While Week 8 didn’t have any massive matchups, it was a deep week with plenty of national and conference ramifications across the slate. Let’s recap!
Games of Note and Predictions
Appalachian State 49 – #20 Coastal Carolina 28
-Scott: Appalachian State 38, Coastal Carolina 31
-Gavin: Appalachian State 34, Coastal Carolina 28
And just like that, Coastal Carolina’s 19 game regular season winning streak is in the books. App State notches a huge win in Boone after last week’s impressive showing against ULL. While the Sun Belt East is full of quality football teams, I’m willing to bet that App State appears to be in the driver’s seat going into November.
#21 Michigan 25 – Northwestern 7
-Scott: Michigan 30, Northwestern 8
-Gavin: Michigan 35, Northwestern 10
The Wolverines take care of business in Ann Arbor, giving NU its second loss of the 2021 campaign. Michigan’s defense turned in its best performance of the season, and they’ll look to build on that heading down the stretch. Michigan has challenging games remaining, but this team seems to like flying under the radar. Northwestern finds themselves in a tough spot at just 2-2 in the B1G, but the West appears to be pretty wide open, so they’ll have chances to get back in it.
#22 Oklahoma State 41 – #4 Iowa State 39
-Scott: Iowa State 24, Oklahoma State 14
-Gavin: Iowa State 28, Oklahoma State 24
Just when we thought we had a definitive front-runner in the Big 12, the Cyclones are shocked at home by the Pokes, perhaps some 2011 revenge. Mike Gundy’s offense really struggled the last couple games, especially last week in a loss in Austin. But OK State had a massive rebound performance, torching a pretty good ISU defense. ISU’s playoff hopes aren’t dead, and there’s lots of opportunities for signature wins, but the odds will be slim for either team to run the table. This race should be fascinating.
#3 Texas A&M 37 – South Carolina 6
-Scott: Texas A&M 41, South Carolina 13
-Gavin: Texas A&M 45, South Carolina 17
Jimbo Fisher’s squad keeps on rolling, as TAMU continues their dominance over the Gamecocks. A&M looks the part of a team that can bring their first national championship home to College Station, and both sides of the ball have been completely electric. Carolina snapped a three-game winning streak, and while USC has already surpassed preseason expectations by getting to five wins, the schedule will be brutal the rest of the way. A&M will head to the bye week 8-0, with a massive showdown with Auburn on the other side of it.
Purdue 33 – #14 Wisconsin 29
-Scott: Wisconsin 20, Purdue 6
-Gavin: Wisconsin 24, Purdue 10
Remember how I said Northwestern is very much in this division race despite the loss? You can thank the Boilers for that Wildcat fans. This looked like a case where the Badgers might run away from the rest of the division, but Purdue defending Ross-Ade by holding off a late charge from Wisconsin. These two are now co-leaders, but Purdue has that much-desired tiebreaker. Both teams have rather tough tests next week, as Purdue travels to a hostile environment in Lincoln, and Wisconsin welcomes a stingy Iowa defense to Madison.
Ole Miss 44 – #17 LSU 25
-Scott: Ole Miss 45, LSU 42
-Gavin: LSU 35, Ole Miss 31
Coach O can’t hang onto any trust he earns, as his former team crushes his current team. While I thought LSU’s close-game luck would catch up to them, I didn’t think they’d get shown up like they did. Ole Miss is becoming wildly unpredictable, as they rebounded in a big way from an awful loss in Knoxville last week. They’ll get another shot to play spoiler, but this time on the road against a Top 10 Auburn next week. LSU heads to the bye at 5-3, and a trip to Tuscaloosa follows. Could that be Orgeron’s last game at the helm? Time will tell.
Notre Dame 48 – USC 10
-Scott: Notre Dame 31, USC 16
-Gavin: Notre Dame 38, USC 21
Notre Dame continues to absolutely dominate this rivalry and I didn’t see this type of offensive explosion coming. SC has now dropped three straight after their hot start, and Clay Helton seems pretty close to fired at this point. He may need to win out to save his job. On the flip side, Brian Kelly’s team snapped their brief two-game skid in a convincing way. ND is clearly having a down year, but if they can upset undefeated UNC next week, there are lots of building blocks for this squad in 2022.
#1 Clemson 55 – #24 Pittsburgh
-Scott: Clemson 35, Pittsburgh 10
-Gavin: Clemson 42, Pittsburgh 17
We thought an undefeated Pitt squad might be able to give Clemson another scare after their close call with NC State a few weeks back. This clearly wasn’t the case. The Tiger offense ripped apart Pat Narduzzi’s D all night long. Kenny Pickett and the Pitt attack held their own against one of that nation’s best defensive fronts, but there was no pacing Clemson tonight. Dabo’s team looks unstoppable, as long as they show up to play each and every game. 7-0 thus far.
FIU 36 – Western Kentucky 21
-Scott: Western Kentucky 27, FIU 21
I’m off the WKU bandwagon. They’ve hurt me too many times. FIU needs to win 3 out of their final 5 to go bowling.
