N2K CFB Pick ‘Em – Week 8

Do you like overtime? Because if you do, you would’ve loved last week’s slate of games. Two playoff favorites, Ohio State and Clemson, really needed the extra time to go get their own respective wins. We’ve got some solid games on tap, including a few serious SEC matchups, some high profile ACC matchups, and playoff implications on the line. After last week, our writers’ predictions looked like this:

Tyler: 17 – 2 (101 – 19)  Gabe: 16 – 3 (115 – 29)  Sean: 13 – 6 (113 – 31)  TJ: 14 – 5 (96 – 35) Will: 14 – 5 (109 – 35)  Mikey: 13 – 6 (108 – 36)  Kevin: 13 – 6 (73 – 25)

Bye: #4 Clemson, #9 Baylor, #18 Tennessee, unranked Notre Dame (thank Christ)

 We got no TJ or Kevin this week. I’ve finished crying though, I’m going to be strong in their absence and I’m ready to go. Let’s get into it.

 

THURSDAY

 

 BYU v. #14 Boise State

Tyler: Boise State almost made an oops last week. Key word? Almost. I don’t expect that to happen again. Broncos by 14.

Gabe: Boise State by 13.
Sean: Could we have an upset to begin the week? BYU has two solid wins over Mississippi State and Michigan State. They’ve also battled both West Virginia and UCLA tough. I don’t think Boise State is as good as #14 in the nation because they still haven’t played anyone. The home field advantage for the Broncos could be the difference in this one. BYU by 4.
Will: Boise State is on a roll that we haven’t seen since Kellen Moore was at QB. With it being the halfway point in the college football season, the Broncos are 6-0. Quite possibly their toughest test of the season is this week against BYU. While BYU hasn’t had an impressive year by any means, they managed to beat Michigan State two weeks ago and Mississippi State last week. Along with Boise State, BYU is currently playing their best football. Should be a close and fun game to watch. Boise State by 6.
Mikey: Boise State has rolled to an undefeated record thanks to a favorable schedule. BYU should not be much of a challenge, so they’ll stay unbeaten. Boise State by 24.

 

FRIDAY

 There are no games involving any ranked teams on Friday.

 SATURDAY

 

#10 Wisconsin v. Iowa

Tyler: Poor Wisconsin – both of their losses are to two of the top three teams in the country. They gave both Michigan and Ohio State tough contests, so I think they’re ready to go on the road to a struggling, underachieving Iowa team. Badgers by 17.

Gabe: Iowa by 3.

Sean: Wisconsin has lost two straight, but to teams who are ranked in the top 5. I’m not too worried about them going into Kinnick Stadium and getting a W. Iowa isn’t a bad team by any stretch, but Wisconsin is just a bit better. This should be a low scoring affair from beginning to end. Badgers by 12.

Will: Wisconsin is going to be out for blood after the overtime loss they suffered to Ohio State. Unfortunately for Iowa, they are in the path of what I’m sure is a frustrated Wisconsin team. Earlier in the season I could’ve imagined this to be a much close game, but not this week. Wisconsin by 14.

Mikey: Iowa isn’t exactly a pushover, but for a Wisconsin team coming off tough back-to-back losses to Michigan and Ohio State, they provide a much needed reprieve. I see no reason for the Badgers not to get back on track this week. Badgers by 10.

NC State v. #7 Louisville

Tyler: Louisville will win for the same reason Clemson won – just straight out an advantage in talent. However, NC State is a well-coached team that obviously isn’t intimidated by anyone, even if they’re in Death Valley. Louisville is coming off a hard fought win against a bad team, so they really need to start winning games big to make an impression on the selection staff. Cards by 14.

Gabe: Louisville by 10.

Sean: NC State almost pulled off a massive upset last weekend, and it was their kicking game that failed them. Lamar Jackson and Louisville weren’t firing on all cylinders last weekend, but still knocked off a tough Duke team. Jackson has a bounce back week here. Louisville by 10.

Will: Louisville came off their bye week with a win against Duke this past week. Lamar Jackson and Louisville didn’t put up their usual 40+ points, making me feel like that Clemson loss may linger in their heads. They won’t play anyone of that caliber for a while, so for now Louisville is going to continue to roll through the ACC.  Louisville by 20.

Mikey: NC State has a damn good football team, and for the first time, Louisville didn’t blow someone out in a victory. Still, Lamar Jackson is a human highlight reel, and thanks to a much more talented team, they should win by double-figures. Louisville by 14.

#22 UNC v. Virginia

Tyler: UNC is such a hard team to get a read on this year. I’ll buy into them this week though, as they’ve got a weak opponent and a far better quarterback in Mitch Trubisky. Tar Heels by 10.

Gabe: UNC by 14.

