Week 8 picks: USC can deal No. 3 Utah its first big loss

Third-ranked Utah marches into the Coliseum sporting a sparkling 6-0 record. Can USC put a significant blemish on that mark in Week 8?

Each Thursday, Stewart Mandel, Bruce Feldman, Joel Klatt and Jim Ross will make the calls on who’ll win the weekend’s most intriguing matchups.

In addition to the Utes’ showdown with the Trojans, this week’s slate includes Texas A&M’s visit to Oxford to take on Ole Miss, Alabama playing host to Tennessee in Tuscaloosa, and much more.

In addition to our straight-up picks, Mandel and Feldman will dive a little deeper into the games with their picks against the spread.

Looking for more games? You can find predictions for every Division I FBS game for the coming week here, courtesy of WhatIfSports.

Without further ado, here are this week’s picks: 

PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD

CAL (+3.5) at UCLA

Mandel: UCLA’s defense can’t stop the run but it can prevent Bears QB Jared Goff from completing big passes downfield. Josh Rosen leads the Bruins out of their tailspin. UCLA 34, Cal 30

Feldman: The hunch here is that the Bruins can match up better with this offense and their O-line can handle the Bears defensive front, which is second in the Pac-12 in sacks per game. UCLA 42, Cal 35

The result: UCLA 40, Cal 24

CLEMSON (-6.5) at MIAMI

Mandel: Miami has not won these types of big games under Al Golden. ’Canes QB Brad Kaaya has a big day, but it’s not enough to counter Clemson’s superior talent. Clemson 30, Miami 24

Feldman: Brad Kaaya is good enough and has enough talent around him to keep the ‘Canes in a shootout with his buddy Deshaun Watson and I’m tempted to pick UM in the upset, but I think Dabo Swinney’s team finds a way to get the close road win. Clemson 35, Miami 34

TENNESSEE (+15.5) at ALABAMA

Mandel: Alabama may come out flat after last week’s big win at Texas A&M, much like it did against Arkansas two weeks ago, but eventually it overpowers the Vols. Alabama 27, Tennessee 10

Feldman: The Vols have had an extra week to get ready, but I just don’t think they’re big enough and physical enough to hold up for four quarters against Derrick Henry and the Tide running attack. Alabama 34, Tennessee 20

TEXAS TECH (+14.5) at OKLAHOMA

Mandel: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield will be out for blood against his former team. Tech’s offense will give the Sooners fits but not enough to keep up in a shootout. Oklahoma 45, Texas Tech 31

Feldman: Baker Mayfield will get some revenge as he faces the severely undermanned Tech defense. Oklahoma 45, Texas Tech 31

WISCONSIN (-6.5) at ILLINOIS

Mandel: It’s a strange sight to see Wisconsin ranked 12th in the Big Ten in rushing offense (one spot ahead of Illinois). The 4-2 Illini, coming off a bye, pull off the upset. Illinois 20, Wisconsin 14

Feldman: Illini QB Wes Lunt is playing well, but he’s facing a very good Badger defense that is allowing just 246 yards in its last three games. The Badgers run game hasn’t been very good of late, but I think it’ll get cranked up against the Illinois D which has been gashed the past two times out. Wisconsin 23, Illinois 20

WASHINGTON STATE (+7.5) at ARIZONA

Mandel: Washington State QB Luke Falk is starting to shine in Mike Leach’s offense, and he’s going against a vulnerable secondary. The Cougars race past the ’Cats. Washington State 42, Arizona 34

Feldman: The Cougars have been surging, even getting their ground game cranked up, but their D is still shaky and I don’t see Wazzu being able to slow down Rich Rodriguez’s run game. Arizona 41, Washington State 38

FOX FOUR AFTER WEEK 13

TEXAS A&M (+6) at OLE MISS

Mandel: If Aggies QB Kyle Allen picks himself up after last week’s Alabama debacle, he and WR Christian Kirk could have a huge day against Ole Miss’ struggling D. Texas A&M 31, Ole Miss 24

Feldman: Both teams are coming off losses. The Aggies lost to the more physical team (Alabama) and are the road team so I’ll pick Ole Miss, which gets back standout OT Laremy Tunsil. Ole Miss 30, Texas A&M 24

UTAH (+3.5) at USC

Mandel: Utah may be the best team in the Pac-12, but the Utes aren’t likely to go undefeated. A rejuvenated USC team makes enough big plays to get the W. USC 27, Utah 24

Feldman: The Trojans have the most speed and talent the Utes will have seen this season, but in the end expect Kyle Whittingham’s team to find a way to win. Utah 24, USC 23

KENTUCKY (+11) at MISSISSIPPI STATE

Mandel: Despite no help from his rushing game, Bulldogs QB Dak Prescott is one of just four season-long starters who’s yet to throw an interception. He gets it done again. Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 17

Feldman: Mark Stoops’ team has talented players, but they’re young and this is only their second road trip. I don’t think they’ll respond well to Starkville against A.J. Jefferson and a defense that is only allowing 315 yards in four home games. Mississippi State 21, Kentucky 17

OHIO STATE (-21) at RUTGERS

Mandel: With J.T. Barrett now in undisputed command, Ohio State’s offense will really start to roll. But the Buckeyes’ defense will control this one from the outset. Ohio State 34, Rutgers 13

Feldman: J.T. Barrett takes over the offense and expect the Buckeyes to kick into high gear against the Big Ten’s No. 12 defense. Ohio State 48, Rutgers 14

UPSET SPECIALS:

UTAH STATE (-5) at SAN DIEGO STATE

Mandel: The Aggies are coming off a huge win over Boise State, but the Aztecs are quietly fielding the nation’s 13th-ranked defense (4.39 YPP) and lay the trap. San Diego State 20, Utah State 14

INDIANA (+16.5) at MICHIGAN STATE

Feldman: The Spartans are coming off a big emotional win and now have to deal with the up-tempo spread and talented Hoosiers QB Nate Sudfeld who they didn’t face in 2014. Indiana 31, Michigan State 30

SEASON RESULTS:

Mandel: 51-28 (including upset picks)

Feldman: 50-29 (including upset picks)

TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL UNIFORMS

Klatt: 47-20 (minus games he called on FOX or FS1)

Ross: 45-27

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