In a blink of an eye, we have past the midway point of the 2021 college football season, and chaos has been a consistent theme of this campaign. Week 8 appears to be a lighter schedule in terms of marquee matchups and potential upsets, but there’s plenty of deck with top 25 teams facing stiff competition from conference opponents that could doom their College Football Playoff chances.
There are 17 ranked teams in action Saturday but not a single game between top 25 opponents. No. 1 Georgia and No. 9 Michigan State are both off while the rest of the top 10 faces unranked opponents. The SEC features two of the highest-profile games as LSU, fresh off an upset win over Florida, looks to take down No. 12 Ole Miss and Tennessee hopes to find enough offense to test No. 4 Alabama. Elsewhere, No. 23 Pittsburgh and CBS Sports Midseason All-America quarterback Kenny Pickett look to prove they belong atop the ACC when they host Clemson as more than a field goal favorite.
While winning is all that matters for the standings, we care about whether these teams will cover their spreads. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff onward. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the eighth full Saturday of the season.
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern
Northwestern at No. 6 Michigan
Noon | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — Northwestern has a decent defense and will get some stops, but the Wildcats have been no stranger to losing big. Michigan, conversely, has beaten four of its six opponents by three touchdowns or more. The Wolverines have the power to pull away and cover a massive spread. Prediction: Michigan (-23.5) — Shehan Jeyarajah
LSU at No. 12 Ole Miss
3:30 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App — Tyrion Davis-Price’s back-to-back great games gives me confidence that, at the very least, the Tigers can hang. The Rebels defense has been brutal this season, and the best way to keep Lane Kiffin’s offense within arm’s reach is to keep it on the sideline. When you throw in the questions surrounding Matt Corral’s health, this just feels like it’s going to be a late-game nail-biter, which is par for the course for the Rebels lately. Prediction: LSU (+9.5) — Barrett Sallee
Clemson at No. 23 Pittsburgh
3:30 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — There’s no question: This is one of the biggest games for Pitt since it joined the ACC. Settling down and living up to the moment will be a legitimate concern, but having a fifth-year starter in Kenny Pickett will help keep things under control. Clemson has crumbled against high-level competition, having lost to both top-25 squads it has faced. Pitt has been the class of the ACC and will prove it again on Saturday afternoon. Prediction: Pitt (-3.5) — Shehan Jeyarajah
Tennessee at No. 4 Alabama
7 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Alabama got right last week, and with Tennessee likely drained from the Ole Miss game, this should be a blowout. Nick Saban likely won’t be inclined to show mercy to a program that recently found a way to fire his former longtime assistant, Jeremy Pruitt, with cause. Prediction: Alabama (-27.5) — David Cobb
USC at No. 13 Notre Dame
7:30 p.m. | NBC, fuboTV (Try for free) — Trying to predict the quality of performance for this Trojans team is a fool’s errand, but I’m just foolish enough to bite on a talented team that has some extra motivation playing against a rival on the road. USC has been much better on the road than it has at home, so I think that trend continues and the Trojans can stay within the number. Prediction: USC (+7) — Chip Patterson
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 8, and which top-10 team will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,700 in profit over the past five-plus seasons — and find out.