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Week Eight Preview

by Mike Mitchell and Dave Congrove
October 13, 2008

The week began with a bang on Monday when Tommy Bowden stepped down as the head coach at Clemson. Dabo Swinney, Bowden's assistant head coach, was given the interim head coach label for the rest of the season.

Swinney will now have to prepare his team for this Saturday's home game against Georgia Tech with Clemson looking at the possibility of a 1-3 ACC start after being picked in the preseason by the ACC media as the favorites to win the conference title. The Congrove Computer Rankings' preseason forecast projected the Tigers as the 3rd-place team in its' Atlantic division, and the computer gives them a 10.80-point advantage against the Yellow Jackets.

A 52-game schedule begins Thursday night with a huge Mountain West matchup when BYU visits TCU. The Cougars are undefeated overall, 2-0 in the conference, and ranked 6th in the latest CCR Top 120. The Horned Frogs are 6-1 overall (their only loss was at Oklahoma), 3-0 in the MWC, and ranked 20th. The TCU defense has allowed 7 points or less in 5 of its 6 games against FBS schools. BYU has outscored its last four opponents 158-17.

Florida State visits N.C. State in another Thursday night game.

On Friday night, undefeated and 10th-ranked Boise State hosts Hawaii. The Broncos will be looking for revenge against the school that halted their run of five consecutive WAC titles last season. The Warriors have rebounded from a 1-3 start by winning their last two games, including an overtime road victory at Fresno State. Boise State has allowed a touchdown or less in 4 of its 5 games.

On Saturday, top-ranked Texas goes right back into the fire. After toppling Oklahoma this past week, the Longhorns have to fend off 9th-ranked Missouri. The Tigers will be looking to rebound from last week's loss to Oklahoma State and must win this game to jump back into the Big 12 title race and national championship conversation. The problem is that Missouri's 1997 win over Texas was its' first since 1916, and the Tigers haven't won in Austin since 1896. Texas leads the series 5-1 since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996.

No. 7 Oklahoma is in the same boat as Missouri. The Sooners host 16th-ranked Kansas as they look to get back on the right track. But Kansas is 5-1 overall, 2-0 in the Big 12, and sitting atop the north division standings. The teams haven't met since 2005, and the Jayhawks have lost 4 straight to Oklahoma since winning three in-a-row from 1995-1997.

No. 4 Alabama and Ole Miss come off bye weeks to face each other in Tuscaloosa. The computer likes the Tide by almost 20 points, but the Rebs were a 29-point underdog when they won at Florida on September 27.

No. 2 Penn State returns home after two conference road victories to face Michigan. The Nittany Lions have inflated to a 23.49-point computer pick to end their 9-game losing streak to the Wolverines after being favored by 8.20 points in the preseason.

Here's what happening with the other top ten teams:
No. 3 USC visits Washington State
No. 5 Florida is idle
No. 8 Texas Tech visits Texas A&M

Other games to watch include Ohio State at Michigan State, Virginia Tech at Boston College, California at Arizona, Vanderbilt at Georgia, and LSU at South Carolina

The Buckeyes and Spartans enter their match in East Lansing with identical records of 6-1 overall, 3-0 in the Big 10. The only other team with an unblemished conference record is Penn State. Ohio State hosts the Nittany Lions next week, and the Spartans go to Happy Valley in the season finale for both teams on November 22.

Two of the better teams in the ACC go at it this week when Coastal division leader 17th-ranked Virginia Tech visits 23rd-ranked Boston College. The Eagles have won 3 of the last 5 meetings after the Hokies took 8 of the first 10. Everyone remembers Matt Ryan engineering the comeback in Blacksburg last year, but Virginia Tech avenged that loss by beating the Eagles soundly in the ACC Championship. Boston College gets a 5.83-point computer nod this week. The Hokies have lost just one conference road game in their 4-1/2-year history in the ACC, and that came at B.C. in 2006.

Arizona's loss at Stanford last week took some luster off of this week's home game against Cal, but the Golden Bears are the only team in the PAC-10 without a conference loss. Arizona, Oregon State and USC all enter the week with 2-1 conference marks. Stanford and Oregon are each 3-1.

Vanderbilt will once again try to become eligible to go to its' first bowl game since 1982 when it visits 11th-ranked Georgia. Vandy has won twice at Georgia since 1994, but the computer doesn't think that will happen this week as it picks the Dawgs by 20.72. Looking ahead, the Commodores should be a hefty favorite at home against Duke next week, but will likely be the underdog in their last four games.

LSU isn't out of the SEC western division race, either. Even thought the Tigers were chomped at Florida last week, a rebound win over the Gamecocks would improve their record to 5-1 overall, 3-1 in the SEC. After all, LSU is the defending national champion and it got there last year after a two-loss season.

