Are you stoked for Saturday’s great slate of games in Week 8? Get geared up for the thrilling upcoming action around the world of college football with these predictions for the Top 10 contests on tap! Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!
Last Week: 5-5 (43-27 Overall)
No. 7 Florida State (6-1) at Miami (FL) (4-3) – 8:00 p.m.
Miami (FL) has a ton of talent on offense, but against the likes of Kansas State, Notre Dame and North Carolina, the Hurricanes have scored just 30 points—combined. ”The U” suffered a 38-point defeat to the Irish and lost by 39 points against the Wildcats. Though both of those teams are ranked in the Top 5 nationwide, Al Golden believes Saturday’s test will be the toughest the team has faced yet.
The Seminoles are three-touchdown favorites and albeit they appear to be a much better team than the Hurricanes in practically every category, this is a heated rivalry with a closely contested series history.
Florida State has won the past two meetings with Miami (FL), but 10 of the last 11 matchups have been decided by only one score. Look for yet another tight affair before E.J. Manuel and the ‘Noles start to pull away in the final quarter. Prediction: Florida State 35, Miami (FL) 21
No. 8 South Carolina (6-1) at No. 3 Florida (6-0) – 3:30 p.m.
South Carolina brought all it could summon in last week’s 21-23 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge.
Can the Gamecocks bounce back and upset the third-ranked Gators? If this contest was featured at Columbia, where they handed Georgia a 35-7 beatdown two weeks ago, the answer would be crystal-clear—yes.
But this SEC East division collision will be battled out in the swamp. Nonetheless, the Tigers may have given the Gamecocks a blueprint on how to beat the Gators—though LSU didn’t have enough firepower on offense to get the job done—load up the box at the line of scrimmage and dare the Gators receivers to make individual plays to beat you.
Only 12 programs are still unblemished through the first seven weeks of the season. One from the Big Ten (Ohio State), one from the Big 12 (Kansas State), two from the Pac-12 (Oregon and Oregon St.), two from non-BCS conferences (Notre Dame and Ohio), three from the SEC (Florida, Alabama and Mississippi St.) and three from the Big East (Louisville, Rutgers and Cincinnati).
Holy Batman! Another one bites the dust here, as the creme of the crop in the best conference in college football continues to beat itself up, creating that always interesting Team A, Team B, Team C discussion, with the Gamecocks beating the Gators, who beat the Tigers, who beat the Gamecocks. Prediction: South Carolina 20, Florida 16
No. 6 LSU (6-1) at No. 20 Texas A&M (5-1) – 12:00 p.m.
Last week’s 59-57 great escape against Louisiana Tech was a little too close for comfort for Texas A&M, especially since the Bulldogs were behind by 27 points before mounting a momentous second-half comeback.
A&M QB Johnny Manziel chalked up 181 yards on the ground with three TDs and threw for 395 yards with three more scores, as he set new school and SEC records with 576 yards of total offense. He also emerged as one of the Heisman front-runners entering this week’s tough test against the Tigers.
Look for LSU’s brutal defense to hand A&M a reality check, but expect Manziel and the Aggies to keep things interesting for the first three quarters here. Prediction: LSU 27, Texas A&M 13
No. 16 Texas Tech (5-1) at No. 22 TCU (5-1) – 3:30 p.m.
The Red Raiders bounced back in a big way after getting rolled by three touchdowns at home against the Sooners, as they blew apart West Virginia 49-14 and put an end to the Mountaineers’ national title hopes.
TCU has home-field advantage and looks to mount more momentum after beating the Bears of Baylor on the road by four scores. Tech’s inevitable letdowns also kick into swing (though not without somewhat of a fight) in only its third meeting with the Horned Frogs since 1995 in this marquee matchup between Top 25 teams from the great state of Texas. Prediction: TCU 31, Texas Tech 14
Baylor (3-2) at Texas (4-2) – 8:00 p.m.
On paper, this should be a good game between pretty evenly-matched teams.
