As we get ready for Week 8 of the college football season, our in-house expert Shea Freeman gives his picks and predictions for this week’s matchups. Will the top teams cruise to victory this weekend? Is there another top 25 team on upset alert? Who does Shea have as his Lock of the Week and which of these games will be his game of the week? Find out below and don’t forget to subscribe now for Brag House launch details so you can be on the right side of the week!
Shea’s Week 8 Picks
#4 Ohio State (6-0) @ Northwestern (1-4) - Friday, 8:30 ET (FS1)
A well rested Buckeyes defense should feast on a 1-4 Northwestern team that is currently scoring only 14 points a contest. The Wildcat’s defense isn’t bad either — they held Wisconsin to only 24 points in a loss — but they haven’t played a quarterback as good as Justin Fields. Buckeyes win big in prime time.
Pick: Ohio State (-28.5)
#3 Clemson (6-0) @ Louisville (4-2) - Noon ET (ABC)
The Cardinals are coming off a win where they dropped 62 on Wake Forest, however they gave up 59 in the process. Clemson’s defense is miles better than what they faced last week, and with a rejuvenated Tigers offense coming off a 45-14 win against FSU, Louisville will have a hard time matching them score for score.
Pick: Clemson (-24.5)
West Virginia (3-3) @ #5 Oklahoma (6-0) - Noon ET (FOX)
Everything clicked last week against Texas for the Sooners (even though they had some missed opportunities in the redzone) and this week’s matchup pits them against a 3-3 Moutaineers squad that gives up more points on average than it scores (30.3 to 24.2). Jalen Hurts will continue on his Heisman run and the Sooners will cruise at home.
Pick: Oklahoma (-33.5)
#6 Wisconsin (6-0) @ Illinois (2-4) - Noon ET
The Badgers 38-0 win last week against Michigan State was their third shutout of the year. They are currently allowing less than 5 points a game on defense and running all over opponents behind Heisman hopeful RB Jonathon Taylor and his 14 TDs on the ground. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Illini became the fourth team on that list.
Pick: Wisconsin (-31)
#9 Florida (6-1) @ South Carolina (3-3), Noon ET
The Gamecocks had the biggest win of the year last week on road against then #3 Georgia. Their defense has stepped up recently and will now welcome a Gators squad that is starting to find their rhythm on offense. Florida’s defense can make plays too, and I expect them to bounce back after giving up 42 last week at LSU.
Pick: Florida (-6)
#11 Auburn (5-1) @ Arkansas (2-4) - Noon ET
Aside from their 24-13 loss at Florida a couple weeks ago, the Tigers offense has been relatively steady and they should have figured out their problems during the bye week for an easier opponent. The Razorbacks tend to keep it close, though. — their last 3 games were decided by a touchdown or less, but they were all losses.
Pick: Auburn (-19)
Purdue (2-4) @ #23 Iowa (4-2) - Noon ET
After two hard fought games against top 15 opponents, the Hawkeyes — and their offense — look to get back on track at home against an underperforming Purdue team that is allowing 450 yards a game on defense. Look for Iowa to shut down the Boilermakers offense and stop the losing streak.
Pick: Iowa (-18)
#2 LSU (6-0) @ Mississippi State (3-3) - 3:30 ET
LSU blew the doors off a pretty good Gators team and are now headed on the road to face a Bulldogs team that is allowing 27 points per game. The Tigers have some concerns on defense, but they should not be concerned with losing this game as long as QB Joe Burrow continues to complete 80% of his passes and lead the charge.
Pick: LSU (-19.5)
#12 Oregon (5-1) @ #25 Washington (5-2) - 3:30 ET
We have a fun quarterback duel out west as Oregon QB Justin Herbert and Washington QB Jacob Eason lead their teams into battle this weekend in Seattle, but the Huskies will surely be tested against an Oregon defense that is allowing only 5 points per game in their last five games. The Ducks defense should be able to keep Eason off the field and allow Herbert to manage the flow of the game.
Pick: Oregon (-3)
Temple (5-1) @ SMU (6-0) - 3:30 ET
The Mustangs have been dropping a lot of points this season (44 on nearly 500 yards per game) but they had to fight for all of them in their last game, a 43-37 win in 3OT against a sub par Tulsa team. The Owls have a sneaky good defense and have been slightly underrated all year They could keep this one close, and SMU will need to fire on all cylinders to come away victorious.
Pick: SMU (-7.5)
#20 Minnesota (6-0) @ Rutgers (1-5) - 3:30 ET
It’s been a pretty good year so far for Golden Gopher fans. Their squad is off to its best start since 2003 and it only looks to get better this Saturday against a very bad Rutgers team. How bad are they, you ask? The Scarlett Knights have put up only 23 points in five games, and in three of those games they were shut out. Minnesota will cruise to a 7-0 finish just in time for dinner.
