Week 8 Preview

Things are a bit more tame in Week 8 in regards to the last couple weeks, but keep in mind, that’s from the outside looking in. We haven’t seen any actual games yet. I’m willing to bet we enter the last weekend in October with some more wild results!

Games of Note:

#20 Coastal Carolina @ Appalachian State

-Scott: This may be the game of the year in the Sun Belt. We thought it might have been last week as the Mountaineers took down a disappointing Ragin’ Cajun team in Lafayette. But this Chanticleer team has been anything but disappointing. They’ve lived up to their preseason ranking, going 6-0 against lesser competition, and averaging 48.3 points per game, good for #8 in the nation. The Mountaineers are sitting at 4-2, and the big win last week was much needed after getting upset by Georgia State the game prior. They’re back to .500 in conference at 1-1, but a win here would give ASU the edge over Coastal in a tiebreaker scenario. There’s still a lot of ball left, and the East division doesn’t have a bad team in it, however. CCU took down App State last year. I think Shawn Clark’s team gets some revenge. Appalachian State 38, Coastal Carolina 31

-Gavin: Appalachian State 34, Coastal Carolina 28

Northwestern @ #21 Michigan

-Scott: A battle of 5-1 teams takes place in the Big House early Saturday afternoon. Both teams are trying to gain some respect nationally. Northwestern has looked very impressive this year outside of a dud of a performance in Lincoln. The schedule has not been great, but to be fair, the Cats are known to drop those types of games against inferior opponents. Michigan is more battle-tested, having an impressive win over a ranked Washington, and an overtime loss in Madison to the Badgers. While Michigan was able to defeat the Huskers in Lincoln (unlike the Wildcats), NU throttled Rutgers at home, while Michigan could only win by 10. While I could play the reflexive property game all day long, I’m not going to overthink this one. The more talented team rolls. Michigan 30, Northwestern 8

-Gavin: Michigan 35, Northwestern 10

#22 Oklahoma State @ #4 Iowa State

-Scott: Yes, the Pokes have won four straight in Ames, the last Cyclone win being the monumental upset in 2011 that knocked OSU out of the BCS. This Iowa State team is different. Now sitting at #4, this team has playoffs on the brain, and they’re all alone in first in the Big XII following OU’s loss last week. ISU has the #11 offense and #22 defense nationally, and they really haven’t been challenged thus far besides a close win over rival Iowa. The Cowboys have an even better defense, ranked 10th in the country. OK State was undefeated before last week’s defeat at the hands of Texas. While I like Mike Gundy’s ability to get his team to bounce back, Jack Trice will be rocking and I think Breece Hall gets loose against this vaunted Poke defense as the Clones march on. Iowa State 24, Oklahoma State 14

-Gavin: Iowa State 28, Oklahoma State 24

South Carolina @ #3 Texas A&M

-Scott: In one of the more odd protected rivalries in the SEC, A&M has owned Carolina since joining the conference, going 7-0. Speaking of 7-0, that’s where Jimbo Fisher’s squad sits, as they are the premier team in the SEC so far and a legitimate playoff contender. TAMU is #3 in the country for good reason, their highest ranking since 1995! Shane Beamer has done very well thus far with a Gamecock team that had pretty low expectations coming into 2021. USC is 5-2, and may actually make a bowl this year, which would be a tremendous success. Considering South Carolina’s three-game winning streak, this could be a prime slip-up for the Aggies. But Mike Elko’s #1 scoring defense is allowing just 9 points per game. While I think Carolina scores more than 9, it won’t be much more. Aggies will roll. Texas A&M 41, South Carolina 13

-Gavin: Texas A&M 45, South Carolina 17

#14 Wisconsin @ Purdue

-Scott: Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. Wisconsin has won 14 in a row against the Boilers. Okay, now let’s analyze. Wisconsin has looked pretty good defensively after getting torched by Notre Dame a month ago. A 3-0 start in the Big Ten is just what the doctor ordered for the Badgers after an odd 2020. Purdue has beaten teams it has supposed to this year, along with last week’s upset(?) win in Iowa City to get to 4-2 on the year and 2-1 in conference. If Jeff Brohm can pick this one up, they’ve got the tiebreaker on UW. While Wisconsin’s defense is very stout, Purdue’s offense has been much improved in regards to the last couple years. Madison will be tough place to play, and I think Wisconsin is hitting their stride. Wisconsin 20, Purdue 6

-Gavin: Wisconsin 24, Purdue 10

#17 LSU @ Ole Miss

-Scott: LSU is right back in this SEC race after their loss to Auburn three weeks ago, thanks to two consecutive one-point OT wins! Granted, the latter was an upset over #5 Florida, but I would have to think their luck starts to turn soon. Ole Miss is coming off a brutal loss in Knoxville to a Tennessee squad that hadn’t shown much life beforehand. This seems like the perfect storm for the Rebels to strike an upset. While Lane Kiffin’s offense has been extremely disappointing in SEC play thus far, I think there will be a coming-out party this week. If LSU can escape Oxford victorious, they’ve got to be feeling pretty good about themselves heading into a bye week before two-loss Bama comes to Death Valley. They won’t clear this hurdle though. Ole Miss 45, LSU 42

-Gavin: LSU 35, Ole Miss 31

USC @ Notre Dame

-Scott: It’s still a bit jarring to see these team names with no rankings beside them. While many have gotten used to USC being disappointing, Notre Dame is in a year of transition, and this isn’t the same team as the last few ND squads under Brian Kelly. Granted, the Irish’s two losses are in overtime, and the night games in South Bend are always tough for the visitor. In fact, both teams are on two-game losing streaks, which may be a first for this storied rivalry. SC appeared to figure things out early on, averaging over 48 PPG through four games. Nevertheless, the offense has since dipped a good deal, and have lost to Colorado and Utah since. I don’t think the offense will figure it out just yet, as Marcus Freeman’s defense will bounce back after giving up 42 last contest. Notre Dame 31, USC 16

-Gavin: Notre Dame 38, USC 21

#1 Clemson @ #24 Pittsburgh

-Scott: In the headliner of the week, College Gameday heads to Pittsburgh, as this marks Clemson’s first-ever trip to the Steel City. Clemson is #1 in the country for a reason, and they look to be pretty fine-tuned at the moment. Pitt is also undefeated, but they’ve survived a few close calls, most notably in road tilts against Tennessee and VA Tech. But this one is at Heinz Field. Keep in mind, Clemson was tested in Raleigh against a pretty good NC State team a few weeks back. Pitt’s defense has been strong, but Clemson is a different animal. I think the Pitt faithful will help keep this game close for a half. But look for Justyn Ross to catch a few massive balls late to put this one out of reach. Clemson will win the battle of the undefeated in a potential ACC Championship preview. Clemson 35, Pittsburgh 10

-Gavin: Clemson 42, Pittsburgh 17

Upset Picks:

-Scott: Western Kentucky @ FIU

While WKU has been a mild disappointment this season, I can’t see them being an underdog against the lowly FIU Panthers. While this team did defeat Texas Tech in Lubbock somehow, they’ve scored 20 points combined in three contests since. I think the Hilltoppers’ offense will continue on their breakout performance last week, putting up 47 on Old Dominion. I still believe this team can go on a run for the division title, and I think it starts now. Western Kentucky 27, FIU 21

-Gavin: Tulane @ SMU

Tulane 27, SMU 21

Be sure to check back after the weekend for full results!

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