Week 8 brings another round of tough games and possible upsets to the college football schedule. Conference showdowns are littered throughout this week’s top 10 college football games, adding to the importance of these midseason contests.
One of the biggest surprises for this week is that two unranked teams will be playing in Ann Arbor. With both Michigan and Michigan State expected to be national title contenders at the start of the season, that has to be a huge disappointment for the Big Ten conference.
A huge Big 12 matchup is happening in Morgantown, with Kansas State visiting West Virginia. Will the Mountaineers rise up or continue to fall to mediocrity?
Looking ahead to this Saturday’s matchups, here are the top 10 games for the college football weekend.
TV: ESPN/WatchESPN 12 p.m. ET
The LSU Tigers are looking to continue to rebuild momentum as they head to College Station to face the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday.
A&M has played very well in its first season in the SEC, only losing one game so far this season, with a close loss coming to No. 2 Florida.
LSU is coming off of a big win over South Carolina, and the Tigers are looking to vault themselves back into the national title discussion.
A win for either team will provide a boost in the SEC West standings, moving the winner into the second position behind No. 1 Alabama in the conference. The LSU defense will be facing a very dangerous spread offense led by freshman phenom Johnny Manziel. This will be one of the better games of the weekend.
TV: CBS 3:30 p.m. ET
South Carolina is coming off of a heartbreaking loss to LSU and looking for redemption as it travels to Gainesville to face the Florida Gators.
Florida has gotten a big boost in confidence, landing at the No. 2 position in the BCS this week. The Gators relied on their ground game and defense to defeat the Vanderbilt Commodores on the road, but they face a tough run-stopping unit this week in the Gamecocks.
Connor Shaw needs to have his best game yet if South Carolina wants any chance. Jeff Driskel will also need to continue to grow into his position and produce some yards through the air against South Carolina.
This is one of the biggest matchups of the season for the SEC East. This could be the deciding factor in the SEC East race.
TV: ESPN/ABC 3:30 p.m. ET
Texas Tech has been playing at a surprisingly high level through the first seven weeks, and the Red Raiders knocked off their second Top 5 team in two years this past Saturday.
The Horned Frogs are continuing on their winning path despite the big loss of starting quarterback Casey Pachall, as Trevone Boykin has stepped in admirably. He had a great game against Baylor this past Saturday, completing 73.3 percent of his throws for 261 yards and four touchdowns.
Boykin also added 56 yards on the ground and rushed for a touchdown.
This Red Raiders defense is improved, especially against the pass. They rank No. 4 against the pass this season and Boykin may have a long day. This is the Big 12 matchup to watch.
TV: Fox 7 p.m. ET
The Mountaineers defense is ranked No. 114 in total defense—No. 118 against the pass and No. 43 against the run—and there is no way that Collin Klein and the Wildcats do not run and throw all over West Virginia like it is 7-on-7.
Kansas State has a very good rushing defense—ranked No. 15 in the country—but the pass defense (No. 74) has been suspect, which could make this game very interesting.
The key will be ball control for Kansas State. Run the football and keep it away from Geno Smith. Smith is a player that can change the face of a game in a matter of seconds.
TV: ABC 8 p.m. ET (Regional)
The Seminoles are kicking rocks with bare feet right now after losing to N.C. State. This is a very good football team that lost focus at the wrong time. They should be undefeated facing the Hurricanes, but this game would still be close.
The Hurricanes are coming off two losses. The first came to No. 5 Notre Dame, but the second came to North Carolina at home. That was a tough loss that could carry over into another loss to Florida State this weekend.
History says it will be close. But EJ Manuel likely thinks it won’t. Manuel is leading the No. 6 scoring offense in the country and plays alongside the No. 3 total defense in the country.
Florida State is set to win this tilt and continue the march to the late-season showdown for position against the Florida Gators.
TV: ABC 8 p.m. ET (Regional)
The Baylor Bears are having a strong season after losing Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III to the Washington Redskins this spring.
Baylor is 3-2, with losses to West Virginia and TCU, and travel to Texas with the No. 2 total offense and No. 4 scoring offense in the country.
Texas is coming off an embarrassing 63-21 Red River Rivalry blowout to Oklahoma and fields the No. 99 total defense in the country.
There are calls for Mack Brown to be fired. He can fight the curtain calls with a big showing and win at home against the Baylor Bears this Saturday.
TV: ESPN/ WatchESPN 7 p.m. ET
Alabama has fielded the No.1 overall defense in every single major category this season. They travel to Knoxville this weekend to take on the Volunteers in one of the better rivalries in college football.
Rocky Top will be ready for the Tide, but can Tyler Bray and his host of talented wideouts do enough to challenge this Alabama defense?
Alabama has not really faced a tough competitor yet, but Tennessee may bring enough weapons to the field to challenge the Tide secondary.
This will be a fun game to watch for the country. It will be full of passion and energy, as both teams know the importance of this win. Tennessee is hearing whispers of a Dooley firing if he doesn’t turn the team around.
What a win like this would do for his career in Knoxville is priceless.
TV: Big Ten Network 3:30 p.m. ET
What has happened to these two?
Both have flopped, but this still should be a captivating matchup for the Big Ten and the country. The Big House will be full, and the game will be a hard-fought battle.
Denard Robinson has been very inconsistent this season, arguably having his worst year as the Wolverines starter. Michigan still has a shot at the conference title, however, sitting tied atop of the Legends division.
Michigan State is not faring as well, with a 1-2 record in the Big Ten. Andrew Maxwell has been OK behind center for MSU, but he must improve on his 54.3 completion percentage if the Spartans expect to beat the Wolverines.
This is a far cry from what was expected to start the year, but a very watchable matchup in Week 8 nonetheless.
TV: ABC 3:30 p.m. ET
Louisville sits at 6-0, riding the play of Teddy Bridgewater and Senorise Perry to victory all season. This Cardinals team has had some close wins, but they are still in position to land in a BCS game with a Big East title.
The Cardinals start that run this Saturday when they host South Florida. The Bulls are struggling with a 2-4 record and senior QB B.J. Daniels is hoping to right the ship starting with Louisville.
The Cardinals are playing moderately well on defense, but turnovers are how this game will get out of hand. South Florida currently ranks 115th in the country in turnover margin.
If Louisville can create turnovers early, this game will be put away easily for the Cardinals. It will be a good game to watch, as Charlie Strong continues to progress his stock in the coaching world with a 7-0 Cardinals team.
TV: ESPN2/ ABC 3:30 p.m. ET
The Northwestern Wildcats have been a tough football team this season, marching to a 6-1 record. The Wildcats are running the ball extremely well, with two backs carrying the ball for better than five yards a carry.
This Northwestern team has been rigid on defense, giving up yards but not a ton of points. Nebraska, meanwhile, comes in as the No. 5 rushing attack in the country and riding a 4-2 record.
The Cornhuskers got throttled by Ohio State and face their second road game in a row against Northwestern.
How can the Cornhuskers finish? If Taylor Martinez, Ameer Abdullah and Rex Burkhead can continue to produce, the Cornhuskers could hand Northwestern its second loss of the season.
This is another unranked Big Ten matchup, but one that brings two tough teams that need wins together.