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Wayne Staats | | October 19, 2019

College football Week 8 preview: Top games, what to watch, rankings

5 college football games to watch in week 8

Week 8 might not have the headliners as last week's busy slate, but that means there are more chances for a shock similar to South Carolina over Georgia. Below, check out our Week 8 preview of top games, what to watch out for and the Top 25 rankings.

There are three games between AP Top 25 teams, including Oregon vs. Washington and Michigan vs. Penn State.

College football Week 8 preview: Top games

No. 3 Clemson at Louisville | 12 p.m. Saturday | ABC

Perhaps no first-year coach has done as impressive of a job as Louisville's Scott Satterfield. The Cardinals were 2-10 last year and went 0-8 in the ACC. This year, Louisville is already 4-2, is 2-1 in the ACC and just beat a ranked Wake Forest team a week ago.

Despite all that improvement, beating Clemson still seems like too much of an ask. The Tigers appear to be back on track after rolling Florida State.

No. 9 Florida at South Carolina | 12 p.m. Saturday | ESPN

Can the Gamecocks do it again? A team that lost to North Carolina and then both Alabama and Missouri by at least 20 points pulled the stunner of the season in Week 7 by beating then-No. 3 Georgia. And that was AT UGA.

Now South Carolina returns home with the chance to really shake up the SEC East by beating top-10 Florida. QB Ryan Hilinski is expected to play after leaving with an injury during the Georgia win.

TV SCHEDULE: Game times and TV channels for the whole season

No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington | 3:30 p.m. Saturday | ABC

There are three games between AP Top 25 teams this week — and the Pac-12 has two of them.

So far this season, the Pac-12 has proven to be a wild conference from week to week, but Oregon can feel pretty good about its chances to win the North if it takes this. The Ducks are 3-0 in the conference and every other team in the division has at least two losses. The division race could very well be mostly over by mid October.

Temple at No. 19 SMU | 3:30 p.m. Saturday | ESPN2

Temple missed out on an AP ranking this week, though the Owls are No. 25 in the Coaches Poll. Save for the shocking 16-point loss at Buffalo, Temple has looked consistently tough this season. It's already defeated two Power 5 teams (Maryland and Georgia Tech) and also handed what was a ranked Memphis team its first loss, 30-28.

No. 19 SMU is the AAC's last undefeated team, but here's how crazy that conference race is going to be: There are 12 teams in the American. SIX are undefeated or have only one loss.

UNDEFEATED WATCH: Tracking all of the remaining unbeaten teams

No. 18 Baylor at Oklahoma State | 4 p.m. Saturday | FOX

The Bears are one of two remaining Big 12 undefeated teams. If Baylor can get out of Stillwater with a win, it's very possible it will be 9-0 for the Nov. 16 home game against Oklahoma.

But this won't be easy. Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard leads the nation with 1,094 rushing yards.

No. 17 Arizona State at No. 13 Utah | 6 p.m. Saturday | Pac-12 Network

While Oregon could all but seal up a North division crown this week, the Pac-12 South is not even close to getting decided.

No. 13 Utah might be in the best position, as it gets the Sun Devils at home in this one. However, 3-3 USC is 2-1 in conference play and has that important win against the Utes. Going into this week, four Pac-12 South teams have one conference loss.

Tulane at Memphis | 7 p.m. Saturday | ESPN2

The winner of this game could (should?) find itself in the Top 25 rankings next week. For Memphis, that would mean a quick return after dropping out for Week 8 by losing to Temple.

For Tulane, it would mean the Green Wave's first AP ranking since going undefeated in 1998.

No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State | 7:30 p.m. Saturday | ABC

Michigan continues to be sloppy with ball control and has to take those problems to the Whiteout at Happy Valley against a defense that's fourth in the country in yards allowed (259.7 per game).

The Wolverines lost by 29 there two years ago, but Michigan has won four of the last five. Michigan might need a career day from QB Shea Patterson to make it five of six.

College Football Playoff: The top 1-loss contenders for the CFP semifinals

No. 14 Boise State at BYU | 10:15 p.m. Saturday | ESPN2

Boise State lost star freshman QB Hank Bachmeier to injury in the win against Hawai'i, but the Broncos still scored 59 points in the win. Backups Chase Cord and Jaylon Henderson combined to go 18-for-28 for 257 yards and four touchdowns in relief.

