- Week 8 of the college football season features an action-packed slate on Saturday, October 24th
- There are a couple undefeated teams on upset alert this week
- See the odds and best upset picks for Week 8 within the story below
There have been no shortage of upsets through seven weeks of the college football season, and Week 8 could feature more mayhem.
Two teams that are currently ranked in the top 25 have been trending in the wrong direction and could suffer their first losses, while the Mountain West Conference is primed for upsets in its opening weekend.
Here are three upset picks you should consider for Week 8 of college football.
#16 SMU vs #9 Cincinnati Odds
|#9 Cincinnati Bearcats||+2.5 (-107)||+110||O 57.5 (-107)|
|#16 SMU Mustangs||-2.5 (-114)||-134||U 57.5 (-114)|
All odds taken Oct. 21 at DraftKings
Cincinnati Prevails In Pivotal Clash With SMU
It’s a clash of the only two undefeated teams in the AAC when the 3-0 Cincinnati Bearcats and 5-0 SMU Mustangs faceoff at Gerald Ford Stadium in Dallas on Saturday. One of the reasons the Mustangs are favored is because they have home-field advantage and are allowing around 25% capacity seating in their stadium. They’re also getting back OL Justin Osborne on the offensive line.
— SMU FootbaII (@SMU_Football) October 17, 2020
SMU may be favored in this one, but Cincinnati is playing the better football right now. The Mustangs escaped with a three-point victory over Memphis in Week 5 before needing overtime to beat Tulane in Week 7. SMU’s defense, which has given up at least 24 points in four of their five games, is going to be their biggest obstacle on the quest for an undefeated season.
It’s hard to find weaknesses for Cincinnati in its first three games. They’ve had their way with APSU, Army, and USF and got the run game going in their most recent victory over the Bulls. Bearcats QB Desmond Ridder can go toe-to-toe with SMU QB Shane Buechele and the Mustangs high-powered offense, while RB Gerrid Doaks is primed for a huge day against an SMU defense that is susceptible to the run.
The Bearcats haven’t played a game since Oct. 3 and will be well-rested for this huge showdown. There will be plenty of points scored, but the Bearcats have the better defense and their offensive weapons will capitalize with a few big plays to secure the upset win.
Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats (+110)
#3 Notre Dame vs Pittsburgh Odds
|#3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish||-10.5 (-109)||-500||O 43.5 (-108)|
|Pittsburgh Panthers||+10.5 (-112)||+335||U 43.5 (-113)|
Pitt Hands Notre Dame First loss
The Fighting Irish are looking to extend their winning streak to six games when they hit the road for the first time this season to face the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field. There are a few trends from Notre Dame’s past few games that point to the team picking up its first loss of the season in Week 8.
Notre Dame has been relying heavily on the run this season, ranking sixth in the entire country with 261 rushing yards per game. They are going to face their toughest test yet against a Pittsburgh rush defense that ranks first in the nation with just 61 yards allowed on the ground per game.
Pitt is usually due for one big ACC upset a year; they beat Clemson in 2016, Miami in 2017, Syracuse in 2018, and UCF last season. After two close losses against NC State and Boston College followed by a 31-19 loss to Miami in Week 7, Pittsburgh will be more motivated than ever to extend its upset streak another year against an overrated Notre Dame squad.
This Fighting Irish offense scored just 12 points on a weak Louisville offense that gave up 46 points to Georgia Tech. ND is only scoring at a rate of 76.2 percent in the red zone and now will be facing a top-20 red zone defense in Pitt.
The Panthers are no offensive juggernaut themselves and might not even have their starting QB Kenny Pickett, but it’s their stingy defense and breakout receiver Jordan Addison that will help them snap their three-game losing streak with a big upset win at home.
Pick: Pittsburgh Panthers (+335)
Hawaii vs Fresno State Odds
|Hawaii Rainbow Warriors||+4.5 (-110)||+145||O 67.5 (-108)|
|Fresno State Bulldogs||-4.5 (-110)||-186||U 67.5 (-113)|
Hawaii Pulls Off Upset In MW Opener
The Mountain West Conference finally gets its season underway this weekend, and one of the marquee matchups on Saturday is a clash between the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Fresno State Bulldogs at Jim Sweeney Field. Hawaii is coming off a solid 10-5 season, while Fresno State had a disappointing 4-8 campaign in 2019.
Fresno State is likely favored in this game due to home-field advantage, but it’s Hawaii who holds the edge at key positions. Chevan Cordeiro, who was the team’s backup last season, will be returning at center and has gotten familiar with this offense over the last couple of seasons. He’s going to be throwing to one of the team’s best receivers from last season in Jared Smart, in addition to North Texas transfer Rico Bussey, who had an 1000-yard season in 2018.
The Bulldogs QB situation is a bit murky with Jake Haener officially being named the starter for the opener on Saturday. While he has plenty of talent at wideout to work with, Haener has only completed nine passes in his college career, and they all came almost two years ago. Head coach Todd Graham is the new guy at UH, but he’s known for his strong starts, boasting a 3-1 record in his coaching debuts to go with a 9-3 all-time record in season openers.
Neither of these teams were great defensively last season, but the Rainbow Warriors have enough skill to contain this Bulldogs offense. With the Bulldogs breaking in five new starters on defense, expect the experience of Cordeiro and coaching of Graham to power Hawaii to a season-opening upset win.
Pick: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (+145)
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