UNBEATEN TEAMS:
Here are the 10 remaining undefeated teams: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, BYU, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, and Utah.

Only Hawaii made it through the 2007 regular season unscathed, and the Warriors were blown out 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It was the first season since 2002 that no team recorded a perfect record.

Boise State was the only team to finish the entire 2006 season undefeated, while Texas did it in 2005. Auburn, USC and Utah all had unblemished records in 2004.

WINLESS TEAMS:
Only 2 teams remain winless - North Texas and Washington.

Last season, FIU beat North Texas in its final regular season game to avoid being the only winless team. FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other).

WINLESS AGIANST FBS:
12 teams have yet to beat a FBS school this season: Idaho, Kent State, Louisiana-Monroe, Miami (Ohio), North Texas, Rutgers, SMU, Syracuse, UAB, Washington, Washington State and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
The divisions were re-named late in 2006. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

There are no games this week matching FBS schools with FCS teams.

FBS teams are 82-2 (.976) against FCS teams this season, and 372-37 (.910) since 2003.

Here are the losses by the FBS so far this season:
Cal Poly 29, San Diego State 27 (Week 1)
New Hampshire 28, Army 10 (Week 2)

This year, 82 different FBS teams will participate in a total of 87 games that will pit the FCS against the FBS. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Western Kentucky each play two such games.

ACC teams have more games versus FCS schools than any other conference. Here is the number of FCS games for each conference:

Conference Teams In Conf. Games vs. FCS Avg. Per Team
ACC 12 14 1.167
Big East 8 7 0.875
Big 12 12 10 0.833
Big 10 11 9 0.818
MWC 9 7 0.778
WAC 9 7 0.778
SEC 12 9 0.750
Independents 3 2 0.667
MAC 13 8 0.615
CUSA 12 7 0.583
Sun Belt 9 5 0.555
PAC-10 10 2 0.200
Totals 120 87 0.725

STREAKS:
BYU owns the nation's longest current winning streak at 16 games. The Cougars have also won 18 consecutive MWC games. BYU visits TCU on Thursday night.

Penn State has won 8 straight games. The Nittany Lions host Michigan.

Texas Tech has won 8 straight games. The Red Raiders visit Texas A&M.

Utah has won 8 straight games. The Utes host Colorado State.

Alabama has won 7 straight games. The Tide hosts Ole Miss.

Boise State has won 46 consecutive regular season home games, and the Broncos have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (29-0). Overall, they have won 35 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season in the Big West. Boise State hosts Hawaii on Friday night.

North Texas and Washington share the nation's longest losing streak at 7 games. The Huskies host Oregon State. The Mean Green visits Louisiana-Monroe.

Idaho has lost 21 straight to FBS schools. The Vandals visit Louisiana Tech.

SMU has dropped 16 straight games to FBS teams. The Mustangs host Houston.

Kent State has dropped 13 straight to FBS teams. The Golden Flashes are idle.

UAB has a 12-game losing streak against FBS schools. The Blazers host Marshall.

NEW COACHES: The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team to a bowl game. This year, there are 18 coaching changes.

Two teams have yet to defeat an FBS school - SMU, and Washington State.

Colorado State, Hawaii, Houston, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas A&M, and Washington State have yet to defeat a team from one of the "big 6" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-10 or SEC).

Coaching Changes For 2008 Season
TEAM RECORD COACH THIS WEEK
Arkansas 3-3 Bobby Petrino 10/18, at Kentucky
Baylor 3-3 Art Briles 10/18, at Oklahoma State
Colorado State 3-3 Steve Fairchild 10/18, at Utah
Duke 3-2 David Cutcliffe 10/18, vs. Miami (Fla.)
Georgia Tech 5-1 Paul Johnson 10/18, at Clemson
Hawaii 3-3 Greg McMackin 10/17, at Boise State
Houston 3-3 Kevin Sumlin 10/18, at SMU
Michigan 2-4 Rich Rodriguez 10/18, at Penn State
Mississippi 3-3 Houston Nutt 10/18, at Alabama
Navy 4-2 Ken Nuimatalolo 10/18, vs. Pitt
Nebraska 3-3 Bo Pelini 10/18, at Iowa State
Northern Illinois 3-3 Jerry Kill 10/18, vs. Toledo
SMU 1-6 June Jones 10/18, vs. Houston
Southern Miss 2-4 Larry Fedora 10/18, at Rice
Texas A&M 2-4 Mike Sherman 10/18, vs. Texas Tech
UCLA 2-4 Rick Neuheisel 10/18, vs. Stanford
Washington State 1-6 Paul Wulff 10/18, vs. USC
West Virginia 4-2 Bill Stewart 10/23, vs. Auburn