[Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images]
We’re in week 8 of the NCAA Football season and contenders for the national title picture are beginning to separate themselves. Last week saw the Stanford Cardinal go down to the Utes in Salt Lake City and severely dash their BCS Championship game aspirations. Georgia also saw its chances of a potential national title and BCS bowl take a hit with a home loss to a much improved Missouri team. Oregon continues to shine with one of the most impressive wins of the season over a then ranked #16 Washington. Heisman leading candidate Marcus Mariota is a big reason for the Ducks success as he has still yet to throw a pick on the season. The SEC is still king of the mountain in college football however with the last seven national titles and currently having eight teams ranked in the AP Top 25.
1. Georgia vs Vanderbilt
With no wins in the SEC, the Vanderbilt Commodores have performed far below expectations. Despite that, Vandy is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and WR Jordan Matthews is an game breaker who can change the course of any game. This will be Vanderbilt’s opportunity to move in and steal a conference win from a Georgia team that is still reeling after losing last week against Mizzou and who lost star running back Kendall Marshall the week prior at Tennessee.
2. LSU vs. Ole Miss
Yes, another SEC matchup because the conference is just that strong. While we don’t expect Ole Miss to pull off the upset by a long shot, LSU cannot afford to slip up in their quest to take the SEC East. Ole Miss and their stable of young talent proved last week they can play with anyone on their home turf as they nearly stole one late from Johnny Football and the Aggies.
3. Auburn vs Texas A&M
Love him or hate him, any game with Johnny Football makes it that much more exciting. Gus Malzahn has returned to The Plains and has the Auburn program in the best shape it has been in since their BCS title in 2010. The Aggies however have one of the biggest home crowd advantages in college football and the 12th man will definitely play a role in their attempt to keep pace in the national title race.
4. Florida St vs Clemson
ESPN College GameDay will head back to Clemson this week for this exciting Top 5 match-up. Clemson escaped last week at Boston College to remain unbeaten and avoid the mind boggling loss that have plagued them in previous years. FSU star QB Jameis Winston is playing at an exceptional level completing over 73% of his passes and gaining Heisman consideration in the process. The winner of this game will take a giant step in their quest to make it to Pasadena for this years BCS Championship game.
5. UCLA vs Stanford
The character of the Cardinal and QB Kevin Hogan will be tested this week as they return home to The Farm to take on the #9 ranked Bruins. With only a week to correct the errors and miscues that plagued them against Utah, a loss here would eliminate the Cardinal from BCS Championship consideration. Last year Stanford beat the Bruins in consecutive weeks and the players at UCLA are anxious to avenge those losses.