Best NCAA Football Picks for Week 8

Things started off great last week in all but one of my picks. My selection of Louisville to cover the number against Boston College was laughably wrong as the Cardinals defense was torn apart by the Eagles.

In every other game, though, I looked golden through the first quarter. However, while Purdue and TCU went on to cover easily, Oklahoma and Auburn blew the big leads they had amassed. That left me with another losing week.

2017 CFB ATS Record
Week 1 Picks: —
Week 2 Picks: 1-2 ATS
Week 3 Picks: 1-3 ATS
Week 4 Picks: 3-1 ATS
Week 5 Picks: 2-2 ATS
Week 6 Picks: 2-2 ATS
Week 7 Picks: 2-3 ATS

USC +3 at Notre Dame – Everyone is all-in on Notre Dame for some reason, but I’m not buying it. The Fighting Irish have a nice win over a decent Michigan State team on their schedule, but not much else.

While the Trojans have struggled with a lot of their opponents, they have had a much tougher slate of games. Their one loss this season was on the road to a tough Washington State team, but five of their six wins came against squads that will probably make bowl games.

Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush has not had a good season throwing the football. He is averaging under six yards per pass attempt and is completing less than 52 percent of his throws. He is a great runner, though, and the combination of he and Josh Adams in the backfield has been enough to get past almost all of their opponents. That one-dimensional approach won’t work against this USC team, though.

Michigan +9.5 at Penn State – The Wolverines haven’t been that good on offense this season. Even when Wilton Speight was healthy, this team had a hard time moving the ball. However, this is the second-best defense in the country, only behind Alabama. Defensive coordinator Don Brown has done a great job of getting a bunch of young players to buy into his scheme, and they should be able to slow down Penn State’s offense.

The Nittany Lions are one of the biggest mirages in college football. They are 6-0, but James Franklin’s squad hasn’t played a good team yet and should have lost to Iowa. Penn State has a solid quarterback in Trace McSorley and a very good running back in Saquon Barkley. However, neither of those players are going to be able to do much against this Wolverines defense. I’m going to call for Michigan to pull out the outright upset here.

California +3 vs. Arizona – Justin Wilcox was hired to bring defense to Cal and his Golden Bears looked great against Washington State last week. They held the Cougars to a grand total of three points and harassed Luke Falk into making bad decisions all game long.

Arizona has been winning games because of the legs of Khalil Tate. He has been phenomenal these past two weeks against Colorado and UCLA, running for 557 yards and six touchdowns in two shootout wins for the Wildcats. He was a backup coming into the season, but he has completely saved Arizona’s year with his athletic ability.

However, unlike most of the coaches in the Pac-12, Wilcox has a defensive background and prides himself on it. He has two full games of tape to go over and will find a way to limit Tate on the ground, which will mean a win for the Golden Bears.

Tennessee +36 at Alabama – This is just too big of a number for a game that still means a lot to Tennessee. Butch Jones could be fired after this game, so his team will have one more chance to put it all on the line for him, which could result in a surprisingly competitive game. At least for a little bit.

Although the Crimson Tide have won 10 straight in this series, the Vols have come close to knocking off the Tide twice in Tuscaloosa. I’m not calling for that by any stretch, but this is too big of a number all things considered.

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