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CBSSports.com Senior College Football Columnist

Week 8 picks: Favorites will be tested, but no upsets

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I had a strong week, going 12-5 against the number, putting me 12 over .500 against the line for the season. The good: picking Georgia Tech to have problems at Virginia. The bad: picking Illinois to handle Ohio State. The ugly: picking Michigan to finally end Michigan State's winning streak in that series. Here are this week's guesses:

Oklahoma State 38, Missouri 34: The Cowboys have as much firepower as anyone, but is their D strong enough to win a BCS title? They are good at getting to the QB (11th in sacks) but they give up a ton of yards (100th in total defense) and might be ripe for an emotional letdown after winning at Texas last week. OSU's past four opponents have averaged 228 rushing yards. So this should be a good spot for Mizzou's Henry Josey, who is averaging 7.0 yards per carry and 106 rushing yards in three Big 12 games this season. Pregame: OSU-Mizzou

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Clemson 24, North Carolina 17: Dabo Swinney's squad had to rally to beat a mediocre Maryland team last week. The Tigers return home to face the Tar Heels, who have struggled defending the pass (92nd in pass defense) and were carved up in the first half by Jacory Harris last week. UNC's Gio Bernard should be able to do some damage against the No. 84 run defense, but the Tigers will have a little too much Sammy Watkins to slip up at home. Pregame: UNC-Clemson

Arkansas 41, Mississippi 17: Houston Nutt's program is reeling. The Rebels have been humiliated by Vandy and Alabama alike. They're also banged up. Just not getting blown out of the building seems to be the name of the game here against his old school. My hunch is the Rebels will be able to run the ball some to keep it interesting for awhile until Tyler Wilson lights up the Ole Miss D and blows it open in the second half. Pregame: Arkansas-Ole Miss

Kansas State 34, Kansas 17: The Jayhawks were competitive with Oklahoma for a while last week, but they're so inept on D they won't be the ones to finally knock off K-State. KU is allowing 57 ppg over its past four games. KSU, which has won its past four all by a TD or less, finally gets to coast a little in the fourth quarter.

Illinois 24, Purdue 14: The Boilers return home, where they're 3-1. They run the ball pretty well, but protecting the passer has been a big problem (105th in the country in sacks allowed). That's not good against an Illini D led by the nation's top pass rusher in Whitney Mercilus. The Zooker's team also has been stout against the run (second in the Big Ten).

LSU 31, Auburn 13: Even without two of their top three CBs (Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon out on suspension), LSU is still so deep that new Auburn starting QB Clint Moseley will be overwhelmed by he sees. Auburn's offense is just 77th in scoring and they haven't faced a D with the talent LSU has. Pregame: Auburn-LSU

Boise State 48, Air Force 20: The Broncos return home after averaging 60 points on their two-game road swing. Their D-line is still playing well and this team is solid against the run, only allowing 113 rushing yards. They're disciplined enough to slow down the Air Force ground game, while Kellen Moore and Doug Martin have their way with a defense that has given up 100 points the past two weeks. Pregame: Air Force-Boise State

Oregon 52, Colorado 14: After an impressive second half led by some key backups, Oregon goes back on the road to face a 1-6 CU team that is 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring defense. The Buffs have lost three of their past four games by 20 or more. The good news is that the other loss, a 31-27 defeat against Washington State, came at home, where they also lost a close one in OT to Cal early this season. The Ducks, though, are too efficient at what they do for CU. Pregame: Oregon-Colorado

Virginia Tech 34, Boston College 7: The Hokies have hammered the Eagles the past three meetings and this is the worst BC team of that bunch. Tech's also getting healthier on D and BC is averaging just 8.5 ppg on the road this year.

Nebraska 34, Minnesota 10: Should be another big day for Rex Burkhead and the Huskers' running game against the hapless Gophers, who have surrendered 103 points the past two weeks. Maybe Minnesota can hang around for a half at home.

Texas A&M 55, Iowa State 27: The Aggies are surging offensively while ISU is reeling, having lost three in a row after the 3-0 start. Iowa State has allowed 47 ppg in its three Big 12 games and this is the best offensive team they've seen yet. ISU also has all kinds of issues protecting the QB (91st in sacks allowed), which is bad news going against Tim DeRuyter's team that leads the nation in sacks.

Miami (Fla.) 31, Georgia Tech 24: The 'Canes run defense hasn't been great to begin with. Losing their most experienced DT, Micanor Regis, to suspension midweek will sting against GT. But the Jackets have issues slowing down the run as well (81st) and Lamar Miller should bounce back after the way UNC loaded up to stop him last week. Jacory Harris also is one of the hottest QBs in the country and that balance should be too much for Tech on the road. Pregame: Georgia Tech-Miami

Houston 45, Marshall 21: The Herd D is playing pretty well under Chris Rippon, holding its past three opponents to 16 ppg as DE Vinny Curry continues to dominate. The bad news is their offense has been brutal (115th in scoring). Case Keenum has great pocket presence to deal with the pressure and enough talent around him to burn the Herd. UH also has a few difference-maker defenders on their side, led by Sammy Brown.

Alabama 31, Tennessee 7: I'm tempted to pick another Tide blowout, but my hunch is Nick Saban will throttle down on his old assistant Derek Dooley. 'Bama's D, led by Courtney Upshaw, has been fantastic, holding everyone this season to 14 points or less. Pregame: Tennessee-Alabama

Penn State 13, Northwestern 10: As good as JoePa's D has been this year, the Nittany Lions have been shaky on the road, struggling with two teams less talented than NU. Ultimately, though, my hunch is that Silas Redd will be too much for the suspect Wildcats run defense.

Oklahoma 44, Texas Tech 21: The Sooners D has proven to be very adept at shifting things up front to keep people off balance. They'll get a nice challenge from Tech QB Seth Doege, who is trying to bounce back from a rough game last week. The Red Raiders should have some success early, but their D is still a mess and OU is devastating at home. Pregame: Texas Tech-PU

Wisconsin 31, Michigan State 28: The Spartans defense is by far the best challenge Russell Wilson and the Badgers have faced. They should be able to slow Wisconsin down, but my hunch is Bret Bielema's team is just a notch better and wins a tight game in its first true road game of the season. Pregame: Wisconsin-Michigan State

Stanford 38, Washington 28: No one has gotten even close to Stanford this season, but the Huskies have the balance to make things interesting behind Keith Price and Chris Polk. Look for U-Dub to be right there with the Cardinal till the methodical and sharp Stanford attack takes over the game in the second half. Pregame: Washington-Stanford


Bruce Feldman is a senior writer for CBSSports.com and college football commentator for CBS Sports Network. He is a New York Times Bestselling author, who has written books including Swing Your Sword, Meat Market and Cane Mutiny. Prior to joining CBS, Feldman spent 17 years at ESPN.
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