College Football Picks: Predicting Final Scores for Every Game in Week 8

Michigan State eyes yet another win over the Wolverines

The Week 8 edition of picking every game on the college football schedule is highlighted by a huge intrastate battle in the Big Ten; some intriguing showdowns in the Pac-12; and a sneaky good game in the SEC West as Mississippi State travels to LSU. Here is every game on the Week 8 slate:

 

Thursday, Oct. 18

 

Georgia State at Arkansas State

Arkansas State is 0–2 in the Sun Belt for the first time since 2010 after its humbling 35–9 loss at home to Appalachian State last Tuesday night. Don’t expect the Red Wolves to drop to 0–3. Arkansas State 33, Georgia State 20

 

Stanford at Arizona State

Both teams are coming off a bye. Both teams lost their last game — Stanford by 19 points at home to Utah; Arizona State by seven points at Colorado. This is a great opportunity for Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils. Arizona State 27, Stanford 24

 

Friday, Oct. 19

 

Colorado State at Boise State

Boise State was riding high two weeks into the season, after dominating wins at Troy and at home vs. Connecticut. Since, the Broncos are 2–2, with a 44–21 loss at Oklahoma State (which has since lost three of four) and a 19–13 loss at home to San Diego State. And last week, Brett Rypien threw three picks in a 31–27 win at Nevada. This week shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, but it’s clear Boise State is not meeting preseason expectations. Boise State 37, Colorado State 17

 

Air Force at UNLV

Air Force is 2–4 overall, but all four of the losses have come by 10 points or fewer, including Saturday’s 21–17 setback at San Diego State. This team is in position for a strong second half. Air Force 34, UNLV 13

 

Saturday, Oct. 20

 

Auburn at Ole Miss

Auburn actually did some good things on offense on Saturday — the Tigers had 448 yards (highest total against an FBS opponent this season) — but turned the ball over three times in a disheartening 30–24 loss at home to Tennessee. Yards should be easier to come by this week against a porous Ole Miss defense, but can the Auburn defense find a way to slow down the Rebels’ attack? Auburn 34, Ole Miss 27

 

Buffalo at Toledo

Buffalo is off to a 3–0 start in league play after its convincing 24–6 win at defending East Division champ Akron last Saturday. Toledo is in must-win mode after losing 28–26 at Eastern Michigan. This should be one of the best games of the season in the MAC. Buffalo 34, Toledo 30

 

Cincinnati at Temple

UCF is stealing most of the headlines, but Cincinnati and Temple are also undefeated in AAC play. Cincinnati, at 6–0, is one of the surprise teams in the nation through the first half of the season. Temple has won four of five after a slow start and is playing very well on both sides of the ball. Temple 30, Cincinnati 20

 

Illinois at Wisconsin

One week after recording a 38–17 win at Rutgers, Illinois jumped out to a 7–0 lead at home against Purdue. The fun quickly ended. Purdue proceeded to score the next 46 points — and rolled up 611 yards of offense — en route to an easy win. Wisconsin 34, Illinois 13

 

Maryland at Iowa

Iowa has scored a combined 90 points in back-to-back Big Ten road wins (over Minnesota and Indiana) and currently ranks fifth in the league in scoring at 31.8 points per game. The Hawkeyes are very quietly having a solid 2018 season. Iowa 33, Maryland 24

 

Miami (Ohio) at Army

Army has won its last two games, at Buffalo and vs. San Jose State in Santa Clara, by a combined score of 94–20. Jeff Monken has not gotten enough credit for the job he is doing at Army. Army 31, Miami 18

 

Michigan at Michigan State

Michigan State has given up a total of 374 rushing yards in six games and leads the nation in both fewest yards per game (62.3) and fewest yards per carry (2.3) allowed. Last week, however, Penn State rushed for 205 yards vs. the Spartans. Michigan rushed for 320 yards in last Saturday’s 38–13 win over Wisconsin. Don’t expect such a gaudy total in East Lansing, but it would be a surprise if the Wolverines don’t have success on the ground. Michigan 27, Michigan State 13

 

Northwestern at Rutgers

Rutgers’ quarterbacks completed 2-of-17 attempts for a total of eight yards with no touchdowns and five interceptions in a 34–7 loss to Maryland. Let that sink in. Northwestern 41, Rutgers 10

 

