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K-State eyes a 7-0 start; Sparty thinking upset
By Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Here's a look at every game of the Week 8 college football schedule.
No. 13 West Virginia at No. 71 Syracuse
The Mountaineers have scored 34 points or more against every team not named LSU.
West Virginia 44, Syracuse 20
No. 27 Rutgers at No. 79 Louisville
Rutgers is one of the more surprising 5–1 teams in the nation. The schedule hasn’t been too tough, but the Knights do have wins over Pitt and Navy.
Rutgers 21, Louisville 14
No. 44 Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama
Barring a major upset — Alabama is a 30-point favorite — Tennessee is headed for an 0–4 start to SEC play for the second straight season.
Alabama 30, Tennessee 7
No. 48 Texas Tech at No. 2 Oklahoma
Both teams score a ton of points. Only one team, however, plays good defense. That team is Oklahoma.
Oklahoma 47, Texas Tech 21
No. 24 Auburn at No. 3 LSU
Auburn has made a habit of finding ways to win over the last few years, but it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which Gene Chizik’s club sneaks out of Baton Rouge with a win.
LSU 41, Auburn 20
No. 4 Wisconsin at No. 20 Michigan State
The arrival of quarterback Russell Wilson has given Wisconsin a huge spark in the passing game. The Badgers are the only team in the nation averaging over 250 yards rushing and passing per game.
Wisconsin 30, Michigan State 20
No. 62 Air Force at No. 5 Boise State
The Falcons have been a bit of disappointment this season, with a 1–3 record against FBS opponents. The AFA defense has given up 100 points the last two weeks.
Boise State 51, Air Force 17
No. 6 Oregon at No. 87 Colorado
Colorado is searching for its first win as a member of the Pac-12. The search will continue.
Oregon 51, Colorado 20
No. 7 Oklahoma State at No. 38 Missouri
Missouri tailback Henry Josey might be the most underrated skill position player in the country. The sophomore has rushed for 717 yards on an amazing 9.7-yard average.
Oklahoma State 41, Missouri 30
No. 8 Clemson at No. 34 North Carolina
Clemson averted disaster last week, rallying from a 35–17 deficit in the third quarter to beat Maryland, 56¬–45, in College Park. UNC should provide a test, but the Tigers have too many weapons.
Clemson 28, North Carolina 20
No. 25 Washington at No. 9 Stanford
This game features two of the top quarterbacks in the nation. Everyone knows about Andrew Luck, but Washington’s Keith Price has been spectacular in his first season as a starter.
Stanford 41, Washington 27
No. 10 Nebraska at No. 102 Minnesota
Minnesota has lost its two Big Ten games — vs. Michigan and Purdue — by a total score of 103–17. This will get ugly.
Nebraska 48, Minnesota 7
No. 11 Arkansas at No. 81 Ole Miss
Houston Nutt is 2–1 vs. Arkansas as the head coach at Ole Miss. That record will be 2–2 after this weekend.
Arkansas 44, Ole Miss 7
No. 86 Boston College at No. 12 Virginia Tech
Logan Thomas has hit his stride at quarterback for Virginia Tech. The junior has completed 40-of-57 for 590 yards with five touchdowns and no INTs the past two weeks.
Virginia Tech 38, Boston College 13
No. 14 Kansas State at No. 74 Kansas
Last year, K-State jumped to a 31–0 lead at the half and cruised to a 59–7 win over KU. It won’t be quite as easy this year. But it won’t be difficult, either.
Kansas State 41, Kansas 17
No. 16 Georgia Tech at No. 27 Miami (Fla.)
Georgia Tech’s run at perfection ended last Saturday in Charlottesville with a 24–21 loss to the Cavaliers. The Yellow Jackets’ option attack, which rolled up 400 yards or more in its first five games, was held to a season-low 296 yards.
Miami (Fla.) 31, Georgia Tech 27
No. 18 Texas A&M at No. 55 Iowa State
Iowa State opened with three wins by a combined eight points. Since, however, the Cyclones are 0–3 with the three losses coming by a combined 81 points.
Texas A&M 37, Iowa State 20
No. 26 USC at No. 18 Notre Dame
Notre Dame snapped an eight-game losing streak in this rivalry with a 20–16 win in Los Angeles last year. The Irish have not defeated USC in South Bend since 2001, Bob Davie’s last season as the boss.
Notre Dame 34, USC 27
No. 21 Illinois at No. 89 Purdue
Purdue has played better in recent weeks, with a 45–17 over Minnesota and a 23–18 loss at Penn State. I smell upset.
Purdue 24, Illinois 20
No. 29 Wake Forest at No. 66 Duke
Statistically, Duke’s numbers on defense are better this season, but the Devils have had trouble stopping the only two quality teams they have faced — Stanford and Florida State.
Wake Forest 34, Duke 21
No. 57 Maryland No. 30 Florida State
C.J. Brown was inserted into the starting lineup at quarterback and provided the Terps’ offense with a spark, throwing for 177 yards and rushing 162. Maryland will need another monster game from the sophomore.
Florida State 34, Maryland 30
No. 33 Penn State at No. 54 Northwestern
Northwestern will test the Penn State defense with both Dan Persa and Kain Colter getting snaps at quarterback. The problem for the Wildcats is on defense, where they have given up an average of just over 40 points over the last three weeks.
Penn State 28, Northwestern 20
No. 35 SMU at No. 42 Southern Miss
This could be a preview of the C-USA Championship Game. Southern Miss has been on a roll since losing at Marshall in Week 2, winning four straight games — three by 24 points or more.
Southern Miss 30, SMU 27
No. 120 New Mexico at No. 36 TCU
Move along. Nothing to see here.
