Week 8 is packed with stellar matchups throughout the country. In the SEC, Bama travels to Knoxvegas to take on a resurgent Tennessee football team fresh off an upset of the Auburn Tigers. Tua’s knee has been the talk around the state this week. He is probable Saturday, but his effectiveness against the Vols is unclear at this point. He’s a warrior, so he’ll give it everything he’s got. The good news for Crimson Tide fans is that if Tua is struggling due to his knee, Jalen Hurts looks more than capable of filling in and helping the Tide remain perfect and preserve their number 1 status and playoff prospects. The defense looked really solid last week so that will help the Tide against a hungry Vols team. Will be riveting at 2:30 PM CT Saturday on CBS.
The Auburn Tigers travel to an explosive Ole Miss team for an 11 AM kickoff Saturday on ESPN. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and his receivers led by A.J. Brown and tight end Dawson Knox are playing at a very high level after mounting a 96 yard drive in the last 2 minutes to defeat Arkansas on the road last Saturday, 37-33 . They did lose standout wide receiver D. K. Metcalf for the season. with an injury in the Arkansas game, but they’re still highly potent offensively. Auburn needs something good to happen after what has been a disastrous last 2 games. The Tigers’ offense can’t find any answers as the line can’t block, Jarrett Stidham has been inaccurate and there is no running game which got worse last Saturday when Boobie Whitlow was injured. Whitlow is questionable Saturday. Auburn may be angry this week and play well, but the Tigers HAVE to get it together for Gus Malzahn’s job security and if they want to salvage even going to a bowl this season.
LSU is on fire after dismantling Georgia at home last week, 36-16. Kirby Smart had no answers for Joe and O and that stellar Bengal Tiger defense under superb coordinator Dave Aranda. Smart didn’t really try to use 5 star freshman quarterback Justin Fields and that was a mistake in my opinion. He had nothing to lose with the way the game was going and Fields is a stud who is a true dual threat quarterback. He has a rocket for an arm and can run like a gazelle. So I was surprised when Smart and offensive coordinator Jim Cheney didn’t give Fields a shot. Jake Fromm was clueless. But you have to give a lot of credit to LSU. They played a phenomenal game. The Tigers host Mississippi State this week and need to be on alert for a trap game before a bye week and the Crimson Tide on November 3rd in Death Valley.
Some pretty interesting national matchups as well as Michigan travels to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. The Wolverines are coming off an impressive 38-13 blasting of Wisconsin at the BIg House, but they face a Spartans team that is fresh off an upset of Penn State in Happy Valley, 21-17. Michigan State defeated Michigan, 14-10, at the BIg House last year. Mark Dantonio gets it done in the big games. So the Wolverines will be tested on the road.
Another intriguing matchup features No.12 Oregon, coming off a 30-27 overtime victory over then No.7 Washington, invading Pullman to face No.25 Washington State which is chomping at the bit to pull off the upset. Mike Leach is good at that.
Plenty of other solid matchups throughout the country are on the schedule this week. Here’s a look at this week’s slate.
Last week: 17-8
Overall: 128-41, 76%
No. Alabama (7-0, 4-0) @ Tennessee (3-3, 1-2)
Neyland Stadium, 102,455
2:30 PM CT
Brad, Gary, Jamie
Bama by 29
This game looked like a cakewalk a couple of weeks ago, but not as much now. The Crimson Tide has been pretty stellar all season, but with Tua’s sprained knee a concern and with a rejuvenated Vols team after last week’s victory at Auburn, this could be a little more interesting than once thought. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano and his receivers, led byJauan Jennings, played outstandingly well against Auburn. The Crimson Tide may rely on their ground game and their defense this week to earn a victory. I see the Tide doing that, but in a tougher game than it seemed a couple of weeks ago.
Alabama 35, Tennessee 17
Auburn (4-3, 1-3) @ Ole Miss (5-2, 1-2)
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, 64, 038
11 AM CT
Adam Amin, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich
Auburn by 3 1/2
Spike had a great call in predicting Tennessee to upset Auburn last Saturday. The disaster continues for the Tigers.
Ole Miss 35, Auburn 34
Mississippi State (4-2, 1-2) @ LSU (6-1, 3-1)
6 PM CT
Dave, Gregory, Tom
LSU by 6 1/2
The Bengal Tigers were impressive last Saturday in their demolition of Georgia. State can’t seem to mount a passing game. Nick Fitzgerald is pretty one dimensional. LSU needs to be careful of avoiding a letdown but I like them to play well again this Saturday.
LSU 34, Mississippi State 14
Vanderbilt (3-4, 0-3) @ Kentucky (5-1, 3-1)
Kroger Field, Lexington
6:30 PM CT
Tom, JRodg, Cole
KY by 11 1/2
The Commodores took a 21-3 lead over Florida last Saturday but couldn’t hold the lead. Losing running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the second quarter really hurt them. It’s a tough assignment in Lexington for Vanderbilt. But I like them to play the Cats tough, but there will be too much Benny Snell in crunch time.