Sean: UNC got a tough win over The U last weekend. Mitch Trubisky is lighting it up this season, while Virginia’s defense has been gashed all year long. I expect Trubisky to continue his dark horse Heisman candidacy run against the Cavs. Tarheels by 31.

Will: UNC doesn’t play a (currently) ranked opponent the rest of the season. They have all the power to go undefeated the rest of the season, the rest of their opponents are ACC teams, excluding Citadel. Mitch Trubisky is a beast, leading this UNC team to some real grind it out wins. Virginia will not be a tough opponent, but the ACC has proven to be filled with all sorts of surprises this year. UNC by 14.

Mikey: One of two things will happen: 1) UNC blows out an inferior opponent, as they should; or 2) they lose a tight game in which they make consistently stupid mistakes. I’ll bet on the former, but wouldn’t be surprised to see the latter come true. UNC by 35.

Memphis v. #24 Navy

Tyler: No Paxton Lynch? No problem. Memphis still has a top-20 offense this season, despite lots of turnover in their program. However, Navy’s offense isn’t as one-dimensional as it has been in the past. Plus, the Midshipmen are rested, after their game against ECU was postponed. If Navy can dominate time of possession as they typically do, they’ll beat Memphis just like in the Liberty Bowl last year. Navy by 10.

Gabe: Navy by 10.

Sean: This game has major AAC West implications. Both teams are undefeated in conference play. Navy is well rested after their win over Houston, and the question of rust or rest will be a major deciding factor in this matchup. I think Memphis will do just enough to get out of Annapolis with a win. Tigers by 2.

Will: I feel like it’s un-American to choose against Navy or Army in a football game. Considering that I’ve got red, white, and blue running through my veins, Navy comes out with an easy win. Navy by 20.

Mikey: Even after losing their head coach, Memphis still has a very good football program, and enters this game 5-1. I like what Navy is doing, but something tells me that the Tigers will steal this one on the road. Memphis by 3.

Illinois v. #3 Michigan

Tyler: Michigan wins this game because they’re at home and the Lovie Smith-coached Fighting Illini are a bad 2-4 team. Hey, @CoachJim4UM, go get a harder schedule if you want me to buy into your overrated team’s hype. Blue by 22.

Gabe: Michigan by 28.

Sean: Can we just skip to November 26th already? Michigan needs to play Ohio State ASAP. Wolverines by 31.

Will: The Fighting Illini will be gassed by the end of the first quarter. Michigan by 40.

Mikey: That’s cute – you think I’m giving a reason for this one. Michigan by 49. 

Purdue v. #8 Nebraska

Tyler: Purdue just fired Darrell Hazell, who was 9-33 (3-24 in Big 10 play) over three and a half seasons. That’s where Boilermaker football is at right now. ‘Huskers by a large quantity.

Gabe: Nebraska by 10.

Sean: I picked against the ‘Huskers, and they made me pay for it. I still don’t know why I did, because I’m a big Tommy Armstrong fan. Purdue hasn’t been good since the days of Drew Brees. Cornhuskers by 37.

Will: Indiana did their best, but Nebraska proved why they’re undefeated. Purdue will be more of a practice game for their opponents they have ahead. They will soon play Ohio State and Wisconsin, so live it up Nebraska. Either they will be on the fringe of playoff contention, or they will an after thought come bowl season. Nebraska by 24.

Mikey: Better coach, better team, better mascot. Nebraska by 28.

TCU v. #12 West Virginia

Tyler: TCU football is bad. West Virginia football is the opposite of bad. Mountaineers by 25.

Gabe: TCU by 2.

Sean: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; TCU is not good. They almost lost to Kansas last week. West Virginia should walk all over them this week. Mountaineers win by 35.

Will: West Virginia blew Texas Tech out of the water last week. They are another team that appears to be on an unstoppable streak. TCU is a good team with some losses to tough opponents, so they will surely be competitive in this game. I’m taking the undefeated team in this one. West Virginia by 6.

Mikey: TCU doesn’t have an existing secondary; WVU’s isn’t much better, but it should be enough for them to remain undefeated. Mountaineers by 17.

#6 Texas A&M v. #1 Alabama

Tyler: Game of the week. These are two playoff caliber teams, and these are teams with a recent history. I think that home field advantage is huge in this matchup, especially considering the atmosphere each team’s respective fan base brings; it basically sways my decision. If Jalen Hurts can limit his turnovers, the Tide will roll. It’s on Myles Garrett and the rest of that vaunted A&M line to go get Hurts and force him to beat them with his arm, not with his legs. I do not think ‘Bama goes undefeated, but I just can’t picture them losing this one in Tuscaloosa. Tide by 1.

Gabe: Texas A&M by 7.

