Week 7 of the 2023 college football season took a trip out West as the Pac-12 took center stage.

Washington and Oregon put on an absolute classic in Seattle as the Huskies put themselves in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 conference. All eyes were also on reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams as the USC Trojans got blasted by Notre Dame in South Bend.

Week 8 of the season brings with it a trip back to the East Coast, at least for the majority of the day.


The Big Ten, SEC and ACC all have top-25 matchups before the eyes of the college football world turn to Los Angeles as the Trojans try and keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive.

Let’s take a look at a few games to be aware of in Week 8.

No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Penn State – Noon ET

The Big Ten finally has a big-time conference matchup.

Neither the Buckeyes nor the Nittany Lions have faced a Big Ten team ranked in the top 20 this season, but that changes in a big way Saturday afternoon at The Horseshoe.

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is hoping the home crowd with play a role in the game.

“In particular, their offense,” Day said, per the Dayton Daily News. “You know, when we’re really loud in the stadium anytime that their offense has the ball, it makes it very difficult to operate. The communication, the snap count, you know, all of those things. And so the louder we can be – it doesn’t matter whether it’s third down, red zone, short yardage – you know, if they’re operating and they’re on the field, the louder we can be, the more hostile that we can be, advantage Buckeyes.”

Penn State head coach James Franklin is looking for a monster win – Franklin is 0-9 against top-10 opponents on the road as head coach of the Nittany Lions. Franklin is 1-8 against Ohio State and has lost six games in a row.

“Everybody on the outside is talking,” Franklin said Tuesday, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “We’re approaching it the same way we do every single week. This is a really important game. Why? Because of the way we’ve handled the previous six.”


Both teams enter Saturday’s matchup with phenomenal defenses – Penn State is first in the country in yards allowed (193.7 per game) while Ohio State is seventh in the nation (263.5 yards per game).

The offenses also lead the Big Ten, with Ohio State averaging 443 yards and 36 points per game while the Nittany Lions are putting up 44.3 points and 426.7 yards per game. 

Health will be a big question mark for Ohio State on the offensive side of the football after running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams missed the Week 7 game against Purdue along with wide receiver Emeka Egbuka.

“I’m not going to get into all those guys, but [I’m] hopeful that we’ll have all those guys back for Saturday,” Day said.

No. 11 Alabama vs. No. 17 Tennessee – 3:30 p.m. ET

It’s going to be nearly impossible for these two teams to put on an encore performance after last year’s thriller in Knoxville, but when Tennessee and Alabama get together, it’s always must-watch television.

Tennessee snapped a 15-game losing streak to Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide last October in what went down as the game of the year in college football at Neyland Stadium.

Both teams enter Saturday’s matchup with different quarterbacks and one loss apiece in the 106th matchup between the two border rivals. 

“It’s one of the best rivalries in college football,” Saban said.


Unlike last year when both offenses were the focus, the defenses of Tennessee and Alabama will get the attention.

Alabama and Tennessee are third and fourth, respectively, in the SEC in yards allowed per game, with both defenses giving up less than 20 points per game.

Tennessee’s defense gets after the quarterback – 24 sacks in six games – while Alabama’s offensive line has allowed 31 sacks on the year (126th in the country).

“To the first part of your question, I would say, ‘Hell yeah,’” Saban said this week when asked if the amount of sacks Alabama has allowed this season was concerning.

Tennessee’s offense is averaging 231.3 yards per game on the ground – best in the SEC and sixth nationally – while the Alabama defense is allowing 105.3 rushing yards per game.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe played well last week against Arkansas, throwing for two scores and running for another as the Crimson Tide remained the only undefeated team in the SEC West.

Tennessee last won at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2003.

No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 16 Duke – 7:30 p.m. ET

The Seminoles continue to win with a schedule that looks manageable the rest of the way.

If Florida State is able to get by the Blue Devils.

The status of Duke quarterback Riley Leonard is up in the air as head coach Mike Elko said his star QB is “day-to-day” after suffering an ankle injury against Notre Dame in Week 5. 

Leonard missed last week’s game against NC State as Henry Belin IV filled in for a 24-3 win.

The Duke defense, 16th in the country in yards allowed per game (298.5), will face Heisman-hopeful quarterback Jordan Travis.

“You look at the standard of good defenses. This is one that you would point to,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said, according to ESPN. “All 11 guys on their defense tackle, they can run, cover. They’re disruptive in the schemes that they present – got really good pressure packages that challenge offenses. You can see the confidence in how they play. These are the games you love being a part of. It’s going to be some fun X’s and O’s to see who can try to create any type of advantage.”

Travis is tied for the fourth-best Heisman odds after seven weeks, according to Caesars Sportsbook. 

“And then you have Jordan Travis,” Caesars Sportsbook college football lead Joey Feazel told Fox News Digital. “Florida State is slowly just grinding toward that College Football Playoff, kind of being the dominant force in the ACC. So, he’s going to be in the mix as well.”

Florida State’s offense is seventh in the country, scoring 42.2 points per game.

No. 18 USC vs. No. 14 Utah – 8 p.m. ET

It’s do-or-die time for the USC Trojans who have no margin for error after getting smoked by Notre Dame in Week 7.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams had his worst game of the season in primetime, throwing three interceptions as USC lost by 28 points.

Despite the loss, USC has a ton to play for as they are still undefeated in conference play with a gauntlet of a schedule ahead of them.

The remaining schedule won’t mean much as far as the College Football Playoff if the Trojans are unable to get by the top defense in the Pac-12.


The Utes defeated USC twice last season, including in the Pac-12 Championship Game where Utah ended the Trojans’ CFP hopes.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham’s team is playing stellar defense – allowing just 277.8 yards per game, best in the Pac-12 – but it also has a struggling offense without quarterback Cam Rising.

The Utes are dead last in the conference in total yards (322.2) and passing yards (149.5) per game. The defense will need to significantly slow down an explosive USC offense to keep things close.

USC is second in the country in points (47.3) and averaging 491.7 yards per game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.