TCU 55, New Mexico 0
No. 72 Marshall at No. 40 Houston
Houston is undefeated and leads the nation in total offense and passing offense. Nothing should change after this weekend.
Houston 41, Marshall 17
No. 41 Utah at No. 51 California
The Utes picked up an impressive nonconference win last week, beating Pitt on the road with Jon Hayes at quarterback. This week, Hayes will try to lead Utah to its first Pac-12 win.
California 27, Utah 20
No. 45 Cincinnati at No. 50 South Florida
South Florida’s season has taken a wrong turn in recent weeks. A 4–0 start has turned into a 4–2 record with back-to-back losses at Pittsburgh (44–17) and UConn (16–10). Already 0–2 in league play, this is a game that South Florida desperately needs to win if it hopes to remain relevant in the Big East race.
Cincinnati 28, South Florida 24
No. 46 Iowa at No. 101 Indiana
Iowa has scored 34 points in all but one game this season (three vs. Penn State). Indiana ranks 95th in the nation in scoring defense. Not a good matchup.
Iowa 37, Indiana 17
No. 65 NC State at No. 47 Virginia
It’s been a strange ride for Virginia this season. One week after holding on to beat a bad Idaho team at home, the Cavs handed Georgia Tech its first loss of the season.
Virginia 31, NC State 20
No. 105 Miami (Ohio) at No. 52 Toledo
Toledo is in great shape in the MAC West, with a 3–0 league record and its next three games at home.
Toledo 31, Miami 10
No. 53 Temple at No. 104 Bowling Green
Temple’s Bernard Pierce is one of the more underrated backs in the country. He ranks eighth in the nation in rushing in the nation with 120.6 yards per game.
Temple 31, Bowling Green 14
No. 106 Army at No. 58 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt has lost three straight to military academies, with losses to Army in 2009 and Navy in 2004 and 2003.
Vanderbilt 28, Army 14
No. 60 Tulsa at No. 88 Rice
Tulsa is 2–0 in C-USA, but the wins have come against Tulane and UAB, arguably the two worst teams in the league. The Golden Hurricane still have to play SMU, UCF and Houston.
Tulsa 41, Rice 28
Idaho State at No. 61 BYU
BYU steps into the FCS ranks for a date with the struggling Bengals from Idaho State. This shouldn’t be remotely close.
BYU 51, Idaho State 10
No. 91 East Carolina at No. 63 Navy
Navy is 2–4 and in serious jeopardy of missing out on a bowl game for the first time cine 2002, Paul Johnson’s first season in Annapolis.
Navy 31, East Carolina 30
No. 64 Washington State at No. 90 Oregon State
Washington State hasn’t won more than one Pac-12 game in a season since 2007. That is about to change.
Washington State 31, Oregon State 24
No. 83 Fresno State at No. 69 Nevada
It’s not a good sign for the WAC that these appear to be the best two teams in the league.
Nevada 37, Fresno State 20
No. 73 UL-Lafayette at No. 111 Western Kentucky
The Ragin’ Cajuns have won exactly six games in four of the previous six seasons. They will pick up their seventh win this weekend in Bowling Green.
UL-Lafayette 34, Western Kentucky 14
No. 75 Northern Illinois at No. 93 Buffalo
NIU recovered from its shocking loss to Central Michigan by beating Ball State and Western Michigan by a combined 59 points.
Northern Illinois 37, Buffalo 17
No. 76 Western Michigan at No. 108 Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan, 4–3 overall, has a winning record after seven games for the first time since 1995.
Western Michigan 41, Eastern Michigan 28
No. 107 New Mexico State at No. 82 Hawaii
The Aggies are showing significant signs of progress, but this team isn’t ready to win a road game at Hawaii. The Warriors are too potent on offense.
Hawaii 38, New Mexico State 18
No. 98 Louisiana Tech at No. 84 Utah State
Utah State is 2–4 but has led all four games in the fourth quarter. This team is a few plays away from being 4–2 — or better.
Utah State 27, Louisiana Tech 26
Jacksonville State at No. 85 Kentucky
Jacksonville State is 5–1 in the FCS ranks and will test the struggling Wildcats.
Kentucky 31, Jacksonville State 21
No. 109 Central Michigan at No. 92 Ball State
Central Michigan picked up a huge win over Northern Illinois on Oct. 1 but turned around lost to Eastern Michigan two weeks later. Dan Enos could really use a strong finish to the 2011 season.
Ball State 28, Central Michigan 24
No. 94 Ohio at No. 119 Akron
Ohio might have played its way out of the MAC East race with consecutive losses to Buffalo and Ball State — by a combined four points.
Ohio 41, Akron 0
No. 99 Colorado State at No. 95 UTEP
UTEP has won the three games it was supposed to win (Stony Brook, New Mexico State and Tulane) and lost the three games it was supposed to lose (SMU, South Florida and Houston). This one is a tossup.
UTEP 33, Colorado State 28
No. 97 UL-Monroe at No. 100 North Texas
UL-Monroe is fresh off a surprisingly one-sided 38–10 win at Sun Belt bully Troy. The Warhawks have a chance to get on a roll before they visit rival UL-Lafayette on Nov. 5.
UL-Monroe 24, North Texas 20
No. 110 Tulane at No. 118 Memphis
Bob Toledo resigned earlier this week as the boss at Tulane. He was 15–40 in his four-plus years with the Green Wave.
Tulane 21, Memphis 20
No. 114 Middle Tennessee at No. 117 FAU
Middle Tennessee is 1–4 overall, but the Blue Raiders are ranked 21st in the nation in total offense have lost three games by exactly three points.
Middle Tennessee 38, FAU 10