Coming off a wild weekend of college football that shook up the rankings a bit (after Alabama and Ohio State, that’s), Week 8 has quite a few video games value paying consideration to because the division and convention races proceed to warmth up because the temperatures throughout the nation start to fall. Rising convention and potential playoff contenders are in some huge spots this weekend because the stakes proceed to rise each week.
Here’s a take a look at 5 video games to watch intently this weekend.
Jim Harbaugh seems for an enormous win towards Michigan State
After dropping the season opener at Notre Dame, the Michigan Wolverines have been on the transfer up the varied rankings with a six-game profitable streak. In consequence, Michigan is now in a place to critically give Ohio State a run for the Massive Ten East Division. A smashing win towards Wisconsin was a little bit of a press release recreation for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines, and one they’ve been ready for since dropping the opener towards the Preventing Irish. This week, Michigan heads to East Lansing to tackle one other prime 25 group – in-state rival Michigan State.
You’ll hear a lot concerning the historical past Harbaugh has with Michigan State, and it has not been good. The Spartans personal a 2-1 document towards Michigan since Harbaugh was employed and the Spartans have held the higher hand in the collection during the last decade with a report of 8-2 in the final ten years. So why is that this yr any totally different for Michigan?
Comparable to 2016, Michigan has the construct of a reputable Huge Ten contender with a robust basis on protection and an influence operating recreation that may put on down opponents. Throw in a quarterback in Shea Patterson who continues to look extra snug in the Michigan offense, and has additionally proven off his means to decide up yards on the bottom when wanted, and swiftly this has the look of probably the most well-rounded Michigan workforce Harbaugh has had since his arrival. However in contrast to 2016, Michigan isn’t taking over a Michigan State group gasping for air in a misplaced season. This isn’t the most effective Michigan State group Dantonio has had, however the Spartans are coming off a gritty victory on the street towards Penn State to creep into the highest 25 this week they usually all the time play Michigan robust.
This one has all the components to be a low-scoring defensive wrestle, with Michigan proudly owning probably the greatest defenses in the Huge Ten and Michigan State bringing the Massive Ten’s prime dashing protection to the desk. The Spartans will look to make Patterson beat them via the air, however that will not be Michigan State’s benefit given the shortcomings the Spartans have in the secondary. Surprisingly, Penn State failed to attempt to assault that weak spot final week, and it value the Nittany Lions. If Patterson has a while to discover his receivers, Michigan ought to have the opportunity to counter Michigan State’s defensive technique and go house with Harbaugh night his report towards Michigan State in a second-straight win towards a prime 25 opponent.
Can NC State shake up the ACC image, and your complete College Football Playoff state of affairs?
Clemson has gained three consecutive ACC titles and performed in the College Football Playoff every of the previous three seasons. In case you are on Staff Chaos this weekend, then you’re rooting for NC State to upset the Tigers in Dying Valley and throw a shock curveball on the complete ACC championship image.
This week, the final two unbeaten groups in the ACC, Clemson and NC State, will play what has grown into an necessary recreation in the ACC this season. With the best way the playoff contenders seem to be lining up, one loss could possibly be sufficient to knock even the ACC champion out of the four-team playoff, marking the primary time the ACC has been unnoticed of the College Football Playoff (solely the ACC and SEC have been included in the playoff every of the 4 seasons the system has existed; the SEC was the primary to have two groups play final season with Alabama and Georgia each chosen). This week, nevertheless, could possibly be the most important hurdle for each groups en route to a possible undefeated common season.
Clemson is the clear favourite given their power on protection and the potential of the offense with Trevor Lawrence, whereas NC State continues to be a group many try to get a superb really feel for. Having a recreation towards West Virginia canceled due to storms earlier this season has led us to take a look at what NC State has accomplished towards the likes of Georgia State, Marshall, Virginia, and Boston College. Up to now, it has accomplished high-quality, however the actual litmus check for whether or not or not NC State is a reputable ACC contender is that this weekend towards Clemson.
Ryan Finley and NC State have come agonizingly shut to topping Clemson every of the previous two years, however they’ve but to rejoice a win towards the highest workforce in the ACC. Only one landing has separated the 2 groups every of the previous two seasons, together with an extra time matchup two years in the past in Demise Valley. It should take greater than a great outing from Finley for NC State to beat Clemson, however the sixth-year senior may give the Wolfpack a greater shot at a press release win if he can keep away from turning the ball over.
If NC State does rating the upset of Clemson, we may have all types of enjoyable determining how the end result might impression the ACC and the playoff image shifting ahead. But when Clemson wins, the image seems a bit clearer.
Don’t overlook concerning the Sooners
Oklahoma had a rally towards Texas fall brief a few weeks in the past, however it might be extraordinarily unwise to overlook concerning the Sooners in the playoff dialogue. At 5-1 and with one of many prime offenses in the Massive 12, Oklahoma continues to be in a great spot to play in the Huge 12 championship recreation (a possible rematch with Texas can be the last word dream state of affairs for the Huge 12). This week, the Sooners are on the street towards TCU, who’re reeling these days.
