"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 8 PICKS

Last Week: 15 - 6
Overall: 126 - 36

Thursday Night:

(22) Temple (6 - 0) 20 @ East Carolina (4 - 3) 23: Don't look now, but three American Athletic Conference teams are ranked in the top 25. One of them heads to Greenville, North Carolina to take on an improving East Carolina squad. This game poses an interesting challenge for the undefeated Owls, as their strength on defense is against the run, but the Pirates can throw the ball effectively, primarily due to a talented receiver corps. I'll be watching this one with an ECU alum, so it should be fun.

(20) California (5 - 1) 30 @ UCLA (4 - 2) 34: This isn't a particularly good match-up for the Bears, as UCLA has a pretty good pass defense and a balanced attack on offense. Cal relies primarily on the passing game, so there's a good chance UCLA can hang in there and perhaps pull out an upset at home after getting bludgeoned by a powerful Stanford rushing attack.

Friday Night:

(18) Memphis (6 - 0) 41 @ Tulsa (3 - 3) 37: Memphis needs to refocus quickly after stunning Ole Miss Saturday afternoon. Both of these teams can gain a lot of yardage and give up a lot too. The one certainty is that there will be a lot of points scored. It might be one of those "last team with the ball" wins kind of scenarios. If the Tigers can overcome the hangover from the big win last week, they should be able to outscore Tulsa, but this one could end up close.

Saturday:

(21) Houston (6 - 0) 45 @ UCF (0 - 7) 17: This is going to be one ugly affair. The Golden Knights have virtually no offense, and Houston's is fueled by high octane gas straight from the nearby Gulf Coast refineries.

(25) Pittsburgh (5 - 1) 20 @ Syracuse (3 - 3) 13: Pittsburgh is getting some national attention, but their three conference wins, all against sub-.500 teams, are by a combined 14 points. With a lackluster offense that's propped up by an opportunistic defense, they probably can't continue to rack up wins as their schedule gets tougher. But that won't be until next week, because Syracuse is as inept on offense as the Panthers, except the Orange don't have a tough defense to bail them out. Pitt will survive one more week before getting exposed.

(6) Clemson (6 - 0) 27  @ Miami (4 - 2) 17: Miami beat a depleted Virginia Tech team to stay in the discussion for an ACC Coastal title. After following up a big win over Notre Dame with a workmanlike defeat of Boston College, Clemson has emerged as the favorite in the conference. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the 78 people they have in the stands at Sun Life stadium will easily be outnumbered on Saturday by the Tiger faithful that always travel well, pretty much negating any chance that Miami will get some type of home-field advantage to help them pull an upset. Neither team is an offensive juggernaut, but Clemson sports the tenth ranked defense nationally. That's enough for me.

Iowa State (2 - 4) 17 @ (2) Baylor (6 - 0) 58: Baylor, the most complete team I've watched this season, leads the nation in total and scoring offense. Iowa State is 112th in total defense. Really? I'm thinking 38 - 0 in the second quarter.

(19) Toledo (6 - 0) 37 @ Massachusetts (1 - 5) 20 :Massachusetts only has three minor issues with it's football team: 1) they can't run the ball, 2) they can't stop the run and 3) they can't stop the pass. Toledo isn't great statistically, but you really don't have to be in order to rout UMass. I expect the Minutemen will have some success throwing the ball. but it probably won't be enough to outscore the Rockets.

Texas Tech (5 - 2) 37 @ (17) Oklahoma (5 - 1) 41: I'm sure Texas Tech coach Klif Kingsbury will be taking a hard look at the tape of Texas' upset of Oklahoma. The Red Raiders bring a potent offensive attack into Norman, but the Sooners have been stingy against the pass this season, the staple of Texas Tech's offense. If this game was in Lubbock, I might favor Tech. But I think Bob Stoops' team had a wakeup call against the Longhorns and will find a way to win a shootout.

