October is nearly over and the CFP Committee rankings are due to be released on Tuesday evening (coincidentally, the same day I am expecting my daughter to be born). Week in and week out, teams are making their case and covering the spread is a good way of passing the “eye test.”
NCAAF Week 8 Best Bets
Last week was another busy one getting things ready for a child, so we had to Xeet out the picks. And it was another okay day. Ohio State did well and covered against a top-10 opponent. The spread was -4 and they won by eight…but it felt a tad more one-sided. Michigan State was thoroughly destroyed and I’m not sure we can blame (alleged) stolen signs on this one…Bowling Green covered and then some, Tennessee was nowhere close to covering, but UTSA took care of business.
Overall: 26-18 (3-2 last week)
BYU at Texas (-18.5)
In their first season in the Big 12, BYU has not been incredible but they’ve won five games. In the history of the series, the Cougars own a 4-1 lead over Texas and have won each of the last two, which were back in 2013 and 2014 when Texas was definitely not back.
BYU is led by Kedon Slovis at quarterback. Slovis is at his third school and is on-pace to rival his freshman year as his best. However, to date, BYU has not been impressive. They’ve beaten a handful of bad teams and have been smacked around by the two decent teams on their schedule.
If there is going to be one area where BYU can take advantage, it’ll be because the Longhorns will be without Quinn Ewers and will start a freshman at quarterback. Whoever takes the snaps between Arch Manning and Maalik Murphy, they’ll have plenty of talent around them. Running back Jonathon Brooks could eclipse 1,000 yards with a big game. Not to mention the fact that Texas has one of the best receiver duos in Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell out wide.
18.5 points is a large margin and this was a back-and-forth decision. However, Texas is a last-minute score away from being undefeated and BYU has not looked good against decent competition just yet.
Oregon at Utah (+6.5)
The biggest matchup of the weekend will be yet another Pac-12 clash. The cannibalization of the conference is well underway and the loser of this game is all but eliminated from title contention. Thus far, Oregon owns a 24-12 lead in the series and won last year’s titular matchup, 20-17.
Starting with Oregon, the Ducks dropped its first big matchup with Washington a few weeks ago but played well enough to not drop too far. They’re still a top-10 team and Bo Nix‘s Heisman campaign continues. With a win here, Oregon is well on its way to avenging its loss in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Utah, on the other hand, is about as confusing as can be. Despite not having Cam Rising all year, Utah has battled to a 6-1 record with a loss to Oregon State (the other one-loss Pac-12 team). Overall, the Utes have looked good and even took down USC last week.
Oregon likely still wins this one but Utah is going to be a battle. The Utes don’t have the star power of Oregon but they’ve still been able to get it done.
Miami (OH) at Ohio (-7.5)
The battle for the inside track within the MAC East goes down in Athens, Ohio. These two programs have traded off periods of dominance. From the beginning until 1945, Ohio owned a 12-9 record and Miami (OH) won 43 of the 60 meetings up until 2005. Since then, Ohio has won 13 of 16.
The Redhawks have been playing well this year and have their own MAC title aspirations. They lost the Confusion Bowl to kick off the year but ended up beating Cincinnati for the first time since 2005. The sticking point in this one will be the fact they will be without star quarterback, Brett Gabbert.
Ohio continues to have one of the best offenses in the MAC. Kurtis Rourke is leading the was with 1,343 yards and nine touchdowns. At the same time, he has a pair of running backs who can take the pressure off. Oh, and the Bobcats have the fourth-best defense in the FBS in terms of yards allowed and sixth in scoring defense.
Ohio has been a friend to this series and will continue to do so this week. Had Gabbert remained healthy, this pick might have flipped. However, Ohio is well on its way to Detroit.
Tennessee at Kentucky (+3.5)
The SEC does not have too many top-notch matchups this week but this one is sneakily good. All time, these two programs are on polar opposites of the spectrum. Tennessee owns a ridiculous 83-26-9 record over the Wildcats and has won 34 of the last 37.
The Vols have a solid offense, averaging 438 yards per game, and are pretty balanced. Joe Milton hasn’t quite been what Hendon Hooker was but he’s still solid (and could probably hit the International Space Station if he tried). At the same time, they have three running backs worth watching.
Kentucky, on the other side, is led by Devin Leary at quarterback and Re’Mahn Davis at running back, both of whom can carry the offense. Against Mizzou and Florida, Davis took over. In those two games, he accounted for 408 yards and three scores. Coincidentally, those are the only two games where he got at least 20 carries.
Thus far, these two share one common opponent: Florida. Tennesse lost 29-16 and Kentucky won 33-14. The transitive property does not exist in sports but if Kentucky can continue to do well defending the run, they can make Tennessee a one-dimensional team, playing into the Wildcats’ hands.
Ohio State (-14.5) at Wisconsin
Finally, another friend of the program (solely due to writer’s bias…), Ohio State travels up to Wisconsin to take on one of its former coaches. Overall, the Buckeyes own a dominant 62-18-5 lead over the Badgers and have won each of the last nine matchups, three of which were in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Wisconsin is still likely the cream of the Big Ten West but that could be because of how weak it is as a division. This offense runs through Braelon Allen, one of the Big Ten’s best running backs. He’s already accounted for 704 yards and eight touchdowns. The quarterback position is a cause for concern since Tanner Mordecai will miss the game and Braedyn Locke will take over.
Against this Ohio State defense, that could spell trouble. To date, the Buckeyes have the fifth-best defense in yards allowed (260.1 per game) and third-best in scoring defense (10.0). Take away that 176-yard outlier against Notre Dame, that number falls to 88 per game.
The Buckeyes are seemingly healthy again and will have the services of three of its best players yet again. Oh, and Marvin Harrison, Jr. still plays football. There is a very real possibility that this could end up as the first Ohio State shutout since they blanked Cincinnati in 2019.
Main Image: Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK