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October 20, 2011

Week 8 primer: Huguenin picks them all

We're already at Week 8, and things get really interesting this week in the Big Ten and Pac-12.

The game of the week takes place in East Lansing, Mich., where Michigan State welcomes in Wisconsin. The Badgers have been hammering opponents, but the Spartans' salty defense should provide the Badgers' toughest test of the season. Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson's Heisman hopes could receive a big boost - or take a big hit.

In the Pac-12, it's time to find out if Washington is a legit title contender. The Huskies visit Stanford, which is unbeaten but has played no one of note.

Two intense SEC rivalries also will be played Saturday, with Tennessee traveling to Alabama and Auburn playing at LSU. But the visiting team in each game has big-time offensive issues, and given the caliber of the opposing defense, they're not going to solve them this weekend.

Here's a look at every game involving a FBS team this weekend.

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THURSDAY'S GAMES

UCF (3-3) at UAB (0-6), 8 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: UCF needs to win to keep alive its hope for a C-USA East Division title. UCF is 4-0 all-time at UAB.
THE LINE: UCF by 16 THE PICK: UCF 35-16

UCLA (3-3) at Arizona (1-5), 9 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: This is the first game for Arizona since coach Mike Stoops was fired; defensive coordinator Tim Kish is the interim coach. Arizona's losses have come to teams that are a combined 23-7, and three of them (Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon) are in the top 10.
THE LINE: Arizona by 4 THE PICK: UCLA 30-28

FRIDAY'S GAMES

West Virginia (5-1) at Syracuse (4-2), 8 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Syracuse's past three games have been decided by a combined nine points. The schools have met every season since 1955, and the Orange snapped WVU's eight-game winning streak in the series last season.
THE LINE: WVU by 14 THE PICK: WVU 41-28

Rutgers (5-1) at Louisville (2-4), 8 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Rutgers has been a Big East surprise; the Scarlet Knights have started 2-0 in league play for the first time since 2006 and already have surpassed last season's total of one league win. Louisville has not surrendered more than 25 points in a game this season, but the Cardinals haven't scored more than 24. Louisville has just two rushing TDs this season.
THE LINE: Louisville by 2 THE PICK: Rutgers 17-13

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Oklahoma State (6-0) at Missouri (3-3), noon, FX
THE BUZZ: Oklahoma State has won three of the past four in the series; that is on the heels of a four-game Mizzou winning streak against the Cowboys. Oklahoma State is No. 2 nationally in total offense, but 100th in total defense. Missouri is 42-10 at home since 2003 - but two of those losses have come against Oklahoma State.
THE LINE: Oklahoma State by 6.5 THE PICK: Oklahoma State 34-30

North Carolina (5-2) at Clemson (7-0), noon, ESPN
THE BUZZ: Clemson roared back from an 18-point second-half deficit to win at Maryland last week and remain undefeated. The Tigers are off to their best start since 2000, when they opened 8-0. Three of the past five games in this series have been decided by at least 30 points.
THE LINE: Clemson by 10.5 THE PICK: Clemson 38-31

Illinois (6-1) at Purdue (3-3), noon, ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Illinois suffered its first loss of the season last week and must bounce back quickly if it wants to stay in the Big Ten Leaders Division race. This is homecoming for Purdue, which has won eight of the past 11 in the series.
THE LINE: Illinois by 4 THE PICK: Illinois 24-14

Cincinnati (5-1) at USF (4-2), noon, Big East syndication/Sportsnet New York/MASN/Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is one of three Big East games this weekend but the only one on Saturday. USF snapped Cincy's four-game winning streak in the series with a victory last season. Cincinnati already has surpassed its victory total (four) from last season. If USF has any designs on winning the Big East, it had better win this.
THE LINE: USF by 3 THE PICK: USF 30-24

Kansas State (6-0) at Kansas (2-4), noon, Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: Weird but true: Every game KU has played this season has come against a team that was unbeaten at kickoff. This is the 108th meeting and the teams have met every year since 1902. K-State coach Bill Snyder is 15-4 against the Jayhawks.
THE LINE: K-State by 11 THE PICK: K-State 45-28

