Faculty soccer week Eight picks, daring predictions, led by the Pittsburgh-Clemson ACC showdown
Sometimes the weekends that aren’t the biggest matchups make the biggest drama in college football. Last week the number 2 in Iowa fell unexpectedly when there was only one game that matched the ranked opponents.
The situation is the same at week 8. The only clash between the teams in the poll has # 23 Pittsburgh and # 24 Clemson. The Panthers established themselves as favorites at the ACC Coastal last week with a phenomenal win at Virginia Tech. The Tigers, who have won the Conference for six straight seasons, are behind both Wake Forest and North Carolina in the Atlantic Division. Losing would almost make them miss the title game for the first time since 2014.
Where is the excitement coming from this week? There are multiple possibilities.
No. 9 Oklahoma State goes to Iowa State with a share of first place in the Big 12 with another undefeated Oklahoma. The Cyclones were prone to surges in the second half under Matt Campbell and looked better in the past two weeks.
Clemson linebacker LaVonta Bentley (42) pressures Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) in the fourth quarter of their game at Memorial Stadium.
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No. 10 Oregon visits UCLA after a series of unequal performances that have resulted in victories in all but one game but also cast doubt on the Ducks. The Bruins need a win to stay in the Pac-12 South race and have the offensive to make this a fun back and forth shootout.
There are also a few rivalry games to watch out for: No. 12 Mississippi receives the LSU and No. 13 Notre Dame meets Southern California.
In the crazy world of college football, there are always surprises and unexpected results. Our experts offer their predictions for some unlikely events this weekend.
Let’s be honest. Oregon is the Pac-12’s last hope for a playoff spot and if they want to consider a place in the last four places they have to start against UCLA this weekend. Not only do the Ducks have to defeat UCLA, they also have to blow it out. And that goes for the rest of your schedule as well. The squeaking of opponents won’t make it. That being said, Oregon will find a way to be nondescript and will at a later date when the first college football playoff leaderboards are released.
The story goes on
A 2-2 start after an offseason with high expectations put the state of Iowa off the rankings and off the national radar. But the losses are more understandable in retrospect (a setback to 20th Baylor and a home defeat to a team from Iowa that rose to 2nd in the coaching survey). Now ISU has a chance to send an important message that they are still a solid team to reckon with when the undefeated state of Oklahoma comes to town. The # 9 Cowboys have strong defenses, but can their inconsistent offensives answer the bell on the street in a fairly electric setting? I don’t think they’ll be able to do enough as the state of Iowa wins an exchange.
Unranked Iowa State brought Oklahoma State a double-digit loss and took the first step towards a return to the Big 12 championship. After a slow start, the Cyclones take shape and look good enough to take on the Cowboys’ formidable defenses.
San Diego State is one of 10 undefeated players in college football. The Aztecs will no longer be part of this exclusive club after their trip to the Air Force on Saturday. The Falcons quietly won six of their first seven, defeating Wyoming and Boise State in consecutive weeks en route to that showdown. Another thing that benefits the Air Force is the altitude in Colorado Springs and the fact that the state of San Diego only has eight days to prepare for the option offense.
Do you remember, with apologies to Earth Wind and Fire, the night of September 17th? The Pac-12 was very popular on the eve of week three of college football season. Both Oregon and UCLA finished in the top 15, and the Pac-12 office had realistic hopes that the league’s playoff drought would end this year.
Since then, things haven’t gone as well for the two early league favorites as they prepare for the Rose Bowl. The Bruins were tripped up by a good Fresno State team but were then beaten up at home by Arizona State. The Ducks, badly affected by the injury disease after their big win in Ohio State, made a series of close attempts to escape but were unable to leave Stanford unscathed.
Oregon still has an outside perspective to crack the top 4 thanks to this triumph in Columbus, but that will soon go through the boards. The Bruins took a late touchdown to leave Washington last week, but Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet will have an easier time at their home against the struggling Ducks defense, who are giving up 408 yards per game. Oregon will score, but the Bruins will get more and create the surprise.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College Football Picks: Predictions for the Top 25 NCAA Games in Week 8