BCMG Week 8 CFB Predictions
Big 10 Football is officially here. Almost half way through the season, expect the rankings to look vastly different after this week. In addition to the Big 10, the Pac 12 is the only Power 5 Conference yet to play. The Pac 12 plans to start their season in November.
Now turning the corner on this season, the CFB experts at BCMG are here to breakdown and give predictions of the most intriguing matchups this Saturday.
9 Cincinatti @ 16 SMU
Game Time: 9:00pm EST
Venue: Gerald J. Ford Stadium - Dallas, TX
Network: ESPN 2
Line: SMU -2.5
The tale of two undefeated teams. Both teams are now facing their first real test and the stakes couldn't be more high. The Cincinnati Bearcats lead the nation in pass efficiency defense but lets see how that fairs against a substantial SMU passing attack. Speaking of SMU's passing attack, they have thrown for over 400 yards four times this year. They are one of one of the highest paced offenses in the country. In order to win this game SMU has to keep up their high octane offense throughout the game. Converting on 3rd Down is a must, along with winning the turnover battle. Cincinnati on the other hand, has the best red zone defense. If a team needs a defensive stop late in the 4th quarter, I am giving Cincinnati the upper hand.
Prediction: 42-35 Cincinnati
NC State @ 14 North Carolina
Game Time: 12:00pm EST
Venue: Kenan Stadium - Chapel Hill, NC
Line: North Carolina -16.5
North Carolina suffered a bump in the road last week, dropping nine spots in the AP poll. They need this win to keep their chances of making the ACC title game alive. If North Carolina wants to walk away with a W, Sam Howell has to play a complete, well-rounded game. Luckily for Howell, he has the talent around him to just that including an above average O-Line. He obviously has to play very well, but he does not need to do too much. For the Wolf Pack, it's going to be an uphill climb. In order to win, NC State has to be nothing short of excellent. Now without their starting QB, the focus turns towards the defense. They have to produce turnovers and capitalize. For me, the UNC passing attack just seems too daunting for the NC State defense.
Prediction: 37-21 North Carolina
Virginia @ 11 Miami
Game Time: 8:00pm EST
Venue: Hard Rock Stadium - Miami Gardens, FL
Network: ACC Network
Line: Miami -15.5
Virginia has been in a rut defensively as of late. They have to clean things up on that side of the ball, or else D'Eriq King will eat your defense alive. Miami has to get a ground attack going to keep them from being one dimensional. Of course, D’Eriq King is not their savior, but he plays a major role in every single Miami win. King had four TDs last week, but he also had two interceptions. Limiting turnovers is a must for a team ranked outside of the top eight. For Virginia, their offense has been good, but it is not producing wins. They don't have a problem keeping their offense off the field either, the key is to a have a decent defensive outing for all four quarters.
Prediction: 28-18 Miami
8 Penn State @ Indiana
Game Time: 3:30pm EST
Venue: Memorial Stadium - Bloomington, IN
Line: Penn State -6.5
When I say we haven't seen much of these teams this year, I quite literally mean, we have not seen these teams at all. You can expect a little rust from both teams as they go to battle for this first time this season. Penn State is coming into this season with loads of talent as always. The Nittany Lions will, however, be without LB Micah Parsons (opting out) and RB Journey Brown (medical concerns). The key for Indiana is to keep the chains moving. If they can keep their offense out on the field they can keep up with Penn State. Stevie Scott has to get the Hoosier ground game rolling from the get-go. If they can do those things, they set them selves up nicely to pull off the upset. The keys for Penn State are simple. Control the line of scrimmage and force turnovers. Even if this game does end up being close in the 4th quarter I trust the Nittany Lion offense and defense to pull out the victory.