Northern Illinois (4-3) at Buffalo (2-5), noon, ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: NIU put itself in the MAC West title hunt by blowing out Western Michigan last week and can't afford a slip-up against Buffalo. NIU had five scoring drives of 70-plus yards last week, while Buffalo was being shut out by Temple.
THE LINE: NIU by 14 THE PICK: NIU 38-17

Indiana (1-6) at Iowa (4-2), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: This is Iowa's homecoming. But in the past two instances when Indiana was the homecoming opponent, the Hawkeyes have lost. Iowa has won six of the past eight in the series.
THE LINE: Iowa by 23.5 THE PICK: Iowa 37-17

Jacksonville State (5-1) at Kentucky (2-4), noon, ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Kentucky has lost four in a row and desperately needs a win. This is homecoming for UK, but the Wildcats are playing a Gamecocks team ranked No. 8 in the FCS coaches' poll. Jacksonville State, which is led by former Georgia TB Washaun Ealey, beat Ole Miss last season in its most recent game against an SEC team.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Kentucky 23-20

Arkansas (5-1) at Ole Miss (2-4), 12:20 p.m., SEC syndication/MSG network/Comcast Sports Net California/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Arkansas has designs on a second consecutive BCS appearance, and surely Ole Miss isn't going to derail those hopes. The Hogs have won seven of the past 10 in the series. Ole Miss has lost 11 of its past 12 SEC games.
THE LINE: Arkansas by 16 THE PICK: Arkansas 45-17

Wake Forest (4-2) at Duke (3-3), 12:30 p.m., ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Wake has won 11 in a row in the series, though Duke has scored at least 30 points in each of the past four meetings. Expect a lot of passes; combined, these teams average 195.5 rushing yards per game.
THE LINE: Wake by 3 THE PICK: Wake 42-31

Western Michigan (4-3) at Eastern Michigan (4-3), 1 p.m.
THE BUZZ: It's hard to imagine Eastern Michigan - which hasn't won more than four games in a season since 1995 - being a legitimate contender in the MAC West, but if the Eagles win this, they will be 3-1 in league play. These teams have met annually since 1978, and Western is 23-10 against Eastern in that span, including wins in 12 of the past 14.
THE LINE: Western Michigan by 12 THE PICK: Western Michigan 37-28

New Mexico (0-6) at TCU (4-2), 2 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: This is the seventh - and final - meeting between the two as Mountain West opponents. TCU is 6-0 vs. the Lobos in those contests, wining by an average of 29.5 points per game. New Mexico has lost 18 in a row on the road. This is the largest spread of the season for anyone.
THE LINE: TCU by 41 THE PICK: TCU 54-10

Central Michigan (2-5) at Ball State (4-3), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Ball State has been surprisingly competitive under first-year coach Pete Lembo, and the Cardinals can stay near the top of the MAC West standings if they can beat CMU. The visiting team has won four in a row in the series.
THE LINE: Ball State by 2 THE PICK: Ball State 31-24

Boston College (1-5) at Virginia Tech (6-1), 3 p.m., Fox Sports South/Sun Sports/Prime Ticket/NESN/Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: BC's offense again has been a disaster area, putting way too much pressure on the defense. Eagles LB Luke Kuechly averages 16.5 tackles per game. The Hokies have held five of their six opponents to fewer than 120 rushing yards.
THE LINE: Virginia Tech by 21 THE PICK: Virginia Tech 34-10

Louisiana Tech (2-4) at Utah State (2-4), 3 p.m., MASN/Altitude2/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is important in terms of the WAC bowl pecking order - mainly because the loser is going to have a tough time getting to the needed six wins. Tech has won three consecutive WAC road games, while Utah State has lost three league games in a row overall. Utah State has just one interception, but it also is the only school in the nation not to have thrown a pick.
THE LINE: Utah State by 6.5 THE PICK: Utah State 31-27

Idaho State (2-5) at BYU (5-2), 3 p.m., BYUtv
THE BUZZ: Idaho State, an FCS school, has had just five winning records in the past 27 seasons. The Bengals have played 14 FBS opponents since 2000 and lost by an average of 33.1 points per game.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: BYU 52-6