Since giving Ohio State some hassle for somewhat extra than one half earlier this season, TCU has stumbled. Ohio State ran away from TCU because the second half unfolded, and Texas buried TCU by 15 factors the next week. After an in depth name towards Iowa State, Texas Tech then tied down TCU in one other defensive wrestle. The place has TCU’s offense gone? The Horned Frogs have been held to beneath 20 factors in three straight video games, and if they’re going to beat Oklahoma, that may be a development that can’t proceed.
Complete touchdowns in 2018:
Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray: 26
— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) October 18, 2018
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray could also be held in examine by TCU at occasions, however it is going to be a tall order for TCU to forestall Murray from making sufficient huge performs to have an opportunity of slowing down Oklahoma. Murray has 13 touchdowns in the final three video games, together with a six-touchdown outburst towards Baylor and his four-touchdown efficiency in a nailbiter towards Texas two weeks in the past. That was additionally Oklahoma’s final recreation, as that they had off final week to put together for Gary Patterson’s defensive type.
Don’t anticipate a letdown from Oregon
The basic components for a possible hangover recreation is sitting proper there this weekend for the Oregon Geese. Every week after a monster win at house towards Washington, Oregon has continued to fly up the rankings and is now happening the street for a division recreation towards a workforce greater than able to giving Oregon some hassle. However don’t anticipate Mario Cristobal to permit the Geese to have a sloppy efficiency this week.
With College GameDay making their first go to to Pullman to arrange on the campus of Washington State, Oregon is heading into a troublesome matchup on the street. The Cougars are literally a slight favourite at house, however happening the street this week might go well with Oregon properly. Earlier this season, after Oregon coughed away an enormous lead at residence towards Stanford solely to lose, the Geese got here again on the street the next week and left little question towards California. Washington State might be a stiffer problem, and the followers might be extra vocal in this one as nicely, however this is a chance for Oregon to show they don’t seem to be backing down in the Pac-12 North this season.
In fact, Washington State is wanting to make the identical declare. Each groups enter with 2-1 data in Pac-12 play and 5-1 general. They’re two of the final three one-loss groups the Pac-12 has to supply (and Colorado might fall from that class this week with a street recreation at Washington), so the stakes are about as excessive as they will get for the Geese and Cougars, and maybe the Pac-12 as an entire.
Anticipate loads of offense in this one. The Cougars have the nation’s top-ranked passing offense with Gardner Minshew already shut to 2,500 passing yards, whereas Justin Herbert is incomes respect as one of many nation’s prime gamers. Each groups are additionally averaging over 40 factors per recreation whereas permitting comparable factors per recreation to opponents in the mid to low-20s. Offenses would be the story of this recreation, as they sometimes are any time Mike Leach is concerned. If Orgeon can keep away from turning the ball over, they are going to be in nice form.
Will LSU keep away from an upset?
Identical to Oregon and Michigan, the LSU Tigers are coming off a serious victory from final week. However in contrast to the Geese and Wolverines, the Tigers get to keep residence this week for his or her contest towards a ranked opponent, Mississippi State. The Bulldogs come to Baton Rouge off an upset of Auburn two weeks in the past and could possibly be enjoying a method of protection that would make this one a bit ugly to watch at occasions. Each groups have a tendency to have the protection cleared the path, so it is going to be up to the offenses to attempt to capitalize on any alternatives to seize management of the sport.
Mississippi State’s offense began the yr on hearth in the primary three weeks however has appeared sluggish in SEC play. Even in a 23-9 win towards Auburn, there simply appeared to not be one thing proper about Mississippi State’s offense, which was a shocking improvement contemplating Joe Moorhead’s type of play was anticipated to have a clean transition with Nick Fitzgerald. Happening the street to play LSU might not the perfect state of affairs to see if this offense has really figured things out, however it will be an encouraging signal for Mississippi State followers if Fitzgerald and the offense can have some good drives towards the Tigers.
There’s nonetheless nothing flashy about LSU’s offense, and that doesn’t appear to hassle them an excessive amount of. A passing recreation ranked 101st in the nation and a operating recreation ranked simply 50th means LSU is comfortable in the event that they win a recreation in ugly slobberknocker style so long as they win. For LSU, the protection units the tone and it’s up to Joe Burrow to not make errors by way of the air and Nick Brosette to grind out no matter yards on the bottom LSU wants. Burrow has solely been intercepted twice this season, and each got here in LSU’s solely lack of the yr to Florida. Brosette has not rushed for greater than 95 yards since Week 2, though he has scored seven touchdowns in the final 4 video games.
In the event you like offense, watch Oregon-Washington State. For those who like protection, LSU-Mississippi State would be the one to watch this weekend.