By Stewart Mandel
October 22, 2010
College Football Pickoff: Week 8
Saturday, Oct. 23
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 3 Oklahoma (6-0) at No. 18 Missouri (6-0)
This game feels eerily similar to those played by Alabama and Ohio State the past two weeks: No. 1 (in the BCS) OU playing a capable foe in front of a revved up, GameDay-infused crowd. The Sooners have owned Mizzou during Bob Stoops' tenure (and throughout history), but the Tigers' menacing pass-rush will force a couple of Landry Jones turnovers and spark yet another landscape-shaking upset.
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) No. 6 LSU (7-0) at No. 5 Auburn (7-0)
Auburn QB Cam Newton seems to get more dominant by the week, but against LSU he'll be facing the toughest defense (No. 3 nationally) he's seen. Drake Nevis and Co. should be able to slow him at times and force some third-and-longs. But you can't keep Newton down forever, and LSU lacks the quarterback play to take advantage of a suspect Auburn secondary.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 10 Wisconsin (6-1) at No. 13 Iowa (5-1)
Oft-maligned a year ago, Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi is performing at a very high level, completing 68.3 percent of his passes and throwing 13 touchdowns to two picks. He's also gotten plenty of help from top 20 rusher Adam Robinson (103.9 yards per game). If the Hawkeyes' seventh-ranked rushing defense can slow down Badgers RBs John Clay and James White, Stanzi and the Hawkeyes should control the pace.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 14 Nebraska (5-1) at No. 17 Oklahoma State (6-0)
While the matchup between star Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon and lockdown Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara should be fascinating, you've got to think the dominating Blackshirts will slow down the Cowboys' thus-far unstoppable offense (535.3 yards per game). Oklahoma State, however, lacks the defensive speed Texas used last week to shut down Huskers star Taylor Martinez.
8 p.m. ET (CBS CS) Air Force (5-2) at No. 4 TCU (7-0)
Air Force gave TCU its biggest scare during last year's 12-0 regular season (the Frogs escaped 20-17 in Colorado Springs), and the Falcons have only gotten better, currently leading the nation in rushing (346.9 yards per game). Still, it's hard to get too concerned when TCU hasn't allowed a touchdown in its past three games and hasn't lost in Fort Worth since 2007.
Noon ET (ESPN) No. 8 Michigan State (7-0) at Northwestern (5-1)
The Wildcats have knocked off eight ranked teams over the past seven seasons, but have shown little evidence of those capabilities this year, barely beating Vanderbilt and Minnesota before losing at home to Purdue. QB Dan Persa (No. 4 nationally in pass efficiency) will do some damage, but the Spartans should withstand it thanks to another big week from RBs Edwin Baker and Le'Veon Bell.
Noon ET (BTN) Purdue (4-2) at No. 11 Ohio State (6-1)
From the ashes of a seemingly lost season, the Boilers have gotten off to a 2-0 Big Ten start behind the rushing attack of redshirt freshman QB Rob Henry and RB Dan Dierking. But they're still fairly limited, and they're visiting a bunch of angry Buckeyes looking both to rebound from last week's Wisconsin loss and avenge last year's defeat in West Lafayette. Expect a big day from Terrelle Pryor.
7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) North Carolina (4-2) at No. 25 Miami (4-2)
Bad news just continues to hover over the Heels, who learned this week they'll be without corner Charles Brown for the rest of the season and fellow CB Kendric Burney for at least another week, both due to ongoing investigations. A full-strength UNC secondary would probably do well against interception-prone 'Canes QB Jacory Harris, but Miami should be able to produce a balanced attack.
Noon ET (CBS) Navy (4-2) vs. Notre Dame (4-3)
The Midshipmen caused the Irish fits under Charlie Weis, beating them two of the past three seasons. But Notre Dame's scout-team defense has been prepping for this one all season, spending practice time each day running the triple-option. In actual games, meanwhile, Notre Dame's rushing defense has improved from 89th to 41st nationally since last season.
5 p.m. ET Hawaii (5-2) at Utah State (2-4)
UPSET SPECIAL: Last week, the Warriors helped me nail a fourth-straight Upset Special by knocking off Nevada; now, I'm counting on them to help me make it five -- but in a different way. The Aggies have been up and down, routing BYU, then getting routed at Louisiana Tech. Coming off a bye, they should be well-prepared for a Hawaii team averaging nearly 20 fewer points on the road.
Record Last Week: 6-4               Record This Season: 52-18

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