Here is a look at some of the key games in College football in week 8:
#22 Mississippi State at #5 LSU:
This one may be a fascinating game to keep tabs on. It will be in Death Valley at night, but the Mississippi State offense leaves a lot to be desired. With that, LSU will host Alabama in two weeks. Could the Tigers be looking ahead in a matchup that could very well decide who wins the SEC West? The chance that the Tigers’ mindset could be somewhere in the future presents a big opportunity for Mississippi State to win in upset fashion.
We will find out how they react to a Mississippi team who has had two weeks to prepare for this matchup. The Bulldogs are ranked eighth in total defense, so it will be interesting to see what Joe Burrow and the Tiger offense do about this stout defense. Nick Fitzgerald has not done much with his arm, but has killed teams when he’s on the run. If the Tigers contain that, they should have no issues in this one.
The Tigers are a 6.5 favorite at home and I will TAKE IT. I think the Tigers win in a game highlighted by two hard-hitting defenses. Tigers win 17-10.
Maryland at #19 Iowa:
Iowa may be the biggest surprise to contend for the Big 10 Championship this year. They currently are in third place in the Big Ten-West, with a 2-1 conference record. Wisconsin has the tie-breaker against them and Northwestern is 3-1 in conference play.
Let me get to this game first, and then I’ll unpack Iowa’s outlook for the future.
Iowa boasts the third-ranked rushing defense in the country. When Maryland wins, it is primarily produced from the ground game and their 18th ranked defensive crew. While their record is 4-2, Michigan easily exposed that if their run game doesn’t work, they can’t win.
I’ll LEAVE Iowa at a 9.5 point favorite and say they win 35-17.
To finish Iowa’s Big 10-West hopes, they have an easy schedule to close this season. Outside of a trip to Penn State that will provide challenges, hosting a Northwestern team to potentially upset them (Hawks are 4-6 against NW since 2008), the Hawks have a good path to potentially going unbeaten starting this weekend. All eyes will be on Wisconsin to slip up for Iowa to snap the tie-breaker chains.
#16 NC State at #3 Clemson:
The Tigers are ranked third in total defense and eighth in total offense. They’ve found something great in Trevor Lawrence, a true freshman with a completion percentage of 69% while throwing 11 TDs and two interceptions.
Ryan Finley is nothing for this Clemson defense to take lightly though. The sixth-year QB for the Wolfpack is leaving his mark in his time at NC State and it’s going well. He boasts a 69.5% completion percentage with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. He is key to their quality passing offense with 1621 passing yards. The 5-0 Wolfpack and 6-0 Tigers are battling for the ACC-Atlantic number one spot.
Clemson is a 17.5 point favorite. It very well could be true, but with so much on the line already I think it will be a little closer, but not by much. I will LEAVE the 17.5 favorites and pick Clemson to win this one 34-24.
#6 Michigan at #24 Michigan State:
It’s time for some rivalry picks, baby. Frankly, if this wasn’t a rivalry, I would pick Michigan to run away with this one big time. They are simply the better team, and the upset at Arizona State against the Spartans is looking a lot less pretty as we head into Saturday with Herm Edwards’ team being 3-4.
With that said, it’s a rivalry. Who knows what will happen? Michigan State has shown they still have some gas left in the tank after beating Penn State 21-17.
Look, Michigan is number two in total defense, and Michigan State’s offense doesn’t even rank top-50. Michigan’s offense seems to be firing on all cylinders, but the game will be played at Spartan Stadium. As much as we talk stats and rankings, to an extent, those can be thrown out when it comes to a rivalry game.
So I will 100% TAKE the Michigan 7-point favorite at the Michigan State Spartans. This game will go 28-21, Wolverines.
Nebraska will beat Minnesota this weekend if they can finish the game. They seem to have really found chemistry and nearly beat a Northwestern team that is causing problems in the Big 10, but quiet otherwise. They should host and beat the Gophers in a close win.
The ‘beat the brakes off you’ pick of the week:
#1 Bama at Tennesee. Alabama is exhausting, Tennessee is not worth much. Tua Tagovailoa is the best QB in the country right now. I don’t know what else there is to say. Bama will get an easy win and by a lot of points. Tagovailoa will again not play in the fourth quarter.
Missouri over Memphis, Auburn over Ole Miss, Wisconsin over Illinois, OU over TCU, Duke over UVA, Washington over CU, Tech over Kansas, Kentucky over Vandy, Washington St. over Oregon, OSU over Purdue, Utah over USC.