However, playing on the Blue Turf is different than going on the road. The good news for the Broncos is BYU is in a major slump. Since upsetting ranked Southern California, the Cougars are 0-3.

College football preview: What to watch

Is South Carolina's win at Georgia a sign of the dam breaking for more upsets?

For the first seven weeks of the AP Poll, the same six teams took the first six spots. Yes, the order changed, but there was a clear line between the first six and the rest: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

South Carolina changed that when it beat Georgia 20-17 in 2OT. In Week 8, we finally have a new team in the top 6: No. 6 Wisconsin. Does this mean we're now finally hitting a stretch of the season where things get wild in college football? Or was that Georgia loss an aberration?

Expect something in the middle. The top six might be gigantic favorites this week, but the Gamecocks' win puts everyone on notice. After all, UNC was a 2-point conversion away from upsetting defending national champion Clemson earlier this season.

What's the latest on the Group of Five watch?

In the first five years of the College Football Playoff, the Group of Five representative in the New Year's Six has gone 3-2, with the two defeats by only eight points apiece. The race for this year's spot will be fun to watch.

Boise State is in the lead position this year. We're a few weeks away from the first CFP rankings, but the Broncos are the highest ranked in the AP Poll at No. 14.

Here's the full list of the Group of Five in the rankings:

  • Boise State: No. 14 AP/No. 13 Coaches
  • SMU: No. 19 AP and Coaches
  • Cincinnati: No. 21 AP and Coaches
  • Appalachian State: No. 24 AP and Coaches
  • Temple: No. 25 Coaches

That's a pretty strong group. It's important to note that the American has three of those programs, leaving the possibility of an undefeated SMU team really making a run at Boise State should the Broncos remain perfect. A 13-0 Mustangs team would have wins vs. TCU, Temple, Memphis, Navy and the AAC East champion (maybe a ranked Cincinnati?).

Appalachian State is the wildcard. The Mountaineers have proven to be the Sun Belt's best (took the title last year and won at Louisiana by 10 last week) and get a game at South Carolina in November in a showcase spot. However, Appalachian State will likely need Boise State and SMU to take on some losses.

College football rankings for Week 8: AP Poll, Coaches Poll

Here's how the Top 25 polls look this week:

Alabama (30)

Alabama (44)

LSU (12)

Clemson (14)
Clemson (11)

LSU (3)

Ohio State (9)

Ohio State (4)



Penn State

Penn State
Notre Dame

Notre Dame





Boise State
Boise State




Arizona State

Arizona State








Appalachian State

Appalachian State


Week 8 college football schedule

All times Eastern. All schedules and networks subject to change.

Click here for a live scoreboard.

Thursday, Oct. 17

East Tennessee State at Chattanooga | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Louisiana at Arkansas State | 7:30 p.m. | ESPNU
UCLA at Stanford | 9 p.m. | ESPN


Friday, Oct. 18

Marshall at Florida Atlantic | 6:30 p.m. | CBSSN
Pitt at Syracuse | 7 p.m. | ESPN
No. 4 Ohio State at Northwestern | 8:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
UNLV at Fresno State | 10 p.m. | CBSSN

