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College Football Picks: Predicting Every Game in Week 8

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The Week 8 edition of picking every game on the college football schedule is highlighted by two games involving ranked teams: USC travels to South Bend to face Notre Dame and Penn State hosts Michigan in a critical Big Ten East showdown. Here is every game on the Week 8 slate:

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh was Big Ten MVP under legendary coach Bo Schembechler.

Thursday, Oct. 19

Louisiana at Arkansas State

Arkansas State has feasted on the underbelly of the Sun Belt, beating Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina by an average of 26 points. Louisiana will pose more of a challenge. Arkansas State 33, Louisiana 24

Memphis at Houston

Houston’s surprising 45–17 loss at Tulsa — which had lost four straight games — has taken some of the luster off of this key AAC West game. Memphis, which beat Navy on Saturday, can take a huge step toward the division title with a win. Memphis 24, Houston 21

Friday, Oct. 20

Western Kentucky at Old Dominion

Both teams have been a disappointment halfway through the season. Western Kentucky’s record is fine (4–2 overall and 2–1 in the league), but the Hilltoppers have clearly taken a step back in the post-Jeff Brohm era. Old Dominion 28, Western Kentucky 27

Marshall at Middle Tennessee

Marshall has emerged as the team to beat in Conference USA East on the strength of a defense that is allowing an average of 10.6 points in five games against non-Power 5 opponents. Middle Tennessee is struggling without starting quarterback Brent Stockstill, who will miss his sixth straight game with an injury. Marshall 33, Middle Tennessee 17

Air Force at Nevada

Nevada is showing signs of life. After an 0–5 start, the Wolf Pack beat Hawaii 35–21 two weeks ago and then lost at Colorado State 44–42 on Saturday night. They have over 1,100 yards of total offense in the last two games. Air Force rallied from 27 points down to beat UNLV 34–30 over the weekend. Nevada 40, Air Force 37

Colorado State at New Mexico

One week after beating Air Force 56–38, New Mexico was shut out by Fresno State (38–0). Colorado State, which figures to challenge Boise State for the Mountain West Mountain title, dodged a big upset on Saturday, holding off Nevada 44–42 in Fort Collins. Colorado State 30, New Mexico 24

Saturday, Oct. 21

Akron at Toledo

Akron is off to a 3–0 start in the MAC, highlighted by last weekend’s 14–13 win at defending league champion Western Michigan. Toledo, too, is unbeaten in league play, with wins over Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan. The Zips are good. The Rockets are better. Toledo 34, Akron 30

Idaho at Missouri

Missouri is seeking its first win of the season over an FBS opponent. Idaho is a solid Sun Belt team but shouldn’t pose too much of a threat to the Tigers. Missouri 48, Idaho 21

Iowa at Northwestern

Wisconsin is the clear favorite in the Big Ten West. Iowa, despite its 1–2 record in league play, can separate itself as the second-best team in the division with a win in Evanston on Saturday. Northwestern is coming off its best game of the season, a 37–21 victory at Maryland. Iowa 24, Northwestern 20

Iowa State at Texas Tech

Iowa State, which shut out Kansas on Saturday, is seeking its first three-game winning streak in Big 12 action since defeating Texas Tech, Kansas and Oklahoma State in back-to-back-to-back games in 2011. Texas Tech must bounce back from a gut-wrenching loss at West Virginia in which the Red Raiders let a 35–17 lead slip away. Texas Tech 41, Iowa State 31

Louisville at Florida State

These two teams are a combined 6–6 overall and 3–5 in the ACC. Louisville is 4–6 in its last 10 games after opening last season with nine wins in its first 10 games. Florida State has failed to score more than 26 points in a game this season after averaging 35.1 per game a year ago. Florida State 26, Louisville 17

Maryland at Wisconsin

Maryland’s Week 1 win at Texas seems like a distant memory. The Terps are 2–3 since and have lost to UCF and Northwestern at home by double digits. This trip to Madison will not go well. Wisconsin 30, Maryland 13

Oklahoma State at Texas

It’s been an interesting four-game stretch for Texas, which beat Iowa State and Kansas State by an average of 6.5 points and lost to USC and Oklahoma by an average of 4.0 points. Oklahoma State is about to embark on a critical stretch; three of the next four are on the road, and the one home game is against Oklahoma. Oklahoma State 34, Texas 24

