It’s front and center for the service academies in our 2021 week eight college football watch guide. All three have opportunities as unranked teams to further change the dynamic of this season to score upsets against ranked opponents. Also, we have two top 10 opponents which are facing unranked opponents on the road with those ranked opponents coming in as underdogs. Will the madness continue to happen? Now, let’s get into it as we look at the best matchups in college football with our 2021 week eight college football watch guide.
Note: All game times are in central standard time
2021 Week Eight College Football Watch Guide
With Iowa’s loss to Purdue, Cincinnati has enjoyed the fruits getting up to number two in the country. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the strength of schedule down the stretch is not in the Bearcats’ favor. With that, style points continue to be an area of focus beginning as a 27-point favorite against Navy. Comparatively, it’s been a rough season for the Naval Academy coming in with a 1-5 record. However, they do hold a victory over UCF. Can they make this interesting as one of the kickoffs to our 2021 week eight college football watch guide?
We stick with the service academies as the undefeated Demon Deacons head to Michie Stadium to face the Army Cadets. Wake Forest leads the way in the ACC with a 6-0 record. With a tough schedule down the stretch that includes road games at North Carolina, Clemson, and Boston College this is a critical game for the Demon Deacons. After starting 5-0, the Cadets have lost their last two. However, they were very competitive in a six-point loss to Wisconsin last week. This has the makings of a classic and Wake Forest should be on upset alert.
The entertainment value is sky-high for this one in the SEC. These two programs have had very bizarre weeks leading up to this game. For the Rebels, they survived a hot Tennessee club at Neyland Stadium and perhaps more importantly an angry crowd in the final minutes of that game. However, things seem to be much worse in Baton Rouge with the news of a mutual separation between Ed Orgeron and the LSU football program at the end of this season. Fresh off their upset of Florida, does this team still have a lot of passion about this season?
The best chance for a PAC 12 college football playoff appearance quite poetically occurs at the Rose Bowl. Top 10 Oregon comes into this game as an underdog in this game against the unranked Bruins. But, it’s been a bit of an up and down season for both teams. Oregon has one of the best road wins in the country over Ohio State but has been unimpressive outside of that. UCLA has been great at times as well against LSU and Washington. But, have thrown out some less than impressive performances against Fresno State and Arizona State. This game will likely hinge on the success or lack thereof of quarterbacks Anthony Brown and Dorian Thompson Robinson.
It’s strange to see Clemson come into this game against Pitt both unranked and an underdog in an ACC game. However, that’s what we have as a red-hot Panther team hosts the Tigers in a game that could potentially kickstart a double-digit win season for the Panthers. This will be a tremendous matchup of the high-powered Panthers offense against one of the best defenses in the country. Clemson is still struggling to get the offense going after the fourth game this season of scoring 19 points or less. Could this be the week that they break out?
One could make the argument that these teams would have been flip-flopped based on the pre-season rankings. However, it’s the Cowboys who are sitting undefeated and the Cyclones are unranked as a two-loss team. But, the Cowboys have been leaning on a tremendous defense and a strong running game which is not unlike the Cyclones. These two teams are mirror images of one another. Jaylen Warren and Breece Hall are both bell-cow running backs that can change a game. However, Spencer Sanders and Brock Purdy have made a living on inconsistency. A win for Oklahoma State makes it almost a certainty for the first trip to the Big 12 Championship Game.
The Aztecs passed a big road test a week ago against San Jose State in overtime. But, can they do it again this week against Air Force? The Falcons come into this one sitting at 6-1 after a mini-upset of Boise State last week on the smurf turf. But, San Diego State brings in one of the best defenses in the country to Falcon Stadium. Much like last week for both teams, this looks like a game that will go deep into the fourth quarter in a strong defensive game.
The Buckeyes have seemed to hit their stride in defeating Akron, Rutgers, and Maryland by an average of 47 points. But, the schedule is much tougher down the stretch beginning with a trip to Bloomington on Saturday night. The offense has exploded for three straight 50-point plus performances behind freshmen C.J. Stroud and TreVeyon Henderson. Conversely, Indiana has fallen well below expectations this season at 2-4. The Hoosiers are winless and have scored a total of 21 points in three Big 10 games this season.
One of the best rivalries in the game is rekindled as part of our 2021 week eight college football watch guide with Notre Dame entertaining Southern Cal. It’s been an unconventional season for USC as they have alternated wins and losses each week this season. But, they are coming off of a loss and a bye week. Notre Dame is struggling with inconsistency on the offensive side of the ball. First, they are only running for 2.8 yards per carry. Additionally, they cannot seem to get consistent play from the quarterback position. The Irish still have an outside shot at a playoff spot if they can run the table.
It’s not Clemson and North Carolina, it’s Wake Forest and NC State leading the “pack” in the ACC this season. The Wolfpack will attempt to hold serve with the Demon Deacons as they travel to face the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have struggled to a 2-4 start, but did show signs of improvement last week in a 42 point outburst in a losing effort against North Carolina. However, the Wolfpack seem to be improving each week and were especially better in a 33-7 win over Boston College last week. This game will be a great way to conclude your football Saturday.