Pick: Minnesota (-28.5)
Tulsa (2-4) @ #21 Cincinnati (5-1) - 3:30 ET
Cincinnati coming off a hard fought game at Houston, where QB Desmond Ridder and the defense came up clutch in the 4th quarter to seal the game 38-23. Look for another balanced attack out of the Bearcats as they host a Tulsa team that struggles on offense and gives up nearly 400 yards of offense.
Pick: Cincinnati (-17)
UL-Monroe (3-3) @ #24 Appalachian State (5-0) - 3:30 ET
The Mountaineers offense is off to a hot start this season (41 points per game on 421 yards/game) but they played arguably their best game on defense last week in a 17-7 win against UL-Lafayette. It was the first time in three games where they held a team to under 30 points, and they will need to have a similar performance this weekend against the Warhawks if they want to keep their perfect season alive.
Pick: Appalachian State (-14.5)
#18 Baylor (6-0) @ Oklahoma State (4-2) - 4:00 ET
Baylor squeaked out a 33-30 win in 2OT last weekend at home vs Texas Tech despite QB Charlie Brewer throwing for three interceptions on the day. The Bears defense allowed 160 yards rushing — 153 and two TDs to RB Sarodorick Thompson alone — and they will face an even bigger test trying to stop one of the best runners in the nation, Cowboys RB Chuba Hubbard (1,100 yards/13 TDs). This one has the makings of an upset.
Pick: Oklahoma State (-3.5)
#22 Missouri (5-1) @ Vanderbilt (1-5) - 4:00 ET
Missouri is hot off a five game winning streak after dropping their first game of the season and they look to keep that going this Saturday against Vanderbilt. The Commodores have some good players on offense, however they only average 18 points a game. The Tigers should be able to keep their streak alive in relatively easy fashion behind a well balanced attack on both sides of the ball.
Pick: Missouri (-21.5)
Kentucky (3-3) @ #10 Georgia (5-1) - 6:00 ET
The Bulldogs should be very pissed off heading into this game against Kentucky. They were embarrassed on their home turf and their offense couldn’t muster up more than 17 points against a South Carolina team that didn’t look all that good coming into the game. The Wildcats should be nervous as they prepare to take on a team that has a lot to prove this weekend, especially if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Pick: Georgia (-25)
#17 Arizona State (5-1) @ #13 Utah (5-1) - 6:00 ET
In what is probably going to be the most fun game of the day, Utah plays host to an Arizona State team that has faced some tough tests all season and came out fairly well against the adversity. There are a lot of Pac-12 Championship implications in this game, and while Utah might be the better team on paper, I have a feeling this one is going to be pretty close. Don’t count out the Sun Devils.
Pick: Arizona State (+13.5)
Kansas (2-4) @ #15 Texas (5-1) - 7:00 ET
The Jayhawks have had a long and storied history in college basketball, however this is football and when it comes to this sport they’re practically the opposite. When Kansas shows up on your schedule, you may as well pencil it in as a win. Coming off a loss to rival Oklahoma last Saturday, expect the Longhorns to come out with a vengeance against their (basketball) rivals.
Pick: Texas (-21.5)
#16 Michigan (5-1) @ #7 Penn State (6-0)
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is fighting to keep his job, despite the fact that his team is 5-1 and still in the hunt for the Big 10 (technically). The problem is his team sometimes doesn’t show up in big games, like when Wisconsin thrashed them 35-14 this year. Penn State doesn’t have a world beating offense, but they have a stout defense that should cause problems for a struggling Wolverine’s offense.
Pick: Penn State (-6.5)
Tennessee (2-4) @ #1 Alabama (6-0) - 9:00 PM
I’m not sure why this is a prime time game. I guess people like to see other people get beat up, because that is what’s on tap for the Volunteers as they travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Nick Saban and the top ranked Crimson Tide. Alabama is likely focused on their upcoming matchup against LSU (Nov. 9th) so this game should feel like practice for them. Also, Nick Saban doesn’t lose to his former assistants. This one is a no brainer.
Pick: Alabama (-34.5)
#14 Boise State (6-0) @ BYU (2-4)
The Broncos lost their starting QB Hank Bachmeier in their win over Hawaii on Saturday but still managed to put up 59 points thanks to back up Chase Cord’s 3 TDs. BYU is capable of efficient offensive performances, and they face a Broncos D that gave up their most points in all year (37) last week, but Boise State should be able to put points on the board and come away with a convincing win.
Pick: Boise State (-6.5)
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Dec 8, 2019; Grapevine, TX, USA; College football playoff selection committee chairman Rob Mullens speaks to the media during selection Sunday at the Gaylord Texan hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports