College football upset alert: Expert picks for Week 8 underdogs with best odds to win

Asia's Tech News Daily

Week 8 offers no Top 25 matchups, but there are four games where a ranked team is an underdog against an unranked team. That raises some eyebrows in the Underdog Challenge corner of the world, where we are always looking to see the upsets before they happen.

Each member of your esteemed panel is averaging at least one ‘hit’ per week, which is not easy when forced to pick the underdog to win. The rules of our contest are as follows: Each panelist selects three upsets — for each one that is correct, the panelist receives as many points as the team was an underdog.

Here are the standings after seven weeks:

1 Zac Al-Khateeb 10-11 49
2 Bill Trocchi 8-13 48
3 Bill Bender 8-13 41.5
4 Mike DeCourcy 7-14 32.5

On to the upsets.

MORE: SN’s Midseason All-Americans | Top 25 picks against the spread for Week 8 | Debating USC vs. LSU job

Odds courtesy

Bill Bender, Lead college football writer

No. 8 Oklahoma State (+6.5) at Iowa State

Is this cheating or one of those Vegas mindbenders? A top-10 team is an underdog by a touchdown, and Oklahoma State has won eight of the last 10 in the series. Iowa State has bounced back from a rough start and is tough at home, but the Cowboys continue to use that underdog card to their advantage. Spencer Sanders leads the game-winning drive late in a Big 12 thriller.

Army (+3.5) vs. Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons are undefeated and had a bye-week to simulate the Black Knights’ option attack, but that defense still allows too much on the ground. Army is coming off a one-score loss at Wisconsin, but they are at home. The last ACC unbeaten goes down.

Clemson (+3.5) at No. 23 Pitt

For the second week in a row, we’re trying to trip up the Panthers. Pitt has an awesome offense led by SN Midseason All-American quarterback Kenny Pickett, and now is the chance to knock the Tigers out of the ACC race for good. Something tells us Clemson’s defense rises up, and the offense does just enough for the road upset.

Mike DeCourcy, Senior writer

No. 8 Oklahoma State (+6.5) at Iowa State

Even after the Cowboys went to Texas and won, no one’s buying. Well here’s where they convince you there’s something there. The Cyclones are not having the season many imagined when the year began; they’re 4-2 and haven’t beaten anyone of note. Well, OK State is “of note.” They’re going to show that the Texas victory and the undefeated record are for real and that last game – against Oklahoma in the Bedlam Series – is going to be something.

Clemson (+3.5) at No. 23 Pitt

There’s this thing that probably isn’t known to the outside world that is very much a thing in the Pittsburgh sports community. It’s called Pitting. It’s a pejorative term to describe how Panthers football since Dan Marino left town four decades ago generally has involved losing at just the moment when things start to look promising. Like after the Panthers went down to Tennessee earlier this year and won on the road then managed to find a way to lose to Western Michigan – classic Pitting. Well, this is the biggest test yet to establish whether the Panthers have grown beyond that. The Tigers haven’t really been worth a darnn, and by Clemson standards they’re horrible. But they still can be redeemed, and this is the win that would do it.

LSU (+9.5) at No. 12 Ole Miss

Here’s a good reason to believe that Ed Orgeron’s impending departure isn’t likely to have a detrimental effect on the Tigers: It’s not like this was the most disciplined outfit in the first place. If you think a “substitute teacher” syndrome is going to take over, well, that assumes they weren’t run by a substitute teacher-type in the first place. The Tigers showed in beating Florida what they’re capable of accomplishing. It’s asking a bit much to expect exceptional performances in consecutive weeks, but the reward nearly is a double-digit score.

Bill Trocchi, Senior editor

No. 8 Oklahoma State (+6.5) at Iowa State

When a line is this wacky, beware. Oklahoma State isn’t the most impressive statistically, with four one-score wins, including one against Missouri State. But it is 3-0 in the Big 12 and dominated Texas in the second half of last week’s 32-24 win. What has Iowa State done to deserve to be a favorite? Three of its four wins are against Northern Iowa (by six), winless UNLV and Kansas. Vegas knows something.

No. 25 Purdue (+2.5) vs. Wisconsin

The Boilermakers are no one-hit wonder. Defensive end George Karlaftis and wide receiver David Bell are NFL talents. Purdue ranks ahead of Wisconsin in points scored and points allowed, (and wins and losses) and the game is in West Lafayette, where Purdue will proudly play with its first national ranking in 14 years. I’m really not sure why the Badgers are favored.

No. 22 San Diego State (+3.5) at Air Force

Brady Hoke has the Aztecs unbeaten, but it hasn’t been easy. Two overtime victories, including one at San Jose State last weekend, have tested a team that has been up and down. Here’s guessing they are up for Air Force, who rolls in with a 6-1 record. The Falcons best win was last week over Boise. It is a letdown spot facing the Mountain West’s top defense.

Zac Al-Khateeb, Content producer

No. 8 Oklahoma State (+6.5) at Iowa State

The Cowboys are fresh off an 32-24 upset over Texas, a victory that needed a 17-3 comeback in Austin. Can they get up for another tough outing against an Iowa State squad that ranked among the top 10 teams in the preseason? Matt Campbell’s squad has fallen well short of expectations thus far, starting 4-2 after losses to Iowa and Baylor. Prior to Saturday’s 33-20 win over Kansas State, none of the teams the Cyclones had beaten (Northern Iowa, UNLV or Kansas) had a pulse. Gundy’s team will answer the bell with another win to remain undefeated.

No. 10 Oregon (+1.5) at UCLA

Oregon has looked like the class of the Pac-12 in 2021, though the conference is clearly the weakest among the Power 5. (Indeed, the Ducks are currently the only ranked team in the latest AP Top 25 poll). Still, they will need to put together a complete game — and a strong defensive performance — against Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson: On top of his 1,419 passing yards and 13 passing touchdowns, he also has 387 rushing yards and five more scores. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe will limit the damage he can do in another close win.

Clemson (+3.5) at No. 23 Pitt

It would be so easy to pick against Clemson considering the Tigers’ struggles this year. Dabo Swinney’s squad has only scored 20 or more points twice all season, in a 49-3 win over South Carolina State and in a 27-21 double-overtime loss to N.C. State. So why pick the Tigers now, when they’re taking on No. 23 Pitt and Sporting News midseason All-American quarterback Kenny Pickett? Precisely because Clemson is an underdog. Swinney excels at creating an “us against the world” narrative, and he’lll put it to full use this week with the Tigers considered dogs for the first time since 2016.

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