Week 8 Picks: The Big Ten is Back and Alabama Never Left
Finally, we can make some picks with Big Ten games. On Friday night, the Big Ten will kickoff their 2020 season with Illinois taking on Wisconsin. There are a few solid matchups within the conference on Saturday, which we will discuss later. Last week, I went 2-0-1, with South Carolina pulling off a massive upset over Auburn. If it weren’t for a garbage-time touchdown from Kansas, I would have been 3-0. I’m feeling confident entering this week, so let’s get straight to it.
Ohio State (-26.0) vs. Nebraska
The Buckeyes enter the season as the favorites to win the Big Ten and make the College Football playoff. In their first game, they take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who they demolished 48-7 last season. Expect more of the same from the Buckeyes, returning many stars from their Big Ten-winning team the previous season. Heisman candidate Justin Fields should light up the weak Cornhusker defense with his multitude of weapons on offense. Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez has never been as good as advertised on the other side of the ball. He looked silly against the Buckeyes defense last season, and their defense is just as good now. Give me Ohio State as one of the more confident picks in a blowout over Nebraska.
Alabama (-21.0) vs. Tennessee
The Crimson Tide made a convincing statement in their victory over number three Georgia last week. This offense is just electric. Mac Jones has impressed under center, and Alabama undoubtedly has the best receiving core in college football. Their defense should dominate against Jarrett Guarantino, who was benched last week against Kentucky. Additionally, Tennessee’s defense has not performed as well as expected before the season. Alabama should have no problem putting up 40 points en route to a rout of the Volunteers. Alabama -21.0 is also one of the safer picks this week, even though they are on the road.
TCU (+7.0) vs. Oklahoma
Oklahoma is bad. I don’t care that they beat Texas because Texas is terrible too. Spencer Rattler is a typical freshman quarterback who makes mistakes. TCU has arguably the best secondary in the nation, with Ardarius Washington and Trevon Moehrig at the safety position. Expect an interception from at least one of them against an air-raid offense capable of turning the ball over frequently. With Max Duggan under center for the Horned Frogs, TCU runs a fairly efficient offense. Against a Big-12 defense, sometimes all you need is a reasonably efficient offense to put up a 40-piece. Oklahoma has struggled out of the gates and can get into trouble if the turnovers occur early. I like TCU getting a touchdown in this one, as they could very well win outright. I love making upset picks, so let’s see TCU knock the Sooners back even further.
Bonus Pick: Minnesota (+3.0) vs. Michigan
The Michigan vs. Minnesota matchup is fascinating. I think Minnesota is very underrated this season, employing one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and a top wide receiver. The duo of Tanner Morgan and Rashod Bateman will be tough for Michigan to handle.
Every year, the Wolverines underperform, so all the pressure will be on Michigan in this Saturday night matchup. Junior quarterback Joe Milton will be getting his first career start, facing a Minnesota defense that is no joke. PJ Fleck is one of the best coaches in football, and the Golden Gophers will be at home on Saturday. Expect a close contest, but I’m picking Minnesota to upset Michigan in the Big Ten opener.