Kansas (0 - 6) 16 @ (14) Oklahoma State (6 - 0) 45: This will be the final tuneup before the Cowboys hit the teeth of their schedule. Kansas is most likely headed for a winless season unless there is some miraculous conversion in Lawrence. Oklahoma State is hoping to compete for a Big 12 title. Not a good situation for the Jayhawks.

Indiana (4 - 3) 21 @ (7) Michigan State (7 - 0) 34 : Michigan State hasn't been particularly impressive, but Connor Cook should have a field day against the passing defense of Indiana. It was a big win for the Spartans over Michigan, but I think they still need to improve if they're going to defeat

Auburn (4 - 2) 21 @ Arkansas (2 - 4) 31: This is a bad matchup for the Tigers. Auburn would prefer to move the ball on the ground, but the Hogs are stingy against the run, ranking 15th nationally. Arkansas is weak against the pass, but Auburn has trouble advancing through the air. No brainer in this one.

Boston College (3 - 4) 14 @ Louisville (2 - 4) 17: BC is about as one dimensional as possible, with the top ranked defense and the 122nd best offense. Can Louisville stymie the Eagles and score enough to win? I'll go with the Cardinals to prevail in a tight one.

Northwestern (5 - 2)  17  @ Nebraska (3 - 4) 27: The Wildcats started the season with a victory over Stanford, then reeled off another four wins. But ultimately, you need an offense to win games, and Northwestern doesn't have one. A frustrated 'Husker team needs a win, and I think they'll get one today.

Kansas State (3 - 3) 16 @ Texas (2 - 4) 31: I like Texas to continue some momentum from the win against Oklahoma. K-State is a defensive mess and the Longhorns have too much atheticism not to finally start to win some football games. Charlie Strong's team will take out some frustration on the Wildcats this week.

Western Kentucky (6 - 1) 24 @ (5) LSU (6 - 0) 37 : This is a dangerous game for LSU. Last week, Ole Miss took Memphis lightly and paid the price. At the end of the day, even though the Hilltoppers will be able to score some points, I don't think their defense will be able to stop LSU.

(15) Texas A&M (5 - 1) 27 @ (24) Ole Miss (5 - 2) 24: Both of these teams suffered tough losses last week. I'm not sure why Ole Miss is still ranked, but unfortunately I don't get a vote. The outcome of this game will depend on whether Ole Miss can throw the ball on the Aggies. The weakness for the Rebels is their secondary, and I think A&M can exploit that effectively today.

(9) Florida State (6 - 0) 31 @ Georgia Tech (2 - 5) 17: The Yellow Jackets are riding a five game losing streak. The 'Noles haven't lost an ACC game since 2012. Georgia Tech can run the ball, but they can do little else. Transfer QB Everett Golston is getting more comfortable in Jimbo Fisher's Florida State offense. It looks like the Florida State - Clemson clash on Novermber 7 will be a monster game.

(3) Utah (6 - 0) 20 @ USC (3 - 3) 28: Is this the week Utah's run comes to an end? Vegas thinks so. From a match-up perspective, USC should be able to throw the ball on Utah. Eventually, the Utes are going to stumble in the tough Pac-12 South because their offense is too inconsistent and although the defense plays well in the fourth quarter, I just don't see them running the table.

(1) Ohio State (7 - 0) 34 @ Rutgers (3 - 3) 14: The Buckeyes have started to hit their stride and have decided that JT Barrett is the starter at QB.This game might be closer than expected unless Ohio State decides to exploit a weak Rutgers pass defense.

Washington (3 - 3) 13 @ (10) Stanford (5 - 1) 27:Washington just doesn't math up well with the Cardinal. Stanford can run the ball, eat up clock and make the Huskies score with minimal possessions. For a team outside the top 100 in total offense, that's a tall task.

Washington State (4 - 2) 37 @ Arizona (5 - 2) 41: Washington State can throw the ball, Arizona can't defend the pass. Arizona can run the football, Washington State can't defend the run. Which defense can play well enough to secure a victory? I'll take the Wildcats to run all over the visitors.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords. The third installment, "Offsetting Penalties" is due out in the fall.