Kentucky 35, Vanderbilt 28
Memphis (4-3) @ Missouri (3-3)
Memorial Stadium, Faurot Field, Columbia, MO.
3 PM CT
Mike Morgan, D.J. Shockley, Dawn Davenport
Mizzou by 9 1/2
I’m looking at a high scoring contest here. Drew Lock, after being stymied by the Alabama defense last Saturday, comes back and gets the Missouri offense back to a high octane attack. I do see Memphis scoring a lot of points and making it interesting.
Missouri 45, Memphis 35
Tulsa (1-5) @ Arkansas (1-6)
Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville
11 AM CT
Taylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb, Kris Budden
Arkansas by 7
I like the Hogs to roll here.
Arkansas 45, Tulsa 24
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina A&M
Georgia-Florida next Saturday
No.6 Michigan (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten) @ No.24 Michigan State (4-2, 2-1)
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MICH
11 AM CT
Gus, Joel, Jenny
Michigan by 7
I’m not totally sold on the Wolverines being a playoff team. They’ve got some hurdles to overcome starting this Saturday. Michigan State gives the Wolverines everything they want.
Michigan 24, Michigan State 21
No. 12 Oregon (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) @ No. 25 Washington State (5-1, 2-1)
Martin Stadium Pullman, WASH
6:30 PM CT
Tim Brando, Spencer, Holly Sonders
Washington State by 3
Vegas believes in the Cougars in this one. I agree. Leach pulls off another clutch victory.
Washington State 34, Oregon 30
North Texas (6-1, 2-1 C-USA) @ UAB (6-1, 3-0)
6:30 PM CT
beIN Sports, Channel 715 on Charter
UAB by 1 1/2
This is a huge game for the Blazers and the Mean Green. Both of these teams are excellent. I like the Blazers with their home field advantage to capture the victory in a pretty classic matchup. UAB should a very good crowd. They are leading Conference USA in attendance. These Blazers are impressive. This game will be exciting
UAB 35, North Texas 31
No. 16 NC State (5-0, 2-0 ACC) @ No. 3 Clemson (6-0, 3-0)
Memorial Stadium, Clemson
2:30 PM CT
Sean McDonough, Todd, Holly
Clemson by 17 1/2
I’m a believer in the Clemson Tigers. They have a team like Alabama that can win it all. That could be the national championship matchup. NC State has been impressive this season though their game against West Virginia at home was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma. They’ve not been majorly tested, but Ryan Finley is a quality quarterback. I see them giving the Tigers a game for a good while, but the Tigers surviving.
Clemson 34, NC State 28
No. 2 Ohio State 38, Purdue 35
6:30 PM CT
Chris, Kirk, Maria
I’m not sure I’m buying Ohio State as the No.2 team in the country. That honor belongs to Clemson. I see the Buckeyes getting tested this week. They have playoff aspirations and have the team to get there, but have a Big Ten gauntlet to go through first starting Saturday Night in West Lafayette, IN.
No.8 Oklahoma 37, TCU 31
11 AM CT
Bob Wischusen, Brock, Allison Williams
Oklahoma is another team I see just surviving on the road in Fort Worth.
No. 10 UCF 45, East Carolina 35
6 PM CT
Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman
I see UCF in a tussle here, but McKenzie Milton and the Golden Knights survive and advance. They’re still a somewhat viable playoff team, but they’ll need help.
Utah 35, USC 27
7 PM CT
This is a strong game in the Pac-12. Utah is heating up and they could very well end up being the best team in the Pac-12 and win the Pac-12 Championship. They are 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the Pac-12 South. I like them moving to 5-2 and 4-1.
Temple 28, No. 20 Cincinnati 20
11 AM CT
Amish Shroff, Ahmad Brooks, Roddy Jones
This is an underrated very solid game. Temple is coming off a victory at Navy. I’m not buying Cincinnati just yet.
Duke 34, Virginia 31
11:30 AM CT
ACC Network, Watch ESPN
I like the Blue Devils to just barely get by a pretty solid Cavaliers squad.
No. 19 Iowa 35, Maryland 31
11 AM CT
Mark Jones, Dusty Dvoracek, Molly McGrath
The Hawkeyes are starting to look interesting in the Big Ten West with Wisconsin losing last Saturday at Michigan. But Maryland makes it tough for them.
UCLA 45, Arizona State 14
9:30 PM CT
Roy Philpott, Tom Ramsey, Ed Aschoff
I see the Bruins having a resurgence in the Pac-12 after defeating Cal on the road last Saturday for their first victory. Chip Kelly and his team keep it cookin.