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USA TODAY college football staff picks for Week 8

  • October 22, 2020

The gang is almost back together.

With the start of the Big Ten and Mountain West seasons, all but the MAC and Pac-12 are present and accounted for this college fotball weekend. 

The biggest game takes place in the Big 12 with conference unbeatens No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 18 iowa State facing off. The Cowboys have quietly been under the national radar. That changes this week as the visiting Cyclones, who have already beaten Oklahoma, try to take control of the league. The winner should stay tied with Kansas State atop the conference standings. The loser still controls its fate but with little margin for error.

Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders tries to avoid the tackle of Iowa State linebacker O'Rien Vance during their 2019 game at Jack Trice Stadium.

There is a significant showdown in the Big Ten on tap. No. 17 Michigan and No. 21 will meet for the 104th time. The Little Brown Jug is at stake, but it’s also an early indicator on where these teams stand coming out of the delayed start. The Wolverines are breaking in quarterback Joe Milton on the road. The Golden Gophers counter with quarterback Tanner Morgan and receiver Rashad Batemen, one of the top passing combinations in the country.

ANSWERS NEEDED:The biggest questions facing college football in Week 8

BIG GOALS:The Big Ten wants to play for the national title. Is that possible?

Elsewhere, No. 10 Cincinnati travels to No. 16 SMU in a matchup of the remaining two unbeatens in the American Athletic. The victor becomes the favorite to win the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six and could find itself in the College Football Playoff race.

In the ACC, No. 13 North Carolina tries to bounce back from its loss to Florida State when it hosts No. 22 North Carolina State. The rivalry will see one team move forward in in the conference while also gaining bragging rights for the next year.

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