Viewers Guide, Picks: Week 8

We are back with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 8 of the college season.

Florida's Jeff Driskel and South Carolina's Connor Shaw will collide Saturday

I ended up 15-6 straight-up and 11-10 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 133-42 SU and 81-83-1 ATS.

In Big Ten games, I was 4-1 straight-up (lost on Iowa) and 3-2 ATS. Through seven weeks, I am 51-11 straight-up and 27-27 ATS.

There are four match-ups this weekend between ranked teams. You have LSU-Texas A&M, South Carolina-Florida, Texas Tech-TCU and Kansas State-West Virgiinia.

Here we go with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 8 of the college football season:

Thursday’s Game

* Oregon (-8) at Arizona State, Thursday night – I was not able to get the full picks done on Thursday. So I posted my pick for this game yesterday here on the Big Ten Board.

I picked Oregon to roll 35-17. The Ducks won 43-21, so I already have one win straight-up and ATS for Week 8. (Yea me!)

Friday’s Game

* Connecticut at Syracuse (-4), 8 p.m. (ESPN) – UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni was the Syracuse coach from 1991 through 2004. UConn leads the all-time series 6-2 with five straight wins (including 28-21 last year at UConn). Both teams are coming in off tough losses with Syracuse losing at Rutgers 23-15 and UConn losing at home to Temple 17-14 in overtime. Good match-up with Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib against a stingy UConn defense ranked 15th nationally in points allowed (16.3 ppg). Syracuse 33-26

Saturday’s Games

* LSU (-3) at Texas A&M, noon (ESPN) – Texas A&M freshman QB Johnny Manziel had an SEC-record 576 yards total offense last week against Louisiana Tech in that 59-57 shootout. But LSU brings in the nation’s No. 2-ranked defense. Each team’s lone loss was to Florida with A&M losing 20-17 at home and LSU falling 14-6 at The Swamp. This ought to be a heck of a game. This is the third in a five-game string for LSU with games against teams ranked 18th or better (wow). Texas A&M 27-21

* Rutgers (-4 ½) at Temple, noon (Big East Network) – The battle for I-95 sends the unbeaten Scarlet Knights down to Philly to face Owls. This is their first meeting since Temple left the Big East after the 2004 season. Rutgers has quietly crept up to No. 15 in the national rankings. Rutgers 31-21

* Virginia Tech at Clemson (-9), noon (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market) – Last year, Clemson took a pair of lopsided wins over Virginia Tech. The Tigers won 23-3 at Blacksburg and then won 38-10 in the ACC title game. Neither team can afford a second ACC loss this early in the season. Tech rallied from down 20-0 to take a 41-20 win over Duke last week. That was Tech’s biggest comeback under veteran coach Frank Beamer. Clemson has scored 37 or more points in five of their six games. Clemson 34-27

* Iowa State at Oklahoma State (-14), noon (FX) – Iowa State knocked off Oklahoma State 37-31 in double OT last year, knocking the Cowboys out of the national title hunt. Iowa State comes in off a home loss to No. 6 Kansas State (27-21). Oklahoma State glided past Kansas 20-14 last week. Oklahoma State 36-28

* Purdue at Ohio State (-18 ½), noon (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market) – Ohio State is 7-0 for Urban Meyer, but the Buckeyes almost made a big misstep last week at Indiana. OSU needed to recover a late onside kick to preserve a 52-49 win. Purdue has hit rock bottom with back-to-back home losses to Michigan and Wisconsin, where the Boilers gave up a combined 781 yards rushing. QB Braxton Miller should put up some big numbers here. Can the OSU defense get back on track against Purdue’s struggling offense? Purdue has won two of the teams’ last three meetings, including 26-23 in OT last year in West Lafayette. Ohio State 52-17

* Minnesota at Wisconsin (-16 ½), noon (ESPNU) – The Badgers are back to playing Wisconsin football and that’s bad news for the rest of the Big Ten. The Gophers still can’t get dynamic QB MarQueis Gray back going 100 percent, and that’s not good. This is the nation’s longest series with this one their 122nd match-up. UW hosts Minnesota in the annual battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. The Gophers and Badgers have battled for the axe since 1948, with Wisconsin holding a 38-23-3 advantage and a current eight-game winning streak (including 42-13 last year at Minnesota). Wisconsin 32-24

