Alabama, Florida on upset alert

Evaluating upset odds and making picks for Week 8's biggest games

Originally Published: October 18, 2012
By Will Harris | ESPN Insider
 Jeff Driskel/AJ McCarronGetty ImagesThe Gators and Crimson Tide should both be challenged this weekend.

Every week during the season, Will Harris will check with the computers (using Insider's PickCenter) and wiseguys to evaluate the upset possibilities in college football's most compelling games and give his picks for who will come out on top.

The first BCS standings are out, and none of the top eight teams have gimmes this week. The SEC currently accounts for six of the top 12, though we still expect LSU and Florida to be much farther down the rankings by season's end.

The Tigers surprised us with a solid win over South Carolina, but Upset Watch managed a 7-3 week to move to 40-29 on the season. In Week 8 we'll look at what should be Alabama's toughest test, along with the rest of the marquee games and a pair of live dogs that have a chance for statement wins over in-state heavyweights.

South Carolina Gamecocks at Florida Gators

Florida is favored by 3.5 points
TeamRankings win odds for South Carolina: 37 percent

This is a battle of two teams that have covered every game since the opener. We expected Carolina to win last week, but the Gamecocks played their worst game since Week 1, Tiger Stadium roared and Les Miles reminded us why he's an elite preparer of teams. Still, our overall view of the SEC hasn't really changed since the offseason. The Tigers probably have another inspired performance or two in them, but LSU has all the problems we saw in the summer and still looks like a 9-4 team. And South Carolina still looks like the East favorite and one of the most complete teams in the country.

Florida's improvement from 2011 has been evident across the board, from the head coach on down. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease in particular has been a difference-maker. Still, the Gators have a lot of ground to make up against the East's best, and must yet prove that they can do what well-coached teams do: Get better as the season goes along and win in November.


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