However, look for the Longhorns to try to erase the memory of that dreadful display in the Red River Rivalry with a much-needed victory over in-state and Big 12 rival Baylor, who falls to .500 in a tough loss at Austin against an angry Texas team that has to bounce back in front of the home crowd. Prediction: Texas 38, Baylor 24
No. 5 Kansas State (6-0) at No. 19 West Virginia (5-1) – 7:00 p.m.
Will Geno Smith and West Virginia come out inspired against Bill Snyder and the Big 12 leader?
Or will Collin Klein—another Heisman front-runner—and Kansas State survive or perhaps even thrive on the road and continue on the path towards a potential BCS national title?
If there’s one game this season that will most likely trip up the Wildcats, it will be this wild Big 12 battle on the road with West Virginia coming off an embarrassing showing at Texas Tech.
With home-field advantage in prime time in Morgantown, look for Geno Smith and the Mountaineers’ receivers to make play after play en route to a thrilling upset. Prediction: West Virginia 41, Kansas State 31
Michigan State (4-3) at No. 18 Michigan (4-2) – 3:30 p.m.
The Spartans’ three defeats against the likes of Notre Dame (20-3), Ohio State (17-16) and Iowa (16-13) amount to a total of 21 points. It’s pretty puzzling that this team has fallen so fast with a stout defense, great ground game and an outstanding head coach, but Michigan State has a chance to put its recent disappointments in the past with an upset at Ann Arbor over Denard Robinson and Michigan.
The Wolverines can’t get back in the BCS national title race, but ending a four-game losing streak to the Spartans, winning the Big Ten Legends division and advancing to the conference championship and perhaps making it to a BCS bowl game are still all obtainable goals. The Wolverines win a bare-knuckles brawl here at home. Prediction: Michigan 23, Michigan State 20
Nebraska (4-2) at Northwestern (6-1) – 3:30 p.m.
On the surface, it may seem that there’s not much on the line in this Big Ten battle, but both of these teams face an opportunity to take the lead (or tie for first place in the case of the Cornhuskers) in the Big Ten Legends division. That would require a loss by Michigan and Iowa (plays Penn State), both that’s a very possible scenario. Taylor Martinez and the ‘Huskers just outshine Trevor Siemian, Kain Colter and company in a wild win on the road over the Wildcats. Prediction: Nebraska 31, Northwestern 24
Brigham Young (4-3) at No. 4 Notre Dame (6-0) – 3:30 p.m.
BYU will probably present problems for the Fighting Irish, but the Cougars don’t have enough firepower on offense to come up with the win, especially at South Bend. Last week’s overtime win over Stanford caused such an outpouring of emotion that it will likely lead to a bit of a letdown here, but QB Everett Golson and the tremendous Irish defense does enough to get the job done. Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Brigham Young 17
Washington (3-3) at Arizona (3-3) – 9:00 p.m.
Which middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 program will bounce back from its multiple-game losing skid (two teams are 1-5 combined in their last three games) and show that its still a tough team to be reckoned with? Washington has been solid at home with wins over Stanford (17-13), San Diego State (21-12) and Portland State (52-13) and only one loss last week to the Trojans (24-14).
However, the Huskies have been blown out in each of their two road tests against LSU (41-3) and Oregon (52-21), albeit the Tigers and Ducks are two of the top teams in the country and seem to excel every time they play in front of their home crowd.
The Wildcats won their first three games over Toledo (24-17), Oklahoma State (59-38) and South Carolina State (56-0), but have suffered three straight defeats at Oregon (49-0), vs. Oregon State (38-35) and at Stanford (54-48 in OT).
Arizona has the all-important home-field advantage here, which could end up being the determining factor. Prediction: Arizona 37, Washington 29
Verse of This Piece: “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘Go fall into the sea.’ And if you have no doubts in your mind and believe that what you say will happen, God will do it for you. So I tell you to believe that you have received the things you ask for in prayer, and God will give them to you.”—Mark 11:23-24
Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com. He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website. Follow @_MichaelGartman and @GridironGrit on Twitter!