College Football 2016 Week 8 Preview

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The college football season is too short. Here we are already going into the eighth weekend. It seems like the season just got started. The length makes the sport special. Every game counts, and this late into the season even more so. There’s teams looking for playoff spots, players looking for Heisman invites to New York, and coaches looking to keep their jobs. Among those on the “hot seat” at major programs are Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Mark Helfrich (Oregon), and Charlie Strong (Texas). The college football polls are under a stampede by two small, but powerful broncos. Western Michigan and Boise State are both undefeated and trying to break into the playoff conversation. There isn’t much to report from a week ago. There were a pair of upsets in the ACC. North Carolina got a 20-13 road win over Miami (FL), and Syracuse beat Virginia Tech 31-17 at home. Wisconsin took undefeated Ohio State into overtime at home before losing 30-23. North Carolina State took undefeated Clemson into overtime in “Death Valley” before losing 24-13. Looks like it could be a big week coming up, and as always a big week in the SEC.

*All times United States Eastern Standard.

Thursday, October 20

Miami (FL) Hurricanes (4-2) @ Virginia Tech Hokies (4-2)

7:00 PM on ESPN from Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, VA

A big battle in the ACC Coastal division. These two schools slugged it out for years in the old Big East conference, and it continues in the ACC. It’s a divisional battle, and both teams are still in the hunt for at least a decent bowl bid. Lane Stadium will be rockin’, and I’d expected nothing less than a close, hard hittin’, slugfest.

BYU Cougars (4-3) @ #14 Boise State Broncos (6-0)

10:15 PM on ESPN from Albertsons Stadium in Boise, ID

A western showdown on “The Blue Turf.” The thing to watch is to see if Boise State can stay undefeated. They have the easier path to possibly breaking into the playoff picture. A win over BYU will look good on the resume. That said, a win on the road against an undefeated team looks good for BYU and might be the spark to turn around their season.

Saturday, October 22

North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-2) @ #7 Louisville Cardinals (5-1)

12:00 PM on ABC from Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, KY

North Carolina State took Clemson into overtime in “Death Valley,” coming close to undoing their perfect season. For the second week in a row the Wolfpack walks into a hostile environment. Can they do it again? I don’t know. That’s the reason to watch. Lamar Jackson didn’t look strong last week, and if the Wolfpack defense can contain him, things could get very interesting.

TCU Horned Frogs (4-2) @ #12 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-0)

3:30 PM on ABC/ESPN 2 from Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV

A BIG XII battle. Can WVU remain undefeated or will TCU try to climb back into the conference race? There’s a lot at stake, but the Mountaineers look to have more firepower. Their offense is putting up huge numbers, but more than that the defense is actually showing up this year. TCU will have to play a mistake free game and create turnovers if they want to win.

#6 Texas A&M Aggies (6-0) @ #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0)

3:30 PM on CBS from Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL

The game of the week. I don’t care where you live, this is the game of the week. If Alabama loses, how far will they fall? How far will Texas A&M rise? Who takes over the top spot? Alabama dominated hated rival Tennessee a week ago. Texas A&M beat Tennessee in double overtime two weeks ago. If you can only watch one game, this it.

#17 Arkansas Razorbacks (5-2) @ #21 Auburn Tigers (4-2)

6:00 PM on ESPN from Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, AL

Another SEC battle taking place between ranked teams. I don’t think anyone saw Auburn having this record or ranking. I didn’t. This has all the makings of a tough late October night classic SEC battle.

#23 Ole Miss Rebels (3-3) @ #25 LSU Tigers (4-2)

9:00 PM on ESPN from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA

Ole Miss can’t save their season. They can’t win the West, SEC, or make the playoffs. All they can do is win as much as they can to land a decent bowl bid. Winning a night game as the visiting team in Tiger Stadium is never an easy task. Everything I said about the previous game holds true here as well.

Washington State Cougars (4-2) @ Arizona State Sun Devils (5-2)

10:00 PM on PAC12 from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ

Two teams making an impact in a shook up PAC 12. Washington State hasn’t lost a conference game and is in a tie with Washington in the same division. If they win, the Apple Cup will be a bigger game, with the eyes of the college football faithful tuning in to watch. Arizona State is quietly showing they may be back to a form they showed a few years ago. This has all the makings of a wild west shootout.

My Heisman Hopefuls (Not Ordered)

J.T. Barrett QB Ohio State Buckeyes

Jake Browning QB Washington Huskies

Lamar Jackson QB Louisville

My Top Four Playoff Teams

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes
  3. Washington Huskies
  4. Texas A&M Aggies

AP Top 25

  1. LSU Tigers
  2. Navy Midshipmen
  3. Ole Miss Rebels
  4. North Carolina Tar Heels
  5. Auburn Tigers
  6. Western Michigan Broncos
  7. Utah Utes
  8. Tennessee Volunteers
  9. Arkansas Razorbacks
  10. Oklahoma Sooners
  11. Florida Gators
  12. Boise State Broncos
  13. Florida State Seminoles
  14. West Virginia Mountaineers
  15. Houston Cougars
  16. Wisconsin Badgers
  17. Baylor Bears
  18. Nebraska Cornhuskers
  19. Louisville Cardinals
  20. Texas A&M Aggies
  21. Washington Huskies
  22. Clemson Tigers
  23. Michigan Wolverines (1)
  24. Ohio State Buckeyes
  25. Alabama Crimson Tide (60)

Copyright © Drew Martin 2016

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