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Ducking the Odds: Week 8 of the 2015 CFB Season

Rusty and Sean are back for another week of picking the top games against the spread. There are a bunch of top PAC-12 games with Cal and UCLA, some ACC games like Clemson at Miami, and a weird game with Utah playing USC.

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Last week:

Sean: 6-3

Rusty: 3-6

This season:

Sean:  35-28-2

Rusty:  30-33-2

Last week was absolutely wild in college football.  There appear to be some good games on paper and that's it.  However, a lot of times that the weeks look the most unappealing is when we see all hell break loose and the top 25 doesn't matter anymore and coaches are getting fired and fan bases blow up their message boards and tear down the goalposts.  THIS COULD BE THAT WEEKEND.

S:  Cal at UCLA (-3.5)

Puzzled by this line. Was sure Cal would be favored in this game. This probably means that UCLA is ready for a big bounce-back game. No analysis: just that this line is weird and I'm going with it. UCLA by a TD.

R:  Cal at UCLA (-3.5)

It's extremely tough to guage this UCLA team.  They got throttled by ASU at home a few weeks ago and last week they ran into a figurative buzzsaw in Stanford who is peaking in all the right ways at all the right times.  I'm not sure what to make of Cal.  They beat Texas by one, Washington by six, WSU by six, and lost to Utah by six.  It's a mix and match of close wins over bad teams and a single loss to a really good team.  The weakness of the UCLA squad is their run defense and I don't believe Cal will be able to take advantage.  The extra half point worries me but I think UCLA wins a close one.

S: Clemson (-6.5) at Miami

If this line were 7.5, I'd stay away. As it stands, Clemson's offense is finding itself at the right time, and just chewed up an excellent B.C. defense. Miami has talent, sure, but Clemson has more. Don't love laying points on a road favorite, but I believe in Clemson here.

R: Clemson (-6.5) at Miami

I'm looking at Miami's schedule and I don't think they have a win over a single good this year.  Clemson has already shown they can win the big one against top teams.  Brad Kaaya has looked great this year.  Clemson is a team that makes the most of its talent while Miami is still the program that great players go to make an average team.  Bottom-line, Clemson is one of the top teams in the country and if they're that good they should be able to win by at least a touchdown especially coming off a long week to prepare.

S:  Utah at USC (-3.5)

Almost same analysis as UCLA line above. Surprised that USC is favored (as is everyone else in the country, so I'm really original). The more I thought about it though, the matchups in this one make a lot of sense. Despite its excellent defense, I think Utah is running into an offense that it won't have an answer for. I think USC has "come together" with all the Sark drama, and are ready for a breakout performance. USC with the upset at home.

R:  Utah (+3.5) at USC

I have no idea why USC is favored.  They already their "new coach so we're going to play our best game of the year" game.  The next week is the hangover week.  The return to earth game.  They've lost their last three games.  USC is extremely talented but they can't execute.  Utah is one of the top teams in the country, has a tenacious defensive line, and a bruising offensive line.  I just don't see a weakness for the Utes that USC is going to take advantage of.

S:  Tennessee at Alabama (-15.5)

Look away. Zombie Alabama is heading for you, Vols. This squad is somehow still winning on straight-up hate and a "backed-into-a-corner" mentality. Basically, they've turned to the Dark Side. Fear, anger, aggression. This is at least a 20-point win for Darth Alabama.

R:  Tennessee at Alabama (-15.5)

Tennessee has only won a single game over a decent team.  That was last week against a Georgia team that has no business being ranked.  I love everything about Alabama and I dislike everything about Tennessee.  Alabama's Derrick Henry is going to absolutely crush the Tennessee defense.

S:  Kansas State at Texas (-4)

K-State's offense is on life support. They play objectively worse away from Manhattan. Texas has enough pieces to win this game. Picking Big 12 games is nearly impossible, and I feel like these teams are evenly matched. But I'll take the Horns here at home.

R:  Kansas State at Texas (-4)

Texas has spurned me so many times this year.  When I finally lose hope for them they give me just enough to hold onto.

S: Texas A&M (+5.5) at Ole Miss

Texas A&M is not as bad as it looked at home against 'Bama last week. 21 of the points Alabama scored were off pick sixes. Take those points away, and accounting for field position not lost with those 3 picks, this game would have been close to dead even. Ole Miss is in full-on "IT'S A TRAP" mode (Admiral Ackbar? Double entrendre?) after getting beat. down. by Memphis. Ole Miss is down its best player in Robert Nkemdiche, and have a pissed-off A&M squad coming to town that can score in a balanced way. Take the points.

R: Texas A&M (+5.5) at Ole Miss

I really don't care who is missing from the Ole Miss squad.  They should never lose to an American Conference team when the SEC is just yelling in our ears how great they are.  Texas A&M seems to get throttled by Alabama when they are missing Johnny Manziel.  Especially so when the Aggies throw three pick sixes.  This is really a loser leaves town type of game.  If Texas A&M loses then they have some real problems.

S:  Texas Tech at Oklahoma (-14)

OU is loose. After that 55-0 systematic dismantling of K-State on the road, they have found their defensive stride. Now, normally any time I see this many points in a Big 12 game, I take them, but I think Texas Tech is too turnover-prone to hang with the Sooners. This feels like a 17-point win for Boomer Sooner.

R:  Texas Tech at Oklahoma (-14)

Texas Tech has gotten smoked in every big game they've played.  At this point it seems the only reason they were close to TCU is because TCU was playing all back-ups on defense.  The Red Raiders got the win over Arkansas, which resulted in one of the best post-game press conferences in a while.  Meanwhile, Oklahoma has really been playing well this year outside of their big rivalry game against Texas.  The fact that win is in existence is still baffling.

S: Florida State (-5) at Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech is bad. Like, bad. Florida State finally played as well as it is capable of playing, after shutting down Louisville in the second half last week. And, news flash: Everett Golson has not thrown an interception this year. The Yellow Jackets' defense is bad, their offense is not doing anything close to what it did to defenses last year. They just don't have the horses to hang with an FSU squad that has jelled and ready to rock the rest of their ACC schedule. Lay the 5, 'case we're #TALKINBOUTTHENOLES.

R: Florida State (-5) at Georgia Tech

I don't understand this line.  It should be way higher for Florida State.  I'd pick Florida State as a ten-point favorite.  Everett Golson, who was a Jameis Winston-level turnover machine last year, eventually losing his spot, has been near perfect at Florida State making really smart plays week in and week out.  Georgia Tech is struggling on both sides of the ball and I just don't see how the Yellow Jackets are competitive at all.

S: Washington State (+8.5) at Arizona

I just don't believe in Anu Solomon and Arizona. Wazzu has crazy momentum and is ready to rock. And this is a fantastic take-the-points-in-a-shootout game. So: take the points in this shootout.

R: Washington State at Arizona (-8.5)

Washington State has to travel to the desert where games get wild.  Maybe I'm still bitter about the double-overtime loss but I just don't see Washington State keeping momentum after trouncing a poor Oregon State game that might be full of potential.  After watching this conference for my entire life this really seems like a game that the Cougs will Coug.