College Football Week 8: Penn State Favored Over Michigan, Pac-12 Schedules Marquee Matchups

Posted on: October 19, 2019, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2019, 11:03h.

No. 7 Penn State (6-0) is a nine-point home favorite over No. 16 Michigan (5-1) in the top game of the college football Week 8 slate, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Penn State Michigan Week 8
The Penn State defense has been dominant heading into a Week 8 matchup against Michigan. (Image: Matthew O’Haren/USA Today Sports)

The Nittany Lions will be looking to bolster their case as a playoff contender against one of their toughest Big Ten rivals, while Michigan will look to prove that it can compete against the top teams in the conference after a disappointing performance against Wisconsin last month.

Penn State Defense Dominant This Season

Since then, Michigan has reeled off three straight wins, including a gutsy 10-3 victory over Iowa. But the Wolverines have looked unimpressive for a 5-1 team – as much as such a thing is possible – which means there are plenty of doubters heading into Saturday’s trip to College Station.

Meanwhile, Penn State looks like a well-rounded team. But while its offense has put up 42 points per game, the most impressive performance has come from the Nittany Lions’ defense, which is giving up just 8.2 points per game this season behind a seemingly unstoppable front seven.

It’s hard to see exactly how the Wolverines plan to punch through that defense, which is why Penn State has been installed as a strong favorite. Still, Penn State head coach James Franklin doesn’t expect anything to come easily this Saturday.

“We got a really good team coming in here with great tradition, history, and support, and we’re going to need to play well,” Franklin told reporters.

Penn State is currently tied with Ohio State at 3-0 in the Big Ten East, with Michigan just a half-game back at 3-1.

Pac-12 Earns Week 8 Spotlight

Outside of the Penn State vs. Michigan matchup, the biggest games of Week 8 will be played on the West Coast. The Pac-12 has two critical battles taking place on Saturday, as No. 12 Oregon (5-1) travels to No. 15 Washington (5-2), and No. 17 Arizona State (5-1) visits No. 13 Utah (5-1).

Oregon is in great shape heading into Week 8, as the Ducks sit at 3-0 in the conference, while everyone else in the Pac-12 North has at least two losses. But they’ll get a tough test at Washington, where the Huskies are only a field goal underdog against one of their chief rivals.

Meanwhile, Arizona State and Utah are part of a four-way tie at 2-1 in the Pac-12 South, making this a critical matchup in terms of beginning to define who might be headed to the conference championship at the end of the season. Utah is a massive 13.5-point favorite, an understandable number at home following a 52-7 road win over Oregon State for the Utes.

The Sun Devils, on the other hand, are coming off a 38-34 thriller at home against Washington State. But head coach Herm Edwards knows his team will have to expect a very different game at Utah.

“I think sometimes the perception of coaches is, ‘He wants to do it this way,’” Edwards told the Doug & Wolf radio show on Monday. “Sometimes you’ve got to score. Sometimes it’s got to be a low score, limit possessions, whatever it may be. But there’s a thought process that goes into it every week according to who the opponent is of how we’re going to have to play and give us the best chance to win.”