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Fearless Rick's 2011-12 College Football Week 8 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | October 20-22, 2011

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Tuesday, October 18

Florida International at Arkansas St. (-3, 53) - Arkansas State has won three straight and is in a good position to challenge for the Sun Belt title as the only team without a conference loss besides Louisiana-Lafayette.

FIU already has a loss to La-Lafaeyette, so this is a must-win situation for the Golden Panthers, but the Red Wolves have won four of six in the series and the home team has emerged victorious in five of those games.

The only losses by Arkansas State were at Illinois and at Virginia Tech, and they were not embarrassed. Both teams are 4-2, and have some quality. A good chance to see a couple of possible bowl teams.

Prediction: Red Wolves 33 Golden Panthers 24

Thursday, October 20

9:00 pm UCLA at Arizona (-3, 61 1/2) - The Wildcats may be the best 1-5 team in the country, when one considers the opposition to which it has already fallen: Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon, USC and Oregon State. While the first three teams thrashed Arizona soundly, the games at USC and Oregon State were lost by seven and 10 points, respectively.

UCLA has alternated between winning and losing, compiling a 3-3 record without establishing much of an identity. With per game averages of 198.7 yards passing and 194.5 rushing, it could be maintained that they have a balanced offense, while the Wildcats throw for an average of 383 yards per game.

AZ QB Nick Foles can spin it with the best of them; look for the Wildcats to open up the passing attack and hang on to win.

Prediction: Wildcats 38 Bruins 30

Friday, October 21

8:00 pm Rutgers at Louisville (-2, 39 1/2) - Even though last week's 21-20 win over Navy was not a conference affair, the tight score is cause for concern with the current Big East leading, 5-1, Scarlet Knights.

Louisville is only 2-4, but their defense is solid, allowing only 17.7 ppg, though their offense only puts up 16.3.

These two are 3-3, all-time, head-to-head, and even though the road team has won the last two meetings, the first four were victories for the home squad. Louisville's defense should carry the day in what looks to be a low-scoring event.

Prediction: Cardinals 19 Scarlet Knights 14

8:00 pm West Virginia (-13 1/2, 58) at Syracuse - These two meet every year, and, since 2001, the Orange have only won twice, at home in 2001, 24-13, and last season, 19-14, at West Virginia.

While the Mountaineers are ranked and 5-1, other than LSU - who handled them, 47-21 - they haven't really played anybody, so Syracuse getting almost two TDs at home, where they're 3-1 this season, is very tempting.

Both teams sport fair defensive units, but the Mountaineer offense has been rolling up the points lately, scoring 55 against Bowling Green and 43 against UConn on 10/8. Both have had an extra week off, but the Orange are good enough to keep this one close and maybe, like last year, when they were also 13 1/2 point underdogs, pull off a stunner.

Prediction: Orange 27 Mountaineers 24

Saturday, October 22

12:00 pm Illinois (-4 1/2, 47) at Purdue - Last weekend, the Boilermakers nearly upset Penn State as 12-point underdogs, eventually losing the road game, 23-18. This time they are at home and getting a little more respect from the linemakers, especially after Illinois had it's unbeaten season ended with a 17-7 loss to Ohio State last week.

Purdue can win if the defense plays like it did against Penn State and keeps the turnovers to a minimum. Surprisingly, the O/U total is quite low, considering that both teams put up just over 30 ppg on average.

The Boilermakers have won six straight, dating back to 2003.

Prediction: Boilermakers 34 Fighting Illini 24

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12:00 pm North Carolina at Clemson (-10 1/2, 58) - One of ten remaining teams without a blemish on its record, 7-0 Clemson was last seen outscoring the Tarrapins at Maryland, 56-45, last Saturday.

North Carolina, meanwhile, suffered its second loss of the season - both by ACC teams - losing to Miami at home, 30-24. Their other loss was was a 35-28 defeat at the hands of Georgia Tech, back on September 24.

The Tar Heels may present the best defense the Tigers have seen this season, and that's saying a lot, since Clemson has already upended Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech, but something special is happening in South Carolina and the Tigers appear to be the class of the conference.

Prediction: Tigers 41 Tar Heels 23

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12:00 pm Oklahoma State (-7, 68 1/2) at Missouri - Believe it or not, Missouri was once ranked this season, but after road losses to Arizona State, Oklahoma and Kansas State, the Mizzou is now just another 3-3 team hoping to get six wins and get to a bowl game.

The Cowboys have their sights set considerably higher, possibly thinking about a national championship, but they still have plenty to do on their schedule, including games against Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State could be looking ahead instead of preparing for this crucial road test and the Tigers would love to eliminate another undefeated team from the national championship derby.

Prediction: Tigers 40 Cowboys 37

12:00 pm Kansas State (-11, 62 1/2) at Kansas - Even though this is a in-state rivalry of immense proportions, Jawhawk fans are already thinking about hoops, as their football team is a sorry 2-4, allowing a whopping 49.0 points per game, worst in the NCAA FBS.

The Wildcats, on the other hand, are allowing only 19.5 ppg, while putting up 29.3 on average, stretching their record to 6-0. Little doubt they will be still unbeaten after they put it to the Jayhawks.

Prediction: Wildcats 31 Jayhawks 16

12:20 pm Arkansas (-17, 56) at Mississippi - It would pay to keep an eye on the Razorbacks. They're 5-1, their only loss being to Alabama, and they have South Carolina down the road and end the season at LSU, so they can determine some of their own destiny.

A win at Mississippi should be a given, though that 17-point spread is a bit large. It's tough to win on the road and even tougher in the SEC, but the 2-4 Rebels have been beaten badly in their past three losses, the latest a 52-7 smack-down by Alabama last weekend. In back-to-back losses to Vandy and Georgia, Mississippi scored a total of only 20 points, but in between managed a 38-28 win at Fresno State. They'll probably not win here, but they will put up a good fight and keep this one reasonably close.

Prediction: Razorbacks 30 Rebels 20

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2011, 2012, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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