Sean: This SEC matchup may cause some people to think about this game for a little while, but not me. Nobody is beating ‘Bama this year. Texas A&M likes to spread people out and then power run it with Trayveon Williams. Alabama has the best front four, maybe of all time and only gives up 63 yards per game on the ground. Trevor Knight is turnover and mistake prone, and Jalen Hurts, Damien Harris and the rest of this Alabama offense won’t fail to capitalize on those errors. Have fun in Bryant-Denny Stadium, Aggies. Tide roll by 26.

Will: Having had their bye week, Texas A&M has had two weeks to prepare for this game. If there is a best possible chance for someone to knock off Alabama, it is a well rested Texas A&M. Trevor Knight has plenty of experience playing Alabama and he’s proven himself in big games for A&M. They have an all around great team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I’m taking the upset this week, but I’m sure Alabama will pull this game out someway, somehow. A&M by 3.

Mikey: I thought this was going to be a good game; then I saw the Tide throttle Tennessee on the road by 39 points. I firmly believe A&M is better than the Volunteers (mainly because they beat them two weeks ago), but not enough to beat the best team in the nation. Alabama by 21. 

Eastern Michigan v. #20 Western Michigan

Tyler: So much MACtion in the great state of Michigan. Both have winning records (EMU is 5-2, WMU is 7-0). When in doubt, pick the home team. Western Michigan by 3.

Gabe: WMU by 1.

Sean: The best in-state Michigan rivalry features the Eagles and the Broncos. Zach Terrell, Jarvion Franklin and Corey Davis headline and explosive WMU offense that puts up almost 500 yards a game. Western Michigan by 19.

Will: Western Michigan’s running back Jarvion Franklin set the team single-game rushing record last week with 281 yards. Easy pick for me here. Western Michigan by 14.

Mikey: I really hate picking these MAC teams about whom I know nothing, so I’ll take the undefeated team. WMU by 31. 

#19 Utah v. UCLA

Tyler: Utah has given up 9 passing touchdowns all year long, and they’re playing against a sophomore quarterback in Josh Rosen whose confidence is shot. All things spell happiness for Utah, but I just have a hunch… screw it. Bruins by 3.

Gabe: Utah by 10.

Sean: Utah, man. I just don’t know. UCLA has fallen flat on their faces this year. Josh Rosen hasn’t progressed as expected, and the same can be said for Soso Jamabo, Utes by 13 I guess.

Will: As shaky as Utah’s past couple games have been, UCLA hasn’t been any better. They have home field advantage, but they are on a two game losing streak. What it comes down to is defense and Utah has shown to have a stronger defense than UCLA. I’m going with the Utes in this one. Utah by 10.

Mikey: Somehow, with Josh Rosen at QB, UCLA has sucked this year. Utah has a stout D, so they aren’t getting back to .500 this week. Utah by 27. 

#17 Arkansas v. #21 Auburn

Tyler: I went back and forth on this one, because it’s well-documented that I support Arkansas football, while despising Auburn. I expect a low scoring ordeal in this one – Auburn’s defense is a top-15 unit in the country, their offensive statistics are ballooned by blowout wins against Mississippi State, Louisiana-Monroe, and Arkansas State. I trust Arkansas, a team that is road-tested, in this SEC matchup. Razorbacks by 7.

Gabe: Auburn by 4.

Sean: Since when did Auburn become ranked? They’ve won three straight, including a win over LSU. I’m interested to see how Carl Lawson plays against a physical power running team like the Razorbacks. Lawson is a great pass rusher, but I want to see how he sticks up against the run. Razorbacks by 3.

Will: Arkansas truly proved me wrong by beating Ole Miss. I’ll give them the credit they deserve, yet this still doesn’t give me confidence in them going forward. While Arkansas’ defense came in clutch against Ole Miss, Auburn’s defense is the real deal. They’ve held opponents to an average of 16 points per game, which is going to hurt the high scoring Razorbacks. Auburn is a legit team and they are looking to get back into the mix. Auburn by 10.

Mikey: In a battle of two evenly-matched SEC foes, I’ll give the home team a slight edge. Auburn by 10. 

Oregon State v. #5 Washington

Tyler: Washington has played flawless football thus far. They also haven’t played anyone. In case you’re curious, Oregon State doesn’t qualify as “someone”. Huskies by 27.

Gabe: Washington by 31.

Sean: Washington can coast to the Pac-12 Championship Game, Jake Browning is a stud quarterback. Huskies by 48.

Will: Washington is going to blow the entire state of Oregon out of the water. Washington by 50.

Mikey: See Illinois vs. UM. Washington by 45. 

#11 Houston v. SMU

Tyler: Houston, despite only having one loss, has played in a lot of close games after their electric performances over the first two weeks. SMU’s program is really bad at this point, so I think the Cougars have a chance to right the ship before fighting on for the rest of the season. Cougars by 17.

