College football provided fans with many thrilling finishes last weekend and we should expect more of the same in Week 8 thanks to a full slate of matchups featuring quality teams.
Nineteen of the AP Top 25-ranked teams are in action, and most of them are playing against conference opponents in games that will have a profound impact on College Football Playoff rankings.
Here are my predictions for each Week 8 game that includes an Top 25 team (all times Eastern).
Thursday, Oct. 23
No. 22 Temple at East Carolina, 7 p.m.: Expect the Owls to start 7-0 for the first time in school history with a win over an ECU team allowing 29.9 points and more than 400 total yards per game.
No. 20 California at UCLA, 9 p.m.: Cal quarterback Jared Goff will get his Heisman Trophy campaign back on track after having a bye week to prepare for a struggling Bruins defense.
Friday, Oct. 24
No. 18 Memphis at Tulsa, 8 p.m.: Memphis has all the confidence it needs to beat Tulsa one week after a shock upset of SEC power Ole Miss.
Saturday, Oct. 25
No. 21 Houston at UCF, Noon: Houston’s high-powered offense (44 points per game over its last five contests) should have no issues scoring against an 0-7 Central Florida team.
No. 25 Pittsburgh at Syracuse, Noon: These are two teams headed in opposite directions — Pitt has a three-game win streak, while Syracuse has lost three straight. Expect the Panthers to extend their streak with another victory.
No. 6 Clemson at Miami (FL), Noon: Miami is a pretty good team, and its much-improved defense is the reason why it leads the nation with a plus-13 turnover margin. That said, Clemson still is a bit better overall, and will win a close game. The spread (Clemson -7.5) is a little ridiculous, too.
No. 19 Toledo at UMass, 3 p.m.: UMass against a ranked team? We know how this will end, and it won’t be a favorable outcome for the Minutemen.
Indiana at No. 7 Michigan State, 3:30 p.m.: Michigan State was lucky to escape the Big House with a win last week, but don’t expect a letdown against a much-inferior Hoosiers squad.
No. 23 Duke at Virginia Tech, 3:30 p.m.: Duke has allowed only 9.3 points per game this season, but against its last two semi-quality opponents, Georgia Tech and Northwestern, it gave up a combined 53 points. The Hokies will pull off the upset here.
Tennessee at No. 8 Alabama, 3:30 p.m.: Alabama is the best team in the nation and will continue to roll after an impressive road win over Texas A&M in Week 7.
Texas Tech at No. 17 Oklahoma, 3:30 p.m.: The Sooners followed up an embarrassing upset loss to rival Texas with a 55-0 demolition of Kansas State. Oklahoma’s high-powered offense won’t have any trouble scoring against a Red Raiders team giving up almost 37 points per game.
Kansas at No. 14 Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m.: The 0-6 Jayhawks, who are allowing 42.8 points per game, will not be happy with the outcome of this game.
No. 9 Florida State at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m.: We don’t really know how good the Seminoles are because they haven’t played a ranked team yet. FSU doesn’t have to be too concerned about the Yellow Jackets, though, because their defense has allowed 30-plus points in every game. Florida State by more than 10 points.
No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 24 Ole Miss, 7 p.m.: Ole Miss is a strange team. It beat then-No. 3 Alabama, then lost to Florida 38-10 in Week 5 and suffered a surprising upset loss to Memphis last week. The slide will continue against an Aggies team that played pretty well against the Crimson Tide on Saturday.
Western Kentucky at No. 5 LSU, 7 p.m.: LSU running back Leonard Fournette, the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, should have a field day against a Western Kentucky defense that allows 438.1 yards per game. Tigers win easily.
No. 3 Utah at USC, 7:30 p.m.: The 6-0 Utes are 3.5-point underdogs against a USC team that’s lost three of its last four games. Pick Utah in this one.
No. 1 Ohio State at Rutgers, 8 p.m.: This is the right week for the Buckeyes to make a quarterback switch to JT Barrett because Rutgers allows 29.2 points and 447.3 yards per contest.
Washington at No. 10 Stanford, 10:30 p.m.: Stanford has won five straight games and two of them were against ranked teams. It won’t have too much trouble with Washington.
Thumbnail photo via Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports Images
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