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Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire)
October 20th, 2021
Iowa did not retain its No. 2 ranking for long, as the Hawkeyes lost as a 28.5-point home favorite to Purdue last week, and shocking upsets continue to be a theme of the 2021 college football season.
Cincinnati is now ranked second and is the first "Group of Five" team to be ranked that high since 2011.
For the first time this season, no top 25 teams will meet in Week 8. We have identified four games of interest and even picked against a couple ranked teams.
Let's get to the selections.
Iowa State failed to meet early expectations, with two losses in its first four games, but the offense has found its rhythm, behind quarterback Brock Purdy (22 completions from 25 attempts in Week 7) and running back Breece Hall (197 rushing yards and two touchdowns).
Most 20+ yard rushes among RB’s since 20201️⃣ Breece Hall: 212️⃣ Bijan Robinson: 19 pic.twitter.com/XRUwl7CszM— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 19, 2021
Most 20+ yard rushes among RB’s since 20201️⃣ Breece Hall: 212️⃣ Bijan Robinson: 19 pic.twitter.com/XRUwl7CszM
The Cyclones' balance will give Oklahoma State trouble, and they hang their hats on run defense (only 98.3 yards allowed per game), which gives them an edge against Oklahoma State’s run-heavy attack.
The undefeated Cowboys pulled out emotional wins in their last two games, and they took advantage of a fourth-quarter collapse from Texas in Week 7 (16 unanswered points), but this game could get away from them, because they struggle to throw the ball effectively (89th-ranked passing offense).
Needing a signature performance to reinvigorate its season, Iowa State is primed for a resounding win.
Oregon lost a key cog to its offense, when running back CJ Verdell went down in Week 5. The Ducks are not the same team without their top playmaker, and UCLA is the way to go here.
The Bruins can run hot and cold and failed to show much spark during a three-game stretch in late September/early October, but I like the toughness they showed in a win at Washington last week, when they limited the Huskies to only seven second-half points.
Improved defensive play has given UCLA a boost — the Bruins allow only 95.3 rushing yards per game — and the Southern California squad always brings its best offensively against Oregon. The Bruins have averaged 41 points per game over the last seven matchups.
'GameDay' is back in the #Pac12 this week for the first time in years and for the first time in Westwood, ever:https://t.co/7p4iJOCWF0— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) October 19, 2021
'GameDay' is back in the #Pac12 this week for the first time in years and for the first time in Westwood, ever:https://t.co/7p4iJOCWF0
UCLA will have the edge on both sides of the ball and will prove best.
Boston College let a winnable game get away from it, at Clemson, then showed up flat against North Carolina State off a bye week, but the Eagles can rebound against Louisville.
With one of the best defenses in the ACC, Boston College has held its opponents to 19.5 points per game. The Eagles should do enough offensively against Louisville’s reeling defense to put themselves in position to win.
Opponent Breakdown: Boston College Defense https://t.co/6sqWWBocUf— Keith Wynne (@Keith_Wynne) October 20, 2021
Opponent Breakdown: Boston College Defense https://t.co/6sqWWBocUf
Youth has contributed to Louisville’s inconsistencies, and no lead is ever safe.
Virginia has found its mojo the last few weeks, and Georgia Tech will struggle to match the Cavaliers' intensity.
The Cavs entered the season with a well-respected offense, but defensive woes and turnovers plagued them during a 2-2 start. They’ve improved in the last three ACC games, with an average of 37.3 points scored, behind the stellar play of quarterback Brennan Armstrong.
Another outstanding performance in a season full of them by Brennan Armstrong 🔷⚔️🔶@UVAFootball | @bstrong34 | #ACCFootballpic.twitter.com/Gh8xaBeL7O— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) October 16, 2021
Another outstanding performance in a season full of them by Brennan Armstrong 🔷⚔️🔶@UVAFootball | @bstrong34 | #ACCFootballpic.twitter.com/Gh8xaBeL7O
Since it rallied from a 30-13, fourth-quarter deficit at Louisville, Virginia has allowed only three points over the last five quarters. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has pushed all the right buttons for the surging Cavaliers.
Georgia Tech, which was last seen in a narrow victory over Duke, will return to action off a bye, and the 3-3 Yellow Jackets lack the offensive firepower to be competitive in this spot.
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