For those looking for an opportunity to catch their breath, there’s no respite in college football as it enters the second half of this already unpredictable season. Week 8 brings another full schedule of quality games seven days after No. 1 Alabama fell, as did three other unbeatens in the top 10.
The headliner Saturday comes in the Pac-12 with No. 9 Oregon hosting No. 10 UCLA. The Bruins have played five of their six games at home, making this trip to Autzen Stadium dangerous. Both teams are unbeaten in conference play, which provides the opportunity for the winner to be in great shape to make the league’s championship game.
That’s only one of the major matchups of teams without a conference loss. No. 5 Clemson gets a visit from No. 14 Syracuse. The Orange are one of the surprise stories of the season, however this is their biggest test with the Tigers slowly improving as they build for another run at the College Football Playoff.
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The third ranked clash sees No. 17 Kansas State travel to No. 8 TCU, which offers the last two Big 12 teams unblemished in league play. The Horned Frogs beat Oklahoma State last week and would be squarely in the driver’s seat of the conference if their high-powered offense can subdue the Wildcats, who have won three in a row since a stumble against Tulane.
There two other showdowns between ranked opponents as part of the lineup. No. 6 Alabama returns home after losing to Tennessee and will face No. 24 Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide can’t afford another defeat, but the pass-happy Bulldogs will test their secondary. Also, No. 21 Texas heads to No. 11 Oklahoma State. Each team has one loss in the Big 12, putting the loser in serious jeopardy of having too much ground to make up in the second half.