Week 8 of College Football 2016 is here, and so is Sports & Swag’s College Football Saturday Week 8 Picks. And, what a Saturday it should be, especially in the SEC. Three games between ranked teams, including sixth-ranked Texas A&M visiting top-ranked Alabama. I’ll give you my take on all three of those games, my Road Dog of the Week, and two other games from around the country.
Last week, we went 4-2 against the number, losing with Ole Miss and Ohio State. We did get the Road Dog of the Week correct however, as North Carolina covered the 6 points and beat Miami, as we said they would.
Now, it’s time to forget Week 7 and move on College Football Saturday Week 8 Picks…..
GAME OF THE WEEK
6 TEXAS A&M (+17.5, o/u 60.5) at 1 ALABAMA
Supremacy in not only the SEC West, but the SEC, and maybe the nation is on the line in Tuscaloosa today, when ‘Gigem’ tangles with ‘Roll Tide’. Texas A&M comes into this game off a bye week, which could give them an advantage. The Aggies’ strength is running the ball with freshman running back, Trayveon Williams and QB Trevor Knight. This is a contrast to the throw it all over the place style we’ve seen from Kevin Sumlin coach teams in the past.
Knight, does a great job running offensive coordinator, Noah Mazzone’s zone-read attack with the pass, but is only completing 53% of his passes. He’s actually had more success (65 rushes – 502 yards) when he runs. The key today however, will be taking care of the ball and then taking a few shots down field. He has the weapons with the Aggies’ trio of receivers, Josh Reynolds, Christian Kirk, and Ricky Seals-Jones.
Teams that aren’t afraid to take shots down the field (ie: Ole Miss) have had success against Bama’s D. That is, if they have the time. Bama’s defensive front led by Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, and Ryan Anderson get pressure on the QB as well as anyone does. This Bama D is also very effective putting points on the board. The Tide has scores at least one non-offensive TD in nine straight games. A lot of those thanks to safety, Eddie Jackson.
Jackson, also has two punt returns for touchdowns. One last week at Tennessee, and the game-changer at Ole Miss. Bama’s actual offense does pretty well, also. The only thing missing from their attack right now is QB Jalen Hurts, being more consistent throwing the ball down field. He’ll have to stay away from big mistakes as A&M’s D is also legit, led by defensive end, Myles Garrett.
Obviously, with this line, Vegas has a lot of confidence in Alabama. Rightfully, so. Bama, looked as focused as I’ve seen them in a long time last week at Tennessee. Getting up like that again will be hard. Because of that, while I think Bama wins the game, covering nearly 18 points will be tough. Take the Aggies to cover the 17.5. BAMA 37-24
ROAD DOG OF THE WEEK
UTAH (+6.5, o/u 45) at UCLA
The Utes aren’t the most explosive team around, averaging 26.7 points per game. But, they’re pretty efficient, in that they don’t turn the ball over. They have some injury issues, especially at running back. But, they have depth. Joe Williams, who rushed from 179 yards last week in the win over Oregon State, is probably third on the depth chart. UCLA, has been strong on defense, but QB Josh Rosen, may not be available today. Expect a low-scoring game at the Rose Bowl today. Take the Utes to cover the 6.5 at UCLA.
OLE MISS at LSU (-8.0 o/u 60.5)
They’re going crazy in the Bayou over Interim-head coach Ed Oregeron. ‘Coach O’ has brought energy to LSU’s players and fans. But, are they actually any better since saying goodbye to Les Miles. Hard to tell in wins over Mizzou and Southern Miss. But, the Tigers didscore into the 40’s in both games. The big question is the status of Leonard Fournette. Will he play, or won’t he? How effective will he be?
For Ole Miss, it’s about saving what could turn into a disaster of a season if they lose this game. What looked like another promising season has turned sour of late. But, the Rebels are still explosive on offense. Something LSU hasn’t had to deal with, maybe all season. Look for Chad Kelly to test LSU’s defense and make some plays to keep this one close. They may not win, but Take the REBELS to cover the 8 points. Right down to the wire at Death Valley.
Take AUBURN (-10.5, o/u 54) over Arkansas – Auburn’s running game too much for Razorbacks weak rush defense.
Take TCU (-6.5, o/u 64) over West Virginia – The Horned Frogs are getting things back together after a rough start. Look for them to play within the number at Morgantown.
Take IOWA (+4.0, 42.5) STRAIGHT UP over 9 Wisconsin – The Badgers have seems had big game after big game so far this season. All of those games being close, including last week’s overtime loss to Ohio State. Look for that to catch up with them today in Iowa City.