College football is back. While not all teams are back, a lot of teams are preparing for week 8. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 8.
1. Oklahoma State’s Test
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are the best bet for the Big 12 to make the CFP. They are 3-0 with wins over Tulsa, West Virginia and Kansas. Oklahoma State will take on Iowa State, who is ranked after starting the season 3-1. The winner will be in the driver’s seat in the Big 12.
After losing to Louisiana in the season-opener, Iowa State has gotten back on track. Brock Purdy leads a solid passing offense, which should generate a shootout. The Cowboys are going to be relying on both running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace to keep up. Oklahoma State hasn’t unleashed their offense like in previous years yet, but they’ll need to as they get into the Big 12 schedule.
2. Minnesota’s Follow up Season
The Big Ten season starts up again this week. One of the biggest storylines will be Minnesota coming back from their double-digit win season. It was the best season they have had in recent memory and with key players returning, there are some high expectations for the Golden Gophers this season.
Minnesota takes on Michigan in the first week of their season. Michigan is ranked higher than Minnesota and gets to host the game, but the Golden Gophers have some stars that should help them win the game. Tanner Morgan is a future pro quarterback and Rashod Bateman is one of the best wide receivers in the 2021 NFL Draft class. A win over Michigan would be a big boost to Minnesota as they try to compete for the Big Ten Championship.
3. AAC Clash
The AAC has a big game this weekend that could have CFP, or at the very least New Year’s Six, implications. Cincinnati travels to SMU to take on the Mustangs. The Bearcats have had to get through some COVID cases, but they do have a great defense. Specifically, their secondary has shut down a lot of passing attacks, which they will need to do this weekend. They allow just 171 passing yards per game.
SMU has one of the best passing offenses in the country and boast a 5-0 record. Shane Buechele, the former Texas quarterback, has helped the team average 359.2 passing yards per game. He will be without his top target Reggie Roberson, who is out for the season with an injury. Both teams will be fighting through some adversity, but the winner will be a top 10 team looking to do great things the rest of the season.
4. Can UNC Rebound?
UNC did not play well against Florida State and dropped the game on the road. They fell to 14th in the polls and are 3-1. The Tar Heels can still make the ACC Championship Game, like some predicted, but they need to have a better sense of urgency to start the game. This week, they play one of their rivals in NC State.
The Wolfpack are 4-1 with just a loss to Virginia Tech so far. Dave Doern has done a good job at NC State, as the team doesn’t have a bunch of talent, but they have scrapped for some good wins already. They will be underdogs in this game, but with UNC coming off a loss and the Wolfpack playing tough, this game could be close.
5. Mountain West Returns
The Big Ten returns this week, but so too does the Mountain West. After cancelling their season, the Mountain West decided to come back and now they have a few games on the schedule. The games this week are: Utah State at Boise State, Wyoming at Nevada, Hawaii at Fresno State, New Mexico at Colorado State, UNLV at San Diego State and Air Force at San Jose State.
Boise State, like usual, will be favored to win the conference, but the conference is full of teams worth watching. The conference has produced a lot of good pros, including Josh Allen, Jordan Love and more. Even with some conferences already playing, it still feels like there is football missing and the Mountain West can help fill that void.
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