* Stanford (-2 ½) at California, 3 p.m. (FOX) – Stanford comes in off its bitter 20-13 overtime loss at Notre Dame. After a 1-4 start, Cal has won back-to-back games over UCLA and Washington State. Stanford has averaged 13 points in its two road losses (Washington and ND). This is the 115th rendition of The Big Game. Stanford has won the last two, including 31-28 last year at Palo Alto. Don’t ask me why, but I’m taking Cal. California 28-27

* South Carolina at Florida (-3), 3:30 p.m. (CBS) – The winner can feel pretty good about repping the SEC East in the conference title game. Steve Spurrier, of course, was the former Florida coach and star for the Gators. Both teams run the ball and play stellar defense. South Carolina has won the last two games in the series, prevailing 17-12 at home last year. The Gamecocks come in off their tough loss at LSU. Florida is 6-0, but is only averaging 27.8 ppg. Should be a down-to-the-wire good one. ESPN’s College Game Day will emanate from Gainesville. Florida 21-16

* BYU at Notre Dame (-13 ½), 3:30 p.m. (NBC) – The nation’s top two independents collide in South Bend. ND QB Everett Golson will be a gametime decision after suffering a concussion last week against Stanford. BYU comes in off a 42-24 home loss to Oregon State. This could be a trap game for ND, which just slipped by Stanford and must visit Oklahoma next week. Or not. Notre Dame 37-20

* South Florida at Louisville (-6), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional) – USF is struggling along at 2-4 with four straight losses, while Louisville is a robust 6-0 and playing well. Louisville 31-17

* Texas Tech (-1 ½) at TCU, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market) – Tech is sky high after its big win over previously unbeaten West Virginia (49-14). These old Southwest Conference rivals meet for the 55th time, but first time as Big 12 members. Their last meeting was in 2006, when TCU won 12-3 at home. TCU has moved on without QB Casey Pachall with Trevone Boykin leading the Horned Frogs past Baylor (49-21). This should be one heck of a game. Texas Tech 33-24

* Nebraska (-6 ½) at Northwestern, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market) – Northwestern stunned Nebraska 28-25 last year in Lincoln. The winner will be in the thick of the Big Ten Legends Division race. Nebraska was idle last week after a 63-38 loss at Ohio State. Northwestern got up early and held on for a 21-13 win at Minnesota last week. This has shootout written all over it with Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead for Nebraska and Kain Colter and Venric Mark for Northwestern. Nebraska 45-40

* Michigan State at Michigan (-9 ½), 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – MSU’s season is at a crossroads after suffering home losses to Notre Dame, Ohio State and last week to Iowa in overtime (19-16). Michigan looks like the class of the Legends Division after blowout wins over Purdue and Illinois (45-0 last week). MSU has won four straight in the series, bottling up QB Denard Robinson the last two years (including 28-14 in East Lansing last year). Michigan and Michigan State will meet for the 105th time overall and the 60th time with the Paul Bunyan trophy up for grabs. The Wolverines own a 34-23-2 advantage in trophy games. The Spartans have only won four straight in this series three other times (1934-37, 1950-53 and 1959-62) and have never won five straight versus the Wolverines. Should be a real good one. Michigan 27-20

* Indiana at Navy (-3 ½), 3:30 p.m. (CBS College Sports) – Indiana just gave Ohio State a big scare and seems to be hitting on all cylinders offensively behind dueling QBs Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld. But the question is whether the IU defense can do anything with Navy’s option offense. At 2-4, any faint bowl hopes Indiana may have hinge almost entirely on this game. Indiana 29-22

* Colorado at USC (-40 ½), 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Network) – USC returns home after road wins at Utah (38-28) and Washington (24-14) the last two weeks. Colorado is 1-5 with its lone win at Washington State (35-34). The Buffaloes have lost back-to-back home games to UCLA and Arizona State by margins of 28 and 34, respectively. Egads. USC 49-14

