Week Eight College Football 2021 Preview

College Football Week Eight
Photo Credit: Quinn Harris – USA Today Sports

Week Eight of the College Football season is here! We have another week with a bunch of bye week, but hopefully, the matchups we do get will turn out to be as good as last week.

Here is your Week Eight College Football 2021 preview.

Week Eight College Football Top Matchups

No. 8 Oklahoma State at Iowa State

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (Fox)
  • Prediction: Iowa State 24, Oklahoma State 21

The Iowa State defense showed up from the start of the season. The offense was the problem early on, but that rebounded fast with four straight games of well over 400 yards. That side is humming – the balance is there with 200 yards passing and rushing in the last three games – but it’s the other side that’s dominating. It allowed over 300 yards in each of the last two games, but it’s not getting gouged, it’s the best in the conference against the run, fifth in pass defense, and overall the D is third in the nation.

On the other side, Oklahoma State is battle-hardened at the one team to beat Baylor – the Bears got by Iowa State a few weeks ago – and pulled off a terrific win over Texas helped by the continued rise of Jaylen Warren. Everyone might be fawning over Bijan Robinson of Texas, and Breece Hall is the star back in this, but Warren is the hottest back in the Big 12 with four straight 100-yard games with a 193-yard performance against the Longhorns.

It’ll be a tight game coming down to the last few possessions. Brock Purdy will have one last shot to pull it off, and I think he does and Iowa State pulls the upset!

No. 10 Oregon at UCLA

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: UCLA 32, Oregon 29

Have you watched Oregon play since the big win over Ohio State? It has not been a pretty thing to watch. Still-winless Arizona went on the road and gave the Ducks a run for their money into the fourth quarter in Week 4. Stanford upset them in overtime the following week. And given 13 days to prepare for 1-4 California, the Ducks scored just 10 points in the first three quarters and needed a pair of touchdowns in the final 12 minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Let’s not forget the Ducks narrowly survived their season opener at home against Fresno State too.

The moral of the story is that the Oregon-Ohio State result feels like an even bigger anomaly with each passing week, and I have no faith in the Ducks to get this road win over UCLA.

LSU at No. 12 Ole Miss

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • Prediction: Ole Miss 42, LSU 38

There is a lot going on for LSU. The Ed Orgeron era is done in a few games and they are on the hunt for a new coach at the end of the season. What will that mean for the performance of the team? That is the big question here.

LSU actually looked good for the first time all year last week and seems to be going back to their old-school style of running the ball down your throats.

But the LSU defense still looks bad. Can Ole Miss take advantage of that? Normally with Ole Miss that is an easy question to answer as Matt Corral leads one of the best offenses in the country. But there are questions as to whether Matt Corral will even play after being injured against Tennessee last week.

If he plays then Ole Miss will win. If not then LSU will win.

USC at No. 13 Notre Dame

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Prediction: Notre Dame 42, USC 21

Both teams are coming off a bye and should be refreshed and ready to go for this game.

The Trojans are a weird team. They have three wins by at least 23 points and three losses by at least 14 points, and they have oscillated between those results. Despite a coaching change and some quarterback fluidity, USC’s offense has been pretty consistent, racking up from 408 to 494 total yards and scoring at least 26 points in each contest. It’s the defense that has been all over the map, and it’s the defense that will let them down in this rivalry game.

Notre Dame on the other hand has also had a weird season. You would think they have 3 or 4 losses with the way people talk about them, but here they are 5-1. I think they figured things out in the last game and should be ready to run the table the rest of the way. I think the two-quarterback system will work and Kyren Williams will own the running game and take this one easily.

Other Week Eight College Football Contests

Tulane at No. 21 SMU

  • Game Info: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: SMU 42, Tulane 28

Tulane has lost four straight games in blowout fashion, but the Green Wave had a bye week to recalibrate. Four of the last five meetings have been decided by four points or less. But I think SMU is the more talented team here with the better quarterback and they should roll in this one.

