Week 8 of NCAA football is among us, and the road to the playoffs is becoming clearer by the moment.
Most teams are now in must-win situations, and hopes could be easily crushed, even though we’re just a tad over the half-way point of the season.
This week has plenty of tricky games the nation should pay attention to if they want to know what the future holds. Here’s three games fans should note as must-see.
No. 15 North Carolina State at No. 3 Clemson
Saturday 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
This game will feature the last two ranked teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and it’s the last chance either team will get to score an important win.
The game itself could stand as a playoff eliminator, and will likely give fans a preview of what an ACC championship game could look like.
NC State has a sharp edge with quarterback Ryan Finley, that is if he can get the ball to fly against Tigers’ defensive line.
Clemson’s quarterback Trevor Lawrence also shows promise, but North Carolina will need to stop the big runs first, if they have any hopes of coming out as the victor.
No. 10 Oklahoma at TCU
Saturday 12 p.m. ET on ABC
Oklahoma is back from a bye week, after a tight loss to Texas that led to some serious defensive changes. Oklahoma is essentially facing a break on the road; TCU’s offense has plenty of holes.
TCU will need to the move ball more consistently when it counts. The Horned Frogs also got a longer break than usual, but they will still have to face an arsenal of Sooner weapons. Deep upgrades will need to be made against an offense that only managed 14 points against Texas Tech.
The Sooners will need to rely more on quarterback Kyler Murray, but Oklahoma’s Kahlil Haughton and secondary will especially need to remember to keep all eyes on wide receiver KaVontae Terpin.
No. 7 Michigan at Michigan State
Saturday 12 p.m. ET on Fox
After defeating Wisconsin in a big win, Michigan is back in playoff conversations. Now, Michigan is looking forward to a potential Big Ten title.
The match between the two Michigan teams is always exciting and could be dangerous for either team. Spartans recently spoiled Penn State’s playoff hopes, and Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson and running back Karan Higdon showed a strong partnership against Wisconsin.
Watch Spartans’ linebackers Joe Bachie and Andrew Dowell, who can be hard against an excellent team’s rush. Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke can make wins, but running back L.J. Scott is still questionable, which won’t bode well for State.
Match-up of the week could be in wide receiver Felton Davis against Wolverines safety Josh Metellus. The result of the match-up could have long-reaching implications for the Big Ten teams.
Kristen Ashly is a senior contributor and editor for Nuts & Bolts Sports. You can follow her on Twitter @KristenAshly.