* Alabama (-20) at Tennessee, 7 p.m. (ESPN) --– Lot of rumors swirling around Tennessee coach Derek Dooley and his status as the Vols chase their first SEC win. Alabama has the nation’s No. 1 defense and the Tide just seems on cruise control at this point. Alabama has won five straight in this series by an average of almost 22 points a game, including 37-6 last year in Tuscaloosa. Alabama 38-20

* Kansas State at West Virginia (-2 ½), 7 p.m. (FOX) – WVU can’t spend any time crying in its beer after last week’s loss at Texas Tech with unbeaten Kansas State coming to town. My guess is QB Geno Smith and the Mountaineers get back in gear, although the WVU defense must come up with something for K-State QB Collin Klein. This one probably goes down to the wire. West Virginia 44-37

* Kansas at Oklahoma (-35), 7 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) – Oklahoma seems to be coming together for the stretch run. At Kansas, Charlie Weis needs to decide between QBs Dayne Crist and Michael Cummings. Oklahoma 51-10

* Cincinnati (-5 ½) at Toledo, 7 p.m. (ESPN3.com) – This is UC’s last nonconference game before the Bearcats dive back into Big East play. UC has won eight straight dating to last season. This is UC’s first trip to Toledo since 1993, although the teams last met in the 2001 Motor City Bowl (Toledo won 23-16). After an opening loss at Arizona in overtime (24-17), Toledo has won six straight for first-year coach Matt Campbell. Should be a nice match-up at QB between UC’s Munchie Legaux and UT’s Terrance Owens. Cincinnati 38-27

* Middle Tennessee at Mississippi State (-18 ½), 7 p.m. (ESPN2) – The Bulldogs can get to 7-0 with a win, but MTSU could be a tougher than expected out. The Blue Raiders beat Georgia Tech 49-28 earlier. MSU’s schedule sends them to Alabama next week, hosting Texas A&M and then a road trip to LSU. Mississippi State 31-17

* Florida State (-21) at Miami (Fla.), 8 p.m. (ABC regional) – This used to be one of the great rivalry games every year. Now it’s buried in Week 8. This could be a preview of the ACC title game. Miami leads the all-time series 31-25, but FSU has won five of the last seven meetings (including 23-19 last year in Tallahassee). After a 4-1 start, Miami has lost to Notre Dame (41-3) and North Carolina (18-14) the last two weeks. Florida State 44-27

* Baylor at Texas (-8 ½), 8 p.m. (ABC regional) – Texas needs a win to resurrect its season after losses to West Virginia (48-45) and Oklahoma (63-21). The UT defense is 96th nationally, allowing 32.6 ppg. Baylor has lost two in a row to WVU (70-63) and TCU (49-21). Texas 55-45

* Penn State at Iowa (-2 ½), 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – Penn State had won four in a row before a bye week last week. Iowa comes in off its huge win at Michigan State. Iowa leads the all-time series 12-9, including wins in nine of the last 12 meetings. PSU won 13-3 last year in State College. RB Mark Weisman is doubtful for Iowa. I’m not sure they can win without him. QB Matt McGloin is really coming on for the Nittany Lions. Penn State 26-23

* Utah at Oregon State (-10), 10:30 p.m. (ESPPN2) – Oregon State is 5-0 and ranked No. 8 nationally. Utah has lost three straight this year, but has won five of the last seven against Oregon State. Oregon State 31-17

And in case you missed it, our Big Ten Blast with notes on each team:

Big Ten Blast: The Battle For Michigan

Quickie Bowl Projections

We will try and update these each week. Here goes absolutely nothing:

* BCS National Title Game (at Miami) – Alabama vs. Oregon

* Rose Bowl – USC vs. Michigan

* Orange Bowl – Florida State vs. Louisville

* Fiesta Bowl – West Virginia vs. Notre Dame

* Sugar Bowl – Florida vs. Kansas State

* Capital One Bowl – South Carolina vs. Nebraska

* Outback Bowl – Georgia vs. Wisconsin

* Cotton Bowl – LSU vs. Oklahoma

Enjoy this big weekend of college football and best of luck to your team!

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