Welcome back, B1G! Last week we had one of the biggest games of the college football season in Georgia versus Alabama. Week 8 doesn’t necessarily have a big game like that, but there are multiple match-ups that can impact the College Football Playoff. With the B1G returning, we should be able to weed out some pretenders. Some of the top-10 teams will fall, simply because teams like Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin have joined the party. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the top match-ups in week 8.
Nebraska at (5) Ohio State: Ohio State is the one team people have been waiting to see. Are they on the same level as Clemson and Alabama, or are they due for a down year. Scott Frost and Nebraska will travel to the Horseshoe. Nebraska will lean on quarterback Adrian Martinez to keep the game close. However, Ohio State is loaded on offense. The Buckeyes return Heisman Finalist Justin Fields along with Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and true freshmen Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The offense also returns half of its offensive line, including NFL prospect guard Wyatt Davis. Transfer running back Trey Sermon from Oklahoma should also boost the offense as he will split reps with returning running back Master Teague. If there is any question about the Buckeyes, it comes on the defensive side of the ball. The Buckeyes have produced guys like Nick Bosa and Chase Young, so replacing them will be more difficult. However the defense will be lead by linebacker Baron Browning and corner back Shaun Wade. Prediction: Nebraska 17 (5) Ohio State 52
(18) Michigan at (21) Minnesota: Can Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck keep the boat rowing, or will Michigan finally find an offensive identity? Both those questions probably aren’t going to get answered in week one of B1G play. Minnesota returns quarterback Tanner Morgan, and all-American candidate receiver Rashod Bateman. The Gophers lost the heart of their defense in safety Antoine Winfield Jr. Michigan’s offense has been the question mark throughout Jim Harbaugh’s tenure. Starting quarterback Joe Milton beat out Dylan McCaffery in the off-season. The Wolverines also return running backs Zach Charbonnet and fifth year senior Chris Evans. Last year the duo combined for over 1,500-yards. Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown will have play-makers like free safety Daxton Hill, defensive end Kwity Paye, and linebacker Cam McGrone. This game should be a good one. Both teams are looking to start the season on the right foot. Prediction: (18) Michigan 17 (21) Minnesota 31
Syracuse at (1) Clemson: Clemson should have some tough games such as at (3) Notre Dame and at (19) Virginia Tech. However, this game should be a breeze for (1) Clemson. After dismantling Georgia Tech 73-7 in week 7, the Tigers will take on Syracuse at Death Valley II. Quarterback and Heisman front-runner Trevor Lawrence, and running back Travis Etienne have both had great starts to the season. Lawrence has thrown for 1,544-yards and 15 touchdowns. Etienne also has 436-yards rushing and five touchdowns. Look for this game to have a similar outcome as the Georgia Tech game for (1) Clemson. Prediction: Syracuse 10 (1) Clemson 63
(23) North Carolina State at (14) North Carolina: Mack Brown and his Tar Heels started out the season on a positive note. They were 3-0 and reached number five in the polls. However, last week was a very different story for the Heels. North Carolina traveled to one-win Florida State and completely dropped the ball in losing 31-28 to the Seminoles. Carolina quarterback Sam Howell hasn’t picked up where he left off last year, With that being said Carolina’s offense is not the problem, it’s the defense. The Heels gave up 241-yards to unranked Florida State. North Carolina State is lead by quarterback Devin Leary who has thrown for 890-yards and 8 touchdowns. Zonovan Knight has also pitched in for the Wolfpack, rushing for 365-yards and three touchdowns. Look for the Heels to bounce back this week against their rival. North Carolina State this year, gives up 421-yards per game. Can Mack Brown and his Tar Heels take advantage of the weak Wolfpack defense? Prediction: (23) North Carolina State 24 (14) North Carolina 38
(17) Iowa State at (6) Oklahoma State: Iowa State has been able to find a balance on offense. Being able to find a running game and being able to stop the run have been the high points for this Cyclone team. Oklahoma State’s team has been taking the college football world by storm this year. The Cowboy’s defense lead the nation in yards per play and yards per game. The defense has also only allowed 27 points over their first three games. On the offensive side of the ball, Oklahoma State lead the Big 12 in rushing, attributing to their success. Prediction: (17) Iowa State 28 (6) Oklahoma State 35 (Jacob)