Purdue at Rutgers

Rutgers snapped a 16-game Big Ten losing streak with a 35–24 win at Illinois on Saturday. Purdue is 1–2 in the league, but the Boilermakers were competitive in losses to Michigan and Wisconsin. Purdue 37, Rutgers 17

Temple at Army

Army, at 5–2, is one win away from bowl eligibility. Yes, the wins have come against Fordham, Buffalo, UTEP, Rice and Eastern Michigan, but this program has taken some huge steps in the last two years. Look for win No. 6 on Saturday. Army 27, Temple 21

Tulsa at Connecticut

UConn picked up the first FBS win of Randy Edsall Part 2, beating Temple 28–24 despite getting outgained by more than 200 yards. Tulsa bounced back from a 62–28 loss at Tulane by shocking Houston 45–17. Who knows what to expect from the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa 37, UConn 23

Pittsburgh at Duke

Duke started the season 4–0 — with three wins coming over Power 5 opponents — but has since lost three straight. This is almost a must win if the Blue Devils hope to return to a bowl game after a one-year hiatus. Duke 28, Pittsburgh 24

Boston College at Virginia

Virginia’s resurgence continues; the Cavaliers improved to 5–1 with a 20–14 win at North Carolina. They have a chance to run their record to 4–0 in the ACC before a closing stretch that features Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech at home sandwiched around trips to Louisville and Miami. Virginia 30, Boston College 20

Kent State at Ohio

Kent State recorded an unlikely win on Saturday; the Golden Flashes, who were 0–5 against FBS opponents and hadn’t scored more than 13 points in any of those games, knocked off Miami (Ohio), the MAC East preseason favorite, 17–14. Two straight for Kent State? Not likely. Ohio 24, Kent State 13

Northern Illinois at Bowling Green

Northern Illinois and Toledo are the only two teams in the MAC West without a loss in league play. With more difficult tests looming, the Huskies cannot afford to slip up against Bowling Green if they hope to remain in the division race. Northern Illinois 30, Bowling Green 17

Troy at Georgia State

Georgia State is one of nine teams in the nation that is 3–0 on the road this season. Yes, this game against Troy is at home — but it was still an interesting stat. Troy 24, Georgia State 21

Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan’s losing streak is now at four games — and each of the four losses has been decided by seven points or fewer. The streak will end this week! Eastern Michigan 24, Western Michigan 23

Buffalo at Miami (Ohio)

Miami, the preseason pick to win the MAC East, has lost consecutive games to Bowing Green and Kent State. That’s not a good look. Buffalo has followed up a three-game winning streak with two close defeats — 71–68 to Western Michigan in overtime and 14–13 to Northern Illinois. Buffalo 24, Miami 21

Central Michigan at Ball State

Ball State’s MAC season is off to a rough start. The Cardinals are 0–2 and have lost to Western Michigan and Akron by a combined score of 86–6. This team might be staring at an 0–8 league record. Central Michigan 34, Ball State 14

Arizona State at Utah

In the finest defensive effort of the Todd Graham era, Arizona State stunned Washington 13–7 in Tempe to improve to 2–1 in the Pac-12. We’re not ready to proclaim this team as a legitimate threat to win the South Division title, but the Sun Devils are showing some fight in a season in which expectations were low. Utah is in the midst of a very Utah-like season: The Utes are 1–2 in the Pac-12, with all three games decided by six points or fewer. Utah 24, Arizona State 21

Coastal Carolina at Appalachian State

Appalachian State is off to a 3–0 start in the Sun Belt and figures to challenge Arkansas State for the league title. Coastal Carolina’s struggles in its first season in the FBS ranks continue. Appalachian State 31, Coastal Carolina 17

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Syracuse at Miami (Fla.)

Two programs that have enjoyed some big wins in recent weeks will be looking to keep the momentum going strong. Miami appears to be the better team, but keep in mind the Hurricanes needed some late-game heroics — and a little luck — in wins over Florida State and Georgia Tech. Syracuse is more of a work in progress, though there was nothing fluky about the Orange’s win over Clemson. Miami 28, Syracuse 20

Georgia Southern at Massachusetts

Two of the nation’s five winless teams get together this weekend. Hot take: One of them will break into the win column this weekend. UMass 27, Georgia Southern 20

Illinois at Minnesota

Neither team has won a league game, but Minnesota has been far more competitive, with two of its three Big Ten losses by seven points or fewer (and the third was a seven-point game until a late pix-six). Illinois has losses of 22, 29 and 11 points on its résumé. Minnesota 28, Illinois 10

