By Brad Carroll and Matt Straub
Five College Football Playoff contenders ranked in the Top 10 will be in action during Saturday afternoon’s Week 8 slate of games seeking to avoid the upset bug that affected several top programs last week, and take a step forward in their own push to get into the final tournament with a victory.
No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 8 Miami, No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 10 Oklahoma State will all be in action against unranked teams early Saturday. Our college football experts preview and pick against the point spread the biggest games of the afternoon slate below. Check out our Saturday night previews and picks against the point spread here and our Thursday game preview and pick here.
As always, follow us on Twitter for all of our previews and picks here.
Maryland at No. 5 Wisconsin, 12, FOX
Spread: Wisconsin -24
Matt’s Breakdown: It’s scary to call a team a lock after the chaos of last week, but there’s no reason to think the Terps have a chance in this one. That is, unless you spot them 24 points. The Badgers were awful a week ago against Purdue, but would seem unlikely to deliver two bad performances in a row. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook will have to be more consistent if Wisconsin is going to compete for a title. Here’s his and the team's chance to gain momentum.
Brad’s Final: Wisconsin 42, Maryland 14 (Wisconsin)
Craig’s Final: Wisconsin 31, Maryland 17 (Maryland)
Glenn’s Final: Wisconsin 35, Maryland 13 (Maryland)
Matt’s Final: Wisconsin 38, Maryland 13 (Wisconsin)
No. 10 Oklahoma State at Texas, 12, ABC
Spread: Oklahoma State -7
Matt’s Breakdown: This might be the best game of the week no one is talking about. The winner stays in the Big 12 race, and for the Cowboys, a win keeps them in the national title conversation. Oklahoma State, led by quarterback Mason Rudolph, who is trying to get himself into the mix to be considered one of the best quarterbacks of a loaded class, has a fantastic offense. Texas, meanwhile, can stop people, but hasn’t been consistent enough to do it for an entire game. The Cowboys get a scare, but do just enough.
Brad’s Final: Oklahoma State 45, Texas 35 (Oklahoma State)
Craig’s Final: Oklahoma State 45, Texas 28 (Oklahoma State)
Glenn’s Final: Oklahoma State 38, Texas 30 (Oklahoma State)
Matt’s Final: Oklahoma State 38, Texas 30 (Oklahoma State)
Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama, 3:30, CBS
Spread: Alabama -35
Matt’s Breakdown: The only possible reason to give the Vols a chance in this one is if you think they’ll play hard to keep Butch Jones as their coach for another week. The vultures are circling in Knoxville, with Jones already seeing his possible replacements listed. The Crimson Tide are going to win this game, and Tennessee has done little this year to show it cares about its coach’s future. Even if they do, the Tide might not let them do anything about it.
Brad’s Final: Alabama 38, Tennessee 10 (Tennessee)
Craig’s Final: Alabama 38, Tennessee 10 (Tennessee)
Glenn’s Final: Alabama 42, Tennessee 20 (Tennessee)
Matt’s Final: Alabama 56, Tennessee 10 (Alabama)
Syracuse at No. 8 Miami, 3:30, ESPN
Spread: Miami -14.5
Matt’s Breakdown: Any remaining possibility the Orange could sneak up on someone died when they knocked off Clemson and shook up the national title picture. It marked the second straight season Syracuse took down a big name, and put every team it plays on upset alert from now on. Miami’s defense will be ready for the challenge, and quarterback Malik Rosier has been great when he has had to be this season. With the Hurricanes knowing they were lucky to win the last two, Rosier has them focused on a full effort in this one and the offense finally explodes. No upset here.
Brad’s Final: Miami 35, Syracuse 21 (Syracuse)
Craig’s Final: Miami 27, Syracuse 14 (Syracuse)
Glenn’s Final: Miami 21, Syracuse 17 (Syracuse)
Matt’s Final: Miami 42, Syracuse 20 (Miami)
Indiana at No. 18 Michigan State, 3:30, ABC
Spread: Michigan State -6.5
Matt’s Breakdown: Indiana might be the best 0-3 team in Big 10 history. The Hoosiers scared Ohio State early in the year, lost to Penn State, and then took Michigan to overtime. They seem to have decided on a quarterback in freshman Peyton Ramsey, who should look better this week if they stick with him since he’s not facing Michigan again. The Spartans have some huge wins this year and should be ready for another challenge, but Indiana doesn’t let anyone off easy this season. Michigan State sweats out another win.
Brad’s Final: Michigan State 27, Indiana 20 (Michigan State)
Craig’s Final: Michigan State 24, Indiana 10 (Michigan State)
Glenn’s Final: Michigan State 31, Indiana 17 (Michigan State)
Matt’s Final: Michigan State 31, Indiana 27 (Indiana)
No. 9 Oklahoma at Kansas State, 4, FOX
Spread: Oklahoma -14
Matt’s Breakdown: The Sooners have a chance to pick up a sneakily difficult road win to add to their resume this week, and after their stunning loss to Iowa State, their resume needs every touch it can get. The Sooners are still very much alive for the College Football Playoff, but likely need to win every game from here on out. This one shouldn’t be too hard, as Baker Mayfield can lead his offense against a Kansas State team which can’t do nearly enough on offense to keep this one close. The atmosphere will be tough for Oklahoma, but the opponent is not.
Brad’s Final: Oklahoma 50, Kansas State 31 (Oklahoma)
Craig’s Final: Oklahoma 40, Kansas State 24 (Oklahoma)
Glenn’s Final: Oklahoma 56, Kansas State 20 (Oklahoma)
Matt’s Final: Oklahoma 42, Kansas State 21 (Oklahoma)