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How We See It After Week 8 of College Football
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

How We See It After Week 8 of College Football

Week 8 is in the books and two more unbeaten teams bit the dust, lowering our total to nine. The playoff picture is taking shape, but if history tells us anything, we know there are plenty of surprises left before the dust is settled. Let’s sift through the major conferences, plus selected other teams and summarize where we are at. We will also update the playoff picture and the percentages for each team to get in.


Unbeaten Teams: Cincinnati and SMU Not much has changed in this conference as both Cincinnati (7-0) and SMU (7-0) keep winning. The Mustangs are continuing their great offensive play under Tanner Mordecai, the transfer from Oklahoma. The Bearcats seem to have the easier schedule and have the most to lose because of their high ranking and obvious playoff credentials. They also play SMU in Cincinnati, and they don’t play 6-1 Houston.

Main Contender: Houston The Cougars have won 6 in a row since an opening week loss to Texas Tech. They get SMU at home this week and can really establish themselves with a win.

  • 3 Key Games Ahead:
  • Oct.30: SMU at Houston A win by Houston really hurts the Mustangs.
  • Nov.20: SMU at Cincinnati These two might have a rematch two weeks later in the Conference Championship Game.
  • Dec.4 Conference Championship Game


  • Atlantic Division:

Unbeaten Team: Wake Forest The Demon Deacons are 7-0 and are in control of their own destiny. They have the best offense in the conference but they are vulnerable in any game because of their defense. They had to score 70 against Army last week to win by two touchdowns. There are very few people who expect them to finish undefeated.

The Main Contender: NC State 5-2 The Wolfpack were on a roll, but Saturday night, their Conference Championship hopes took a big hit with a loss to Miami. They are still in control of their fate if they can beat Wake Forest.

  • Key Games Ahead:
  • Nov.13: NC State at Wake Forest A win by the Deacons would pretty much eliminate the Wolfpack
  • Nov.20: Wake Forest at Clemson The Tigers defense will be a test.
  • Nov.27: Wake Forest at Boston College North Carolina at NC State Tough road game for Wake. Rivalry game for NC State
  • Dec.4: ACC Conference Championship

The Coastal Division: This division was a mess a couple of weeks ago, but Pittsburgh 6-1 has emerged as the division king, and maybe the best team in the conference. They have at least a two-game lead over everyone else in the division. Virginia 6-2, is probably their main competition and the Cavaliers have to beat the Panthers, and hope Pitt loses somewhere else.

  • Key Games Ahead:
  • Oct.30: Miami at Pittsburgh The Panthers can’t afford a letdown.
  • Nov.20: Virginia at Pittsburgh This might be for the division title.
  • Dec.4: ACC Conference Championship


East Division:

Unbeaten Teams: Michigan 7-0 and Michigan State 7-0. These two teams are still unbeaten and they play each other this week in East Lansing. Both have had tremendous seasons and are very similar in how they play the game. This should be a great game and the loser is probably eliminated from the playoff picture.

The Elephant in the Room: Ohio State 6-1 After the early loss to Oregon, the Buckeyes have been quietly winning over inferior opponents and building momentum. The road to the Big-10 Conference Championship still runs through Columbus and nothing has happened to change that. They are going to play both Michigan and Michigan State in the coming weeks and they will be favored in both games. I’m not betting against them.

  • Key Games Ahead:
  • Oct.30: Penn State at Ohio State Michigan at Michigan State There will be only one unbeaten team left after this Saturday.
  • Nov.13: Michigan at Penn State. If Michigan is still unbeaten, the Nittany Lions could ambush them in Happy Valley
  • Nov.20: Michigan State at Ohio State Wow, what if the Spartans are unbeaten coming into this one?
  • Nov.27: Ohio State at Michigan Penn State at Michigan State Who knows where each of these teams will be after this weekend?
  • Dec.4: Big-10 Conference Championship Game: If someone comes through this unbeaten, they are a lock for the playoffs. A one-loss Ohio State team probably is also.

West Division:,

Main Contenders: Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes still have a slim chance to make the playoffs if they run the table. But, it is going to take a lot of work to just win the division. Minnesota is playing very well and are sitting at 5-2 with one conference loss. And, believe it or not Wisconsin is still in the hunt, if they win the rest of their conference games. This side of the Big-10 is obviously weaker than the other and there are a lot of scenarios still to come.

  • Key Games Ahead:
  • Oct.30: Iowa at Wisconsin The Hawkeyes can eliminate the Badgers from having any hope with a win.
  • Nov.13: Minnesota at Iowa Assuming both teams have kept winning, this could be a huge matchup.
  • Nov. 27: Wisconsin at Minnesota Iowa at Nebraska Final weekend will decide the winner
  • Dec.4: Big-10 Conference Championship Game If a 1-loss Iowa team wins this one, they are in the hunt for a playoff berth.


