Past the halfway point of the season and into the thick of conference play, Week 8 in College Football will hopefully answer a few more questions in regards to who’s for real and who is merely blagging it.
The weekend’s slate may not be as full of as many high-profile games as last week, but there’s plenty to get excited about, starting with Thursday night’s showdown in the desert between Oregon and Arizona State.
From there it’ll be a quick journey southeast to check in on this week’s undoubted game of the week: South Carolina at Florida. Then we’ll get to see if West Virginia has the fortitude to bounce back against a very tough Kansas State side.
#3 Oregon @ Arizona State
Ranked play kicks off early this weekend with #3 Oregon (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) visiting Sun Devil Stadium on Thursday night for a showdown with Arizona State (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12).
Currently the pick of the Pac-12, the two sides should put on an impressive, high-octane performance. The Ducks will look to ride their running game – the fourth best in the country – to victory while the Sun Devils will hope QB Taylor Kelly will repeat last week’s impressive outing against Colorado.
For Oregon, a win is vital to continue forward as one of the frontrunners for the BCS Championship Game, while Arizona State will be looking to top the Pac-12’s South Division this year.
Odds: Oregon enters the game as eight-point favorites. The over/under stands at 68.
Take: Oregon. In six games this season, no opponent has looked close to derailing the awesome Ducks running game. The Sun Devils might be the best the Ducks have faced yet, but Oregon should continue its eight-game winning streak against Arizona State. These two are averaging more than 90 points per game combined, so take the total to go OVER.
#7 South Carolina @ #2 Florida
#2 in the BCS rankings this week, Florida (6-0, 5-0 SEC) could take another step to securing the SEC East title this week with a win over #7 South Carolina (6-1, 4-1 SEC).
The Gamecocks fell in a close game to LSU last week, a team that the Gators beat the previous week. By that reckoning, Florida should be able to defeat South Carolina, setting up a matchup next week with Georgia, a game that could be the ultimate decider in who represents the East in the SEC Championship game.
The Gamecocks aren’t about to roll over though. Instead, Steve Spurrier’s side will be looking for a third consecutive win over the Gators. A win for the Gamecocks would really set the cat amongst the pigeons in the division.
Odds: Florida is favored by just 3½-points; a testament to how close this one is expected to be. The over/under is 41½.
Take: Florida. Homefield advantage could play a big role in this one, as it did in the 14-6 win over LSU two weeks ago. Expect another defensive struggle though, so take the UNDER on the total.
#4 Kansas State @ #13 West Virginia
Despite the hype, Geno Smith, Steadman Bailey and Tavon Austin found themselves on the wrong end of an offensive beatdown last week in Lubbock, Texas. The Red Raiders of Texas Tech handed West Virginia (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) its first loss of the season.
Now the Mountaineers will look to bounce back against Kansas State (6-0, 3-0 Big 12), who very quietly has taken the number four spot in the BCS rankings.
At this moment in time it’s hard to argue against the Wildcats being the best team in the Big 12. While West Virginia might make more headlines, Kansas State gets the job done. And that’s thanks in a big part to dual threat QB Collin Klein, who has proven as lethal on the ground as through the air.
Odds: Despite a superior record, Kansas State finds itself 2½-point underdogs for this encounter. The over/under is 73.
Take: Kansas State. Quietly does it has been the name of the game but you can expect huge publicity when the Wildcats knock-off the much-lauded Mountaineers. Perhaps against the run of form, take the UNDER on the total: Kansas State will purposefully not get into a shootout.
AP Top 25 (Week 8 Fixtures)
#1 Alabama @ Tennessee
#7 South Carolina @ # 2 Florida
#3 Oregon @ Arizona State (Thursday 9 PM ET)
#4 Kansas State @ #13 West Virginia
Brigham Young @ #5 Notre Dame
#6 LSU @ #18 Texas A&M
Utah @ #8 Oregon State
Kansas @ #9 Oklahoma
Colorado @ #10 USC
#11 Georgia @ Kentucky
Middle Tennessee @ #12 Mississippi State
#14 Florida State @ Miami (FL)
#15 Rutgers @ Temple
South Florida @ #16 Louisville
Virginia Tech @ #19 Clemson
#20 Stanford @ California
#21 Cincinnati @ Toledo
UNLV @ #22 Boise State
#17 Texas Tech @ #23 TCU
#24 Iowa State @ Oklahoma State
Baylor @ #25 Texas