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Dirty Dozen: The Crystal Ball Run staff makes their Week 8 picks

Here are your Crystal Ball Run, Week 8 staff picks!

No. 6 LSU at No. 18 Texas A&M: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ESPN

Allen Kenney’s Take: So far this week, the talk about this game has centered more around when it's kicking off than the match-up on the field. Too bad, because this could turn out to be a hell of a game.
Texas A&M and swashbuckling quarterback Johnny Manziel have handled the transition to the SEC well. LSU isn't Ole Miss or Arkansas, though.

This game comes down to fatigue. The Tigers have played consecutive games against Florida and South Carolina in the last two weeks. Now, they're heading to College Station for an early kickoff at one of college football's more bizarre venues. Can Les Miles get his team up for this game? Hell, will his players even be awake?

I'll go with yes. Johnny Football better watch out running around out there, because the Bayou Bengals don't play.

The Pick: LSU 23, Texas A&M 17

Everybody Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: LSU 27, Texas A&M 17
Andy Coppens: LSU 24, Texas A&M 17
Kevin McGuire: LSU 23, Texas A&M 17
Michael Felder: LSU 37, Texas A&M 13
Tom Perry: LSU 24, Texas A&M 14

Virginia Tech at No. 14 Clemson: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ABC

Michael Felder's Take: Last year, Clemson mashed out Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium as the Hokies struggled to break in new quarterback Logan Thomas. This year, Thomas is more established at the quarterback position as Frank Beamer takes his team down to Death Valley. Unfortunately the rest of the team is worse off than they were a year ago. Wide receivers are inconsistent. They have no running game to speak of. The offensive line leaves Thomas under constant duress. The defense has issues with missed assignments and with poor performance against the explosive play

Enter Clemson, an offense that loves the explosion play and is looking to get a win to stay in the hunt for an ACC Atlantic Division Title. Nuk Hopkins is rolling in Tiger Town and with Sammy Watkins as the nation's most dangerous "second option" things could get ugly in Pickens County. We'll see what Bud Foster has dialed up for a scheme that is more advanced than what he saw early in 2011. Offensively VT can take advantage of a porous Clemson defense, but keeping pace with the Tigers will be a chore.

Clemson 45, Virginia Tech 26

Everybody Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Clemson 41, Virginia Tech 14
Allen Kenney: Clemson 42, Virginia Tech 21
Andy Coppens: Clemson 40, Virginia Tech 27
Kevin McGuire: Clemson 32, Virginia Tech 23
Tom Perry: Clemson 31, Virginia Tech 21

No. 20 Stanford at Cal: Saturday, 3:00 PM, Fox

Tom Perry’s Take: It's sort of odd seeing a big rivalry game this early in the season, but it won't diminish the way these two get after each other at Memorial Stadium. The Cardinal must rebound from the tough loss at Notre Dame, and get quarterback Josh Nunes to make better decisions. This game is big to Cal's overall success this season as the Bears enter this game at 3-4. A win over their rival could be the key to getting on a roll and maybe earning a trip to a bowl.

Stanford 28, Cal 17

Everybody Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Stanford 31, Cal 14
Allen Kenney: California 27, Stanford 20
Andy Coppens: Stanford 33, Cal 30
Kevin McGuire: Cal 28, Stanford 24
Michael Felder: Stanford 48, Cal 20

Michigan State at Michigan, 3:30 p.m. Big Ten Network

Kevin McGuire's Take: It’s Big Brother vs. Little Brother this weekend in Ann Arbor, a series that has recently been dominated by the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans will bring the defense but do they have enough in them to keep Denard Robinson from running amok and making big plays in a rejuvenated Wolverines offense? Michigan has struggled against quality defenses from Alabama and Notre Dame. Despite Michigan State’s struggles, the defense still appears to be more than capable of frustrating the Wolverines one more time. Can they pull it off?

Prediction: Michigan 24, Michigan State 17

Everybody Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Michigan 31, Michigan State 13
Allen Kenney: Michigan 17, Michigan State 9
Andy Coppens: Michigan 38, Michigan State 17
Michael Felder: Michigan State 17, Michigan 13
Tom Perry: Michigan State 12, Michigan 10

Nebraska at Northwestern, 3:30pm, ABC/ESPN2

Andy Coppens' Take: The Wildcats bested Nebraska on the road and the #NU hashtag belonged to the Cats as a result, so revenge could well be a factor. Both teams are primed in a game that could well push the loser out of the race for the Legends Division title down the final stretch. Nebraska needs to continue to pound the football and keep going at a Northwestern defense that loves to give up the big play. Northwestern needs more of the Kain Colter they saw against Minnesota last week in order for them to make this a winning streak over the newest member of the conference.

Expect this one to have a lot of offensive fireworks as Nebraska gives up 27.7 points (10th in B1G) and Northwestern gives up 22.2 points (7th in B1G).

The Pick: Nebraska 33, Northwestern 31

Everybody Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Nebraska 38, Northwestern 30
Allen Kenney: Nebraska 35, Northwestern 30
Kevin McGuire: Nebraska 31, Northwestern 20
Michael Felder: Northwestern 34, Nebraska 31
Tom Perry:  Nebraska 36, Northwestern 27

No. 9 South Carolina at No. 3 Florida: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS

Aaron Torres’ Take: Had this game been played two weeks ago, or even last Saturday, the simple truth is that South Carolina would’ve been literally and figuratively in much better shape to take on the Gators. But with Jadeveon Clowney down (with an injury) and Marcus Lattimore likely out, is hard to see the Gamecocks holding up for four quarters, especially in the Swamp, especially with this specific Gators team.
Incredibly, Florida will move to 7-0 with the win.

