Tailgate Pick ‘Em Week 8 Predictions Including Oregon vs Washington State

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Oregon vs Washington State from the PAC-12 North, and undefeated NC State vs undefeated Clemson in the ACC are our featured matchups this week as we review the five biggest games in college football.

#6 Michigan at #24 Michigan State (Saturday at 12:00 in East Lansing, MI)
Line: Michigan by 7

John Bava: Ever since Michigan running back Mike Hart referred to Michigan State as “little brother” after a win in 2007, his Wolverines are 2-8 against their rivals from East Lansing. It includes a 14-10 defeat in Ann Arbor last year when Michigan came into the game ranked seventh while the Spartans were unranked. Both are coming off statement wins. MSU went into Happy Valley and shocked Penn State last week while the Maize and Blue ran Wisconsin out of the Big House.

Both Mark Dantonio and Jim Harbaugh have prided themselves on playing shutdown defense since arriving at their respective schools. It shows this year with Michigan State leading the nation defending the run while Michigan is FBS’ top-ranked pass defense. The big question heading into this one is the status of Spartan running back L.J. Scott who’s dealing with an ankle injury and has missed the last four games. But Michigan hasn’t exactly impressed on the road this year. Michigan 27, Michigan State 24

Mike Loveall: The only thing that should cause Wolverine fans concern in this game is the fact that it’s on the road. Mark D’Antonio has won 8 of the 11 meetings of this rivalry and has covered ten in a row. A regression to the mean is due, and Michigan looks like they are finally firing on all cylinders. Shea Patterson has the arm strength to do what Jim Harbaugh wants to do on offense. The talent gap is too wide in East Lansing. Michigan 35, Michigan State 23

Lukas Weese: Michigan is coming off a double-digit victory over the Wisconsin Badgers last week. The offence is clicking on all cylinders and the defense is dominating opponents and limiting scoring. Michigan State is in big time trouble. I like the Wolverines to continue their winning streak. Michigan 35, Michigan State 14

Yesh Ginsburg: Michigan State played perfect football last week, but Penn State let them hang around. Also, the Spartans received an enormous amount of turnover luck, which just isn’t sustainable. I expect a reversion to the mean overall in this game, which means Michigan pulling away in the second half. Michigan 38, Michigan State 17

Steen Kirby: Michigan State pulled an upset against Penn State last weekend but Michigan has bounced back nicely and is a legitimate playoff contender. This is a rivalry game both sides will be up for but the Wolverine defense is going to stifle MSU. Michigan 38, Michigan State 14

#16 NC State at #3 Clemson (Saturday at 3:30 in Clemson, SC)
Line: Clemson by 17.5

John: This one is a battle between the ACC’s last two unbeaten teams. Despite the point spread favoring Clemson rather heavily, the past few iterations of this series have been extremely competitive. It includes the Wolfpack nearly pulling off the upset two years ago, a season where the Tigers eventually won the national title. Both teams are coming off a bye week and should be well-rested.

The quarterback edge goes N.C. State’s way. Ryan Finley is a legitimate NFL-caliber signal caller who leads the ACC in yards per game and completion percentage. But don’t count out Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence either. He’s thrown 11 touchdowns to just two interceptions so far. What may push the Tigers over the edge is running back Travis Etienne, currently the conference’s leading rusher. Add in their fearsome defensive front and you have the recipe for victory. Clemson 38, N.C. State 24

Mike: That’ a big line for an undefeated team. Ryan Finley is the most underappreciated quarterback in the country and Clemson has struggled lately. N.C. State’s defensive performance is also underappreciated. The Tigers have a ton of talent, but they haven’t hit their stride yet this season. And neither of the teams care too much for each other. N.C. State has kept it close the past two seasons; coming off the bye it’ll be tempting to take the Tigers with the cover, but I think the Wolfpack can score enough to keep it within range. Clemson 34, N.C. State 24

Lukas:  This ACC battle is between two undefeated teams and will be very close. Clemson is undefeated but has had some close calls this season. NC State has a huge task on defense trying to slow down the Tigers rushing attack of Travis Etienne, who has logged four consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Clemson squeaks out a close one to remain undefeated. Clemson 28, NC State 17

Yesh: Does this line feel way too high to anyone else? Clemson showed its potential against Wake Forest, but this team has also struggled at times. If Ryan Finley can avoid turning the ball over, this matchup should once again be a one-possession game. Clemson 35, N.C. State 31

Steen: NC State is undefeated but hasn’t been tested, while Clemson has been up and down this season but remains undefeated. The Clemson running game will help them prevail at home but it won’t be easy as I expect the Wolfpack to compete for all 4 quarters. Clemson 28, NC State 21

#22 Mississippi State at #5 LSU (Saturday at 7:00 in Baton Rouge, LA)
Line: LSU by 6.5

John: Both these teams are riding high coming into Saturday’s matchup at Tiger Stadium. They’re the result of upsets in both their previous games. MSU knocked off Auburn on October 6 and had last week off. Meanwhile, LSU dominated previously second-ranked Georgia in virtually all facets en route to a 36-16 victory.

