Welcome back Big Ten and Mountain West! Both conferences jump into our college football weekend programming this weekend with the first games of their respective conference-only schedules, thus making the season feel just a little bit more full.
This week's picks will include both conferences, but we're also keeping a vested interest in what Clemson and Alabama do this weekend against teams wearing orange. Clemson is a massive favorite at home against Syracuse and Alabama heads to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers, who are looking to snap a two-game losing streak in a mighty way.
Note: All times are ET and all games are on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Syracuse (+46) at Clemson, 12 p.m.
Yes, Clemson has been nearly impossible to beat this season and Syracuse really doesn't stand much of a chance here. But at some point, doesn't the line have to catch up to Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and the Tigers? Syracuse getting 46 points may not be all that generous, but it's a line worth picking the Orange to cover. It’s not like Clemson wins by 60 points every week, right? Clemson 52, Syracuse 17
Alabama (-21) at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m.
Like Clemson in the ACC, nobody in the SEC seems equipped to give Alabama a serious run for their money. The Crimson Tide just flexed their muscles against the SEC's best defense for an easy cover last week, and the Vols just got steamrolled at home by Kentucky. This should be an easy cover for the Tide as the struggles for the Vols continue for another week before things possibly turn the corner. Alabama 42, Tennessee 20
Kentucky (-5.5) at Missouri, 4 p.m.
Speaking of Kentucky, ride the Wildcats off of last week's game one more time this week. Missouri may be better than anticipated this season, but Kentucky is playing some tough football and should be able to make this a two-score game in Columbia. Kentucky 28, Missouri 20
Minnesota (+3) vs. Michigan, 7:30 p.m.
We have to make sure to include a Big Ten game in this week's assortment, right? But we're staying away from Ohio State and Penn State this week and focusing our attention on a long-running trophy game, The Little Brown Jug. Minnesota faces a stiff challenge from Michigan in a statement game opportunity for each, but the Gophers have more to rely on with the offense going into the season with Rashod Bateman opting back in and Tanner Morgan ready to feed him the football. The Gophers are a slight underdog at home, and they will be ready to bite. Minnesota 27, Michigan 24
Air Force (-6.5) at San Jose State, 10:30 p.m.
Cap off your weekend with the return of the Mountain West Conference. Of course, this is the second game of the year for Air Force, who got in some early work against Navy. The Falcons dominated the Midshipmen their last time out and San Jose State's offseason practice schedule was among the many disrupted in the state of California. Expect Air Force to easily wear the Spartans down in this MWC opener for each. Air Force 37, San Jose State 13
Last week: 3-2
Podcast: Week 8 Preview and Predictions