NCAA – Top Matchups Week 8

Jason threw his hat back into the ring last week, it quickly went up in smoke like both of our picks did last week.  Here is to redemption week! I went 2-3 last week bringing my yearly total to 30-8, Jason went 1-4 bringing his total to 18-10.


We have some great matchups for week 8.  I couldn’t decide between about 8 other games, so I just stuck with the 4 matchups pairing top 25 teams. Including the first matchup of the year featuring two top 5 teams.


Auburn (4.07) @ Texas A&M (4.23)

Auburn offense (4.1) vs TAMU defense (3.78): Coach Malzahn has not had his typically high flying offense this year at Auburn. It hasn’t been bad, but they are still learning the system and figuring out how to play.  They have good talent however and have pass blocked well, as well as ran the ball well.  On the other side TAMU has a lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball, and has been one of the worst defenses in the nation in just about every statistical category.  Auburn should have no problem finding running lanes against Texas A&M who is in the bottom 20 in rush defense. Big advantage here to Auburn (not because they are good, TAMU is that bad).


TAMU offense (4.25) vs Auburn defense (3.98): Johnny Football. Pretty much sums it up. As bad as TAMU’s defense has been, their offense has been equally prolific. They are talented and can both run and throw the ball. Auburn’s defense is better than the offense, and they are not bad against the run, but they are no match for Texas A&M’s offense.  Auburn will try to stop the TAMU run game and contain Johnny Manziel.  Just don’t think they will be successful.  Big Advantage here to Texas A&M.


Steve: As much as I want to pick Auburn as I am not a believer in Texas A&M, I just can’t see them winning this game.  Auburn will run some points up, but the 12th man will be too much for Auburn to overcome, as will Manziel.  Texas A&M 42 – Auburn 35


Florida (4.57) @ Missouri (4.37)

Florida offense (4.65) vs Mizzou defense (3.87): Florida’s offense has been riddled with injuries (which is reflected in these numbers) and has not been very good this year despite the talent they have. Their run offense has been particularly bad and just took another blow with their starting RB going out for the season. However Missouri’s defense has not been great this year, although it can make plays and perform well at times.  Missouri will try to force Gator QB Tyler Murphy into some interceptions, something he has been good at avoiding thus far.  I will give the slight advantage to Missouri in this matchup.


Mizzou offense (4.22) vs Florida defense (4.65): Missouri’s offense has been very good thus far this year and is talented, particularly in the passing game.  However they suffered a huge blow last week when starting QB Franklin went out with an injury that looks like it will keep him out the rest of the year.  Florida on the other hand has perhaps the best defense in the nation, particularly against the pass.  Missouri will be starting a freshman against the Florida defense.  That does not bode well for Missouri’s chances.  If Franklin was playing (he’s not) then I would say Missouri can hold their own.  But with no Franklin, huge advantage to Florida.


Steve:  Being a home game I would go with Missouri if they were healthy. But starting a Freshman QB against that UF defense.  Have to go with UF in this game, as they will shut Missouri down. UF 21 – Mizzou 17


UCLA (4.56) @ Stanford (4.51)

UCLA offense (4.15) vs Stanford defense (3.87): Stanford’s defense has performed well this year and has been consistent. However UCLA’s offense has been very good too behind Brett Hundley at QB.  He is one of the top QB’s in the nation IMO. Stanford has been so-so against the pass, doing better against the run this year. Expect Stanford to try to make UCLA beat them on the ground and take away their passing offense.  UCLA will ride Hundley’s arm as they do not have a very good running game.  UCLA can put points up on the board. Advantage here to UCLA.


Stanford offense (4.22) vs UCLA defense (4.3): UCLA has a top 25 defense in the nation both talent and performance. They have been stellar this year. Being especially good against the pass. Stanford’s offense tries to be balanced, but they have not got their run game going like they would like to. They are reliant on Kevin Hogan at QB, who has been quite good this year. Look for UCLA to try and shut down Hogan. Advantage here to UCLA.


Steve: I am not sold on Stanford and haven’t been all year.  I think there is a good chance Stanford can win this game with it being in Stanford. However I think UCLA is that much better of a football team. UCLA 31 Stanford 24


Florida State (5.25) @ Clemson (4.78)

FSU offense (4.91) vs Clemson defense (4.16): Clemson’s defense has been MUCH improved this year. They have been good against the pass, however their run defense has been lacking.  They thrive on getting pressure on the QB and forcing the offense into making mistakes in the passing game. They have talent up front on defense, it just has not performed well so far this year (although better than last year). Florida State has one of the best offenses in the nation this year. They are equally good running the ball as they are passing the ball.  They are top 10 in just about any offensive category.  However they have been prone to giving up sacks.  However they performed much better on that front 2 weeks ago against Maryland (who at the time was 2nd in the nation in sacks). FSU will still look to set up the run with the pass, and I think run it all over Clemson.  Because of Florida State’s ability to run the ball, and protect it I will give FSU a big advantage here.


Clemson offense (4.13) vs FSU defense (5.15): Florida State’s defense took a big step forward against Maryland.  FSU is LOADED with talent.  They have a very good pass defense, and have not been as solid against the run, however still arguably a top 30 run defense (top 5 pass defense).  Clemson does have one of the better offenses in the nation, however they do not have as many options as they have had in years past. Also they do not have the running game to be able to take advantage of FSU’s weakness on Defense (run defense). Clemson will try to get the ball into their playmakers hands (Sammy Watkins). I am going to call this one a push.


Steve: I am not and have not been sold on Clemson like others have been this year.  If this was a neutral site game I would be tempted to big FSU big.  However it is a night game in Death Valley. That is good for anywhere between 7-14 points for Clemson.  If Clemson hangs around going into the 4th quarter it will be a dog fight. FSU comes out firing, but Clemson will hang around with the aid of the home crowd. FSU 38 – Clemson 27

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