The bright spot of last week was going 4-1 in the B1G predictions. I even correctly predicted that Ohio State would score 52 points but had no reason to believe that Indiana would end up scoring 49 on the Buckeyes defense. Silver bullets? More like rubber bullets right now. You wouldn't believe the amount of pizza I have ordered this week trying to get some analysis on the defense from the pizza guys/gals around Columbus.
The national games proved to be a little tougher to navigate. Vegas proved that once again they are really, really, really good at what they do as they got me to bite on the sucker bet of the year in West Virginia, Close ATS losses by Notre Dame and LSU helped to compound the sting of the 'Neers loss, It was looking like Texas A&M was going to blow out Louisiana Tech early but then decided to run the Buckeye defense, narrowly escaping Shreveport with a 2 point win.
Onto your week 8 national and B1G game previews brought to you by binders:
National Games (All games Saturday unless noted)
#2 Oregon (-8) vs. Arizona State - Thursday 9:00 EST - ESPN
In this matchup we have the creature that is the Thursday night ESPN home dog. So far this year home underdogs are 3-0 on the WWL. This is Oregon's first real road game of the season (The Ducks played Wazzu in Seattle a few weeks ago) and Sun Devil Stadium will be rockin'. Oregon's offense is unbelievable but the Sun Devil defense has been very solid. Both teams haven't really played much of a schedule this year so give me TD+ in a matchup that we could see again in December in the Pac-12 championship game.
Oregon 38 Arizona State 34
#6 LSU (-3.5) vs. #20 Texas A&M - 12:00 EST - ESPN
This week's Tigers/Aggies tilt reminds me a lot of the Florida/aTm game back in week 2 of the season. Florida squeaked out a close win in College Station but that was the Aggies first game of the season. Since that game the Aggies offense has really started clicking behind Johnny Football. Sure the Aggie D was very bad in the 2nd half last week, but LSU hasn't shown they have the type of offensive firepower this year to run away from the Aggies. I think this will be a close one but feel that Kevin Sumlin and company won't let this one slip through their fingers in College Station like the Florida game did.
Texas A&M 31 LSU 28
#9 South Carolina vs. #3 Florida (-3.5) - 3:30 EST - CBS
In another matchup of ranked SEC teams the Gamecocks head to Gainesville in hopes of securing their first 3 game win streak against the Gators. The uncertainty of the avaliability of Marcus Lattimore in this game makes predicating this game a little harder. I have a feeling that he will play which gives me a lean to Sakerlina in this matchup. Both teams are in the top 25 in rushing and passing defense but I like that South Carolina can pass the ball better than Florida. You know the OBC wants to go into his old stomping grounds and throw another twist into the SEC East race. Give me the points in a close game.
South Carolina 24 Florida 21
#4 Kansas State vs. #17 West Virginia (-2.5) - 7:00 EST - Fox
Texas Tech provided the blueprint on teams trying to figure out how to stop the high powered West Virginia offense. Kansas State has already ventured into a hostile environment this season as they went into Norman and snagged a victory. Last week Vegas was begging everyone to take West Virginia with that short line against Texas Tech, it seems like this week they want people to load up on Kansas State. Even with that swiss cheese West Virginia D I keep seeing them winning this game at home.
West Virginia 41 Kansas State 35
Utah vs. #8 Oregon State (-10.5) - 10:30 EST - ESPN2
I had a hard time finding a 5th national game to preview so I figured I would go with the late night degenerate west coast game. In a game where backup QBs have been forced into action, Oregon State didn't look to miss a beat last week with Cody Vaz at the helm against BYU. Utah can't do much of anything on offense this year and I see a trip to In-N-Out for the Beavers after this week's game.
Oregon State 28 Utah 13
Purdue vs. #7 Ohio State (-18.5) - 12:00 EST - ABC/ESPN2
If there was ever a week for the Ohio State defense to get well and try and gain some confidence, this is the week. Purdue has only scored 13 and 14 points the last 2 weeks against Michigan and Wisconsin, getting outrushed by 240 yards+ during those 2 games at Ross-Ade. Braxton Miller only needs 88 yards to become the 1st Ohio State QB to rush for 1,000 yards. After Denard's rushing performance 2 weeks ago I don't see this being a problem. Ohio State tightens up the D and scores a little revenge for last year's loss in West Lafayette.
Ohio State 42 Purdue 20
Minnesota vs. Wisconsin (-17.5) - 12:00 EST - ESPNU
Jerry Kill will be on the sidelines this week after being taken to the hospital following last Saturday's loss to Northwestern. The Golden Gophers will not have the services of MarQueis Gray though as they travel to Madison. The Wisconsin offense has been improving each week under Joel Stave and I see another big game for them. Montee Ball needs 7 TDs to become the NCAA's all-time leader and I see him putting a dent into those numbers this week.
Wisconsin 44 Minnesota 17
Nebraska (-6.5) vs. Northwestern - 3:30 EST - ABC/ESPN2
The Cornhuskers haven't played since their defense got shredded in Columbus and even with the bye week things don't get any easier for them as they head to Evanston. Northwestern is averaging 228 rushing yards a game while Nebraska is allowing almost 190 yards a game on the ground. Rex Burkhead will be back for the Huskers and I think that will be enough lead them to a close victory in Evanston.
Nebraska 33 Northwestern 30
Michigan State vs. #23 Michigan (-10) - 3:30 EST - Big Ten Network
Michigan's last win against Sparty came back in 2007 when Mike Hart stuck his foot in his mouth (that never happened before) and called Michigan State "little brother". This looks to be Michigan's best shot in quite some time as Sparty's offense has experienced growing pains after Kirk Cousins graduated. Last week Sparty got caught looking ahead to Michigan and dropped a double OT game in Iowa City. On defense Sparty has the tools to stop Denard as they are allowing under 100 YPG against the run. I think 10 points in a rivalry game like this is too much. Michigan should win the game but it won't be easy.
Michigan 31 Michigan State 24
Indiana vs. Navy (-2.5) - 3:30 EST - CBS Sports Network
I don't have a great feel for this game as both teams are horrible against the run. Navy's triple option attack should be able to run all over Indiana's defense. I think that Indiana will hang around but their inability to stop the run will doom them late.
Navy 38 Indiana 31
Penn State vs. Iowa (-3) - 8:00 EST - Big Ten Network
Last week's double OT win in East Lansing gave Kirk Ferentz his 100th victory at Iowa. I'm guessing that alone should earn Ferentz another undeserved B1G COY award. Opposing him this week is Bill O'Brien, who has turned things around in Happy Valley after a 0-2 start to the season. Of course AIRBHG struck against last week and Mark Weisman is questionable for the night game in Iowa City. I don't see either team getting to 20 points in what should be a defensive struggle. I'll take the points in what'll be called a "Ugly Big Ten game" but would it have been a SEC game would be called a "defensive chess match".
Penn State 14 Iowa 13