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Games To Watch: Week 8

Power 5 college football teams are in the thick of their conference schedules. Here’s what we’ll be watching.

Clemson v North Carolina State Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Michigan Wolverines @ Michigan State Spartans, 11:00, FOX

Michigan State v Michigan
Michigan DT/DE Rashan Gary sacks Brian Lewerke in last season’s rainy contest.
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Both Michigan State and Michigan look to follow up season-altering wins last week by beating their in-state rivals this week. Michigan is feeling confident after bludgeoning the Badgers in primetime last weekend. Un-ranked Michigan State went into Happy Valley on Saturday afternoon and stunned the Nittany Lions who now have two Big Ten East losses at home, with the Wolverines still on deck in a few weeks.

The Paul Bunyan Trophy is up for grabs bright and early this fall Saturday. Michigan State won this contest last season 14-10 and are winners of eight of the last ten against the Wolverines. In three attempts, Jim Harbaugh has one win and two losses against Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartans.

NC State Wolfpack @ Clemson Tigers, 2:30, ESPN

Clemson v North Carolina State
NC State QB Ryan Finley tossed three touchdown passes and two interceptions versus Clemson last season.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

A matchup of undefeated teams this late in the season has to be included in the list. Clemson and NC State find themselves atop the Atlantic Division of the ACC, and this game is of critical importance to a Clemson team looking to get back to the College Football Playoff.

The Tigers have won the last six in a row against the Wolfpack, but the last two matches have each been single-touchdown victories. Clemson and NC State had the week off last week. This game features an interesting QB battle between Clemson’s true freshman Trevor Lawrence and NC State’s senior Ryan Finley.

Mississippi State Bulldogs @ LSU Tigers, 6:00, ESPN

Mississippi v LSU
LSU QB Joe Burrow has been a steady influence for the Tigers on the offensive side of the ball.
Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images

This week’s premier SEC matchup features the Mississippi State Bulldogs taking their talents to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to face the LSU Tigers. LSU handily knocked off undefeated Georgia last weekend and this weekend they are looking for revenge against Mississippi State — a team that beat LSU 37-7 a season ago in Starkville.

LSU leads the all-time series against Mississippi State 73-35-3 in a rivalry game that’s been played pretty much every year since 1902.

Oregon Ducks @ Washington State Cougars, 6:30, FOX

Stanford v Oregon
Oregon QB Justin Herbert is looking for his first career win over the Washington State Cougars
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

ESPN’s College GameDay is headed to Washington State University in rural Pullman, Washington for the first time in the television program’s 25-year history of on-site broadcasting.

Credit to Oregon. Led by top quarterback prospect Justin Herbert, the Ducks are flying after knocking off Washington and California in back-to-back games. Oregon’s win over Washington last weekend was program-defining, and perhaps represents an overall shift in the pecking order of Pac-12 North top dogs.

Aside from a 3-point loss to USC in Los Angeles a month ago, Washington State’s been flawless — though to be fair, their non-conference schedule of Eastern Washington, Wyoming and San Jose State is pretty pathetic in and of itself. Washington State has had Oregon’s number lately, winning the last three against the Ducks by a combined 48 points.

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