Prediction: 28-17 Penn State
17 Iowa State @ 6 Oklahoma State
Game Time: 3:30 pm EST
Venue: Boone Pickens Stadium - Stillwater, OK
Line: Oklahoma State -3.5
For being an AP Top 25 matchup, this game is getting little to no media attention. That is most likely due to the Big Ten resuming play this weekend. After a disappointing loss to Louisiana to open the season, Iowa State has won three in a row including an impressive upset win against Oklahoma. On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys, who barely squeaked by Tulsa in their first game of the season, bounced back from that near loss with wins over West Virginia and Kansas. This will be the first real test for the Cowboys and is a game where their defense will look to prove they are deserving of their top-10 ranking. Expect the game to start out fast with both teams scoring back and forth. But down the stretch, look for Oklahoma State's experienced defense to get big stops when needed. You can also expect RB's Breece Hall and Chuba Hubbard to have big days on the ground but in the end, Oklahoma State will pull away and prevail.
Prediction: 45-31 Oklahoma State
18 Michigan @ 21 Minnesota
Game Time: 7:30 pm EST
Venue: TCF Bank Stadium - Minneapolis, MN
Line: Michigan -3.5
College Gameday will be in Minneapolis Saturday morning and I really don't know what to expect from this matchup. This is the first week of Big Ten games and this matchup is the biggest on Saturday. Michigan will start a new QB in former four-star recruit Joe Milton. Milton stands 6'5" tall and weighs 240lbs. That is one big QB. Imagine Milton standing next to Kyler Murray. I think it would be like a father, son photo. Milton also reportedly runs a 4.60 40 yard dash which is fast for a QB. We will see just how good this Junior QB is in his first start of his career. Minnesota comes in with returning star QB, Tanner Morgan, as well as all of their O-Line. Last year Morgan threw for over 3,200 yards, 30 TD's and led the Golden Gophers to an Outback Bowl win over Auburn. Minnesota is looking to replace two of the most talented guys on the roster from a year ago after WR Tyler Johnson and RB Rodney Smith left for the NFL. Look for RB Mohamed Ibrahim and WR Rashod Bateman to step up big time as both of these talented guys have proven they can play - each putting up a 1,000 yard season in the last two years. This game is going to be played most likely in below-freezing temperatures with snow possible. I am going to take the more experienced team to win this game since it's their first game of the season and in extreme conditions for a football game. Minnesota will win this game but just by one score.
Prediction: 31-27 Minnesota
2 Alabama @ Tennessee
Game Time: 3:30 pm EST
Venue: Neyland Stadium - Knoxville, TN
Line: Alabama -21.5
Alabama is coming off of a statement game where they beat the then 3rd ranked Georgia Bulldogs 41-24 led by QB Mac Jones, who is gaining some Heisman talk after his 417 yard, four TD performance. The Alabama defense struggled for the first half allowing the Bulldogs to score 24 points but then bounced back to shut them out in the second half. The Alabama defense has finally shown up and they are going to have a field day against this Tennessee offense that threw three interceptions in three consecutive drives, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Expect the Crimson Tide to keep rolling in Knoxville on Saturday and blow the Volunteers out.
Prediction: 52-17 Alabama
Nebraska @ 5 Ohio State
Game Time: 12:00 pm EST
Venue: Ohio Stadium - Columbus, OH
Line: Ohio State -26
Nebraska comes into this season looking to do better than the last two where they went 9-15 under head coach Scott Frost. For most Cornhusker fans this is the "prove it" season for Frost and it's going to be tough for him to get going this year with Saturday's matchup against 5th ranked Ohio State followed by 14th ranked Wisconsin next week. QB Adrian Martinez has started every year for Frost and will look to solidify himself as a top-tier QB in the Big 10. The Buckeyes come into this game as the pre-season favorites to win the conference and return to the CFP. QB Justin Fields will have another Heisman-type season and will most likely be the second pick in the NFL Draft. The Buckeyes never shut down their camp even when the Big 10 initially shut down the season, so Ohio State will be very sharp and close to mid-season form already. Anticipate the Buckeyes to roll over the Cornhuskers on Saturday and Frost to be on the hot seat by most Nebraska fans.
Prediction: 48-14 Ohio State
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