This season is unlike anything we have ever experienced, as home-field advantage may not mean as much due to little or no crowds. So far, the home teams are only 79-64 in games between FBS teams. Computer simulations -- if that's your thing -- mean nothing with only 54 total nonconference games between FBS schools currently scheduled and half the leagues not playing any at all. Nevertheless, we must work with what we have.
Each week, I will use this space to tell you what I think are a few of the best bets heading into the weekend. I will also throw in an upset of the week, which will feature a team that is at least a touchdown underdog that I am picking to win outright. I will also give you picks on other games involving potential College Football Playoff teams. Considering we are still relatively early in this strange season, I'll go with the top 12 teams in this week's AP poll.
Last week, I was 1-2 on my regular picks and missed on my upset pick. As of this writing, there is only one postponed game: Florida at Missouri. With the Big Ten and Mountain West beginning play, there are 45 games to choose from this week.
Odds below provided via William Hill Sportsbook
Week 8 Picks
Illinois at Wisconsin (-19.5): One year ago this week, Wisconsin was steamrolling everything in sight. The Badgers were 6-0, ranked No. 6 and had already posted four shutouts. Illinois was still looking for its first conference win. The Illini shocked the Badgers 24-23, turning their season around and likely saving coach Lovie Smith's job. I do not imagine that Wisconsin has forgotten that day, and will look to exact some revenge. Pick: Wisconsin (-19.5)
Cincinnati at SMU (-2.5): A lot is at stake in this matchup. The winner will be the last undefeated team in the American Athletic Conference and will be favored to represent the Group of Five in a New Year's Six bowl game. Cincinnati wins with its defense, giving up about 12 points per game, while the Mustangs are scoring almost 12 points per quarter. I'm going with that old adage: defense wins championships. Pick: Cincinnati (+2.5)
Air Force at San Jose State (+7): Air Force has the advantage in that the Falcons have a game under their belts already -- a 40-7 whipping of Navy back on Oct. 3. Meanwhile, San Jose State was picked by the Mountain West media to finish fifth in the West Division. This should be an easier win for Air Force than this line indicates. Pick: Air Force (-7)
Upset of the Week
Penn State at Indiana (+6.5): Indiana is coming off an eight-win season and sees the return of last year's starting QB Michael Penix, Jr. Penix missed the second half of last season with a shoulder injury after seeing his first season cut short by a torn ACL A healthy Penix to go along with offensive stars Whop Phylor and Stevie Scott give Indiana a chance to hang with almost anyone. Penn State also returns its starting QB, Sean Clifford, but will not have RB Journey Brown, who will miss the season due to a medical condition. This could be a high-scoring affair. Pick: Indiana (+6.5)
Other CFP candidates
- Syracuse at Clemson (-46) Pick: Syracuse
- Alabama at Tennessee (+21) Pick: Alabama
- Notre Dame at Pitt (-10.5) Pick: Pitt
- Nebraska at Ohio State (-26) Pick: Ohio State
- Iowa State at Oklahoma State (-3.5) Pick: Iowa State
- Virginia at Miami (-11.5) Pick: Virginia
- Texas State at BYU (-29) Pick: BYU
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 8, and which SEC team will pull off a shocking upset? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,100 in profit over the past four-plus seasons -- and find out.