College Football Preview – Week 8

All times Central

For the foreseeable future my Saturdays in the fall are consumed by college football. I often include a second, and sometimes third screen in my day, and this year will be no exception. Be that as it may, I figured a good way to preview the college football weekends would be to go through the day and say what I plan to watch on each screen.

Thursday, October 18th

Evening

Main Screen
Miami (FL) at North Carolina (6:30 pm/ESPN) – Pretty good Thursday night matchup. Miami is quietly 5–0, mostly because their only quality win was against Florida way back in week 2. They are getting a 1–4 North Carolina team that most people thought would be a lot better. Their only win was against Middle Tennessee State and they are a few weeks removed from a 55–31 beatdown against East Carolina. The spread is only 9.5, which seems low. It it a weeknight road game, but both teams are coming off byes.

Friday, October 19th

Evening

Main Screen
UCF at Louisville (7 pm/ESPN) – Another top 10 team playing before Saturday. UCF is 4–1 with their only loss coming by 3 to South Carolina. They beat Penn St. on the road which can’t be overlooked, but Louisville should have the advantage here. UCF is coming off a bye which might help them some, but they are the road team here and it won’t be easy.

Saturday, October 20th

Morning

Main Screen
Florida at Missouri (11:21 am/ESPN3) – The biggest game of the morning isn’t even on TV, you have to use ESPN3 to watch it. It also would have been a lot bigger deal if Mizzou QB James Franklin wasn’t out with an injury. That was enough to swing Florida to the favorite, even though they also don’t have their QB. Mizzou is coming off the big win against Georgia, and has South Carolina next week, so they are in a tough spot. Florida is coming off a loss and has a bye week next week. A loss for Florida means they need a lot of help in the SEC East, so they will be playing hard.

Second Screen
Georgia at Vanderbilt (11 am/CBS) – This banged up Georgia team has two losses, but only one in the SEC so far. They are without a lot of their top players, but with a bye week ahead before Florida to get healthy, they can’t let off the gas and let this game slip way or their season will be over.

Third Screen
South Carolina vs. Tennessee (11 am/ESPN) – Ditto for South Carolina, who is still in decent shape. Their loss to Georgia kills them unless Georgia loses again or there is a multi-team tie. But South Carolina avoids Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M, which means if they get past Missouri next week and Florida November 16th they are in great shape. And a win against Clemson on the last day of the regular season could leave them in the National Championship hunt. Of course, they have to get past Tennessee first.

Afternoon

Main Screen
UCLA vs. Stanford (2:30 pm/ABC or ESPN2) – What’s shaping up to be a spectacular afternoon and evening slate is kicked off with two top 15 teams from the Pac 12. Nothing about this game is diminished by Stanford losing to Utah last week. Both teams are still alive for both the Pac 12 and National Championship. Stanford is in a must win situation because if they lose, they will have to beat Oregon and have Oregon lose another conference game. UCLA doesn’t have a ton of threats in the Pac 12 South, and Arizona St. is the only other Pac 12 South team with one or fewer conference losses. This one should be great.

Second Screen
Auburn at Texas A&M (2:30 pm/CBS) – No one though Auburn would be 5–1 at this point, but looking back at their schedule they haven’t played a super tough slate. Both of these teams run the ball well, and A&M is coming off a tough game where Johnny Manziel got a little banged up. The craziest part of this game is that the winner stands a really great chance of being 9–1 going into the second to last weekend of the season.

Third Screen
Iowa at Ohio St. (2:30 pm/ABC or ESPN2) – As usual, the third game is usually a matter of preference as it’s hard to find a great third game. My personal option will obviously be Michigan vs. Indiana, but no one outside of those states cares about that one. Since the Big Ten hasn’t gotten any love in this post so far, lets go with Ohio St. in a game they are favored in by 17. Every time an undefeated team loses, they get closer to the National Championship.

Evening

Main Screen
Florida St. at Clemson (7 pm/ABC) – Solid night slate featuring this epic matchup of #3 and #5. The winner of this will be the odds on favorite to win the ACC, and barring a miracle will virtually have the ACC Atlantic division well in hand. These are two good defenses, and two good offenses. This will no doubt be the biggest game of young Jameis Winston’s career. A night game in Death Valley is no picnic either. FSU is coming off the bye week in hopes of equalizing things.

Second Screen
LSU vs. Ole Miss (6 pm/ESPN2) – Ole Miss has lost three straight, but have played some close games since losing 25–0 to Bama. A night home game helps, and they get LSU in the “letdown” spot after beating Florida last week. Of course, LSU also has Furman next week and then a bye, so they aren’t looking ahead one would think. This one with either be super tight, a huge blowout.

Third Screen
Wisconsin at Illinois (7:00 pm/BTN) – Not an obvious third game, but Wisconsin has quietly become (probably) the second best team in the Big Ten. They need to continue to win to have a chance to be in the conversation for an at-large BCS bid later. They should handle Illinois, but who knows.

Did I miss any games you will be watching?