CF Week 8 Picks
Conference play continues this week in college football as the season heads into Week 8. Our team of writers and handicappers hand out six picks for Week 8.
Wake Forest at Maryland, 12:00 PM ET
Wake Forest hasn't had much success finding the end zone in its first two conference games. Thankfully, its defense has kept opponents out of theirs as well.
The No. 21 Demon Deacons visit Maryland on Saturday in an ACC matchup, trying to avoid becoming the third ranked opponent to fall to the Terrapins this season.
After scoring 71 points in its first two games against Baylor and Mississippi, Wake Forest (4-1, 2-0 ACC) has averaged 13.7 points in its last three contests, including 12 in each of its two conference games. The Demon Deacons scored their first touchdown in ACC play in a 12-7 win over Clemson on Oct. 9 as Riley Skinner connected with D.J. Boldin on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter.
Skinner, who was 22-of-34 for 186 yards in the win, is the main reason why the Deacons own the top passing offense in the conference. Wake Forest averages 232 passing yards per game, which has helped offset one of the nation's lowest rushing averages at 99.0 ypg.
Wake Forest has won two straight against Maryland after losing the previous seven meetings. The Terps are 19-8 in the series at College Park.
Virginia Tech at Boston College, 8:00 PM ET
Virginia Tech has gotten used to playing tight games this season, winning five straight despite some close calls.
Coach Frank Beamer's team knows all about playing down-to-the-wire games against Boston College.
After two exciting finishes last season, the 17th-ranked Hokies and Eagles will meet on Saturday in Chestnut Hill, Mass. - the site of Virginia Tech's only road loss since joining the Atlantic Coast conference in 2004.
Virginia Tech (5-1, 2-0 ACC) lost its opener 27-22 to East Carolina after giving up a late touchdown, but hasn't fallen since and won its last three games in September by a combined 11 points.
The Hokies didn't figure to have much of a problem in their recent game against Western Kentucky on Oct. 4, but after jumping out to a big early lead, had to hang on for a sloppy 27-13 win.
Boston College has won three straight at home over ranked opponents.
LSU at South Carolina, 8:00 PM ET
LSU coach Les Miles believes his team will be able to bounce back from the school's most-lopsided defeat in six years.
That likely won't be an easy task when the 13th-ranked Tigers visit one of the nation's top defensive teams in South Carolina on Saturday night in an SEC matchup.
LSU (4-1, 2-1) dropped nine spots after a 51-21 pounding at then-No.11 Florida last Saturday in a game pitting the two most recent national champions. It was the Tigers' most-lopsided loss since falling 31-0 to Alabama in 2002, while allowing their most points since Steve Spurrier's Gators beat them 56-13 in 2006.
Now, LSU faces Spurrier's Gamecocks (5-2, 2-2), who have won four in a row and boast the nation's third-ranked defense allowing 240.9 yards per contest. Despite that, Miles is confident his team will rebound as they try for a fourth consecutive victory over South Carolina.
Ranked second at the time, LSU won 28-16 over the then-12th ranked Gamecocks on Sept. 22, 2007.
Michigan at Penn State, 4:30 PM ET
There aren't too many football programs that can claim to have had Joe Paterno's number through the coach's storied career at Penn State.
Michigan certainly has the record to prove it.
But as the third-ranked Nittany Lions look to end a nine-game losing streak against the Wolverines on Saturday in Happy Valley, they'll find a Michigan team coming off one of the ugliest losses in school history.
Paterno and Penn State (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) haven't been quite the national power many thought they'd become when they joined the conference in 1993, but they've still won nine games or more 11 times. Yet there's been no denying the biggest road block between the Lions and the top of the Big Ten - the same school that handed Penn State its first loss as a member of the conference.
Penn State won three in a row over the Wolverines (2-4, 1-1) from 1994-1996, but hasn't beaten them since. In all, it's been 12 years, nine meetings and an average of two touchdowns that's been the difference between the traditional powerhouses, giving Paterno a 3-10 record against Michigan.
Michigan has won six of its last seven road games against ranked opponents.
Vanderbilt at Georgia, 12:30 PM ET
The only time Vanderbilt defeated Georgia in the past 14 years, Chris Nickson was the starting quarterback. For Saturday's road game against the 10th-ranked Bulldogs, the Commodores senior might not get off the sidelines.
Mackenzi Adams will start in place of Nickson as No. 22 Vanderbilt tries to pull off an upset in Athens for the second time in three years.
Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said Monday that, barring any unusual circumstances, he would switch to Adams as his starter to spark the offense. Johnson pulled Nickson in last Saturday's 17-14 loss at Mississippi State after he threw an interception in the fourth quarter.
Georgia ranks fourth in the nation in rushing defense, giving up 52.2 yards per game. The Bulldogs, however, are 82nd in pass defense and surrender nearly 222 passing yards per game, which could make Adams' play even more crucial if the Commodores hope to win.
Ohio State at Michigan State, 3:30 PM
Before this season began, Ohio State was again predicted to contend for the national title, and win its fourth consecutive Big Ten title. Its still atop the Big Ten, but it hasn't looked like a national power lately.
Michigan State, meanwhile, didn't have the same lofty preseason expectations, but it has won six games in a row to also climb to the top of the league standings.
In a matchup of conference leaders, the 12th-ranked Buckeyes again look to get their offensive woes straightened out Saturday when they visit the No. 20 Spartans, who are trying to win their seventh straight game for the first time in 30 years.
The Buckeyes (6-1, 3-0), losers of the last two national championship games, were ranked second in the AP preseason poll and were predicted to finish first in the Big Ten. Their national title hopes took a hit, however, after a humiliating 35-3 loss to then-No. 1 Southern California on Sept. 13 dropped them to 13th in the nation.
Ohio State has won four straight games since losing to the Trojans, but its been unable to make a move in the rankings due to its lackluster play.
In last Saturday's 16-3 home win over Purdue, the Buckeyes faced the 11th-worst defense in the nation, but gained only 222 yards of offense and scored their only touchdown on a blocked punt return.
The Buckeyes have won six straight over the Spartans since a 23-7 loss at Michigan State on Nov. 6, 1999. In Ohio State's last game in East Lansing on Oct. 14, 2006, the Buckeyes rolled to a 38-7 victory.
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Posted: 10/17/08 9:00 PM