The Pick: Florida 20, South Carolina 16

Everybody Else's Take:

Allen Kenney: Florida 21, South Carolina 13
Andy Coppens: South Carolina 24, Florida 17
Kevin McGuire: Florida 17, South Carolina 16
Michael Felder: Florida 23, South Carolina 13
Tom Perry: Florida 28, South Carolina 10

No. 20 Texas Tech at No. 21 TCU: Saturday, 3:30pm, ABC

Andy Coppens' Take: Well, this one should be interesting. The Red Raiders blitzed West Virginia at AT&T Jones Stadium last weekend by beating them at their own game and actually playing some defense. TCU also blew out their Big 12 foe, Baylor with both winners scoring 49 points.

No Casey Pachall for the Frogs? No problem offensively. This one is going to be one of the more explosive games of the weekend to say the least as Amon G. Carter Stadium plays hosts to it's first game after renovation on the TCU campus. Unfortunately it could be a bad day for the Horned Frogs faithful as they simply haven't been able to play defense against a team that matters and the Raiders have. That could well be the difference in this one.

The Pick: Texas Tech 38, TCU 20

Everybody Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Texas Tech 28, TCU 16
Allen Kenney: Texas Tech 33, TCU 30
Kevin McGuire: Texas Tech 30, TCU 27
Michael Felder: Texas Tech 34, TCU 20
Tom Perry: TCU 28, Texas Tech 21

No. 1 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:00 p.m. ESPN

Kevin McGuire: If any game has the potential to turn ugly in a hurry in our slate of games this week, this may be on top of the list. The Crimson Tide have won each game of the season by at least 19 points and have held their opponents to just 7.5 points per game this season. Tennessee’s Derek Dooley needs a big home win to silence many of his critics, but how many tricks can he dig out of the bag to outsmart Nick Saban?

Prediction: Alabama 42, Tennessee 17

Everybody Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Alabama 31, Tennessee 26
Allen Kenney: Alabama 41, Tennessee 24
Andy Coppens: Alabama 41, Tennessee 20
Michael Felder: Alabama 45, Tennessee 21
Tom Perry: Alabama 55, Tennessee 14

No. 4 Kansas State at No. 13 West Virginia: Saturday, 7:00 PM, Fox

Tom Perry's Take: This was supposed to be a matchup of top-five programs, but then WVU went to Texas Tech and struggled big-time with the Red Raiders. So now WVU is trying to avoid back-to-back conference losses with Kansas State coming to town. There's no question Tech gave other teams a blueprint on how to defense Geno Smith and the potent WVU offense. The Mountaineers have a lot of pride and should show up to play this week at home.

West Virginia 48, Kansas State 42

Everybody Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Kansas State 24, West Virginia 20
Allen Kenney: West Virginia 42, Kansas State 35
Andy Coppens: West Virginia 39, Kansas State 37
Kevin McGuire: West Virginia 37, Kansas State 34
Michael Felder: Kansas State 54, West Virginia 31

No. 12 Florida State at Miami: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ABC

Michael Felder's Take: Everyone loves to talk about rivalry games. The pride builds up. The stakes are high. Players who were terrible before can lift 10 cars that day. Then a game like Oklahoma and Texas from last week happens and you realize something; sometimes good teams just beat the hell out of bad teams. This Sunshine State game is that sort of case.

Miami is not good. At all. They play terrible defense. Their offense is now in question because of the injury to Stephen Morris and their youth getting into that second half of the season wall a lot of young guys hit. They are taking on a Florida State team that's on a mission, both on and off the field. Off the field this is about recruiting. Their fans will fill up Sunlife Stadium and their team will go out and show South Florida that if they want to win they should head to Tallahassee. On the field this team lost their title shot and are now pushing to climb back into the BCS picture; with not much help from the ACC's low computer standings. The Noles have to look impressive, real impressive to get votes and that starts with mashing out Miami.

Florida State 45, Miami 20

Everybody Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Florida State 38, Miami 13
Allen Kenney: Florida State 34, Miami 10
Andy Coppens: Florida State 33, Miami 13
Kevin McGuire: Florida State 31, Miami 13
Tom Perry: Florida State 38, Miami 17

Baylor at No. 25 Texas: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ABC

Allen Kenney’s Take: Both Texas and Baylor got trounced last week, leaving both open to major hangover potential Saturday night. Texas' embarrassing loss to rival Oklahoma probably left a bigger mark, meaning the Longhorns are probably more susceptible to a slow start.

The Longhorns can't afford that, given how badly their defense has played this season. Texas needs some early stops to help the D build up some confidence.

Baylor might put a scare into UT early, but the Bears will eventually succumb to Texas' running game.

The Pick: Texas 44, Baylor 30

Everybody Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Texas 41, Baylor 20
Andy Coppens: Texas 31, Baylor 17
Kevin McGuire: Texas 38, Baylor 35
Michael Felder: Baylor 45, Texas 38
Tom Perry: Texas 45, Baylor 30

Washington at Arizona: Saturday, 10:00 p.m. Pac-12 Network

Aaron Torres’ Take: As we move further away from that Thursday night shocker against Stanford, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Washington probably just isn’t that good of a football team. Frankly, Arizona probably isn’t much better, but off a bye week at home and with the (much) more explosive offense, it’s hard not to like the Wildcats.

The Pick: Arizona 41, Washington 20

Everybody Else’s Take:

Allen Kenney: Arizona 30, Washington 17
Andy Coppens: Washington 33, Arizona 30
Kevin McGuire: Washington 48, Arizona 45
Michael Felder: Arizona 38, Washington 31
Tom Perry: Washington 48, Arizona 45
 

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.

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