No. 2 Cincinnati at Navy

  • Game Info: Satursday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • Prediction: Cincinnati 35, Navy 14

The Bearcats have scored 50-plus points in their last two games in easy wins, and they beat Navy 42-0 last season. The Midshipmen are at home, where they’ve played better the last two games. Cincinnati will run it up given the opportunity, but I think Navy puts up a fight for a bit here.

No. 3 Oklahoma at Kansas

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: Oklahoma 51, Kansas 7

Kansas is bad, and they have lost by an average of 32.5 points in Big 12 home games against Baylor and Texas. Oklahoma has found its hyper-drive with Caleb Williams at quarterback, too. Look for the Sooners to keep the big-play offense rolling in the first half. 

Illinois at No. 6 Penn State

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: Penn State 17, Illinois 14

Will quarterback Sean Clifford play? That makes this game tough to pick, especially knowing Illinois ranks last in the Big Ten with 17.7 points per game. I will go with Penn State for now.

Northwestern at No. 7 Michigan

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (BTN)
  • Prediction: Michigan 35, Northwestern 14

The Wolverines will be refreshed coming off a bye week. Northwestern has played awful on the road this season. Michigan has won four of the last six meetings, but four of those have been one-score games. But this one should be easy for Michigan.  

No. 16 Wake Forest at Army

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (CBSSN)
  • Prediction: Army 31,Wake Forest 28

The Demon Deacons did have a bye week to prepare for Army’s option attack. Wake Forest allows 173.8 yards rushing per game, so they better not let the Black Knights control the tempo. Army hasn’t lost at home this season either.  I’m thinking the upset happens here.

Wisconsin at No. 25 Purdue

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (BTN)
  • Prediction: Purdue 21, Wisconsin 17

The Boilermakers are riding high after an upset against Iowa, and now they face another struggling offense in Wisconsin. The Badgers, however, have a tough run defense and this seems like a spot for a potential letdown. The Badgers have won 14 in a row in this series. But I think Purdue holds on here for a close one.

Tennessee at No. 4 Alabama

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: Alabama 42, Tennessee 10

Alabama appears to be in scorched-earth mode after the loss to Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide have covered three of the last four weeks. Tennessee meanwhile is coming off a heartbreaking loss and a messy situation with the trash throwing incidents.

No. 22 San Diego State at Air Force

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET (CBSSN)
  • Prediction: San Diego State 31, Air Force 24

The Aztecs are yet another ranked underdog on the road against the Falcons. San Diego State has won the last eight meetings, and they allow 61.2 rushing yards per game. The Aztecs improve to 7-0.

No. 24 UTSA at Louisiana Tech

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET (TBD)
  • Prediction: UTSA 31, Louisiana Tech 21

UTSA bolted into the Top 25, and the Roadrunners are 6-1 against the spread this season. Louisiana Tech is tough at home, and they have one-score losses against NC State and SMU. That said, I’m trusting the hot team, even on the road.

South Carolina at No. 17 Texas A&M

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (SECN)
  • Prediction: Texas A&M 45, South Caroliina 10

Texas A&M has found its rhythm with Zach Calzada at quarterback, and the Aggies are 3-1 when favored by double digits. South Carolina has suffered a few embarrassing blowouts, and I don’t see this being any different.

No. 5 Ohio State at Indiana

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: Ohio State 42, Indiana 21

The Hoosiers and Buckeyes played a one-score classic last season, but a lot has changed for Indiana since last year. Indiana has the same defense, but they don’t have the offensive firepower necessary to keep up with the Buckeyes.

No. 19 NC State at Miami

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: NC State 34, Miami 31

N.C. State is starting to emerge as an ACC championship favorite, and they hit the road for another crossover test. Tyler Van Dyke has filled in well at quarterback for Miami, which has lost its last two ACC games by a combined total of five points. There is an upset risk here, but I’ll stick with NC State this time. 

College Football – Upset Alert

Clemson at No. 23 Pitt

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: Clemson 24, Pitt 21

Can the Panthers knock the Tigers out once and for all? Clemson’s offense continues to struggle this season, but the defense remains tough. Pitt has a chance to flex with quarterback Kenny Pickett. But I think Clemson pulls this one out for the upset.

Should be another excellent week of College Football!

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