Gabe: Houston by 14.

Sean: SMU can’t stop a nosebleed, so they certainly won’t be able to stop Greg Ward. The Cougars average 505 yards a game while the Mustangs give up 454. All signs point to a blowout. Cougars by 38.

Will: Bad look for Houston almost losing to Tulsa. Can’t happen again when they play SMU this week. Houston by 20.

Mikey: Houston has come back to earth a little bit, but SMU is atrocious at football. Blowout in the state of Texas. Houston by 32. 

#2 Ohio State v. Penn State

Tyler: Ohio State didn’t play too well over all last week, but it was against a top-10 team in the country. While Happy Valley isn’t an easy place to play, I’m confident the Buckeyes can handle the Nittany Lions’ 82nd ranked offense and 52nd ranked defense. Buckeyes by 24.

Gabe: Buckeyes by 14.

Sean: The gap between Ohio State and third best team in the country grows with every week. OSU beat a tough football team in Wisconsin last week, coming out on top in overtime. The only other team near OSU’s level that Penn State has played was Michigan, who beat them by 39. OSU tops that this week. Buckeyes by 40.

Will: I wanted to make a Joe Paterno joke, but I’d rather just keep it to myself and not tell anyone about it. Ohio State by 30.

Mikey: I won’t doubt the Buckeyes this week like I did last week. They are incredibly talented and can take care of PSU on the road with ease. Ohio State by 21.

#16 Oklahoma v. Texas Tech

Tyler: Baker Mayfield has underperformed compared to the sky-high expectations everyone had for him this year, but he’s still a top-5 quarterback in the country. He’s going to pick apart the Red Raiders defense, which ranks 117th (!) in the country. I think Texas Tech will be able to hang 20-30 points because they’re at home, but that’s nothing compared to what the red and white will do. Sooners by 38.

Gabe: Texas Tech by 10.

Sean: Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners are absolutely rolling right now. While I don’t think they can make it to the CFP, they’re on their way to a New Years Six bowl game. Texas Tech believes defense is optional, which is a big mistake against a team as explosive as Oklahoma. Sooners by 28.

Will: Oklahoma has an easy slate ahead, which is very good for them because they wrap up the season with Baylor and West Virginia. I could easily see them cracking the top 10 by the time they play Baylor, making that an extremely anticipated game. Oklahoma shouldn’t be stopped by Texas Tech. Oklahoma by 24.

Mikey: Two high-powered Big XII offenses will go at it, but this will be all Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook right from the get-go. Sooners by 34. 

#23 Ole Miss v. #25 LSU

Tyler: LSU seems like they’ve cleaned themselves up. But they also don’t have a quarterback. I’m not sure they deserve to be ranked over teams like The U or Oklahoma State. I think Ole Miss is the better team. Rebels by 10.

Gabe: Ole Miss by 3.

Sean: Ed Orgeron has re-energized this LSU team and has them back in the top 25 despite being without Leonard Fournette. Derrius Guice has filled in more than admirably with 564 yards on just 62 carries. Ole Miss is somehow still ranked despite being 3-3, and Chad Kelly (swag) is coming off what could be his worst collegiate game last week against Arkansas. I like LSU at home by 10.

Will: I refuse to go against Coach O at this point. The LSU defense has been strong this season, and the offense appears to be coming along. The loss to Arkansas is going to be a killer for Ole Miss, they now have three on the season. LSU is back with Coach O at the helm, and with home field advantage, they may be back in the conversation after this game. LSU by 10.

Mikey: This should be a very intriguing game. Ole Miss has had a tough schedule all year, but LSU has been overrated for the majority of the season. I’ll give the edge to the team with a legit QB. Ole Miss by 7. 

BONUS – UMass v. South Carolina

Tyler: Does UMass want to join the SEC? Gamecocks by 17.

Gabe: South Carolina by 3.

Sean: South Carolina is bad for SEC standards, but they’re still better than the Minutemen. Gamecocks by 23.

Will: I guess there is always next year. South Carolina by 50.

Mikey: : SEC >… whatever conference UMass is in. Gamecocks by 14. 

BONUS – Syracuse v. Boston College

Tyler: Yo, Patrick Towles, you might want to have a good season before you dedicate it to Harambe, boss man. Orange by 22.

Gabe: Syracuse by 3.

Sean: Last week, Syracuse upset Virginia Tech, while BC got blown out by Clemson. The Eagles are still looking for their first conference win, but even at home, I think the Orange win this game. Syracuse by 14.

Will: No chance BC wins this after Syracuse blew out Virginia Tech. Syracuse by 14.

Mikey: Two very outstandingly…… bad ACC football teams. At any rate, Syracuse has shown more than the Eagles this year, so I’ll take them on the road. Orange by 7.

 

Cover photo from Bleacher Report

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