Indiana at Michigan State

Michigan State has emerged as the surprise of the Big Ten with a 3–0 start highlighted by a 14–10 victory at Michigan. Indiana is 0–3 in the league but has played Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan. The Hoosiers will pick up some wins down the road. Michigan State 24, Indiana 14

Tennessee at Alabama

Tennessee has lost 10 straight in the series and has scored 20 points or fewer in all 10 games and 10 points or fewer in six of the 10. Only two of the games have been decided by single-digits, a 19–14 loss two years ago and a 12–10 loss in 2009. Alabama 41, Tennessee 10 

UCF at Navy

UCF is 5–0 and has not had a game closer than 28 points. This trip to Navy and a home date with South Florida are the two biggest obstacles as the Knights shoot for a 12–0 regular season. Navy lost for the first time this season, dropping a 30–27 decision at Memphis on Saturday. UCF 37, Navy 24 

North Carolina at Virginia Tech

North Carolina remains winless against Power 5 opponents, a surprising decline for a program that won eight games in 2016 and 11 games in 2015. Virginia Tech, 1–1 in the league, should be 3–1 when it heads to Miami on Nov. 4. Virginia Tech 34, North Carolina 17

Oklahoma at Kansas State

Baker Mayfield is in the midst of a remarkable senior season. He leads the nation in completion percentage (72.7) and yards per attempt (12.0) and has a sparkling 17-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio. He might not win the Heisman, but he should be in everyone’s top three at this point. Oklahoma 33, Kansas State 17

Oregon at UCLA

UCLA’s struggles on defense continue; last Saturday, the Bruins were torched by Arizona for 605 yards (including 457 on the ground) in a 47–30 loss in Tucson. It’s the second time they’ve allowed at least 400 rushing yards in a game this season. Oregon is having its own troubles; the Ducks are 0–2 since quarterback Justin Herbert went down with an injury and have scored a total of 17 points in those two games. UCLA 37, Oregon 30

SMU at Cincinnati

Cincinnati dropped to 2–5 overall with a 33–3 loss at South Florida over the weekend. Each of the five losses has come by 10 points or more, and neither of the two wins is very impressive — 26–14 over Austin Peay, 21–17 over Miami (Ohio). SMU 38, Cincinnati 14

Kentucky at Mississippi State

The good news: Kentucky is 5–1 and one win away from bowl eligibility for the second straight season: The bad news: The Wildcats’ wins have come against Southern Miss (by seven points), Eastern Kentucky (11), South Carolina (10), Eastern Michigan (four) and Missouri (six). Beating South Carolina, especially on the road, is impressive. The other wins? Nothing to get excited about. Mississippi State 34, Kentucky 21

ULM at South Alabama

ULM had some nice momentum after stringing together three straight wins. That ended on Saturday with a disheartening 47–37 loss at home to Georgia State. South Alabama pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the season, winning at Troy 19–8 last Wednesday one week after Troy won at LSU. South Alabama 28, ULM 24

North Texas at FAU

North Texas, 3–0 in the league, is the team to beat in the C-USA West after last week’s 29–26 win over UTSA. FAU is also unbeaten in the league, with wins over Middle Tennessee and Old Dominion. Could this be a preview of the C-USA Championship Game? North Texas 30, FAU 28

Auburn at Arkansas

No team last week suffered a more damaging loss than Auburn, which blew a 20–0 lead in Baton Rouge en route to a 27–23 defeat. The Tigers now have two losses and still have to play at Texas A&M and both Georgia and Alabama at home. Auburn 41, Arkansas 17

Utah State at UNLV

UNLV has been on the wrong end of two painful losses this season — 43–40 to Howard in Week 1 (as a 45-point favorite) and 34–30 to Air Force (after leading by 27 points). No pain this week. UNLV 34, Utah State 30

UAB at Charlotte

The ball is bouncing the right way for UAB in 2017; the Blazers have won one game by seven points and two others by a combined three points. At 4–2, they need only two more wins to reach bowl eligibility in their first season back after a two-year hiatus. UAB 38, Charlotte 24

BYU at East Carolina

Two programs that are accustomed to winning a lot of games have sunk to unfathomable lows. BYU is 1–6 (0–6 vs. FBS foes) and ranks 129th in the nation in scoring offense (11.4 ppg) and total offense (242.4 ppg). East Carolina is 1–6 and ranks last nationally in scoring defense (50.0 ppg) and total defense (600.0 ypg). BYU 24, East Carolina 21

