With a massive upset as well as few close calls—like Miami’s game against Virginia—it’ll be difficult to match what happened in college football during Week 8. However, the upcoming slate of games still boasts what is likely to be among the top games of the year, as well as a couple of rivalry-type matchups. First up on the docket is No. 1 Clemson hosting Boston College. The Eagles will attempt to be the first team to really slow down the Tigers’ high-flying offense. Then in the afternoon, you’ve got an undefeated and top-ten ranked Oklahoma State team looking cement their control of the Big-12 against Texas. Finally, there will be the finale of No. 3 Ohio State heading to Happy Valley to face No. 18 Penn State, who will be out to avenge a difficult loss to Indiana.
So let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend!
Keep your eyes on:
Tylan Wallace WR (Oklahoma State)
The Cowboys have a ton of weapons at their disposal, including Chuba Hubbard, but the passing attack goes through Wallace. Despite coming in at 6’0” and 190 lbs the senior wideout is one of the more physical players at his position, especially when it comes to screen passes. He’s been highly productive this season as well, with 400 yards on only 24 catches. This week he’ll be up against the Texas safety Caden Sterns, who will be roaming the middle of the field after dealing with a turf toe injury.
Other players to watch:
With star running back Kylin Hill opting to prepare for the draft, the pressure will be on Mike Leach’s offensive unit to produce anything positive this week against a typically strong Alabama defensive unit. Luckily, the Bulldogs still have a strong offensive line anchored by Eiland, a massive guard who should be fully healthy after he was injured earlier in the season. Alabama’s defensive tackles create chaos along the interior with their speed and power, so Eiland’s ability to pass block will be under scrutiny all day.
Max Richardson LB (Boston College)
If BC has any hope of slowing down Clemson’s dynamic offense, it all needs to start with stopping Travis Etienne and the Tigers’ run game. With 58 tackles on the year already, Richardson will need to play as his usual disciplined self. Although he’s not the fastest linebacker, he knows how to take advantageous pursuit angles, attack the hole with authority and he rarely misses tackles. This defensive cat-and-mouse game between Etienne and Richardson should make for high-quality entertainment.
Neil Farrell Jr. DT (LSU)
With fellow tackle (and starter) Siaki Ika recently entering the transfer portal, the pressure will be on Farrell to make a difference along the interior in their game this week against Auburn. The senior has the ability to play both spots on the defensive line, but has dealt with injuries so far this season. We’ll see what he can do this week against a team that isn’t afraid to chuck the ball around the field. It will be a good opportunity to watch how Farrell performs against the pass.
James Wiggins S (Cincinnati)
The Group of Five game to watch this week is the Cincinnati-Memphis game, where the Bearcats’ suffocating offense will try to slow down the Tigers’ big play offense. The defensive star for Cincinnati is arguably Wiggins, who has the athleticism to be this year’s Kyle Dugger or Jeremy Chinn: a highly athletic, do-it-all player at the safety position. Memphis has one of the better group of skill position players in the country, so the battle in the secondary promises to be highly intense.
Game of the Week
No. 3 Ohio State at No. 18 Penn State
Saturday, 7:30 P.M. EDT
This game will go a long way in deciding the fate of the Big Ten East and both teams come in as somewhat mirror images of each other.
The Nittany Lions feature a star-studded defense, along with some key role players on offense. Those players include running back Journey Brown and especially tight end Pat Freiermuth, who has already been dubbed ‘Baby Gronk.’ The defense though is loaded, with pass rushers Shaka Toney and Jayson Oweh, and defensive backs Tariq Castro-Fields and Lamont Wade.
Ohio State is once again an elite team, thanks to quarterback Justin Fields along with an offensive line with legitimate first-round talent in Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers. The defense again also has a top cornerback in Shaun Wade, also likely a first rounder.