Saturday, Oct. 19

No. 3 Clemson at Louisville | 12 p.m. | ABC
No. 9 Florida at South Carolina | 12 p.m. | ESPN
Purdue at No. 23 Iowa | 12 p.m. | ESPN2
West Virginia at No. 5 Oklahoma | 12 p.m. | FOX
Georgia Tech at Miami | 12 p.m. | ACC Network
No. 11 Auburn at Arkansas | 12 p.m. | SEC Network
No. 6 Wisconsin at Illinois | 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network
Iowa State at Texas Tech | 12 p.m. | FS1
Kent State at Ohio | 12 p.m. | CBSSN
N.C. State at Boston College | 12 p.m. | ACC Network Extra
Houston at UConn | 12 p.m. | ESPNU
Duquesne at Sacred Heart | 12 p.m. | ESPN3
Princeton at Brown | 12:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Davidson at Jacksonville | 1 p.m. | ESPN+
Dayton at Stetson | 1 p.m. | ESPN+
The Citadel at Furman | 1 p.m. | ESPN3
South Dakota State at Indiana State | 1 p.m. | ESPN3
Gardner-Webb at Monmouth | 1 p.m. | ESPN3
Morgan State at South Carolina State | 1:30 p.m. | ESPN3
Penn at Columbia | 1:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Western Carolina at Wofford | 1:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Colgate at Cornell | 1:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Toledo at Ball State | 2 p.m. | ESPN+
Central Michigan at Bowling Green | 2 p.m. | ESPN3
Merrimack at Delaware State | 2 p.m. | ESPN3
Butler at Morehead State | 2 p.m. | ESPN+
Illinois State at Western Illinois | 2 p.m. | ESPN+
Oregon State at California | 2:30 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
TCU at Kansas State | 2:30 p.m. | FSN
Northern Illinois at Miami (OH) | 2:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Kennesaw State at Presbyterian College | 2:30 p.m. | ESPN+
New Mexico at Wyoming | 3 p.m. | AT&T Sportsnet
Coastal Carolina at Georgia Southern | 3 p.m. | ESPN3
Youngstown State at Southern Illinois | 3 p.m. | ESPN+
Eastern Kentucky at Murray State | 3 p.m. | ESPN+
VMI at Mercer | 3 p.m. | ESPN+
Jackson State at Mississippi Valley State | 3 p.m. | ESPN3
Nicholls at Sam Houston State | 3 p.m. | ESPN+
Eastern Illinois at UT Martin | 3 p.m. | ESPN+
No. 2 LSU at Mississippi State | 3:30 p.m. | CBS
Indiana at Maryland | 3:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
Duke at Virginia | 3:30 p.m. | ACC Network
No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington | 3:30 p.m. | ABC
No. 20 Minnesota at Rutgers | 3:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
Tulsa at No. 21 Cincinnati | 3:30 p.m. | ESPNU
South Florida at Navy | 3:30 p.m. | CBSSN
UL Monroe at No. 24 Appalachian State | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+
North Carolina at Virginia Tech | 3:30 p.m. | ACC Network Extra
Temple at No. 19 SMU | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN2
Buffalo at Akron | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN3
Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech | 3:30 p.m. | NFL Network
Missouri State at North Dakota State | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+
No. 22 Missouri at Vanderbilt | 4 p.m. | SEC Network
Old Dominion at UAB | 4 p.m. | ESPN+
No. 18 Baylor at Oklahoma State | 4 p.m. | FOX
Middle Tennessee at North Texas | 4 p.m. | Stadium
Charlotte at Western Kentucky | 4 p.m. | ESPN+
Norfolk State at Bethune-Cookman | 4 p.m. | ESPN3
Hampton at Campbell | 4 p.m. | ESPN+
Southeast Missouri State at Jacksonville State | 4 p.m. | ESPN3
Stephen F. Austin at Abilene Christian | 4 p.m. | ESPN+
Lamar at Incarnate Word | 5 p.m. | ESPN3
South Dakota at Northern Iowa | 5 p.m. | ESPN+
Austin Peay at Tennessee State | 5:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Kentucky at No. 10 Georgia | 6 p.m. | ESPN
No. 17 Arizona State at No. 13 Utah | 6 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
Maine at Liberty | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
Rice at UTSA | 6 p.m. | ESPN3
Maine at Liberty | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
North Carolina A&T at Florida A&M | 6 p.m. | ESPN3
Colorado at Washington State | 7 p.m. | ESPNU
East Carolina at UCF | 7 p.m. | CBSSN
UTEP at Florida International | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Kansas at No. 15 Texas | 7 p.m. | Longhorn Network
San Diego State at San Jose State | 7 p.m. | Facebook
Tulane at Memphis | 7 p.m. | ESPN2
Army at Georgia State | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Charleston Southern at North Alabama | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Central Arkansas at Northwestern State | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State | 7:30 p.m. | ABC
Florida State at Wake Forest | 7:30 p.m. | ACC Network
Texas A&M at Ole Miss | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network
Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama | 9 p.m. | ESPN
Arizona at Southern California | 9:30 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
Nevada at Utah State | 10:15 p.m. | ESPNU
No. 14 Boise State at BYU | 10:15 p.m. | ESPN2
Air Force at Hawai'i | 11 p.m. | CBSSN

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