college football week 8 preview: mizzou’s climbing & clemson/fsu set stage for mid-season battle royale.

Because I’ve been more locked into playoff baseball over the past couple weeks, I’ve been paying little attention to college football. It appears Week 7 was our first real set of upsets; or, in Michigan’s case, a collision with the inevitable. Four Top 25 teams suffered upsets (Stanford, Georgia, Oklahoma, Michigan) while several others flirted with disaster. This is the time of the season when the great teams separate from the really good teams. And so far, I’m not terribly surprised.

The Michigan Collapse
Let’s be honest. Michigan has all but begged for a loss since the Notre Dame game. Akron nearly took them out, then UConn almost came up with the upset. It appeared the Wolverines righted the ship last week against Minnesota, but it all came undone at Happy Valley.

A year ago, I said Michigan would be a legitimate contender if it was 9-0 heading into its last three games of the season. But they have too many weaknesses at the quarterback position. Devin Gardner is good, but not great. And offensive coordinator Al Borges still hasn’t proven he knows the combination to a consistent offense. Michigan’s season is far from over, but this loss means next week’s rivalry game at Michigan State a must-win game for the maize-and-blue.

Georgia Mauled By Tigers
Is anyone surprised? Seriously. Is anyone surprised Georgia has two losses already? Sure, they’ve played a tough schedule, but I’ve always felt they’re an overrated team regardless of their opponents. Voters were too lenient on them after losing to Clemson.

To the Dawgs credit, they rallied and beat South Carolina and LSU but their struggle against Tennessee should’ve been the canary in the mineshaft. I’m not surprised Mizzou got them. The Tigers are flying under the radar. Don’t be surprised if Georgia loses one more conference game.

Mack Brown Shocks the Sooners
Well, at least it shocked me. I never expected Texas to win at Norman. I don’t think anyone really expected it. Oklahoma looked legit in knocking off Notre Dame on the road, but I guess there’s something to be said for conference rivalry games. It gets no easier for Oklahoma from here on out, either.

I’m already circling their Nov. 7 game at Baylor on my calendar. That will be the true test for Oklahoma.

“What’s a Ute????”
I’m sure half of Stanford is asking that, too, after The Cardinal got gut-punched by Utah last weekend. I don’t pay a great deal of attention to Pac-12 football, so I won’t even comment on this game, other than to say it looks like it might’ve been the most entertaining all weekend.

My Top 25
My rankings differ slightly from the big boys. I still have trouble slotting a two-loss Florida team ahead of anyone. I kept Michigan in the top 25 (barely) because they’re still just a one-loss team. Another choke like that, though, and they’re gone, gone, gone.

1. Alabama 6-0
2. Oregon 6-0
3. Ohio State 6-0
4. Clemson 6-0
5. Florida State 6-0
6. LSU 6-1
7. Miami 5-0
8. Louisville 6-0
9. Texas A&M 5-1
10. Stanford 5-1
11. UCLA 5-0
12. Missouri 6-0
13. South Carolina 5-1
14. Baylor 5-0
15. Georgia 4-2
16. Texas Tech 6-0
17. Oklahoma 5-1
18. Virginia Tech 6-1
19. Fresno State 5-0
20. Oklahoma State 4-1
21. Washington 4-2
22. Auburn 5-1
23. Northern Illinois 6-0
24. Florida 4-2
25. Michigan 5-1

Knocking on the Door
Michigan State 5-1
Arizona State 4-2
Nebraska 5-1
Notre Dame 4-2

Games of Utmost Consequence!
No. 5 Florida State (6-0) at No. 4 Clemson (6-0). This is going to be a heavyweight fight. Not only do these teams have eyes for a national championship, their QBs are in contention for a Heisman Trophy. Clemson plays better defense and is at home. FSU’s Jameis Winston will get his, but I don’t think he’ll get the win.

No. 24 Florida (4-2) at No. 12 Missouri (6-0). A crucial game for both programs. For the depleted Gators, it’s a chance to stay relevant. For rising Mizzou, it’s a chance to say “we’re for real.” Florida has the better defense, but Missouri lights up the scoreboard. Expect a big game from Mizzou’s QB James Franklin.

No. 21 Washington (4-2) at Arizona State (4-2). A Sun Devil win means they move into the Top 25 while the Huskies tumble out.
MY PREDICTION: Arizona State


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