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Sports Six bold predictions for college football as Big Ten returns to action in Week 8

15:25  24 october  2020
15:25  24 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Washington QB Alex Smith 'didn't want to scare the hell out of' Dak Prescott after Cowboys QB's ankle injury

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The Big Ten is eligible for the College Football Playoff even at Week 8 of the college football season. It starts Friday night when Wisconsin takes on Illinois. Clemson returns home to take on Syracuse. Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers have rolled all season long and it’s not expected to stop Saturday

The 2020 college football season is done with Week 7. No. 2 Alabama remained undefeated after beating No. 3 Georgia 41-24. The Big Ten returns to action in Week 8 highlighted by No. 5 Ohio State hosting Nebraska and No. 18 Michigan clashing against No. 21 Minnesota. Below, find the scores

Surprise performances and unexpected outcomes are anticipated each weekend in the wild world of college football. Even if everyone knows they are coming, guessing when and where they will happen is difficult.

The USA TODAY Sports college football staff — Jace Evans, Paul Myerberg, Brent Schrotenboer, Erick Smith, Eddie Timanus and Dan Wolken — weigh in with some bold predictions for Week 8 of the season:

Jace Evans

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Few schools made more noise about the prospect of not playing football in 2020 than Nebraska, but the Cornhuskers finally get their chance to get on the field. They don’t have to go all the way to Uzbekistan, as coach Scott Frost said his team would be willing to do. They do have to go to Ohio Stadium, which won’t be particularly fun. Indeed, Ohio State was perhaps the other Big Ten program most vocal about wanting to play, though the Buckeyes’ desire to get on the field this fall is easily explainable: With Justin Fields, this team is talented enough to win the national title. I said last year in this space that Ohio State would score 50 on Nebraska; that prediction fell short by two points. It won’t this year, as the Buckeyes – looking to make a statement – will get to 50 and beat the ‘Huskers by at least 40.

College football coaches' COVID-19 pay cuts are not always what they seem

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With action starting early in the day and continuing late into the night, let's take a look at the biggest games on the schedule Saturday along with our college football picks and predictions for what will transpire in those contests. Their quarterback is better (assuming Fromm returns to form), he has

The Big Ten East has won five straight. The Pac-12 North has won six of seven conference title Really bold predictions . Appalachian State will get the Group of 5 New Year's Six bowl bid. The Fighting Irish nearly lost to Pitt last week , which was a nightmare scenario for Notre Dame fans.

a group of football players on a field: Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, center, runs onto the field with his players before the Camping World Bowl against Iowa State in Orlando, Florida. © Phelan M. Ebenhack, AP Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, center, runs onto the field with his players before the Camping World Bowl against Iowa State in Orlando, Florida.

IMPACT EXPECTED: Five games with College Football Playoff implications

BIG TEN'S BACK: Ranking all seven games for Week 1 of the Big Ten season

Paul Myerberg

After three consecutive losses, Pittsburgh shocks Notre Dame in one of the biggest upsets of the season. It’s make-or-break time for the Panthers, who started 3-0 but have since lost to N.C. State (30-29), Boston College (31-30) and Miami (31-19). With a chance to salvage its season, which began with hopes of cracking the Top 25, Pitt gets the biggest win of coach Pat Narduzzi’s tenure.

Brent Schrotenboer

Michigan fans are accustomed to letdowns. After waiting forever for this season to start, they soon will be reminded again about the difference between high expectations and reality during the battle for the Little Brown Jug at Minnesota. Veteran Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan and star receiver Rashod Bateman will test Michigan cornerback Vincent Gray, who has one game of starting experience. Minnesota has won only two games in this series since 1986, but this year is one of their best chances yet and they take it.

Five games with College Football Playoff impact in Week 8

  Five games with College Football Playoff impact in Week 8 The Big Ten returns and a showdown in the Big 12 headline Week 8 games with the biggest College Football Playoff impact.Some contenders have already figuratively snared pocket aces in their first hand and will jump right into the mix, while others will enter with the dreaded 7-2 off-suit and desperately hope to catch a miracle flop.

Expect the unexpected in college football each weekend. USA TODAY experts weigh in with their bold Bryant is due to return from a hamstring injury and the return to Faurot Field should give a lift to the No, not the Big Ten title and a playoff spot. I’m talking about the greatest trophy in all of sports.

USA TODAY experts weigh in with their bold predictions for Week 10 of the season. Even if everyone knows they are coming, guessing when and where they will happen is difficult. The USA TODAY Sports college football staff — Jace Evans, Paul Myerberg, George Schroeder, Erick Smith

Erick Smith

There will be upsets. Like death and taxes, college football surprises are another constant of life. So where does it happen this week?

No. 7 Penn State faces a tricky visit to Indiana for its opener. The Hoosiers, who went 8-5 last season, return most of their key contributors and are going to surprise some better-known teams. The Nittany Lions might be one of them, especially if they are peeking ahead to next week's showdown with Ohio State. It's a nail-biter for sure and possible major shock to kick off the Big Ten season with some fireworks.

Eddie Timanus

The arrival of the Big Ten on the college football scene will get most of the attention this weekend. But the other ‘Big’ conference has some important contests as well.

There remains but one unbeaten team in the Big 12 entering Saturday. By day’s end, there will be none.

Yes, Oklahoma State is at home, and the Cowboys might also have their starting quarterback Spencer Sanders back.

Big Ten power rankings: Ohio State stays on top while Penn State falls

  Big Ten power rankings: Ohio State stays on top while Penn State falls Ranking the Big Ten from first (Ohio State) to worst (Michigan State) after the league's opening weekend.While Ohio State is solidly in first, the Nittany Lions cede second place to one of a handful of contenders: Indiana, which beat PSU in overtime; Wisconsin, which sailed past Indiana; or Michigan, which opened with a solid win in prime time against Minnesota.

Sentiment throughout college football entering Sunday night was that the Big Ten and Pac-12 would cancel their seasons this week . The Big Ten became the first conference to make such that adjustment in a move that blindsided their Power Five brethren.

College football is back for Week 3 action on Saturday with plenty of conference matchups in the ACC. Despite a few cancellations and postponements earlier in the week -- including Baylor vs. Houston, which was put together in just six Coaches Poll: Ohio State at No. 10 as Big Ten returns .

But Iowa State comes into Stillwater on a roll after shaking off that opening loss to Louisiana-Lafayette, much of which was due to breakdowns on special teams. The Cyclones are still good enough to win the Big 12, and they’ll prove it with a big win on the road.

Dan Wolken

There's a lot of hope around Michigan that Joe Milton will finally be the long-term answer at quarterback, which has basically been a band-aid position for the Wolverines since Jim Harbaugh took the job. Maybe that will turn out to be the case. But Minnesota's identity, its style of play and its spirit is well-established by now, and the Gophers are going to be well-positioned to open the season with a big win because of their experience and consistency. Without a warmup game to get his feet underneath him a bit, I expect Milton to struggle while Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan was primed for a huge season before the pandemic hit. Minnesota wins convincingly here and brings a new round of angst about whether Harbuagh will ever win a Big Ten title.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Six bold predictions for college football as Big Ten returns to action in Week 8

Five games in Week 9 with College Football Playoff impact .
A major Big Ten showdown and key clashes in the ACC and Big 12 are among the games with the biggest College Football Playoff impact in Week 9.Having said that, of course, there is always the possibility of this wild and wacky sport delivering a few tricks.

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