School soccer Week Eight primer: Heisman Watch, upset picks, predictions and extra

The beginning of Huge Ten play highlights Week Eight of the faculty soccer season.  

5 ranked Huge Ten groups, together with No. 5 Ohio State, No. Eight Penn State, No. 14 Wisconsin, No. 18 Michigan and No. 21 Minnesota, will open their seasons. The Wolverines and Gophers are the spotlight of that opening slate with a prime-time matchup (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC).  

That is certainly one of 4 matchups between ranked groups in Week Eight. No. 23 North Carolina State travels to No. 15 North Carolina at midday, No. 17 Iowa State meets No. 6 Oklahoma State at Three:30 p.m. and No. 9 Cincinnati travels to No. 16 SMU at 9 p.m.   

MORE: Week Eight picks towards the unfold

Each week, Sporting Information surveys the panorama on the lookout for Heisman contenders, coaches on the spot, upset alerts and different traits. With that in thoughts, prepare for Week Eight.     

Heisman Watch     

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is the lone returning Heisman Trophy finalist from final season, however he has a major quantity of catchup work to do towards the opposite main candidates.  

Alabama’s Mac Jones leads the FBS with a 220.1 passer ranking, and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence has piled up 15 touchdowns and one interception. BYU’s Zach Wilson has emerged as one other candidate, with 1,641 yards and 12 TDs.  

Fields is coming off a season during which he handed for Three,273 yards with 41 TDs and three interceptions, however he additionally piled up 484 speeding yards and 10 TDs. These speeding statistics will offset enjoying in two video games, and that begins with the season-opener towards Nebraska. Fields piled up 284 complete yards and 4 TDs in a 48-7 victory towards the Huskers final season. 

Count on a robust opening assertion in The Shoe.  

MORE: All in regards to the Huge Ten’s return

Coach on the spot     

Who else would it not be? Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh enters his sixth season with a troublesome highway opener at Minnesota — the traditional battle for the Little Brown Jug.  

Michigan is 47-18 below Harbaugh, however the Zero-5 report towards Ohio State and 1-Four report in bowl video games continues to hold over this system. In the event you acquired contained in the report, then you definitely would possibly get a clue for what may occur towards the Gophers and coach P.J. Fleck, who’s coming off an 11-win season. Take into account the observe information:  

Harbaugh (since 2015) 2-11 Eight-Three 37-Four
Fleck (since 2017) 1-2 1-Three 21-10

Harbaugh beats unranked groups and has a superb observe report in these video games towards groups ranked outdoors the highest 10. If new quarterback Joe Milton is as marketed, then the Wolverines ought to be tremendous, at the very least for per week.  

Upset alert     

Notre Dame is ranked No. Three, however the Irish are coming off an uninspiring 12-7 victory towards Louisville. Notre Dame faces Pitt this week at Heinz Area, and seven of the previous eight conferences have been determined by seven factors or fewer.  

If there was ever an ACC rivalry that ought to be a Huge Ten rivalry, that is it. The Panthers may dangle round on this sport, however that’s depending on whether or not Kenny Pickett returns from a left ankle harm. 

With Pitt coming off three consecutive losses, anticipate an anything-goes philosophy from Pat Narduzzi. It ought to be an entertaining sport.  


The Mountain West Convention additionally opens play this week, and Air Drive (1-Zero) is the one workforce that has seen motion this season. The Mid-American Convention begins play Nov. Four.  

These faculties should catch as much as the Group of 5 faculties that stay unbeaten up to now. That listing contains No. 9 Cincinnati (Three-Zero), No. 19 SMU (5-Zero), No. 22 Marshall (Four-Zero), No. 25 Coastal Carolina (Four-Zero) and Florida Atlantic (1-Zero). No. 12 BYU (5-Zero) and Liberty (5-Zero) are the unbeaten independents.  

What number of of these faculties have a reliable probability of going undefeated? That’s the usual simply to get into the New Yr’s Day Six dialog and actually have a voice in what would be the most fascinating School Soccer Playoff debate given the season being performed amid the COVID-19 backdrop.  

We’ll lose at the very least two groups off that listing this week. The Bearcats and Mustangs play in an underrated sport this weekend, and the Thundering Herd meet the Owls in Convention-USA motion.  

Give it some thought …     

Alabama coach Nick Saban improved to 21-Zero towards former Crimson Tide assistants final week in a 41-24 victory towards Georgia and coach Kirby Good. Saban could make it 22-Zero with a victory towards Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt this week, however that is not even probably the most spectacular stat.  

Take into account Alabama’s dominance within the Third Saturday in October since Saban took over.  

Alabama is 13-Zero towards the Volunteers. The typical margin of victory in these video games is 25.Three factors, and solely two of the 13 video games had been determined by fewer than 14 factors. Each of these video games had been at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  

The Crimson Tide roll into Neyland Stadium this weekend, the place they’ve gained the previous six conferences by a median of 28.7 factors. The previous two victories had been by scores of 49-10 in 2016 and 58-21 in 2018.  

It is on Tennessee to make this a rivalry once more, and that will not be any simpler on Saturday.

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