College Football Games To Watch: Week Eight

A breakdown of the college football games I'll be watching this weekend.
Author:
Publish date:

Notre Dame hits the road for the first this season, and the Irish are in a must-win situation against the Pitt Panthers. It’s a big game for the Fighting Irish, but it’s not the only big game of the season. There are plenty of big games around the country, and four in particular that could prove to be impactful for Notre Dame.

Here are the other college football games I will be paying attention to this weekend.

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS at #5 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES

Time: 12:00 PM (Eastern)
Network: Fox
Line: OSU -27.0

Notre Dame’s hold on the #3 spot in the rankings will start to be challenged even more now that the Big Ten is set to kick off its season. This is true even if the Irish win this weekend. Ohio State was considered as a national championship contender prior to the conference canceling its season. How the College Football Playoff committee views Ohio State’s resume, which will have at most nine games, remains to be seen.

For Ohio State, the key is not only running the table, but doing so in dominant fashion. Its season-opener against Nebraska will be the first chance for the Buckeyes to put their 2020 squad on display. Being a 27-point home favorite means Ohio State is expected to throttle the Huskers.

If Ohio State handles its business against the Cornhuskers there’s a chance it could quickly surpass Notre Dame in the rankings, even if the Irish will. It won’t matter much, as the CFP ranking are really the only important ones, but it certainly creates buzz about the Buckeyes.

For Nebraska, starting year three of the Scott Frost era with an embarrassing loss would be crushing. Losing at Ohio State is nothing to be ashamed of, but Frost needs his squad to at least be competitive.

#23 NC STATE WOLFPACK (4-1) at #14 NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (3-1)

Time: 12:00 PM (Eastern)
Network: ESPN
Line: UNC -14.5

There are two ways for Notre Dame fans to view this game. A NC State road upset would knock North Carolina out of ACC title game contention, assuming Notre Dame continues to handle its business. But that’s the rub, if Notre Dame handles its business the Irish would be the team to knock North Carolina out when the two teams play on Nov. 27.

Notre Dame cannot add another loss to NC State, so a North Carolina win would do just that.

Also, for Notre Dame to build a strong resume it needs its opponents to be ranked as high as possible. NC State is arguably the best team North Carolina will face before its late November matchup against Notre Dame, and the Tar Heels do not play Clemson.

If North Carolina handles its business over the next month the contest against the Irish will be a battle of Top 10 teams, assuming Notre Dame beats everyone not named Clemson between now and then.

The Irish Breakdown staff made their predictions for this contest, which you can find HERE.

#17 IOWA STATE CYCLONES (3-1) at #6 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (3-0)

Time: 3:30 PM (Eastern)
Network: Fox
Line: OSU -3.0

The Big 12’s College Football Playoff hopes are truly on life support. Both Texas and Oklahoma already have two losses, and its only undefeated team is Oklahoma State, a team that has not played since Oct. 3.

Notre Dame’s best bet at getting into the CFP with a loss is for other leagues to beat itself up.

At first glance, Irish fans might want to see Oklahoma State get served its first loss, but I’d hold off on that. Iowa State has already defeated Oklahoma, and they get Kansas State (3-1) at home on Nov. 21. Iowa State plays at Texas the day after Thanksgiving, but the Longhorns are mediocre so far this season. ISU finishes the season with a home game against West Virginia.

A road win at #6 Oklahoma State would give the Cyclones a huge resume boost, and would result in a big jump in the rankings.

Oklahoma State has a much tougher road, with road games against Kansas State, Oklahoma, TCU and Baylor still on the docket. It must also play Texas at home, and while the Longhorns are struggling, they seem to always pull off a big win each year. I’m more confident that Oklahoma State has more losses left on its schedule than Iowa State, so the Cowboys giving the Cyclones a second loss would serve another blow to the Big 12.

#18 MICHIGAN WOLVERINES at #21 MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS

Time: 7:30 PM (Eastern)
Network: ABC
Line: Michigan -3.0

I really don’t know what to make of either of these teams. Both are starting ranked high enough to do damage this year, but neither are likely title contenders. For Notre Dame, the Big Ten is one of those leagues that needs to beat itself up. Since the league will only play nine games (including championship weekend), it wouldn’t take more than one loss to drop teams in the rankings.

I’m truly curious to see how good these two teams are.

The Irish Breakdown staff made their predictions for this contest, which you can find HERE.

———————

Become a premium Irish Breakdown member, which grants you access to all of our premium content, our premium message board and gets you a FREE subscription to Sports Illustrated! Click on the link below for more

BECOME A MEMBER

Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time!

Join the Irish Breakdown community!
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown podcast on iTunes.
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachD178
Follow me on Parler: @BryanDriskell
Like and follow Irish Breakdown on Facebook

Sign up for the FREE Irish Breakdown daily newsletter