CFB Staff Picks: Week 8
By WZBC Writers
With BC on the bye, we take a look at some of the top games from around the nation.
#6 Michigan at #24 Michigan State
Charlie Whitney: Michigan 23 – Michigan State 20
Both of these teams have taken big steps forward with important wins in the past few weeks. However someone’s positive momentum will comes to an end this weekend and I have a feeling it will be the Spartans. There was never any question that Michigan has an elite defense, but finally Shea Patterson is starting to live up to his potential. Despite being on the road in a rivalry game I expect the Wolverines to keep their hot streak going.
Bryan Bruwer: Michigan 28 – Michigan State 16
Michigan has proved me wrong time and time again this year, and their number one ranked defense should allow them to scratch out a hard fought victory in East Lansing. Michigan State is banged up, but they’re coming off a big upset against Penn State and should be expected to keep this one relatively close.
JD Biagioni: Michigan 31 – Michigan State 20
Michigan State hasn’t looked all that impressive this season, save for the victory over Penn State. Led by Shea Patterson, the Wolverines finally figured out how to play offense and win big football games. The 38-point performance against Wisconsin’s staunch defense last week was the best Michigan has looked against a highly-regarded opponent in the Jim Harbaugh era. I just haven’t seen enough from the Spartans to expect them to hang with the Wolverines on Saturday.
#16 NC State at #3 Clemson
Charlie: Clemson 27 – NC State 21
It seems like every year the Wolfpack give Clemson their toughest test in ACC play and had this game bee in Raleigh I would have been quite tempted to pick NC State. However, this game is in Death Valley and no matter what trends in previous seasons suggest, the Tigers are a much better team. Their immense talent will shine.
Bryan: Clemson 31 – NC State 23
This is by far Clemson’s biggest test so far this year. Ryan Finley and NC State are rolling right now, but Clemson is simply too talented, especially on the defensive line. Expect Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, and company to dominate start to finish, and Trevor Lawrence to continue to shine in a signature win for the Tigers.
JD: Clemson 41 – NC State 27
The Wolfpack have a legitimate shot at making the CFP. After escaping against BC, NC State enters the matchup in Death Valley 5-0. Ryan Finley, the best quarterback in the ACC, will square off with Trevor Lawrence, the next big thing. Despite his turnovers against BC, don’t expect Finley to make mistakes, even when faced with Clemson’s vaunted defensive line. Finley will be able to keep the Wolfpack in the game, but the NC State defense is the weak link in the matchup, and Lawrence will exploit the defense.
#22 Mississippi State at #5 LSU
Charlie: LSU 24 – Mississippi State 23
I think this has a real chance of being the best game of the weekend, even with the battle for Michigan taking place. The Bulldogs of Mississippi State have a knack for coming up clutch in tough SEC matchups, but similar to the NC State-Clemson scenario, I think pulling off the upset in the original Death Valley will be too much for Nick Fitzgerald. And, oh yea, this LSU defense is incredible.
Bryan: LSU 20 – Mississippi State 13
This has all the makings of hard-nosed, low-scoring SEC dogfight. The LSU Tigers really earned their stripes last week with a massive upset over Jake Fromm and Georgia, and I anticipate they’ll keep the good times rolling against Nick Fitzgerald and Mississippi State, although it will likely be a low scoring affair.
JD: LSU 21 – Mississippi State 10
The Tigers rebounded nicely from a disheartening loss against Florida to knock off then-#2 Georgia. Mississippi State could easily be a trap game for LSU, given that it is sandwiched between the Georgia game and a matchup with the Crimson Tide. But Nick Fitzgerald has struggled throwing the ball this season, and the LSU secondary isn’t an ideal opponent for a struggling QB. Despite the low score, LSU will roll into the matchup with Alabama.
#2 Ohio State at Purdue
Charlie: Ohio State 42 – Purdue 21
I’ve seen enough from Ohio State to deduce that they’re the second best team in the nation. I see nobody left in the Big 10 who can give them any sort of challenge. While Purdue has bounced back nicely from an ugly start to the season, there’s just no way they can pull off a win at Saturday.
Bryan: Ohio State 38 – Purdue 21
Although Ohio State has struggled at times on the road on national TV in Big Ten play (as evidenced by their loss at Iowa last year), once their offense gets humming, Purdue will be hard pressed to keep up. If Dwayne Haskins and the Ohio State offense gets on a roll early, this might be a blowout, but I anticipate they’ll start a little slow before exploding later in the game, leaving the Boilermakers in the dust.
JD: Ohio State 45 – Purdue 31
Yeah Ros-Ade Stadium is a tough place to play. Yeah Purdue has looked better of late. Yeah Ohio State barely escaped Minnesota. Yeah Nick Bosa is gone. Yeah the Buckeyes haven’t faced a quality opponent this season. Yeah Purdue QB David Blough can sling the ball with the best of them. But Ohio State can score 30 easily on good defenses; just imagine what the buckeyes can do to a defense that allows 414.3 yards per game.
#12 Oregon at #25 Washington State
Charlie: Oregon 35 – Washington State 27
Finally Oregon is playing up to their full capabilities! When the offense is firing on all cylinders they’re as hard to stop as anyone in the nation. While this Washington State team is certainly solid and at home, I think Justin Herbert and his counterparts will be too much for the Cougars to handle.
Bryan: Washington State 30 – Oregon 27
Oregon is coming off a massive win at home over Washington, but the Ducks are due for a letdown. Wazzu has proven to be a very tough place to play (think USC’s loss last year). Gardner Minshew has been incredible thus far, and he could very well outduel NFL prospect Justin Herbert, given that Oregon’s secondary has been uninspiring as of late. Expect Washington State to pull off the upset and become the new team to beat in the Pac 12, at least for now.
JD: Oregon 37 – Washington State 27
I’m buying into the Ducks. They should be 6-0; as I said last week, they chocked away the Stanford game. And that was a gritty win against a quality Washington team last week. Washington State is going to be pumped for this game, with College Gameday is visiting Pullman for the first time in team history. The Cougars defensive line should also be able to get to Justin Herbert, but the Oregon QB is just too good.