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CFB Week 8

College Football TV-Watching Guide – Week 8

After a top-ten matchup in the Pacific Northwest, this week’s massive game goes down in the Midwest to Ohio. SEC and Big Ten rivalries are renewed, and a potential for upsets in the ACC and Pac-12. Let’s dive in.  

MUST WATCH GAMES

12:00 PM: #7 Penn State Nittany Lions @ #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (-4) – FOX

For all of the hype that the Big Ten East had going into the season, all we as fans could do was hope that the three contenders (Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan) took care of their business and make the head-to-head matchups massively important. For the first of the three in the roulette, the undefeated Nittany Lions meet the undefeated Buckeyes in Columbus.

Penn State boasts the nation’s best defense by numerous statistics and it has dominated opponents all season. Granted, the Nittany Lions haven’t faced an offensive unit close to as good as the Buckeyes. PSU has elite cornerbacks in Kalen King and former-Gamecock Johnny Dixon that should matchup well with OSU’s stable of wideouts, as well as defensive ends that can get to the quarterback. The play of sophomore quarterback Drew Allar has impressed as he still hasn’t thrown an interception in his career, but the lack of a downfield passing threat could give the Nittany Lions trouble in keeping up on the scoreboard.  

Ohio State arrives to this game unbeaten following a beat down of Purdue on the road, and despite a few slow starts to games are starting to find itself halfway through the season. The Buckeyes are hoping to get key offensive weapons back with WR Emeka Egbuka and RB TreVeyon Henderson. Especially Henderson, who can take advantage of PSU’s lack of size on the interior of the defensive line. Kyle McCord will have to play a factor in this game, and struggled to get a rhythm against a Boilermakers team that has given up a ton of yards through the air.

This is always a tight matchup even in years where the Buckeyes outclass the Nittany Lions. In 2023, the team talent levels are much closer across the board. I think Penn State matches up with Ohio State’s wide receiver room better than anyone in the country, and the defense will be able to disrupt McCord in the pocket. Where PSU can get into trouble in this game is if it turns into a shootout, and the talented Nittany Lions defense has to withstand long drives against a healthy Henderson and home-field fueled Buckeyes. Penn State has struggled to establish the run and haven’t been able to hit the home run passes that Ohio State will rely on. I believe it gets turned into a low-scoring fist fight, Penn State is able to drag Ohio State down with them and hold off a late surge to win.

3:30 PM: #17 Tennessee Volunteers @ #11 Alabama Crimson Tide (-9.5) – CBS

 

Alabama will have revenge on its mind this Saturday in Tuscaloosa against Tennessee after losing this game a year ago. 

The Volunteers limp into this game off of a struggle but a win against Texas A&M. Tennessee’s defense and special teams made big plays to mask some offensive struggles. The Vols only scored one touchdown on offense, and will need a massive turnaround there to put a dent in Alabama’s defense. However, Tennessee has found something in its run game over the last two games, with RB Jaylen Wright averaging 7.5 yards per carry. The pass rush continues to be a strength, and could force Alabama QB Jalen Milroe into uncomfortable throws. 

Since losing to Texas and laying an egg against South Florida in a win, Alabama has successfully been able to turn back the clock and dominate through defense and play on the line of scrimmage. The Crimson Tide have been able to win tight games against Arkansas and Texas A&M the last two weeks, but will not be able to get away with another slow start against Tennessee. 

The first half will be a major tell into who is ready for this game and will have the upper hand. I can’t see Joe Milton fixing his issues against this stout of a Tide defense, and Alabama wins to get back at Tennessee.

8:00 PM: #14 Utah Utes @ #18 USC Trojans (-6.5) – FOX

Well, Caleb Williams seems to be human after all. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner turned in the worst game of his career in last week’s loss at Notre Dame with three interceptions and a few bad decisions that took the Trojans out of the game early. Utah owns the best defense in the Pac-12 per usual, and it will not be a get-right game that USC and Williams are looking for.

The Utes offense has been the struggle of the team this year. Not having Cam Rising at QB has started to creep up on Utah at the worst time. Outside of last week’s game against a poor Cal team, Utah has struggled to put up points against over the last month. Thankfully, the Utes get served up to a USC defense which has been unable to stop anybody for years now. 

 

I think this game is closer than people think, and Utah drags USC into a low-scoring battle that the Utes come out on top in. 

BACKGROUND NOISE

12:00 PM: #22 Air Force Falcons @ Navy Midshipman (+10.5) – CBS  

  • There’s not much intrigue in the noon window, so I would keep an eye on what might be the best team in the Group of 5 (that’s bowl-eligible, sorry James Madison). The 6-0 Falcons start the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy of games against a struggling Navy team in Annapolis. Give this one a watch, if not for the play on the field than for the pageantry that comes with service academy football.

3:30 PM: Washington State Cougars @ #9 Oregon Ducks (-20) – ABC

  • Dan Lanning and Oregon will look to rebound after last week’s heartbreaker against Washington State back at home. Bo Nix and Oregon seemed to do everything right last week, and if it were a fourth and two conversion and/or a field goal miss by inches than having the entire complexion of the CFP race change for two top-ten teams.    

7:30 PM: #16 Duke Blue Devils @ #4 Florida State Seminoles (+14) – ABC

  • The Blue Devils went out without their quarterback to pound NC State, and the strength of the team continues to be the defense. The secondary smothers wide receivers, but will face a tremendous test against QB Jordan Travis and WR Keon Coleman. As for FSU, the ‘Noles have coasted since its OT win at Clemson. It will not be able to do the same against Duke this Saturday.   

SICKOS GAMES OF THE WEEK

12:00 PM: Boston College Eagles @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-4.5) – ACC Network

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