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What To Watch For In Week 8 Of The 2021 College Football Season

While there are no matchups between ranked opponents, several top-25 teams hit the road on Saturday.

For the first time this fall, there won’t be any games featuring ranked opponents this weekend. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be any intrigue, as several ranked teams hit the road for games that could ultimately define conference championship races.

That includes No. 16 Wake Forest at Army (12 p.m. on CBS Sports Network), No. 8 Oklahoma State at Iowa State (3:30 p.m. on FOX), No. 10 Oregon at UCLA (3:30 p.m. on ABC), Clemson at No. 23 Pitt (3:30 p.m. on ESPN) and No. 5 Ohio State at Indiana (7:30 p.m. on ABC).

The Demon Deacons are 6-0 for the first time since 1944 but should be on upset alert against the Black Knights triple-option offense, which ranks No. 1 in the country in time of possession. Luckily, Wake Forest had last week off and extra time to prepare.

Army began the season 4-0 but is coming off back-to-back road losses to Ball State and Wisconsin. The latter was decided by a single possession, and that suggests this game will be pretty close, too, especially since the Demon Deacons rank 91st in rushing defense while the Badgers ranked third.

If there’s one team outside of the Demon Deacons who haven’t gotten enough respect to this point despite their undefeated start, it’s the Cowboys, who are coming off a massive win at Texas and now have to travel to Ames, where they haven’t had the best luck in the past (see: 2011).

The Cyclones, meanwhile, haven’t quite lived up to preseason expectations but have bounced back with convincing wins over Kansas and Kansas State the last two weeks. Iowa State will have to stop Oklahoma State running back Jaylen Warren, who has rushed for 659 yards in his last four games, in order to pull the upset.

The Ducks look nothing like the team that upset the Buckeyes in Week 2, falling on the road in overtime at Stanford and narrowly escaping Cal with goal-line stand in the final minute of the game. Much of that can be attributed to injuries, but quarterback Anthony Brown must play better if they’re going to remain in the race for the playoff.

Similarly, the Bruins started the season with a massive win over LSU but are just 3-2 since. They have one of the nation’s best rushing offenses (219.9 yards per game) and should be able to find success on the ground against Oregon’s middle-of-the-pack defense.

The unranked Tigers, meanwhile, are underdogs in a regular season game for the first time in five years but can once again assert themselves as the favorite to win the ACC for the seventh straight year with a victory against the Panthers.

For as much as Pitt has improved this season, this game will come down to whether or not Clemson’s offense can move the ball. The talent is there, but it’s hard to win games when you’re scoring just 14.8 points per game – good for 124th out of 130 teams nationally.

For as much as Oregon looks like its playoff hopes are fading, perhaps no team in the country is playing better than Ohio State heading into Saturday night’s game at Indiana. Especially offensively, where the Buckeyes lead the nation in points (48.5) and yards per game (563.2).

The defense has improved, too, but could face a stiff test against Hoosiers wide receiver Ty Fryfogle, who caught seven passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns in last year’s meeting. It’s just too bad quarterback Michael Penix (419 yards and five touchdowns in that 42-35 loss last fall) is likely out with a separated shoulder.

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