We’re entering Week 8 of the college football season and some teams are already near the midway point of their 2020 campaigns. However, one of the country’s most-prominent conferences is just getting started.
The Big Ten is finally set to join the fray this week as the league debuts with a slate of seven games, starting Friday when No. 14 Wisconsin hosts Illinois.
The addition of a fourth power conference to the action makes for an intriguing weekend slate that features a total of 20 ranked teams in action. Among them are No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama, both of whom are massive favorites against league foes. But the Big Ten’s return is sure to add drama to the national picture as teams like Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin launch their bids to crash the College Football Playoff.
It’s never too early to take a look at the lines for the weekend ahead, so here are the odds from William Hill Sportsbook.
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Syracuse at No. 1 Clemson (-44.5): Clemson closed as a 26.5-point favorite at Georgia Tech on Saturday and proceeded to thrash the Yellow Jackets 73-7. Now the top-ranked Tigers host a Syracuse team that is 1-4 and coming off a 38-21 home loss to Liberty. The Orange have never been a bigger underdog in an ACC game. But perhaps it’s worth noting they upset Clemson in 2017 as a 23.5-point underdog.
No. 17 Iowa State at No. 6 Oklahoma State (-3.5): With Texas and Oklahoma each already nursing two Big 12 losses, this game could be an important determining factor in who wins the league’s regular-season title. These two teams along with Kansas State are the only squads left without a league loss. So perhaps this will be a preview of the Big 12 Championship game. If nothing else, it should be a great game. The last five between these two teams have been decided by a touchdown or less.
No. 9 Cincinnati (-1) at No. 16 SMU: Cincinnati and SMU are the only remaining undefeated AAC teams so there will be plenty on the line when they square off Saturday. The Mustangs are banged up but have a veteran quarterback and shown an ability to close out close games so far. Cincinnati has not truly been tested and has not played since in an uninspiring win over South Florida on Oct. 3.
No. 18 Michigan (-3) at No. 21 Minnesota: This is the only game of the Big Ten’s opening weekend that features two ranked teams, and it truly is a huge one for both squads. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh needs a win to quiet the chaos surrounding him as he enters his sixth season. Meanwhile, the Gophers are looking to prove last season’s 11 wins were no fluke and that they are ready to overtake Wisconsin in the