College football is entering week 8. There are always things to watch every week of the season. Here are 5 things to watch in college football week 8.
1. Oklahoma State’s Upset Bid
Oklahoma State enters week 8 undefeated at 6-0. They have not won games by a wide margin, but most importantly they have kept winning. This week, they are actually underdogs against Iowa State, who have two losses. The Cowboys have been carried by their solid defensive play, who have allowed just 19.6 points per game. If Spencer Sanders can play well at quarterback, Oklahoma State can stay undefeated.
Iowa State was one of the preseason favorites to make the Big 12 Championship, but they already have two losses. They dropped games to Iowa and Baylor earlier in the season and have gotten things back on track with two straight wins. They too have been bolstered by their defense who allows 16.3 points per game. It will likely be a defensive battle, so one key play could change the game and the outlook on the Big 12 conference.
2. Oregon’s Tough Road Test
Oregon has had an inconsistent season so far. They’ve defeated Ohio State on the road, but also lost to Stanford. The Ducks have narrowly escaped some games so far too. The last two weeks their offense has struggled, only scoring 24 points in each game against competition who they should’ve fared better against. They’ll need to put up more than 24 points this week when they play UCLA on the road.
Similar to Oregon, UCLA has had games where they look good and ones where they have struggled. They are 4-2 with wins LSU, Stanford and Washington, but lost to Fresno State and Arizona State. The Bruins score 33.9 points per game behind the quarterback play of Dorian Thompson-Robinson. They are favored at home by 1.5 points and if that holds, the Pac-12 will officially be out of the College Football Playoff.
3. Pittsburgh’s Chance to Make a Statement
Pittsburgh has played well this season and has a 5-1 record. They have played well enough (and Clemson has played bad enough) that the Panthers are favored to win the game against the Tigers by 3.5 points. Quarterback Kenny Pickett has taken his play to another level and the Panthers are now scoring 48.3 points per game. The defense has also been solid, allowing just 20.0 points per game.
Clemson has not been the team they were projected to be this season. They lost to Georgia and to NC State and are now unranked. Their offense has really struggled, as they have only scored over 20 points once this season. They are fueled by their defense, who allowed just 12.5 points per game. If they want to rebound and finish the season off strong, they have to play better offensively. This game gives them that opportunity, as Pittsburgh has proven to be able to put up points. If Clemson wins, they may be able to get things back on track and make the ACC Championship Game.
4. Fun Belt Action
For fans who love football all week long are getting a treat this week. The Sun Belt or “Fun Belt” has a game on Wednesday this week that is worth watching. Coastal Carolina travels to Appalachian State for one of the games of the season in the conference. The Chanticleers are 6-0 with an efficient offense that scores 48.8 points per game. They could make a New Year’s Six Bowl if they can finish the season undefeated.
Appalachian State has lost two games this season to Miami and Louisiana. They have been bolstered by Chase Brice at quarterback who transferred in from Duke. Their defense has also played solidly. The Mountaineers are coming off a big loss to Louisiana and will want to get things back on track. They may be one of the few teams left who can derail the Chanticleers’ perfect season.
5. Mountain West Quarterback Battle
Nevada has had a good start to the season and stand at 5-1. They are currently in a battle with Fresno State and San Diego State to win the West division of the MWC. The Wolf Pack are led by Carson Strong who has helped the Wolf Pack pass for 363.3 yards per game, which is good enough for third in the country. Not only is the offense rolling, but Strong has the potential to be the first quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft if his good play continues.
On the other side of the Mountain West quarterback battle is Jake Haener of Fresno State. He has helped improve his stock already this season, but has cooled off over recent weeks. He passed for just 96 yards against Wyoming, but overall has played pretty well for the Bulldogs. With 2,326 passing yards and 20 touchdowns this season, he has elevated the play of the Fresno State offense. Whichever quarterback plays better will likely pick up the win for their team.
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