College Football Week 8 Games to Watch: Showdown in Happy Valley

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It took seven weeks, but one of the preseason AP Top 5 teams finally tasted defeat.

In front of a raucous home crowd in Athens, Georgia put a dent into their College Football Playoff hopes with a double-overtime loss to South Carolina. The result not only sent a shockwave through the SEC, but the college football landscape as a whole. 

Week 7 also saw LSU cement its legitimacy as a title contender with a 42-28 win over Florida in Baton Rouge. The victory helped the Tigers jump Clemson in the polls and has every college football fans mouth's watering for the LSU's meeting with Alabama on November 9. 

But there's still a lot of football to play until then. With so much on the line as we enter the late stages of the regular season, wins and losses matter that much more. 

Here are the must-watch games of Week 8 of the 2019 college football season.

West Virginia @ No.5 Oklahoma

SATURDAY, 10/19 — 12:00 P.M. ET

The Jalen Hurts Heisman Trophy campaign heads back to Norman after an interesting weekend at the Texas State Fair. 

The Sooners kept their College Football Playoff mission in progress with a 34-27 win over Texas in the Red River Rivalry, but Hurts looked human for the first time this season. His three touchdown passes helped propel the Sooners to victory, but a 16-for-28 passing line with one interception (and one fumble) made his Heisman hopes take a hit. 

But a good-but-not great performance from Hurts finally put national eyes on Oklahoma's defense, which was superb in the victory. The Sooners sacked Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger nine times and accumulated 15 total tackles for loss. 

The defense will get another chance to shine this week when Oklahoma welcomes the Mountaineers to Memorial Stadium. We know how good the Sooners offense can be, but another formidable defensive effort will further push the Sooners into the Top 4 conversation. 

No.3 Clemson @ Louisville

SATURDAY,  10/19 — 12:00 P.M. ET

With the top seven teams in the country still undefeated, Clemson will have to continue putting together some impressive performances if they hope to keep up. After starting the season as the nation's No.1 team, the Tigers have slipped down to the No.3 slot will remaining unbeaten. While this speaks more to the level of opponents that Alabama and LSU, the two teams who jumped the Tigers, have played, it doesn't help Dabo Swinney and his team rest any easier. 

Clemson's test this week is a trip to Louisville for an ACC Atlantic division matchup. The Cardinals are riding high after coming out on top in a rare ACC shootout, defeating previously unbeaten Wake Forest, 62-59. Louisville needed two quarterbacks to secure the victory as starter Micale Cunningham was knocked out of the win over the Demon Deacons in the second quarter. Freshman Evan Conley took over behind center, but it's still undetermined who will start when the Tigers come to Cardinal Stadium on Saturday. 

Expect big plays in this one, as Clemson and Louisville rank second and third, respectively, in the ACC in both total yards and rushing yards per game. 

No.12 Oregon @ No.25 Washington

SATURDAY, 10/19 — 3:30 P.M. ET

They're currently on the outside looking in, but the Oregon Ducks College Football Playoff hopes are far from fantasy. After an opening kickoff loss to Auburn, the Ducks have rattled off five consecutive wins and currently sit atop the Pac-12. 

Justin Herbert's name may currently be out of the Heisman Trophy race, but the senior has dazzled through six games. Herbert has thrown for 1602 yards this season with 17 touchdowns and only one interception. While Herbert has played well, the real story of Oregon's season has been their defense. The Ducks haven't allowed double digits since their loss to Auburn and hold the third best scoring defense in the nation (8.7 points per game). 

A date with the Huskies in Seattle on Saturday is Oregon's toughest game remaining on the schedule, meaning a victory could propel them right back into the postseason conversation. 

Washington isn't only playing the role of spoiler, though. With quarterback Jacob Eason at the helm, the Huskies will aim to steal a game from the Ducks and push themselves to one game out of the lead in the Pac-12 North. 

No.17 Arizona State @ No.13 Utah

SATURDAY, 10/19 — 6:00 P.M. ET

While Oregon and Washington battle it out, Arizona State and Utah will go to war to determine the top team in the Pac-12 South. Both programs find themselves at 2-1 in conference play, good enough to be tied for top of one half of the conference. While USC and Arizona also sit at 2-1, Arizona State and Utah have emerged as the two legitimate contenders to Oregon if they faced off in the Pac-12 title game. 

Arizona State is coming off a 38-24 shootout victory over Washington State where Herm Edward's defense weathered the storm against one of the most dangerous offenses on the western side of the country. 

Utah is flying high after a 52-7 blowout of Oregon State in which running back Zack Moss exploded for 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns in one half of football. 

This game also comes with some extra drama in the form of Sun Devils freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels. Utah was one of Daniels last four teams remaining before he opted to sign his letter of intent with Arizona State last December. 

No.16 Michigan @ No.7 Penn State

SATURDAY, 10/19 — 7:30 P.M. ET

Penn State will go as far as their defense will take them... and it could be all the way to the College Football Playoff. 

The Nittany Lions head back home after a grind-it-out 17-12 victory over Iowa on Saturday. Penn State's defense stifled any offensive intent from the Hawkeyes, further cementing the unit's case as one of the most rounded in the country. Penn State is second in the nation in scoring defense (8.2 points per game) and are fourth in total defense (259.7 yards per game). 

James Franklin and company have hopes of coming out of the Big Ten as champions this season, but dates with Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State still round out their remaining schedule. 

Michigan is still trying to prove itself after an embarrassing loss to Wisconsin last month, but Jim Harbaugh's side has a golden opportunity in front of it. At 3-1, the Wolverines are a game behind both Ohio State and Penn State in the B10 East, but obviously a win in Happy Valley would shake up the standings. 

The Wolverines' offense has been up and down all season, even in their 42-25 win over Illinois on Saturday, and will need to play a complete game if they hope to compete with what Penn State is putting out on the defensive front. 

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