Auburn (5-2) at LSU (7-0), 3:30 p.m., CBS
THE BUZZ: The home team has won 10 of the past 11 in the series, and six of the past seven meetings have been decided by seven or fewer points. The winner of this matchup has gone on to win the SEC West in seven of the past 11 seasons.
THE LINE: LSU by 23 THE PICK: LSU 35-10

Air Force (3-3) at Boise State (6-0), 3:30 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: This is the first meeting between the schools, and it's also Boise's first Mountain West Conference home game. Air Force is third nationally in rush offense, but the Falcons also are 119th in rush defense.
THE LINE: Boise State by 31 THE PICK: Boise State 51-24

Georgia Tech (6-1) at Miami (3-3), 3:30 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Tech is coming off its first loss of the season and gets UM, Clemson and Virginia Tech in its next three games. Miami QB Jacory Harris has had this exact stat line in each of the past two games: 267 yards, three TDs, no picks.
THE LINE: Miami by 2.5 THE PICK: Georgia Tech 28-24

Maryland (2-4) at Florida State (3-3), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN2/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Seminoles have won 17 of 19 over the Terps in ACC play, including four victories in a row. Maryland is in the midst of a five-game game stretch in which this is the only true road game.
THE LINE: FSU by 17 THE PICK: FSU 41-28

East Carolina (2-4) at Navy (2-4), 3:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
THE BUZZ: Navy has dropped four in a row and hasn't dropped five in a row since 2002. When these teams played last season, ECU threw for 413 yards and scored 35 points. But Navy rushed for 521 and scored 76 points.
THE LINE: Navy by 10 THE PICK: Navy 44-31

Nebraska (5-1) at Minnesota (1-5), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: Minnesota actually leads this series 29-20-2, but that's misleading. The teams haven't met since 1990, and Nebraska has won the past 14 meetings. As bad as Minnesota has been this season, you can't blame the Huskers if they're already looking ahead to next week's game against Michigan State.
THE LINE: Nebraska by 24.5 THE PICK: Nebraska 49-14

Texas A&M (4-2) at Iowa State (3-3), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: A&M leads this series 9-1. This is Iowa State's homecoming. Iowa State has committed 18 turnovers and have had at least three in five games. But A&M has forced just four this season.
THE LINE: A&M by 20.5 THE PICK: A&M 47-24

N.C. State (3-3) at Virginia (4-2), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: The Cavaliers are coming off an upset of Georgia Tech that puts them squarely in the ACC bowl picture. NCSU, meanwhile, has two wins over FCS foes and thus must get to seven victories to be bowl-eligible. The visiting team in the series hasn't won since 1999.
THE LINE: Virginia by 5.5 THE PICK: Virginia 27-23

Oregon (5-1) at Colorado (1-6), 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: Oregon has won 15 consecutive Pac-10/Pac-12 conference games, and the Ducks have scored at least 40 points in 22 of their past 32 games. Colorado has surrendered 500 yards in back-to-back games and allowed 90 points in those games (Stanford and Washington).
THE LINE: Oregon by 32 THE PICK: Oregon 45-16

Memphis (1-6) at Tulane (2-5), 3:30 p.m., Fox College Sports
THE BUZZ: This is the dog of the week, and the hounds are happy because they'll get to spend the weekend in New Orleans. They'll be joined by about 30 or 35 diehards in watching this game at the Superdome. This will be the first game for Tulane without coach Bob Toledo, who resigned Tuesday.
THE LINE: Tulane by 12 THE PICK: Tulane 34-24

Ohio (4-3) at Akron (1-5), 3:30 p.m., SportsTime Ohio/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Akron is 114th in scoring offense and 111th in scoring defense; that's not a good combination, folks. Ohio has won four of the past five in the series.
THE LINE: Ohio by 14.5 THE PICK: Ohio 35-17

