Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders
Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) looks to pass against Texas during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)


Patrick Werkmeister

Following a relatively uneventful Saturday last week, it is now Week 8 in college football and the action is really starting to heat up. As of right now, the top 4 teams for the College Football Playoff are Georgia, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, and Alabama in that order. There’s still plenty of time for these teams’ playoff dreams to come crashing down on them, so don’t expect the final four to stay like this. With some potential upsets in this slate, don’t be surprised if the top four changes as early as this upcoming week. Here is what plays I’m going with this Saturday.

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Oklahoma State (+7.5) @ Iowa State
In this Big 12 matchup, the Oklahoma State Cowboys travel to Ames to play against the Iowa State Cyclones. Iowa State opened this one favored by six points and have since been bet up to seven and half-point home favorites.

The Cowboys have had the Cyclones number for a while where they are 8-1 SU in their last 9 games vs Iowa State. Okie State is coming off a convincing 32-24 victory over Texas on their own turf. It was the first time the Longhorns were held below 30 points all season and the Cowboy offense outgained the Longhorns by nearly 100 yards. While Oklahoma State is the 7th ranked team in the country, Iowa State comes into this game unranked and favored by a whole touchdown. The Cowboys excellent rushing attack led by Jaylen Warren will be the key for their offense to have success against a stifling Cyclone defense. Take Okie State plus the points vs an average Big 12 opponent.

Tennessee @ Alabama (-24.5)
From Tuscaloosa, the Alabama Crimson Tide host the Tennessee Volunteers for this SEC match. This opening line favored the Tide by 23.5 points and they are now listed as 24.5 point home favorites. Alabama is 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games at home and are 14-0 SU in their previous 14 vs Tennessee. In their last outing, Bama got back on track after destroying Mississippi State by 40. Following their loss to Texas A&M, the Tide seemingly made huge revisions on defense where they forced three interceptions and allowed -1 rushing yards vs Miss State. Although Tennessee has the third-highest scoring offense in the SEC coming into this one, their best player, QB Hendon Hooker, is questionable for the game with an injury. It’s hard to imagine Alabama not building on this momentum as they return home for this game. Take the Tide to cover this huge margin with relative ease.

USC (+7.5) @ Notre Dame
For this coastal rivalry, the USC Trojans look to steal one on the road against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The opening spread for this one had the Irish as six and a half-point home favorites, but they are now favored by over a touchdown. While both teams were on a bye last week, in Week 6, the Irish narrowly escaped with a victory over Virginia Tech whereas USC lost to Utah by two touchdowns. Although they fell to 3-3 overall, USC looks to get a big win on the resume in this rivalry showdown. Most of the Trojans lack of success can be blamed on their defense. They have allowed almost 400 yards per game and let up 42+ points on 3 occasions. However, this matchup suits them much better than their previous contests because of the inconsistent Notre Dame offense. If USC can prevent any hiccups on their offense, they should be able to outscore the Irish offense. They still have a lot to prove but I love this matchup for the Trojans. Take USC plus the points in what should be an exciting game.

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