Unbeaten Team: Oklahoma 8-0 The Sooners are dodging bullets like Matt Dillon in Dodge City and survived a scare against Kansas. They play all 3 conference contenders in the final three weeks. The way they are playing, it is hard to make a case for them to run the table.

Main Contenders: Oklahoma State 6-1, Baylor 6-1, and Iowa State 5-2. All three of these teams will have plenty to say about the who wins the Big-12 Conference Championship. They all have one loss, but all still play Oklahoma, which gives them a chance at the Conference Championship. However, a lot of crazy stuff would have to happen for any of these three to make the playoffs.

  • Key Games Ahead:
  • Oct.30: Texas at Baylor The Bears have to beat the Longhorns to stay in the hunt.
  • Nov.6: Texas at Iowa State A must-win for the Cyclones.
  • Nov.13: Oklahoma at Baylor The first of three tough games for Oklahoma.
  • Nov.20: Iowa State at Oklahoma Game 2 for the Sooners and a possible huge win for Iowa State.
  • Nov.27: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State These two could play each other the very next week for the Conference Championship.
  • Dec.4: Big-12 Conference Championship If the Sooners survive and are unbeaten, they have a great chance for the playoffs.


Best Team: Oregon 6-1 The Ducks are the only team with any chance to make the playoffs and there is no reason to discuss anyone else in the this conference. Even if they run the table, they will be a long-shot to get in, but their early season win at Ohio State will be a factor.

  • Key Games Ahead:
  • Nov.20 Oregon at Utah Potential loss for the Ducks.
  • Nov.27: Oregon State at Oregon The Civil War between these two looks like it will have a lot on the line.
  • Pac-12 Conference Championship If Oregon is 12-1 after this game, they have a shot.


East Division:

Unbeaten Team: Georgia 7-0 The Bulldogs have all but sewed up the East Division and if they beat Florida this week, there would have to be a major catastrophe for them not to win. Kentucky is the only team in the division with one loss and that was against Georgia. Realistically, the only suspense is whether they get to the Conference Championship game with a 12-0 record.

West Division:

Probable Winner: Alabama 7-1 As usual, Alabama is in the driver’s seat in the West division. They have a tricky trip left at Auburn that could mess up their playoff chances. However, if they win out and then beat an undefeated Georgia, is there any doubt that they are in the playoffs?

Main Contenders: Auburn 6-1, Ole Miss 6-1, Texas A&M 5-2 Auburn has the best chance at derailing Alabama. If they win out, (which would include a win over Alabama), they would play in the Championship game. Ole Miss lost to Alabama, so they will need some help. The same is true with the Aggies, but if they win out and Alabama were to lose, they have a great shot to win the division, because of their win over the Tide.

  • Key Games Ahead:
  • Oct.30: Ole Miss at Auburn This is an elimination game for the loser.
  • Nov.6: Auburn at Texas A&M Another crucial game for the Tigers and a must win for A&M.
  • Nov.13: Texas A&M at Ole Miss Another game that might not mean anything because of what happened the previous two weeks.
  • Nov.27: Alabama at Auburn This could settle the whole thing or Alabama could have it clinched by this game.


Undefeated Teams: San Diego State 7-0 and UTSA 8-0

San Diego State: The Aztecs are 7-0 and the Mountain West is a tough conference. They won a very difficult game at Air Force last week and passed a big test. They still have major hurdles with home games against Fresno State, Nevada, and Boise State and a dangerous trip to Hawaii. Can they run the table? We shall see.

UTSA: The Roadrunners are 8-0 and have four games between them and an unbeaten season. The two toughest games are at 6-1 UTEP in two weeks and at home against 5-3 UAB. They then would have to win the Conference USA Championship game. 13-0 is certainly a possibility.

One More to Watch: Notre Dame 6-1 The Irish have a great chance to win their last 5 games and if some crazy things happen, they might slip in through the back door. It looks like their toughest remaining game is at Virginia.


  1. Georgia 80%
  2. Cincinnati 65%
  3. Alabama 40%
  4. Ohio State 35%
  5. Michigan and Oklahoma 30%
  6. Notre Dame 20%
  7. Michigan State 15%
  8. Oregon 10%
  9. SMU and Iowa 5%
  10. Wake Forest and San Diego State 2%

This is where we see it after 8 weeks of football. None of us can predict what unexplainable things are going to happen, but we shouldn’t be surprised when they do.

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