My roommate and I have been predicting the results of each top-25 matchup in addition to the Missouri game. Headed into week 8, I possess a 56-14 record after going 17-1 in my picks last week. I’m pretty pleased with my performance so far. Here’s my week 8 picks:
BYU 13, 14 Boise State 24
I’ve yet to watch Boise State this year, but they’ve yet to lose.
6 Texas A&M 38, 1 Alabama 35
Texas A&M, armed by standout quarterback Trevor Knight and a rock solid defense, head into Tuscaloosa for the first time since a 59-0 blowout in 2014. This one has all the makings for a classic; as Alabama is led by up and coming running back Damien Harris and Freshman sensation Jalen Hurts. It’ll be back-and-forth, and I predict that the Aggies will catch lightning in a bottle once more in Alabama riding the wave to path to the playoff.
16 Oklahoma 38, Texas Tech 21
Oklahoma seems to be rolling after starting of Big 12 play with 3 convincing wins. Baker Mayfield has re-entered the Heisman Trophy conversation, and his strongest receiver, Dede Westbrook, has followed suit. Patrick Mahomes is about the only thing that Texas Tech has going right for them so far.
North Carolina St. 28, 7 Louisville 31
I’ve loved what I’ve seen from NC State so far this year. A gritty win vs. Notre Dame amidst Hurricane Matthew followed by an OT loss to #3 Clemson the following week showed just how gritty the Wolfpack is. Lamar Jackson played extremely well last week in a close victory vs. Duke, but his teammates didn’t exactly lift him up. I feel that this will be a close one, with Jackson furthering his Heisman campaign in a Cardinal win.
10 Wisconsin 28, Iowa 14
Wisconsin has shown how tough they really are this season in their matchups against top-5 teams: An opening day win at Lambeau vs. #5 LSU, a white-knuckled 14-7 loss at the Big House to #3 Michigan, and an overtime classic in Madison that saw #2 Ohio State emerge with a 30-23 overtime win. Alex Hornibrook is playing well beyond his age, and Corey Coleman has shored up the Badgers’ run attack. Iowa has struggled to score recently and yet to recover from a home loss to FBS powerhouse North Dakota St., and will roll over for Wisconsin in this one.
22 North Carolina 35, Virginia 21
The Tar Heels have been the picture of inconsistency this season. Despite the loss, North Carolina put together a solid showing out vs. #18 Georgia in Atlanta week one, followed by a classic upset October 1 in a 37-35 win at #12 Florida State. Amidst terrible weather conditions, they failed to replicate any kind of success they had the week prior, flopping to a 34-3 home loss vs. Justin Fuente’s #25 Virginia Tech Hokies. It’s hard to tell how bad of a loss that is; as VA Tech has been pretty inconsistent themselves. From a talent level, former top recruit Mitch Trubisky and Ryan Switzer will lead a much more talented Tar Heel team over an unproven Virginia Cavalier team.
Eastern Michigan 14, 20 Western Michigan 34
I personally witnessed Eastern Michigan get slaughtered at the hands of the confusing Missouri Tigers on September 17th. Since then, they’ve reeled off wins in 4 out of their last 5, ahead of the leaders in the MAC this season. The Broncos from Kalamazoo, #20 Western Michigan, have flung out a strong offense that could go for fireworks this week. This is Western Michigan’s first conference test, after knocking off Big 10 bottomfeeder schools Illinois and Northwestern. I forsee the Broncos garnering their 8th win this week.
Illinois 3, 3 Michigan 35
Illinois has struggled to avoid the bottom of the barrel in the Big 10, despite the offseason addition of head coach Lovie Smith. Michigan is a bona fide Playoff contender, and led by Jabril Peppers, will roll all over the Fighting Illini at home.
