This has been one of the most exciting and entertaining college football seasons in recent memory — and that’s even with what looks to be a runaway freight train in Alabama leading the pack. It may be tough to picture anyone beating the Crimson Tide right now, but the road to the College Football Playoff still looks like more of a roller coaster at this point — and I’m ready to ride it every week.
Week 8 of the 2016 season features some underrated matchups in both the Power Five and the Group of Five conferences. And watch out, because America’s favorite football coach (tongue firmly planted in cheek) is back off of a bye, ready to lead his team to another blowout win.
Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 8
Michigan hangs 70 points on the scoreboard for a second straight game
That blowout of Rutgers was no accident. Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines are ruthless, and they are ready to demonstrate their talent and superiority to the nation every week. You get the feeling that Michigan and its fans have no issues whatsoever being the bad guy. An extended period of mediocrity has scorned them and created a college football villain to rival Alabama in the hearts and minds of other fans.
Wes Lunt will be a sitting duck and the Illini will struggle to move the ball, while the Wolverine offense will pull out all the stops and attack Illinois head coach Lovie Smith and coordinator Hardy Nickerson’s defense relentlessly for four quarters. It’s going to be ugly.
BYU spoils Boise State’s season
Boise State is currently in the driver’s seat for the Group of Five slot in the New Year’s Six bowls. The Broncos control their own destiny. Win and they’re in.
BYU has other plans.
After losing three consecutive games by a combined seven points, the Cougars have ripped off three straight wins and righted the ship. Now they’ll play the most high-profile game left on their schedule in a Thursday night primetime showcase. Look for BYU to pressure Bronco quarterback Brett Rypien like he hasn’t been pressured yet this season. Additionally, the Cougars have the personnel to shadow and subsequently neutralize Boise State’s “do-everything” back, Jeremy McNichols.
I like to Cougars to come away victorious in a surprisingly low-scoring affair.
Virginia Tech holds Miami to single digits
Justin Fuente and the Hokies cannot be happy about the embarrassing loss they suffered last weekend at Syracuse, giving up 31 points in the process. Expect a motivated and focused Virginia Tech squad under the lights of Lane Stadium on Thursday night.
The Hokies will get to rebound against a Miami team that has failed to score more than 19 points in back-to-back losses. I like Bud Foster’s defense to bring heavy pressure from everywhere, feeding off of what should — as it always is — be a fired-up crowd. I pity the Hurricanes.
Memphis blows out Navy
The Midshipmen currently control their own destiny in the American Athletic Conference’s West Division, but the flip side is that they’ll no longer sneak up on anyone. Their win over Houston and subsequent Top 25 ranking has the rest of Navy’s opponents on high alert. The Memphis Tigers are one of the more underrated teams in the nation, complete with the athletes on defense to deal with Navy’s unorthodox offense. On the other side of the ball, I’m not sure the Midshipmen have the horses to slow down a Memphis offense that averages more than 40 points per game. Look for the Tigers to win big in Annapolis.
Iowa takes down Wisconsin by double digits
Despite the overall narrative of each of their seasons thus far, these two teams are very similar from both a schematic and personnel standpoint. While the Badgers spent the last two games going to war with Michigan and Ohio State, the Hawkeyes had a couple of weeks to work on “getting right” against Minnesota and Purdue.
I see the Hawkeye offensive line taking advantage of a beat-up Badger defense, as Iowa gets its running game going in a big way. On the other side of the ball, Iowa will get after freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook with the interior of its defensive line. Kinnick Stadium will be rocking as the Hawkeyes throw the Big Ten West race out of whack.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.