNLV (+24 1/2)

 

17 of 20

BYU (4-3) at Liberty (6-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPNU

BYU (4-3) at Liberty (6-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPNU

Patrick Breen/The Republic/USA TODAY NETWORK

BYU’s visit to Lynchburg, Va., is a big deal for Liberty . And, a good opportunity for the Flames to win their fifth straight game following its 37-36 loss that then-No. 19 Wake Forest on Sept. 17. Liberty fears no one and gave BYU a fight during its 31-24 road loss to the Cougars in 2019. The Flames are allowing an average of 22.6 points. Meanwhile, BYU has now lost two in a row following a 52-35 home setback to Arkansas. The Cougars are giving up 30.3 points per contest, but Jaren Hall has thrown for 1.914 yards with 17 touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

Prediction: BYU (+6 1/2)

 

18 of 20

Purdue (6-2, 3-1 in Big Ten) at Wisconsin (3-4, 1-3 in Big Ten), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

Purdue (6-2, 3-1 in Big Ten) at Wisconsin (3-4, 1-3 in Big Ten), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

Alex Martin/Journal and Courier USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s the Boilermakers and not Wisconsin that sits tied for first in the Big Ten West Division with upstart Illinois. Purdue eyes a fifth consecutive win — and third straight on the road. However, the Boilers have lost 15 in a row against the Badgers dating to their 26-23 win at Camp Randall in 2003. Now, Wisconsin, which continues to deal with a bevy of injuries, must find a way to rebound from another league defeat, 34-28 in double overtime at Michigan State from last week.

Prediction: Purdue (+2 1/2)

 

19 of 20

Texas A&M (3-3, 1-1 in SEC) at South Carolina (4-2, 1-2 in SEC), 7:30 p.m., Saturday, SEC Network

Texas A&M (3-3, 1-1 in SEC) at South Carolina (4-2, 1-2 in SEC), 7:30 p.m., Saturday, SEC Network

Jordan Prather/USA TODAY Sports

Aside from undefeated Georgia and Tennessee, the hottest team in the SEC is South Carolina. The Gamecocks have won three in a row and return to the field following that 24-14 win at then-No. 13 Kentucky from Oct. 8. Spencer Rattler has completed 75.4 percent of his passes during the winning streak, but he’s thrown eight interceptions this year. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s defense has allowed 44 points in the last three weeks — which included wins over Charlotte and South Carolina State. Dating to last season, Texas A&M has dropped four straight road games but is 8-0 against South Carolina since these teams have been part of the SEC.

Prediction: South Carolina (+3)

 

20 of 20

Pittsburgh (4-2, 1-1 in ACC) at Louisville (3-3, 1-3 in ACC), 8 p.m., Saturday, ACC Network

Pittsburgh (4-2, 1-1 in ACC) at Louisville (3-3, 1-3 in ACC), 8 p.m., Saturday, ACC Network

Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

Both teams are coming off open weeks, so each should be rested and focused. Pitt is playing its first ACC road game of the season and first overall contest since Israel Abanikanda (830 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns) ran for a school-record 320 yards and six touchdowns on 36 carries during that 45-29 home win over Virginia Tech on Oct. 8. Louisville, which yields 134.8 rushing yards per game, will try to win back-to-back games for the first time in 2022 after winning at Virginia on Oct. 8. The Cardinals have lost two in a row and six of seven against Pitt.

Prediction: Pittsburgh (+2 1/2)

Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.





Source link