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College Football Week 8 Predictions

Trenise Ferreira, Jeremy Fuster, Mike Piellucci, Jeremy Shapiro, Matthew Tufts |
October 19, 2012 | 2:15 p.m. PDT

Staff Writers

Can Steve Spurrier rally his Gamecocks to a bounceback win? (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Can Steve Spurrier rally his Gamecocks to a bounceback win? (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
It's all about the SEC and Big 12 this week. Our writers are expecting a pretty competitve slate of games, apart from at the "Swamo," where each of them thinks the Gators are about to get found out by the Gamecocks.

No. 7 South Carolina at No. 2 Florida

Ferreira: South Carolina 28 - Florida 21: South Carolina hit the LSU Tigers with their best shot and didn't have enough steam to pull off the upset. They have another chance to disrupt the pecking order in the SEC this week when they take on the Gators. We didn't see much of an offense from Florida when they beat LSU two weeks ago and this game will come down to whose defense reigns supreme, as usual. It will be tough for Carolina as they are on the road, but the "Old Ball Coach" and his team have a few more heads to knock off this season before they are done.

Fuster: South Carolina 21 - Florida 17: I severely underestimated LSU when I predicted the Gamecocks to beat them by three touchdowns last week, but I still believe South Carolina is second only to Alabama on the SEC power chart. Florida is equal to South Carolina in many areas, but I think that South Carolina is more capable of scoring big plays late in the game – something they may be required to do late in the game if things get tight. And believe me, they will.

Piellucci: South Carolina 27 - Florida 17: All year long, I've said that Florida is overrated and Saturday is the day I'm proven right. Right now, the Gators are a top-15 team masquerading as a top-five squad. The team has a strong identity (play D, run the ball, pull away in the second half) but limited depth and a glaring lack of playmakers the passing game. That doesn't bode well against a balanced South Carolina team that's full of stars and smarting after a loss to LSU.

Tufts: South Carolina 35 - Florida 21: This game provides an opportunity for one team to gain supremacy in the SEC East. South Carolina's offense was slowed down by a quick Tigers' defense, and LSU managed to keep pace. In this redemption game for South Carolina, Florida won't be able to keep up.

Shapiro: South Carolina 24 - Florida 20: The Gamecocks offensive line will need to protect Connor Shaw and give the junior quarterback an opportunity to make plays down the field, especially considering Marcus Lattimore's questionable status for Saturday’s game. If Shaw can minimize mistakes on offense, look for the Gamecocks to escape from the "Swamp" with a victory, and get back in the hunt for a national championship.

No. 6 LSU at No. 18 Texas A&M

Les Miles upset South Carolina last week. TAMU will present a tough task. (avinashkunnath/Creative Commons)
Les Miles upset South Carolina last week. TAMU will present a tough task. (avinashkunnath/Creative Commons)
Ferreira: Texas A&M 35-31 LSU: Texas A&M is having a great first season in the SEC so far, including an impressive 58-10 win over Arkansas. They escaped a nail-biter with Louisiana Tech last week to improve to 5-1, and the Tigers are looking for an impressive win that will give people a reason to put their faith in them once again. But their lack of an offense is trouble and injuries will wear them down as the season drags along. The Aggies have home field advantage and a ton of momentum.

Fuster: LSU 28 - Texas A&M 21: Has LSU finally found its momentum again? We will find out when they travel to College Station. It will come down to whether or not Les Miles can get his team focused after the big win over the Gamecocks last week and be prepared to face the loud crowds at Kyle Field. If they can do that, then they should win, because they have by far the stronger defense and should be able to give Johnny Manziel a rough time of it.

Piellucci: Texas A&M 24, LSU 20: I'm from Texas and have witnessed enough A&M collapses that I should know better than to go off of what the Aggies should do in a given week. But even I can't help myself, with Johnny Football's turbocharged offense playing at a raucous Kyle Field against a scuffling LSU squad with all sorts of problems on offense. Offensive tackles Jake Matthews and Luke Joeckel can at least hold their own against LSU's ends and mitigate what may be LSU's only game-changing advantage.

Tufts: LSU - 23 Texas A&M 17: The Aggies have been racking up huge numbers on offense since their opening loss to Florida but have yet to face a real SEC powerhouse. LSU's tenacious defense will welcome them to their new conference with a quick defensive line that is sure to put pressure on freshman quarterback Manziel. Critical interceptions and constant pressure will put the Tigers on top going into a primetime matchup next week against No. 1 Alabama.