To say the Tigers are balanced on offense is an understatement considering they have 1,415 yards through the air and on the ground. Joe Burrow’s been reliable behind center while Nick Brosette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are forming a potent one-two punch in the backfield. For the Bulldogs, their offense revolves around their dual-threat sensation Nick Fitzgerald who’s one of just two quarterbacks in FBS averaging over 100 rushing yards per game. But LSU’s front seven have proven tough to move the ball against, something which may repeat itself this weekend. LSU 34, Mississippi State 20

Mike: The Bulldogs started the season as a dark horse candidate to finish second in the SEC West. LSU came in with lingering questions at quarterback. The Tigers have answered their questions, Mississippi State hasn’t. LSU’s wins over Miami and Georgia demand respect. State only has a win against reeling Auburn to hang their hat on. The Bulldogs’ dreams of a ten win season – like many other dreams – will die in Death Valley on Saturday. LSU 27, Mississippi State 20

Lukas: LSU is coming into this game on a roll after dethroning their SEC rival Georgia. In seven games this season, the Tigers have rushed for 1,415 yards and passed for 1,415 yards. I see them continuing their domination on offence against a Bulldogs team, who have struggled running the football. LSU 33, Mississippi State 17

Yesh: This line feels too high considering LSU is coming off a huge emotional win, but the Tigers never seem to suffer a letdown at home. Nick Fitzgerald will have some success on offense, but not enough to win. LSU 28, Mississippi State 20

Steen: A huge upset for LSU against Georgia last weekend has them dreaming of the College Football playoff. If they slip up here it would certainly hurt their chances though. Mississippi State has been inconsistent though and I’ll back the LSU defense to help them secure a win. LSU 27, Mississippi State 17

#12 Oregon at #25 Washington State (Saturday at 7:30 in Pullman, WA)
Line: Washington State by 3

John: Oregon snagged its first win over a top-10 team since 2015 last week when they knocked off Washington in overtime. Things don’t get much easier in Week Eight as they take on the Huskies’ Apple Cup rival Washington State who also find themselves ranked. This game has massive Pac-12 North title implications with these two teams along with Oregon and Stanford having just one conference loss.

It appears to be plug and play when it comes to the Mike Leach’s offense. Gardner Minshew II has picked up right where Luke Falk left off as he’s currently the only quarterback in FBS with over 400 passing yards per game. His defense does a great job stymying opposing quarterbacks too, with Wazzu leading the conference in passing defense. They may indeed have the formula to neutralize top pro prospect Justin Herbert. Washington State 31, Oregon 27

Mike: Finally, Ol’ Crimson finds itself at home for College Gameday. Pullman will be an incredible scene on Saturday, but the Cougars are a young team and might not be ready for this big stage. Oregon has been tested, with wins against Cal and Washington, but they’ve also been gut-punched with their last minute loss to Stanford. That’ll mature a team real quick, if they’re coached right. And make no mistake, Mario Cristobal can coach football. Oregon might be back on top of the Pac-12 North. Oregon 42, Washington State 35

Lukas: This thrilling Pac-12 matchup should live up to the hype. Oregon is coming off a thrilling 30-27 victory in overtime over Washington. Washington State is coming off a bye after a blowout victory over Oregon State. The matchup in this game will be how the Oregon offence, led by quarterback Herbert, going against the Washington State defense that is ranked number one in the Pac-12 against the pass. I like the Ducks to win a close game. Oregon 27, Washington State 24

Yesh: Oregon has looked good this year, but hasn’t really been challenge. Washington State will challenge the Ducks, and the defense should be enough to stop this from being a shootout. Also, this is one of the Cougars’ biggest home games in a very long time. They won’t disappoint. Washington State 41, Oregon 21

Steen: A huge game for Washington State, they will compete hard but Oregon is (probably) the best team in the PAC-12 right now and I don’t think Washington State can slow them down. Oregon 38, Washington State 28

North Texas at UAB (Saturday at 7:30 in Birmingham, AL)
Line: UAB by 1.5

John: North Texas is rolling under third-year head coach Seth Littrell. The Mean Green boast a win over a Power Five program (Arkansas) and if not for a blocked field goal with under a minute left against Louisiana Tech, they’d come into this game unbeaten. They face a UAB side riding pretty high themselves with just one loss and a 3-0 record in conference play.

Mean Green quarterback Mason Fine is putting up some monster stats. He’s one of just six FBS quarterbacks with 2,000+ passing yards at this point in the season. And only two others have one or fewer interceptions combined with 15 or more touchdown passes. UNT also make plays on defense with their 13 interceptions tops in the nation. Though UAB does lead Conference USA in pass defense, North Texas’ high-powered unit ultimately proves too much for the Blazers. North Texas 37, UAB 27

Mike: If Bill Clark doesn’t win the Coach of the Year Award this season, they should just pack it up and never give it again. To have this program where they’re after the old guards shut the program down is a remarkable achievement. But there isn’t much room for compassion on the field, and Mason Fine and the North Texas offense can score in large chunks. Mean Green continues their stellar season. North Texas 37, UAB 27

Lukas: Both UAB and North Texas each have a loss. They each don’t give up more than 20 points per game and average more than 400 yards of offence per game. So which will break? North Texas is coming in on a two game winning streak. I say it continues to keep them only with one loss on the season. UAB 28, North Texas 20

Yesh: Sometimes I wonder if the best thing that every happened to UAB’s football program was the school shutting it down. It has certainly returned with a vengeance, and has a real chance to take control in Conference-USA in this game. This North Texas team is no joke, though, and Seth Littrell is sure to get offers from major universities very soon. North Texas probably has a stronger offense, but the UAB defense looks better on the other side. Give me the home team in a toss-up. UAB 31, North Texas 27

Steen: Both teams have put together great seasons and deserve plenty of credit. North Texas has a better offense though and I’ll back them on the road against an inspirational UAB program that deserves a movie soon. North Texas 35, UAB 28

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