Tulane 43 – SMU 31
Gavin: Tulane 27, SMU 21
Gavin scores his upset here with a shocker in Dallas. Tulane notches a big upset over the Mustangs, handing them just their second loss of the season. Tulane might have a hot streak in them upcoming.
Our Pick Results
Scott: 6-3 (50-22 on season)
Gavin: 6-3 (48-24)
Other Games of Note
Arkansas State 41 – Louisiana 23
The Ragin’ Cajuns might be the most disappointing team in the country at this point. No one wants to win the Sun Belt West at this point. The entirety of the East division has been better than anyone from the West. Butch Jones pulls off a big upset here at home.
UCF 39 – Memphis 23
These two teams are definitely front-runners in my mind for that second spot in the AAC Championship Game, assuming Cincy earns the first. While UCF wasn’t very competitive against the Bearcats, they defended the Bounce House successfully Friday night, getting to 3-1 in conference.
#23 Washington 38 – Arizona 30 (OT)
Washington is a team most people have forgotten about since their Week 2 loss in Ann Arbor. But quietly, this team is now 6-1. They didn’t look impressive at all in this contest against a bad Arizona team, but a win is a win, and they have the inside track to win the division with five weeks to go.
West Virginia 16 – #13 TCU 13
Neal Brown moves to 3-0 against Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs as the Mountaineers stun the Frogs on a last-second field goal in Fort Worth. This loss is going to hurt the Frogs’ chances to reach the Big XII Championship game, and TCU falls victim to the massive hangover effect from last week’s upset of the Sooners. WVU stays clinging to their postseason hopes.
Louisville 52 – Boston College 22
Many people have written off UL since their season-opening loss to Ole Miss in Atlanta, but the Cards have rattled off six straight since. They may be the team to give Clemson a run for their money down the stretch, and they’re not backing down in the Atlantic race quite yet. BC is suddenly in a tailspin, having lost four straight, and will need major course correction if they wish to get to a bowl game.
Miami (FL) 43 – #25 NC State 22
Manny Diaz (much like in real-life) scored a huge upset against a pretty good NC State. This effectively eliminated NC State from the ACC race, and gives Miami another week of hope of coming back to try to capture the Coastal. This team has a very high upside, as seen in this one. If they have any shot of winning the division, they’ll need to take care of business at Pitt this upcoming week. NC State has another tough test with Louisville next.
UCLA 37 – #12 Oregon 25
It appears the Oregon Ducks will not be a playoff team in 2021. UCLA, despite their three losses, have shown to be a competitive team against solid opponents. They played admirably Saturday at the Rose Bowl, controlling the entirety of the game against the Ducks, thanks to Zach Charbonnet’s fierce ground attack. Chip Kelly downs his former team, and Oregon will have lots to work on, in order to turn their season around.
#2 Ohio State 38 – Indiana 27
For the second straight year, the Hoosiers gave the Buckeyes all they could handle. Nevertheless, CJ Stroud, Trayveon Henderson, and the Buckeyes made too many plays for Michael Penix and IU to keep up. While OSU looked a little out of sorts at times, I suspect this close call will be exactly what the Bucks needed before a massive showdown with the Nittany Lions next Saturday. IU falls to 3-4 on the year.
East Carolina 40 – Houston 36
The AAC appears nutty once again. Houston suffers their first conference loss at the hands of a depleted ECU bunch, that looked pretty lifeless through six games. UH might have been looking ahead to their next test in SMU. I will say that if they want to have a shot in winning that one, their defense needs a shakeup, as their tacklers looked more like turnstiles against the Pirates.
North Texas 38 – Liberty 33
UNT continues to shock the land, defeating Liberty in Denton Saturday evening. No one saw this team coming, and they continue to rack up wins. People knew about Malik Willis, Hugh Freeze and the Flames, but no one expected this type of season from the Mean Green. We’ll see if they have staying power in Conference USA.
Air Force 41 – San Diego State 16
While both teams were coming off disappointing losses from last week, Air Force’s loss definitely looks like more of an outlier, as they thumped the Aztecs in Colorado Springs. Perhaps the elevation got to this SDSU defense, as they looked winded against the option attack all night long. AFA sits at 4-1 in conference, and is now just hoping for a couple Boise losses. The Aztecs have the odds stacked against them now in the West division.
Fresno State 41 – Nevada 40 (OT)
This MWC showdown was much closer than the previous. Fresno State held off a Nevada two-point conversion attempt in order to escape the Wolf Pack. Now, FSU sits at 3-1 and is still within striking distance of SJSU for the division crown. Nevada’s disappointing season continues, as they fall to 3-4 overall. Getting to a bowl might be tough if this team can’t reach its full potential. A game against rival UNLV next week should hopefully get them back to their winning ways. Fresno now travels to floundering SDSU next.
After another jam-packed Week 8, be sure to keep an eye out for updates and posts as the week goes on as we enter into a spooky end of October.