Oklahoma at TCU

TCU is averaging only 15.7 points in its three Big 12 games — and one came against Texas Tech at home. Only two Power 5 teams nationally are averaging fewer points in league play — Mississippi State (12.0 ppg) and Rutgers (11.0 ppg). Oklahoma 30, TCU 20

 

Tulsa at Arkansas

Arkansas held leads of 17–3, 27–10 and 33–24 yet was unable to beat Ole Miss in Little Rock for what would have been Chad Morris’ first SEC win. Next chance: In two weeks when Vanderbilt visits Fayetteville. Arkansas 31, Tulsa 17

 

North Carolina at Syracuse

North Carolina was on the verge of taking a two-score lead on Virginia Tech with under seven minutes remaining when Michael Carter fumbled at the goal line. The Hokies recovered, marched the length of the field and went on to post a 22–19 victory. It’s been that type of season for the Tar Heels. Syracuse 34, North Carolina 24

 

Virginia at Duke

This is a surprisingly important game in the ACC Coastal Division. Virginia is 2–1 in the league, highlighted by last week’s 16–13 win over Miami, while Duke is 1–1 with a win at Georgia Tech and a loss at home to Virginia Tech. This division is wide open. Duke 24, Virginia 23

 

Bowling Green at Ohio

Bowling Green became the first program of the season to make a coaching change. Mike Jinks was dismissed halfway into his third year and replaced — on an interim basis — by Carl Pelini, the team’s defensive coordinator. Ohio 30, Bowling Green 20

 

Idaho State at Liberty

It flew under the national radar, but Liberty had a nice win on Saturday, knocking off Troy 22–16 for its third win of the season. The Flames are home for one more week before embarking on a three-game road trip that includes games at Virginia and Auburn. Liberty 37, Idaho State 20

 

FAU at Marshall

This was supposed to be the game of the year in the C-USA East Division … until both teams lost to Middle Tennessee. The winner of this game is still in decent shape, especially after Middle Tennessee lost at FIU on Saturday. The loser is likely done. FAU 37, Marshall 34

 

Utah State at Wyoming

Utah State ranks second in the nation in scoring, averaging 51.7 points per game and trailing only Alabama. Wyoming ranks second to last in scoring, averaging 15.4 points per game and ahead of only Rutgers. Utah State 37, Wyoming 14

 

Charlotte at Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee QB Brent Stockstill was knocked out of last week’s loss at FIU with an ankle injury. His status for this week is not known. The Blue Raiders should be fine in the short term but no doubt need a healthy Stockstill if they want to contend in the East Division of C-USA. Middle Tennessee 28, Charlotte 17

 

Eastern Michigan at Ball State

In a stunning development, Eastern Michigan was involved in a close game last Saturday. This time, the Eagles won, holding on to beat Toledo 28–26 when the Rockets’ two-point conversion failed in the final seconds. Eastern Michigan 27, Ball State 21

 

Western Michigan at Central Michigan

Central Michigan has yet to defeat an FBS opponent this season, though all three of the Chippewas’ losses in league play have come by 10 points or fewer. Western Michigan has been on the other end of the spectrum, winning its three MAC games by one point, three points and seven points. Western Michigan 35, Central Michigan 28

 

Akron at Kent State

Neither team has won a conference game. That will change this weekend. Akron 37, Kent State 29

 

Alabama at Tennessee

Tennessee broke through last Saturday with its first SEC win since November 2016, beating Auburn 30–24 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Vols’ winning streak will not continue. Alabama 47, Tennessee 20

 

Colorado at Washington

Colorado dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten, losing at USC 31–20 due in large part to an offense that managed only 265 total yards. Washington dropped a heartbreaker in overtime to rival Oregon, but the Huskies still have only one league loss. Washington 28, Colorado 14

 

Coastal Carolina at Massachusetts

UMass has lost its last two games — at Ohio and vs. South Florida — by identical scores of 58–42. Coastal Carolina lost its last two games by similar scores of 45–21 (at Troy) and 45–20 (ULM). Kind of strange. Coastal Carolina 45, UMass 30

 

Houston at Navy

Navy is struggling. The Midshipmen have lost three straight games, and their fortunes might not change anytime soon. After this visit from Houston, Navy plays Notre Dame in San Diego and then visits Cincinnati and UCF. Barring a quick turnaround, the Middies will not play in a bowl game for the first time since 2011. Houston 33, Navy 20

 