Rice at UTSA

UTSA, one of the preseason favorites in C-USA West, is off to an 0–2 start in league play. The Roadrunners, however, have a chance to go on a nice run over the next month, beginning with this visit from Rice. The Owls are 1–5 and have scored 12 points or fewer in each of their five defeats. UTSA 35, Rice 14

South Florida at Tulane

South Florida has raced out to a 6–0 start — but has done so against a schedule that doesn’t include a team that any knowledgeable football observer would rank in the top 80 in the nation. This trip to New Orleans will be the Bulls’ most difficult game to date. South Florida 34, Tulane 24

Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech

Both of Louisiana Tech’s C-USA games have ended with a final score of 23–22, with a win over Western Kentucky and a loss to UAB. That is quite the coincidence. Louisiana Tech 23, Southern Miss 22

LSU at Ole Miss

No team has changed the tenor of its season more in the last two weeks than LSU. After losing at home to Troy, the Tigers ripped off wins at Florida and over Auburn (in a game in which they trailed 20–0). We’re still not sure LSU is very good — but it might not be the train wreck that it appeared to be in late September. Ole Miss has scored 77 points in its last three halves of football, 20 in the final two quarters at Auburn and 57 in an impressive 22-point win over Vanderbilt. LSU 34, Ole Miss 31

Michigan at Penn State

Penn State has been as impressive as any team in the nation not named Alabama. The Nittany Lions are 6–0 and have only broken a sweat once — in a 21–19 win at Iowa. Michigan is more battle tested but continues to struggle on offense. Despite the ongoing issues on offense, the Wolverines have scored 27 points or more in all but one game (10 vs. Michigan State). Bottom line: Penn State appears to be the better team. Penn State 24, Michigan 17

USC at Notre Dame

Notre Dame is 2–12 straight up against top-20 teams dating back to its loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game in January 2013 — and one of those wins was by eight points over a Georgia Tech team that finished the season 3–9. USC 24, Notre Dame 21

Wake Forest at Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech is two plays away — a late fumble (or made field goal) vs. Tennessee and a fourth-down stop vs. Miami — from being 5–0 and ranked in the top 10. Instead, the Yellow Jackets are 3–2 overall and still seeking a quality win (North Carolina and Pitt do not count). Wake Forest is 0–2 in the ACC, but the two losses have come against Florida State and Clemson. Georgia Tech 28, Wake Forest 21

Arizona at California

Khalil Tate’s production over the last two weeks is almost unbelievable. Arizona’s sophomore quarterback has rushed for 557 yards on 29 carries (for a 19.2-yard average) while completing 21-of-26 passes for 302 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions as the Wildcats knocked off Colorado and UCLA. And he didn’t even start the Colorado game! Tate won’t be able to sustain this type of production, but it’s clear that Rich Rodriguez has found his quarterback — and perhaps saved his job. Arizona 34, California 31

Kansas at TCU

Kansas’ 2017 season hit a low point — hopefully it doesn’t get any worse — on Saturday. The Jayhawks managed only 106 yards of offense in a 45–0 loss at Iowa State. This was a huge rebuild and there aren’t many signs that things are going to get better soon. TCU 48, Kansas 10

West Virginia at Baylor

West Virginia overcame a 35–17 deficit and scored the game’s final 29 points to record a 46–35 win over Texas Tech in Morgantown. Will Grier continues to shine for WVU; the former Florida Gator is averaging 348.7 passing yards per game and has thrown a Big 12-best 21 touchdown passes. West Virginia 44, Baylor 30

Wyoming at Boise State

Boise State has stubbed its toe twice in the non-conference portion of its schedule — with losses to Washington State and Virginia — but the Broncos are 2–0 in the Mountain West. They beat New Mexico in Week 3 and then won at San Diego State last weekend. Boise State 30, Wyoming 20

Fresno State at San Diego State

Fresno State has won more games through the first half of the 2017 season (four) than it did in the last two seasons combined. The Bulldogs have won their three league games by an average of 25.0 points and their two losses have come against Alabama and Washington. This is a good team — one that is capable of winning at San Diego State. Fresno State 34, San Diego State 27

Colorado at Washington State

Washington State fell from the ranks of the unbeaten on Friday night, losing at Cal 37–3. It was the first time since October 2012 — Mike Leach’s first season in Pullman — that the Cougars failed to score a touchdown. Points shouldn’t be hard to come by this weekend; Colorado has given up an average of 35.5 points in its four Pac-12 games. Washington State 41, Colorado 31