Temple (5-2) at Bowling Green (3-4), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Temple has posted back-to-back shutouts and has allowed more than 14 points in a game just once this season; the Owls are No. 2 nationally in scoring defense at 9.6 points per game. While it's going to be hard to shut out Bowling Green, which averages 402.1 yards and 29.1 points, the Owls should be able to run all over the Falcons, whose run defense is poor.
THE LINE: Temple by 14 THE PICK: Temple 38-20

Fresno State (3-4) at Nevada (3-3), 4 p.m., WAC syndication
THE BUZZ: The winner becomes the front-runner in the WAC title race. Nevada has won 14 in a row at home, tied for the nation's fourth-longest home winning streak. The Wolf Pack have won each of the past three meetings.
THE LINE: Nevada by 10.5 THE PICK: Fresno State 37-33

Louisiana-Lafayette (6-1) at Western Kentucky (2-4), 4 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Picked to finish last in the nine-team Sun Belt, ULL instead has been one of the nation's biggest surprises. The Ragin' Cajuns already are bowl-eligible, which is huge for them because they've never been to a bowl while a member of the Division I-A/FBS ranks. Western has won two in a row going into this game, which is its homecoming.
THE LINE: ULL by 3 THE PICK: ULL 31-21

Marshall (3-4) at Houston (6-0), 4:30 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: Marshall is tied for first in C-USA's East Division. Houston QB Case Keenum should become the NCAA's career leader in total offense in this game.
THE LINE: Houston by 22.5 THE PICK: Houston 48-20

Louisiana-Monroe (2-4) at North Texas (2-5), 5 p.m.
THE BUZZ: North Texas is looking for its first three-game home winning streak since 2004. Good news for the Mean Green: The home team has won four of the past five in the series. ULM is 1-1 in the Sun Belt, coming off a rout of Troy and needs to win this to have any chance at the Sun Belt crown.
THE LINE: ULM by 6 THE PICK: ULM 34-21

Utah (3-3) at California (3-3), 7 p.m., Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area
THE BUZZ: This is an important game in the Pac-12 bowl pecking order. California has lost three in a row. These teams met in the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl, with the Utes winning 37-27.
THE LINE: Cal by 3 THE PICK: Utah 23-21

Penn State (6-1) at Northwestern (2-4), 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: This is Northwestern's homecoming, and if the Wildcats want to keep their bowl hopes alive, they might want to consider winning this. Penn State, meanwhile, has won five in a row since a loss to Alabama. The Nittany Lions rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Northwestern last season.
THE LINE: Penn State by 4 THE PICK: Northwestern 21-17

Army (2-4) at Vanderbilt (3-3), 7 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Army already has beaten one Big Six team (Northwestern) this season, and the Black Knights never have beaten two Big Sixers in the same season. Army has run for at least 300 yards in each game; Vandy has reached 300 total yards in three games (and one of those was 309).
THE LINE: Vandy by 10.5 THE PICK: Vandy 27-24

Tulsa (3-3) at Rice (2-4), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: Tulsa had a tough schedule to open the season, but now that the schedule has eased, the Golden Hurricane look fine. They have big games the next two weeks, against SMU and UCF, and can't afford a loss to Rice if they want to challenge for the league crown.
THE LINE: Tulsa by 10.5 THE PICK: Tulsa 42-27

Miami of Ohio (2-4) at Toledo (4-3), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Miami is the defending MAC champ, and this game will serve as a sort of last stand this season for the RedHawks, who have opened 1-1 in league play. Toledo, meanwhile, is 3-0 in MAC play for the second season in a row, and the Rockets have won 10 of their past 11 conference contests.
THE LINE: Toledo by 17.5 THE PICK: Toledo 31-17

Tennessee (3-3) at Alabama (7-0), 7:15 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: This is the 93rd meeting in the series, but with SEC expansion looming, it looks as if they won't be playing on an annual basis for much longer. The Tide has won four in a row over the Vols, and Tennessee has scored 17 or fewer points in seven consecutive games against Alabama.
THE LINE: Alabama by 29 THE PICK: Alabama 38-6

