Week Eight Preview

nc state vs clemson
Ryan Finley will be looking to pull off the signature win of NC State’s season. (Photo: Gerry Broome/AP)

Thursday

Stanford vs Arizona State, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN

Both of these teams are coming off of byes and it’ll be a huge game for each side when it comes to the division race in each of their respective divisions within the Pac-12. I want to pick Arizona State because Stanford has not looked good as of late and I think the offensive weapons the Sun Devils have could pose a real threat to Stanford, but this feels like a game where people would be doubting Stanford because they’ve struggled, but then they come out and win.

Pick: Stanford

Saturday

Auburn vs Ole Miss, Noon ET, ESPN

Auburn is close to having their season coming off the rails and a loss in this one would go a long way in sending this season completely off the rails. Ole Miss has a very good offense behind quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and I think with them being at home, he and those receivers will perform really well and the Auburn offense won’t have enough to keep up.

Pick: Ole Miss

(6) Michigan vs (24) Michigan State, Noon ET, FOX

Jim Harbaugh has had a hard time beating the Spartans and this year he will have to try and do it on the road. The Wolverines are coming off of a dominant win over Wisconsin at home and just when people were starting to count out Michigan State, they went and beat Penn State on the road, leaving people to think that maybe they’ve turned a corner. Michigan State has a good chance in this one because Brian Lewerke is pretty good, but I think the Michigan defense is just too good and Harbaugh gets a win over their in-state rival.

Pick: Michigan

Maryland vs (19) Iowa, Noon ET, ESPN2

Maryland has been a pretty weird team this season. When they’ve played better teams they’ve played really well (example being their win over Texas), but when they’ve played worse teams they’ve looked horrible. Iowa has been better on offense this season than normal and that’s because Nathan Stanley has been really good. I think with this one being at Kinnick Stadium, The Hawkeyes will be too much.

Pick: Iowa

(20) Cincinnati vs Temple, Noon ET, ESPNU

Cincinnati is unbeaten and now they’re coming off of a bye week playing one of the better teams in the conference and Temple has been playing much better as of late than they did at the start of the season. This will be a tough test for the Bearcats because they’ll be going on the road. I think the Bearcats will be too physical and will go on the road and pick up a huge conference win in this one to continue their undefeated season.

Pick: Cincinnati

Virginia vs Duke, 12:30 PM ET, ACC Network

Virginia is coming off of their biggest win in years when they beat Miami at home and now they’ll have to follow that up by going on the road and playing a very tough Duke team. Virginia has been a surprise this season at 4-2 and this would be a great signature road win for them. I think Daniel Jones will be too much for Virginia and the Blue Devils will find a way to win this one at home.

Pick: Duke

FAU vs Marshall, 2:00 PM ET

These were viewed as the top two teams in Conference USA coming into the season and really only Marshall has looked the part this season. For FAU, David Singletary is as good as advertised, but other than him, they’ve been pretty shaky this season and now asking them to go on the road and beat Marshall is a big ask. FAU is actually favored, but I think that Marshall will end up winning this game by double-digits because I just haven’t been impressed with FAU this season.

Pick: Marshall

Colorado vs (15) Washington, 3:30 PM ET, FOX

Both of these teams are coming off of really tough losses. Washington saw their playoff chances go down the drain with an overtime loss to rival Oregon, and Colorado had a chance to take full control of the Pac-12 South, but they were punched in the mouth by USC. Washington has a better defense than USC and Colorado will also have to go on the road and on top of that they are uncertain about the status of Laviska Shenault. I think the Buffaloes will really struggle in this one trying to move the ball on the Washington defense and the Huskies will bounce back at home.

Pick: Washington

(16) NC State vs (3) Clemson, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN

This game features a battle of the two unbeaten teams remaining in the ACC and both of them will be coming off of byes and that should mean both teams should be at their best. Clemson is definitely the better team and they will be playing at home, but with Ryan Finley taking the field for NC State, he will give them a chance, plus I really like the NC State defense and think they can keep them in the game. Clemson has just been in too many of these battles in my opinion and that will make the difference, but I think NC State will impress some people with their performance in this game.

Pick: Clemson

(22) Mississippi State vs (5) LSU, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN

Coming off of a loss to Florida, LSU had the most impressive win of the season by anyone in my opinion when they beat up on Georgia at home last weekend. Nick Fitzgerald is certainly a threat at quarterback for Mississippi State, especially on the ground, but they’ve been pretty shaky on offense this season outside of him. This game will probably be lower-scoring, but I think the Mississippi State offense will struggle too much playing in a night game at LSU against that defense.

Pick: LSU

(12) Oregon vs (25) Washington State, 7:30 PM ET, FOX

College Gameday is finally making its way to Pullman, Washington and it’s going to be a raucous environment. Oregon is of course coming off of a huge win at home against their rival Washington and now they will try and have to re-gather their emotions and stay focused going on the road to face a team that can present some real challenges for them. Washington State throws the ball as much as anyone in college football and the Oregon secondary has been the most shaky part of the defense this season. The challenges that Oregon presents for Washington State on the flip side is that they can run the ball with that physical offensive line and if they can pick up first down after first down, they can keep the Washington State offense on the sidelines. This game will be an interesting matchup of physical vs a team that really spreads things out.

Pick: Oregon

USC vs Utah, 8:00 PM ET, Pac-12 Network

For the second straight week, USC will be playing a huge game when it comes to the race in the Pac-12 South, but this time they’ll have to go on the road and Rice-Eccles Stadium, which is a really difficult place to play. On top of that, the Utah offense has been on fire the last two weeks, putting up 82 points combined against Stanford and Arizona. USC does have a really good defense, but now they’ll be without star linebacker Porter Gustin and that was a crushing blow to their defense when it was announced that he would miss the rest of the season. I’m going with Utah in this game because they’re at home and I think that defense will get after J.T. Daniels and the offense for the Utes will do enough to win this game.

Pick: Utah

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