College Football Week 8: Seminoles/Tigers Head Tough Top 25 Slate of Games
After seven weeks, the action in college football has been hard on those teams that are in the upper echelon of the sport. That isn’t going to stop this weekend as there are four games matching up Top 25 teams, headed by the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) battle between two Top Five teams (home teams are in CAPS, lines from the Mirage in Las Vegas and the choice for the game is in BOLD).
#5 Florida State vs. #3 CLEMSON (+3.5)
The battle for supremacy in the ACC is the highlight of the weekend college football schedule and, with an 8PM start, both sides should be well amped for the showdown. After coming off of their pasting of then-#25 Maryland last weekend (to the tune of 63-0), Florida State appears to be the favorites of the oddsmakers but Clemson has the advantage of having the Seminoles come into Death Valley.
The game will turn on which quarterback, Clemson’s Tahj Boyd or FSU’s redshirt freshman sensation Jameis Winston, can impose their offensive will in the game. Although both teams are ranked in the Top Ten in scoring defense, I believe that Clemson (ranked #9) will keep this game close enough to eke out a spread win against FSU (ranked #3), but picking an outright winner is going to be tough. The O/U of 64 is a tough selection as well but, with the strength of the defenses, will take the under.
#24 Auburn vs. #7 TEXAS A&M (-13.5)
Things have quieted down in College Station for Aggies’ QB Johnny Manziel, allowing him to concentrate on football and nothing else (hey, he takes his classes online, not too tough in this day and age). Although they had that loss to Alabama earlier this year, A&M has been able to roll over pretty much everyone else. Manziel, leading the sixth ranked passing offense in Division I football, should have another excellent outing against the Tigers, who are not quite ready for prime time yet. Take A&M and give up the points, but go under the 72 point line.
#9 UCLA (+5) vs. #13 STANFORD
UCLA, one of two undefeated teams overall in the PAC-12, will face that other team – Oregon – in a tilt next weekend. A victory over the Cardinal would probably set up another Top Five matchup for next weekend, but it is difficult to go to Palo Alto and take a win. Stanford, after beating then-#15 Washington two weeks ago, stumbled last weekend against Oregon State.
How the bookmakers put Stanford as the favorite in this game is unknown. The have a middling offense (89th in passing, 42nd in rushing) and aren’t exactly stopping the opposition on the defensive side of the ball. UCLA will be a formidable test, with its Top 25 passing and rushing game and thirst to move onto the Oregon game with a statement win. Take UCLA and the points and the over on 53.5.
#22 Florida vs. #14 MISSOURI (+3)
Missouri stunned the college football world last weekend by marching into Athens and crushing then-#7 Georgia, 41-26. To that point, they hadn’t faced anyone noteworthy, but they’ve put themselves on the map with the Georgia win and their 6-0 start. Florida has been racked by injuries, most notably to starting QB Jeff Driskel (out for the season) and backup QB Tyler Murphy will play through a shoulder injury today. With all of this said, taking the Tigers and the points is a no brainer and look for the O/U of 44 to get cracked.
UPSET SPECIAL: Mississippi over #6 LSU
Favored by 10 points, LSU heads into Oxford with a head of steam and hopes of getting in the National Championship hunt. Ole Miss, while only 3-3 overall, will knock them from that perch this weekend revved up by the home crowd. The O/U of 60.5 leads me to want to take the under as this will be a defensive battle rather than an offensive display.
Last Week: Let’s just say that I was on vacation last week. Going 0-5 on picks against the spread, 2-2-1 on the O/U and missing the Upset Special, I’ve dug a pretty deep hole this far into the season. It’s going to take a minor miracle (nothing worth canonizing for) to dig myself out.
Season: 6-16-3 ATS, 7-16-2 O/U, 0-5 Upsets
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