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College Football Picks Week 8

Posted at 6:10 PM, Oct 21, 2016

We are just two weeks away from the first edition of the College Football Playoff rankings, and while we've learned a lot through the first seven weeks of the season there is still a ton more to decide on the field.

Conference matchups heat up over the final half of the year to separate the contenders from the pretenders and to give us a whole lot to debate each week when the CFP committee unveils its rankings.

Until then, I'm just going to try to get my picks back on track. A .500 record over the past two weeks has dropped me to 50-23 on the season. Here's to hoping for better results this week.

NC STATE AT 7 LOUISVILLE (-20) 11am
Pick: Louisville

Any chance that the Cardinals would overlook N.C. State disappeared with the Wolfpack's nearly good enough effort last week against Clemson in Death Valley. Lamar Jackson continues his incredible season with a big day in a home win.

10 WISCONSIN (-4.5) AT IOWA 11am
Pick: Iowa

I love the Badgers defense and I think the job Paul Chryst has done this year to make them a top 10 team is remarkable. But as good as Wisconsin is the schedule will finally catch up with them in Iowa City. A third road game in four Big Ten contests coming off an emotional overtime home loss to Ohio State is a tall order. Plus, despite a pair of losses, the Hawkeyes are still pretty much the same team that started last season 12-0.

6 TEXAS A&M AT 1 ALABAMA (-19) 2:30pm on Newschannel 5
Pick: Alabama

I thought the Crimson Tide was good, but I walked away even more impressed after watching what they did to Tennessee last week. Jalen Hurts is poised in the passing game and electric in the running game, and Nick Saban has a defense and special teams that contributes in meaningful ways (11 non-offensive TDs this year). A&M is good, but I don't think Trevor Knight and the Aggies offense can do enough to win in Tuscaloosa.

MEMPHIS (-1.5) AT 24 NAVY 2:30pm
Pick: Navy

The battle for the AAC West Division lead between two of the conference's last remaining unbeatens (along with USF in the East). Tennessee transfer Riley Ferguson's thrown for 1600 yards and 12 touchdowns and Mike Norvell's Tigers lead the nation with 18 forced turnovers in six games, but the Midshipmen have won 13 consecutive home games and will continue the home dominance in what could be one of the games of the day.

TCU AT 12 WEST VIRGINIA (-4.5) 2:30pm
Pick: WVU

Nobody has really talked about the Mountaineers, but Dana Holgorsen may just coach the Big 12's best team. Quarterback Skyler Howard has matured into one of the league's top passers and can lead WVU to its first 6-0 start in 10 years with a win over the Horned Frogs.

19 UTAH AT UCLA (-7) 3pm
Pick: UCLA

The Utes are 6-1 and ranked 19th while the Bruins are a disappointing 3-4, yet UCLA is favored by a touchdown? What does Vegas know? Well, the Bruins still have one of the nation's top quarterbacks in Josh Rosen, have talent around him and are at home. That talent has to step forward for Jim Mora Jr. at some point, right?

17 ARKANSAS AT 21 AUBURN (-11) 5pm
Pick: Arkansas

The Razorbacks finally got on the board with a SEC win beating Ole Miss last week. Now comes the difficult task of heading on the road to meet Auburn. The Hogs have tended to get much, much better in the second half of seasons under Bret Bielema. I think they get on a roll by going to the Plains and pulling out a win.

TENNESSEE STATE AT VANDERBILT 6:30pm
Pick: Vandy

The Commodores are coming off a landmark SEC road win at Georgia. Now they are heavy favorites to win consecutive games for the first time in the Derek Mason era. The Tigers are 5-1, but don't have enough firepower offensively to threaten a good Commodores defense.

2 OHIO STATE (-19.5) AT PENN STATE 7pm
Pick: OSU

A week after surviving a delirious atmosphere in Madison, the Buckeyes head into another hostile environment for a prime time showdown. Beaver Stadium's "whiteouts" are some of the most intimidating atmospheres in all of college football, but this is a Buckeyes team that has already won at Oklahoma and at Wisconsin. J.T. Barrett and company will prove once again that they are a playoff contender.

23 OLE MISS AT 25 LSU (-7.5) 8pm
Pick: LSU

Both of these teams have had to readjust their goals from championship aspirations in the preseason, but LSU seems to have some life after replacing Les Miles. In two games with Ed Orgeron as head coach the Tigers have outscored Missouri and Southern Miss 87-17. That's the type of offensive football people on the Bayou have been clamoring for, and should make Saturday night's atmosphere in one of college football's toughest road venues tough on the Rebels.