Shapiro: LSU 30 – Texas A&M 23: The Aggies will need a heroic performance from Manziel against a staunch Tigers defense oozing with talented pass rushers and ball hawks in the secondary. LSU will control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and eat up the clock by pounding the ball with four capable running backs, keeping Manziel and the potent Aggies offense on the sidelines.

No. 4 Kansas State at No. 13 West Virginia

K State will have its hands full against Geno Smith and the WVU offense. (The U.S. Army/Creative Commons)
K State will have its hands full against Geno Smith and the WVU offense. (The U.S. Army/Creative Commons)
Ferreira: Kansas State 43-35 West Virginia: In another edition of "Big 12 Shootouts," the Wildcats and the Mountaineers will face-off on Saturday. West Virginia's atrocious defense has been exposed, and it doesn't matter if Geno Smith passes for 15 touchdowns if his defense can't stop a nose bleed. The Wildcats will win and Smith's NCAA 13 video game-like season is over. 

Fuster: Kansas State 45 - West Virginia 35: Both teams have rather weak secondaries, which should allow Collin Klein and Smith to build very impressive stat lines. But the problem with WVU is that we don't know which team will come out to play: will it be the one that beat the Longhorns or the one that beat the Red Raiders? On the other side, there's little reason to believe KSU won't come out guns blazing, so I expect Klein to pull ahead and compete with Braxton Miller for the top spot in the Heisman Race after this game.

Piellucci: West Virginia 35 - Kansas State 28: West Virginia's D is horrible even by Big 12 standards, which is like saying that Lindsay Lohan has gone off the rails even by former child star standards. But the Mountaineers are back in Morgantown and no doubt furious after getting taken to the woodshed by Texas Tech. Most importantly, they have too much speed on offense for the Wildcats to stop and will ratchet up points faster than Klein and his methodical offense can keep pace.

Tufts: West Virginia 45 - Kansas State 35: Smith still has yet to throw an interception this season, and he'll be looking to get on track against a Kansas State team that surrendered nearly 300 passing yards to Landry Jones in its win over Oklahoma - the Wildcats' only game against a top-tier quarterback. If West Virginia can contain the rushing attack, expect the Mountaineers to come away with the win.

Shapiro: West Virginia 42 – Kansas State 38: West Virginia’s defense can’t anything, so look for this to be a high-scoring affair that comes down to who can make a big play on defense. Watch for Geno Smith and the Mountaineers offense to find their groove and put on a show in Morgantown after last week’s unexpected blunder.

No. 17 Texas Tech at No. 23 TCU

Doege will try to leap over the Horned Frogs. (GoIowaState/Creative Commons)
Doege will try to leap over the Horned Frogs. (GoIowaState/Creative Commons)
Ferreira: Texas Tech is riding high after their colossal beat down of West Virginia last week, and it will take that momentum down to TCU with them on Saturday. Zero-to-hero Texas Tech QB Seth Doege is trying to refine his passing game against the Horned Frogs after throwing three picks last week. These in-state rivals will provide a solid match up, but when the fourth quarter runs out, TCU will emerge as the better team.

Fuster: TCU 21 - Texas Tech 14: I have TCU in this matchup because I don't know if Texas Tech will be able to keep the momentum going after toppling West Virginia last week. The Horned Frogs also have a stronger defense than the Mountaineers, led by defensive end Devonte Fields, who has 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles this season.

Piellucci: TCU 41 - Texas Tech 28: Don't be fooled by its smack down of a complacent West Virginia team; Texas Tech is still mediocre. And just like last year, when they beat Oklahoma in Norman before losing their last five games, the Red Raiders will return to form with a letdown loss.

Tufts: Texas Tech 41 - TCU 23: Buoyed by by a 499-yard, six-touchdown performance from Doege against West Virginia last week, the Red Raider defense was equally impressive, holding Heisman-hopeful Geno Smith to only five yards per completion. TCU freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin deserves credit for taking over the team and throwing four touchdowns in his second start. Unfortunately for the Horned Frogs, this won't be the case in Week 7.

Shapiro: Texas Tech 31 - TCU  21: Texas Tech is riding a surge of momentum following last week’s dismantling of West Virginia. Both teams feature tough defenses, but Tech’s ability to shut down the run and pass, while ranking tenth nationally in total offense, will be too much for the Horned Frogs to overcome. 



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