Auburn at Ole Miss: The Auburn Tigers and Ole Miss Rebels have both struggled this year. This is a game that can give either team momentum and confidence back to turn their season around. The Tigers have struggled establishing a run game which reflects in the poor performance of Bo Nix under the weight of trying to carry that team. Can they take advantage of the Rebels terrible defense and keep up the Rebels high scoring offense? The Rebels have an offense that can score against the best of them. Their defense on the other hand has been horrifically bad, but the Rebels offense has been able to score at will. Prediction: Auburn 17 Ole Miss 35 (Jacob)
(2) Alabama at Tennessee: Alabama has been rolling on all cylinders on the offensive side of the ball. Defense on the other hand has been a struggle, but showed they can step up when needed especially vs Georgia last week. Tennessee’s offense has been able to give time to their QB and the defense has been able to hold offenses at bay. But this is Alabama and their offense is showing up and producing on demand this year. Prediction: (2) Alabama 56 Tennessee 17 (Jacob)
Game of the Week:
Jacob: (9) Cincinnati at (16) SMU: Cincinnati will be playing its first game in 21 days which may prove to be too much time off to get things going right off the bat against a talented SMU team. SMU on the other hand has been firing on all cylinders. Their offense has been able to move the ball despite their defensive struggles. Given those struggles might be the way Cincinnati stays with this high octane SMU offense. Prediction: (9) Cincinnati 38 (16) SMU 45
Justin: (9) Cincinnati at (16) SMU: Yes the biggest game of the week is not from the B1G or SEC. Both teams play in the American Athletic Conference, and this should be a good one. The Mustangs are the only team in America with a 5-0 record. For SMU, quarterback Shane Buechele has thrown for 1,710-yards and 12 touchdowns. Buechele is quietly sneaking into Heisman contention. As for Cincinnati, its the simple question; rest or rust? The Bearcats haven’t played in 21 days. They have an offense that hasn’t been perfect, but it’s gotten the job done. Signal caller Desmond Ridder won’t impress you with his numbers; 597-yards passing and six touchdowns with four interceptions. Cincinnati just seems to get the job done every week, but facing a red-hot SMU team can be tough, especially if Buechele can get going. Prediction: (9) Cincinnati 31 (16) SMU 35
- (18) Michigan vs (21) Minnesota +3
- (9) Cincinnati at (16) SMU -2.5
- (8) Penn State -6 at Indiana
- (17) Iowa State at (6) Oklahoma State Under 52
- (2) Alabama at Tennessee Under 65
- (14) North Carolina at (23) North Carolina State +15.5
- Nebraska at (5) Ohio State Under 68
- Friday Night Bonus: Illinois at (14) Wisconsin Over 51.5
- Texas State at (12) BYU -28.5
- (3) Notre Dame at Pittsburgh Over 42.5
- Trevor Lawrence
- Mac Jones
- Najee Harris
- Travis Etienne
- Zach Wilson
- Trevor Lawrence
- Mac Jones
- Najee Harris
- Travis Etienne
- Shane Buechele
One To Watch: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- Trevor Lawrence is the clear front-runner in the Heisman Race. He has thrown for 15 touchdowns already. Mac Jones had a huge second half for Alabama in their top-5 match up with Georgia. He spread the ball around to his elite receivers on the outside. Unfortunately for Najee Harris and Travis Etienne, their quarterbacks will start taking votes away from the two running backs. Both Zach Wilson and Shane Buechele have had a great year so far. Wilson is 107-136 for 1,641 yards and 12 touchdowns. Buechele is 119-177 for 1,710 yards and 12 touchdowns. Playing in a smaller conference will really hurt these two, which is unfortunate because both are having outstanding seasons. Justin Fields is a player who should shoot up Heisman boards once he really gets going. He has the chance to prove himself in the Buckeyes match up with Penn State in Happy Valley on Halloween.
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- Texas A&M
- Oklahoma State
- Notre Dame
- Alabama and Clemson are clearly the best teams playing right now. The hope for the B1G Conference is that Ohio State is on that level as well. Georgia shouldn’t fall far after losing in Tuscaloosa. Question marks surround Notre Dame after they struggled to get past Louisville 12-7. Oklahoma State has a chance to run the table in the Big 12, creating questions come playoff time. Texas A&M and Florida are tough outs in the SEC. Finally the smaller conference schools deserve some love, as next week they could be dropping out with the addition of Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin.
Jacob: 1. Clemson 2. Alabama 3. Notre Dame 4. Georgia
JB: 1. Alabama 2. Clemson. 3. Oklahoma State 4. Georgia
Follow Me on Twitter: @BrownlojCLE
Jacob on Twitter: @PiccuitoJacob
Fourth & Long Podcast Twitter: @4thandlongpod
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