Kansas at Texas Tech

Texas Tech is allowing an average of 24.3 points in its three Big 12 games. That’s down from the 33.6 it allowed last year in league games and 43.6 in 2016. There’s still a long way to go, but that’s quite an accomplishment for David Gibbs and the Red Raiders defense. Texas Tech 41, Kansas 27

 

Louisiana at Appalachian State

Appalachian State continues to dominate. Since losing in overtime at Penn State in Week 1, the Mountaineers are 4–0 and have won those four game by an average of 43 points. Appalachian State 38, Louisiana 17

 

Minnesota at Nebraska

The rebuild at Minnesota is going slowly. The Golden Gophers are 0–3 in the Big Ten in 2018 — with all three losses by at least 16 points — and 2–10 in league play in the P.J. Fleck tenure. Nebraska is having its issues as well. One of these teams will win its first Big Ten game of the season. Go with the home-standing Huskers. Nebraska 28, Minnesota 24

 

NC State at Clemson

Two of the remaining six undefeated Power 5 teams get together for an intriguing battle at Clemson. NC State has taken advantage of a relatively soft schedule; four of the Pack’s first five games have been at home, and the best team they have played is Boston College. This is a good team, but we aren’t quite sure just how good. Clemson is more of a proven commodity, though the Tigers have been challenged twice; they won at Texas A&M 28–26 in Week 2 and rallied to beat Syracuse at home in late September. Clemson 38, NC State 20

 

Penn State at Indiana

Penn State is looking to avoid its first three-game losing streak since losing four straight to close out the 2015 season, James Franklin’s second at the school. Indiana is searching for its first win over Penn State since 2013. Penn State 31, Indiana 20

 

SMU at Tulane

Tulane is seeking revenge from last year’s heartbreaker at SMU, a controversial 41–38 defeat that ended with quarterback Jonathan Banks (allegedly) stopped inches shy of the goal line for what would have been a game-winning score that would have made the Green Wave bowl eligible. Revenge will be achieved. Tulane 31, SMU 24

 

UTEP at Louisiana Tech

UTEP is showing signs of progress — the Miners’ last three losses have come by seven points or fewer — but the program still has not won a game since the final week of the  2016 season. The best bet for a win in 2018: Nov. 3 at Rice. Louisiana Tech 37, UTEP 14

 

Wake Forest at Florida State

These two teams are a combined 1–5 in the league, with the only win by Florida State over Louisville. Wake was alarmingly uncompetitive in its last game, a 63–3 loss at home to Clemson. The Demon Deacons’ best win to date: at Tulane in overtime. Florida State 34, Wake Forest 24

 

California at Oregon State

The only two teams without a win in Pac-12 play will meet in Corvallis. Cal jumped out to a 3–0 start that included wins over North Carolina and BYU but has since lost three straight. Oregon State is having some success on offense, thanks in large part to true freshman running back Jermar Jefferson, but the Beavers can’t stop anybody on defense. California 31, Oregon State 30 

 

Memphis at Missouri

Memphis is coming off a painful loss at home to UCF — a game in which it led until the 12:14 mark of the fourth quarter. The Tigers have played two road games to date, losing 22–21 at Navy and 40–24 at Tulane. Missouri has lost three straight after opening with a 3–0 mark, though it should be noted that the losses have been to Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, the latter two on the road. This is an explosive Mizzou team that should be able to outscore a good but not great Memphis team. Missouri 41, Memphis 31

 

Georgia Southern at New Mexico State

It appears as though New Mexico State’s streak of bowl seasons will end at one. The Aggies are 2–5 overall and rank 126th nationally in scoring defense. Georgia Southern 41, New Mexico State 21

 

Mississippi State at LSU

LSU has dominated this series historically, but Mississippi State has won two of the last four, including a 37–7 victory last season in Starkville. The Bulldogs rolled up 465 yards of offense, including 285 on the ground, in what ended up being the most lopsided MSU win in the history of the series. Don’t count on a repeat. LSU 24, Mississippi State 16

 

UTSA at Southern Miss

UTSA has feasted on the underbelly of the FBS, with wins over Texas State, UTEP and Rice. Last week, the Roadrunners lost at home to Louisiana Tech, 31–3. Southern Miss is better than Texas State, UTEP and Rice but not quite at the level of Louisiana Tech. Southern Miss 27, UTSA 17

 

Texas State at ULM

The most amazing thing about ULM’s season to date: The Warhawks have actually played two games under three hours. ULM 37, Texas State 20

