At the midway point of the season, it’s time to start separating the contenders from the pretenders. And with a loaded slate set for Saturday in Week 8 that features three games with top-25 teams facing off, we’re likely to have some clarity come Sunday morning.
Two of those games are out west in the Pac-12, where divisional races are heating up as No. 12 Oregon heads to No. 25 California and No.13 Utah hosts No. 17 Arizona State. The third, No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 16 Michigan, will have serious implications on the Big Ten standings depending on which team walks away with the win in State College.
The seven other remaining undefeated teams will also play this weekend — Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Penn State — as the fight to crack into the top four of the upcoming playoff rankings continues.
You’re going to want to settle in early on Saturday for a solid slate that’ll keep you going all day long.
All times Eastern; games played Saturday unless otherwise noted.
The biggest games
No. 3 Clemson at Louisville, ABC, noon: The ACC Atlantic’s top two teams will go head to head in Cardinal Stadium. Clemson lost the top spot in the AP Top 25 poll after only narrowly escaping in Chapel Hill three weeks ago but still sits at 6-0 on the season after decimating Florida State last week. Louisville is on a tear after taking down a ranked Wake Forest team in Week 7. Can the Cards — at home — complete the upset attempt the Tar Heels couldn’t?
No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington, ABC, 3:30 p.m.: Oregon’s defense is going to be tough for Washington to beat, but that’s not to say it can’t be done. Facing the best secondary in the conference, the Huskies are going to need another offensive outburst like they let loose against Arizona if they want a shot at taking down the Ducks. A win for Oregon, on the other hand, could help them essentially lock down the Pac-12 North crown.
No. 17 Arizona State at No. 13 Utah, Pac-12 Network, stream on FuboTV (Try for free), 6 p.m.: The second top-25 showdown in the Pac-12 comes with the chance to start sorting out the Pac-12 South. Arizona State freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels has made serious progress throughout the season, but the winner of this conference clash will be determined on the defensive side of the ball. The Utes appear to have the edge, but the Sun Devils have shown their secondary can step up as needed.
No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State, ABC, 7:30 p.m.: The Wolverines head to Happy Valley looking to knock off an undefeated Penn State at the top of the Big Ten East standings. Ohio State sits alongside the Nittany Lions with a perfect record — and both teams will face the Buckeyes later this season, making Saturday’s showdown a crucial conference decider. With a “white out” scheduled in State College, the energy is all but guaranteed to be electric.
Other big games
No. 9 Florida at South Carolina, ESPN, noon: South Carolina has shown they can hang with the SEC’s top teams after handing Georgia its’ first loss last week. It took two overtimes, but Will Muschamp’s crew still successfully pulled off the upset. Florida, on the other hand, enters the matchup fresh off a loss to No. 2 LSU.
No. 2 LSU at Mississippi State, CBS, 3:30 p.m.: This one shouldn’t be too tough for the Tigers to take, but watching Joe Burrow orchestrate this LSU offense is like watching a work of art. He threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns with an 87.5 completion percentage last week. He could up his Heisman Trophy hopes with another five or six touchdown performance this weekend on the road.
Temple at No. 19 SMU, ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.: SMU is the last undefeated AAC team still standing and Temple is on the verge of cracking the AP Top 25 poll. This game could go a long way in determining the AAC champion, and could be a potential rematch in the AAC title game later this year.
No. 18 Baylor at Oklahoma State, Fox, stream on FuboTV (Try for free), 4 p.m.: Baylor is one of two remaining undefeated teams in the Big 12 with Oklahoma. A win this weekend would be a big step toward the Bears keeping their record blemish free ahead of the showdown with the Sooners in Week 10.
Kentucky at No. 10 Georgia, ESPN, 6 p.m.: How the Bulldogs bounce back from a double-overtime loss to an unranked South Carolina last week will give a glimpse at what lies ahead for the rest of the season. Georgia is 3-3 under Kirby Smart in games immediately following a loss and Kentucky — who led Florida for three quarters a few weeks back — is ripe for an upset.
Keep an eye on …
- West Virginia at No. 5 Oklahoma, Fox, stream on FuboTV (Try for free), noon
- No. 6 Wisconsin at Illinois, BTN, stream on FuboTV (Try for free), noon
- No. 11 Auburn at Arkansas, SEC Network, noon
- Purdue at No. 23 Iowa, ESPN2, noon
- Duke at Virginia, ACCN, 3:30 p.m.
- Tulsa at No. 21 Cincinnati, ESPNU, 3:30 p.m.
- Tulane at Memphis, ESPN2, 7 p.m.
- Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama, ESPN, 9 p.m.
- No. 14 Boise State at BYU, ESPN2, 10:15 p.m.