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2022 College football: Games and players to watch in Week 8

Your open thread for Week 8 of college football

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning New York Giants fans!

Happy Saturday and welcome to Week 8 of the 2023 College Football season. We have yet another strong slate of games this week, including a very crowded afternoon slot that features (at least) four games that demand our attention.

There will be future NFL players lining up against one another all day long. We also have some intra-conference match-ups between ranked games that could play a big role in shaping this year’s play-offs.

So let’s get to the games!

(14) Syracuse at (5) Clemson

ABC - noon

How often do we see The Orange threatening the top teams in the country?

‘Cuse has earned their rankings, and they have a few prospects we should be watching. QB Garrett Shrader is a dual-threat passer with an intriguing blend of size (6-foot-4, 228 pounds) and athleticism. He has 1,668 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground in his three years for Mississippi State and Syracuse. He’s also been an efficient passer as well this year, and could be a sleeper for some teams.

It’ll also be hard to not watch Syracuse running back Sean Tucker. The 5-foot-10, 210-pound runner has legitimate “Track Speed” as a former track athlete and set the Syracuse single-season record for rushing yardage a year ago.

Shrader and Tucker will have their work cut out for them against a very talented Clemson defense. Clemson boasts five players in their front seven (EDGEs Myles Murphy and K.J. Henry, DL Tyler Davis and Bryan Bresee, and linebacker Trenton Simpson) who could all be drafted inside of the Top-50.

Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei has continued his dramatic turnaround from a year ago. He has gone from being an afterthought in the 2023 QB class to a potential first round prospect. Uiagalelei has the size and arm talent NFL evaluators are looking for, and enough power to be a difficult runner to bring down.

Afternoon games

Decisions, decisions... Last week we had a few good games to watch in this time slot, and this week we have three to choose from (and more, if you have access to the channels).

(7) Ole Miss at LSU

CBS - 3:30pm

Ole Miss might be ranked inside the Top 10, but (as of this writing) LSU is favored to win at home.

This could wind up being a wildly entertaining game, as Brian Kelly’s LSU team seems to be rounding into form. They had a great performance against the Florida Gators, playing efficient football and getting a great performance from WR Kayshon Boutte. They’ll need to keep up their level of play against Ole Miss.

The Rebels have one of the best offenses in college football, and they’ll test the LSU defense across the board. In particular, the matchup between Ole Miss’ 6-foot-2, 225 pound WR Jonathan Mingo and LSU’s 6-foot-2, 217 pound cornerback Mekhi Garner could be must-watch TV.

(9) UCLA at (10) Oregon

Fox - 3:30pm

Speaking of potential must-watch TV, this showdown on the west coast could be the game of the week.

Giants fans might want to keep an eye on towering UCLA receiver Jake Bobo. Bobo stands 6-foot-5, 215 pounds and combines solid athleticism and fluid movement skills with good technique and route running. On the other side of the ball, the Giants very well could go back to the Ducks’ defense and take a long look at linebacker Noah Sewell. Sewell has good size, athleticism, and instincts as an inside linebacker. He was believed to be a first round prospect coming into the season, but hasn’t played up to expectations. That could just make him a steal if he slides down draft boards.

(20) Texas at (11) Oklahoma State

ABC - 3:30pm

This is another game that could be closer than the respective ranking would suggest.

Texas has a talented roster with a deep running back rotation and some intriguing names at wide receiver. Cornerback Ryan Watts could be an interesting name to watch this week as well. He has a long frame at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and had notched 7 tackles before leaving last week’s game with a stinger.

Injuries could figure heavily into this game, as Oklahoma State could be without starting quarterback Spencer Sanders as well as center Preston Wilson. Oklahoma State was undefeated on the season before their 43-40 overtime loss to TCU a week ago. We might still see offensive fireworks, as both teams have fielded prolific offenses over the course of the season. Oklahoma State hasn’t scored less than 34 points, and Texas has topped 37 points in 5 of their 7 games.

Evening games

(24) Mississippi State at (6) Alabama
ESPN - 7pm

There aren’t a lot of super-intriguing match-ups in the evening time slot. But even if there were, we were probably going to have to mention this game anyway. Alabama suffered a stunning, historic loss to Tennessee, which saw the Crimson Tide give up the most points scored in over a century. It was also the most points a Nick Saban team has surrendered since 1996.

In addition to Alabama’s plethora of prospects, I’m looking to see how Bryce Young and the rest of Alabama respond to the loss.

Mississippi State might be a ranked team, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Alabama come after them with a vengeance. That said, the Bulldogs have some talented players and this is a good opportunity to see them against future NFL players.

In particular, NFL teams will likely want a closer look at quarterback Will Rogers. Rogers completed 73.9 percent of his passes for 4,739 yards and 36 touchdowns to 9 interceptions a year ago. So far this year he’s completed 71.2 percent for 2,313 yards and 23 touchdowns to just 4 picks. Rogers has solid size at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and the arm strength to go with it. The question, however, is whether his production because of his skill set, or due to playing in Mike Leech’s high-powered offensive scheme.

Other games to watch

(21) Cincinnati at SMU
ESPN - noon

Boston College at (13) Wake Forest
ACC Network - 3:30pm

Northwestern at Maryland
Big 10 Network - 3:30pm

Minnesota at (16) Penn State
ABC - 7:30pm

(17) Kansas State at (8) TCU
FS1 - 8pm

Washington at Cal
ESPN - 10:30pm