 

UCF at East Carolina

UCF edged Memphis 31–30 on Saturday, playing its first game of the season that was decided by fewer than 20 points. That won’t be the case this weekend. UCF 48, East Carolina 20

 

Connecticut at South Florida

UConn hasn’t won a game by more than seven points since beating Cincinnati 20–9 in October 2016. Not good. South Florida 55, UConn 17

 

Fresno State at New Mexico

Jeff Tedford continues to work his magic. Fresno State is 5–1 overall (with a seven-point loss at Minnesota) and has won its two Mountain West games by a combined score of 48–6. Fresno State 31, New Mexico

 

North Texas at UAB

It’s a huge game in C-USA West. UAB has a win over Louisiana Tech, which has a win over North Texas. A Blazer win would put Bill Clark’s team in command of the division race. A North Texas win would create chaos. UAB 27, North Texas 24

 

Old Dominion at Western Kentucky

These two teams are a combined 0–6 in C-USA action. Western Kentucky has been outscored 60–31 in its two league games. ODU’s deficit is 150–98 in four games. Neither team is good. Western Kentucky 20, Old Dominion 17

 

Ohio State at Purdue

Here’s a stat that might surprise some people: Purdue ranks 12th nationally in yards per play at 7.0. That’s up from 5.6 per play a year ago in Jeff Brohm’s first season. This much-improved offense could cause some problems for an Ohio State defense that gave up 511 total yards to TCU, 206 yards rushing and 286 yards passing to Penn State and 396 yards (on a 7.1-yard average) to Minnesota. Saturday night in West Lafayette could get interesting. Ohio State 34, Purdue 24

 

Oregon at Washington State

Oregon is a late fumble vs. Stanford away from being undefeated and ranked in the top five in the nation. The Ducks have some issues defensively, but they have one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Justin Herbert and an offense that is averaging 482.8 yards per game. Washington State has been perhaps the biggest surprise in the league to date, with a 5–1 record and the only loss by three points at USC. The Cougars lost highly regarded coordinator Alex Grinch to Ohio State yet still rank second in the league in total defense with 313.7 yards allowed per game. It’s dangerous to pick against Wazzu at Martin Stadium — which should be crazy with College GameDay in town — but Oregon appears to be the better team. Oregon 34, Washington State 27

 

Rice at FIU

FIU is the only team in C-USA East without a league loss. The Panthers have already defeated Middle Tennessee and get both FAU and Marshall at home. Butch Davis’ club could be the team to beat. FIU 30, Rice 10

 

Vanderbilt at Kentucky

This is the first time since 1977 that one of the two teams has been ranked at the time of the game. Kentucky was No. 7 that season, beat Vanderbilt 28–6 and went on to record a 6–0 record in SEC play. Kentucky 27, Vanderbilt 23

 

USC at Utah

This could end up being the most impactful game in the Pac-12 South race. Utah has won two straight after opening the league slate with losses to Washington and Washington State. USC is 3–1, including a win over Colorado. My guess is the winner of this game will represent the South in the Pac-12 title game. Utah 27, USC 21

 

Arizona at UCLA

With Khalil Tate sidelined due to an ankle injury, Arizona will turn to Rhett Rodriguez — son of the Wildcats’ former head coach — as the starter this weekend. Even with Tate in the lineup, the Arizona offense had been struggling; the Cats are averaging 27.4 points per game, down from 41.3 in 2017. UCLA broke through with the first win of the Chip Kelley era, dismantling Cal 37–7 in Berkeley. The Bruins topped 200 rushing yards for the first time this season thanks to a career-high 157 yards from Joshua Kelley, a transfer from UC Davis who sat out last season. UCLA has scored a combined 61 points the last two weeks after scoring no more than 21 in any of its first four games. UCLA 28, Arizona 14

 

San Jose State at San Diego State

San Diego State is mastering the art of the close win; the Aztecs have won five straight, the last four by seven points or fewer. They haven’t scored more than 28 points in any game this season after scoring 28 or more in 10 of 13 games a year ago. San Diego State 38, San Jose State 7

 

Nevada at Hawaii

The schedule is about to get much more difficult — Hawaii still has to play Fresno State, Utah State and San Diego State — but the Rainbow Warriors are 3–0 in the Mountain West and have already doubled their win total from last season. Hawaii 34, Nevada 30

 

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