College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread, odds for key top 25 games in Week 8

College football is nearly at full strength as the Big Ten and Mountain West open their 2020 seasons in Week 8. The Big Ten in particular has a couple big games on the slate as No. 5 Ohio State opens by hosting Nebraska and No. 18 Michigan squares off with No. 21 Minnesota in a nightcap that may have an immediate impact on the outlook of the league.

Elsewhere in the sport, the ACC and Big 12 each have a top 25 showdown as No. 14 North Carolina hosts No. 23 NC State and No. 6 Oklahoma State hosts No. 17 Iowa State. The SEC is not heavily featured on Saturday other than in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week as No. 2 Alabama is the lone ranked team in action as it travels to face Tennessee.

Our experts at CBS Sports are here to help you navigate what game to play with expert picks both straight up and against the spread. Let’s take a look at four key games this weekend. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff at noon to the final whistle of day.

Odds via William Hill Sportsbook | All times Eastern

Nebraska at No. 5 Ohio State (-26) — noon on Fox: Let me start by saying that I don’t have a high level of confidence in this pick. More than anything, I’m putting faith in the Nebraska offense to find enough success to keep this game from getting too far out of hand. That said, I’m also relying on some early-season rust on Ohio State’s part. I also wonder that, with the Big Ten’s compacted schedule, if we’ll see Ohio State turn to its reserves more often should it build a big lead in an effort to keep everyone fresh and healthy. If that happens, it could help the Cornhuskers stay within this spread. Pick: Nebraska (+26) — Tom Fornelli

No. 23 NC State at No. 14 North Carolina (-15.5) — noon on ESPN: Both teams are in the AP Top 25 poll for only the third time in the 110 meetings of this rivalry and for the first time since 1993. The historic nature of this moment in a rivalry packed with hate and history leads me to believe we will operate on the extremes. Either North Carolina wins by 20, or NC State gets the outright upset. There is no in between. There is only heartbreak. I say Sam Howell and the Tar Heels continue the strong second half performance against Florida State and left that woeful first half. If NC State has to dig itself out of a hole without injured starting quarterback Devin Leary, it could be a long afternoon. Pick: North Carolina -15.5 — Chip Patterson

No. 2 Alabama (-21.5) at Tennessee — 3:30 p.m. on CBS, I always say that it’s impossible to pick Alabama games when it feels like it can just dial up any score it wants. This is the exception, though. It’s hard to imagine that, considering the offensive mess that Jeremy Pruitt has on Rocky Top, Tennessee can even crack double digits. In that case, can Alabama crack 30? They might be able to do that in the first half. This is one of the locks of the weekend. Pick: Alabama (-21) — Barrett Sallee

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 8, and which SEC team will pull off a shocking upset? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,100 in profit over the past four-plus seasons — and find out.

No. 4 Notre Dame (-10) at Pittsburgh — 3:30 p.m. on ABC: I’m not going to put Notre Dame’s passing game in the spotlight for its lack of production against Louisville because the windy conditions did not allow for any kind of confidence in putting the ball in the air. Instead, I’ll go back to the Florida State game, where the group picked up some confidence in the first half with senior Javon McKinley emerging as that apparent No. 1 threat. I think Ian Book gets tested by Pitt’s defensive front, and his pass catchers are ready to help him answer the challenge. Pick: Notre Dame (-10.5) — Chip Patterson

No. 17 Iowa State at No. 6 Oklahoma State (-3.5) — 3:30 p.m. on Fox: The Big 12’s only matchup between two ranked teams in Week 8 is a critical midseason game of dark horses. Iowa State and Oklahoma State don’t get windows opened this wide for the Big 12 Championship Game often, so there’s a lot on the line. Both teams have excellent defenses, so don’t be surprised if they lean on them. The uncertainty surrounding Spencer Sanders’ return adds intrigue for Oklahoma State, but this game should be won or lost in the trenches. Iowa State has the more impressive win on its resume and does a great job dictating the pace of the game. If the Cyclones win with their defensive front and a heavy dose of Breece Hall, they can win straight up. Pick: Iowa State +3.5 — Ben Kercheval

No. 18 Michigan (-3) at No. 21 Minnesota — 7:30 p.m. on ABC: Both teams have questions, and in an off year for just about every team, it may take a while before we know exactly what to make of them. The line is small and the home dogs certainly have a chance to pull the outright win. If Michigan’s new-look offense can going early, that would be a great sign. If they have to play from behind, it could be a frustrating day for Harbaugh’s team. Pick: Minnesota +3 — Ben Kercheval

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