Purdue 7, 8 Nebraska 38
Purdue, despite meeting their highest win total in the past four seasons already at 3- fired their head coach Darrell Hazell. It’s safe to say it’s a dumpster fire in West Laffayette. Meanwhile, one of the country’s most underrated teams, Nebraska, will use this game as an opportunity to garner win number 7 as the Corn Huskers approach legitimate playoff contention.
Memphis 24, 24 Navy 21
This game is extremely hard to pick. Memphis is favored on the road, but the Midshepmen toppled an early playoff contender two weeks ago with a win over #6 Houston. Both teams saw star quarterbacks (Paxton Lynch and Keenan Reynolds, respectively) depart last season, but have maintained success. I’ll take the line in this one; Memphis will pull of the road upset.
TCU 33, 12 West Virginia 41
After not choosing to expand on Monday, the Big 12’s newest members, TCU and West Virginia, meet up in week 8. TCU has had a tough schedule, but fought all the way back to contend with #16 Oklahoma in a 52-46 home loss three weeks prior. West Virginia has started off great this season at 6-0, and picked up a convincing Big 12 road win at Texas Tech last season. I see this one materialzing as a shootout, wit TCU and star QB Kenny Hill taking the L at WVU.
19 Utah 16, UCLA 7
Utah has once again emerged as a quiet contender out West in the Pac-12. Preseason #16 UCLA has yet to live up to the hype this season. I forsee Utah coming out with a solid, clean road win vs. the Bruins.
17 Arkansas 28, 21 Auburn 24
This game has the makings for a classic. Arkansas has excited me this season, and aside from not showing up for the second half vs. Texas A&M last month, has shown their skill their only other loss in playing well vs. #1 Alabama, and handling their out-of-conference schedule. This same matchup was won by Arkansas in 2OT thriller in Fayetteville last year. Auburn has played well recently despite two early losses, good losses vs. Clemson and Texas A&M at that, but Arkansas will win in another SEC Saturday night classic.
Oregon St. 14, 5 Washington 63
A few weeks ago, I would stood up as one of Washington’s biggest doubters. Then, they beat Stanford and Christian McCaffrey 44-7 at home. The then went on to put up 70 points on the road at Oregon. I don’t care if Oregon’s having a down year; 70 points on the road at another Power 5 conference school is impressive. Jake Browning and the Huskies will beat up another Oregon school this weekend.
11 Houston 35, SMU 21
Greg Ward and the Cougars have had a strange season- proving their worth with a neutral site win vs preseason #6 Oklahoma in Houston after the Peach Bowl upset of Florida State last season, and have roughed up AAC competition with the exception of a tough loss to #24 Navy a few weeks ago. Houston will pick up a nice win this weekend up the road in Dallas.
2 Ohio St. 35, Penn St. 24
My roomate is a Penn State fan, so I wish the Nitanny Lions the best for his sake. However, #2 Ohio State has distinguished itself as a National Championship contender by virtue of the arm of J.T. Barrett. Penn State won’t be a pushover, but I see Ohio State emerging victorious in this one on their path to the playoff.
23 Ole Miss 27, 25 LSU 23
The last time these two teams met in Death Valley, two seasons ago, LSU beat #3 Ole Miss in an old-fashioned 10-7 defensive showdown. This year’s edition may not turn out exactly like that matchup, as LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly were both watching that game from the sidelines. They’ll have a huge impact offensively. I like what I’ve seen from Ole Miss so far this season; I see them emerging with a good SEC road win this week.
Middle Tennessee 21, Missouri 42
Missouri has been a strange team to watch this season. They’ve performed like a top offense vs. Non ‘Power 5 schools’ (Eastern Michigan, Delaware State), averaging 70.0 PGG in those two games, while putting together cringe-worthy performances, garnered by an offense that is not much more than anemic, averaging 14.8 PPG vs. Power 5 teams. This game won’t be a pushover, especially not for this team, but I see the Mizzou’s non power 5 success continuing in this one, and QB Drew Lock, who somehow still leads the SEC in passing yards, re-gaining some confidence.