USC (5-1) at Notre Dame (4-2), 7:30 p.m., NBC
THE BUZZ: This is the 83rd meeting in the nation's most-played intersectional rivalry, but only the 10th time that neither has been ranked at kickoff. USC has won a school-record 13 consecutive non-conference road games. This is the first night home game for the Irish since 1990.
THE LINE: Notre Dame by 8.5 THE PICK: Notre Dame 34-24

Wisconsin (6-0) at Michigan State (5-1), 8 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: A big one in the Big Ten. Last season, Michigan State handed Wisconsin its only regular-season loss. That game was in East Lansing, too, and the home team has won six in a row in the series. Both have big road games next week: Wisconsin against Ohio State and Michigan State against Nebraska.
THE LINE: Wisconsin by 8 THE PICK: Wisconsin 28-21

Washington (5-1) at Stanford (6-0), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Is Washington a legit Pac-12 contender? We'll find out in this one. The Huskies are 3-0 in league play for the first time since 1997, and they have scored at least 30 points in each of their six games, the first time they've ever done that to start a season. Stanford has held each of its past 12 opponents to 24 or fewer points, the school's longest such stretch since 1939-41.
THE LINE: Stanford by 20.5 THE PICK: Stanford 45-28

Texas Tech (4-2) at Oklahoma (6-0), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Tech has lost two in a row overall and is just 1-8 all-time at OU. This is the second season in a row the Sooners have played host to the Red Raiders. OU has won a nation's-best 39 in a row at home.
THE LINE: Oklahoma by 29 THE PICK: Oklahoma 49-24

SMU (5-1) at Southern Miss (5-1), 8 p.m., CBS Sports Network
THE BUZZ: This is the second of three big Conference USA games in a row for West Division contender SMU, which beat UCF at home last week and plays at Tulsa next week. East Division contender Southern Miss already has a league loss, to Marshall.
THE LINE: Southern Miss by 3 THE PICK: SMU 24-20

Middle Tennessee (1-4) at Florida Atlantic (0-6), 8 p.m., Sun Belt syndication/Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: This will be just MTSU's third game in 29 days. FAU became the last FBS team to play a home game last week, and this is the second game in a three-game homestand for the Owls.
THE LINE: MTSU by 6 THE PICK: MTSU 31-21

Colorado State (3-3) at UTEP (3-3), 8 p.m.
THE BUZZ: A middling team from the Mountain West (Colorado State) meets a middling team from Conference USA (UTEP). And just think: Both could be a part of a 22-team league soon! Colorado State has won eight in a row over the Miners, but the schools haven't met since 1998.
THE LINE: UTEP by 7 THE PICK: UTEP 40-34

Oregon State (1-5) vs. Washington State (3-3) in Seattle, 10:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: If Washington State wants to go to a bowl this season, it would behoove the Cougars to win this game. Washington State already has scored 217 points this season after scoring just 235 last season.
THE LINE: Washington State by 3 THE PICK: Washington State 34-27

New Mexico State (3-3) at Hawaii (3-3), 11:59 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: New Mexico State has lost 12 consecutive WAC road games, and Hawaii has won six consecutive WAC home games. In addition, Hawaii is 7-0 all-time against the Aggies.
THE LINE: Hawaii by 22 THE PICK: Hawaii 44-24

TUESDAY'S GAME

Troy (2-4) at Florida International (4-3), 8 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: This is the second Tuesday game in a row for FIU. Before the season, this looked as if it would serve as a sort of Sun Belt title game. Instead, both already have two league losses and this could determine who finishes third.
THE LINE: FIU by 6.5 THE PICK: FIU 27-23

WEDNESDAY'S GAME

Connecticut (3-4) at Pittsburgh (3-4), 8 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: A Big Six league game on a Wednesday? Hmm. UConn has been held without an offensive TD in each of its past two games and Pitt has lost four of its past five, so maybe this does belong on a Wednesday night.
THE LINE: Pitt by 10.5 THE PICK: Pitt 24-14

LAST WEEK

34-16 straight up, 24-26 against the spread.

YEAR TO DATE

331-93 straight up, 157-176-1 against the spread (no spread on games involving FCS schools)

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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