Across the Country – Week 8

Alabama Football

**Note: This was a print-only story**

No. 5 Florida State at No. 3 Clemson (Memorial Stadium – Clemson, S.C., 7 p.m. CT, ABC)

In the past two seasons, this matchup has been between two high-profile teams, and this year will be no different with both teams currently undefeated. But unlike in the previous two games, which were split 1-1, this one holds serious national championship implications. Both teams are two of the more balanced teams in all of college football, ranking in the top 15 in total offense and top 20 in total defense, respectively, but the winner will likely be decided by the man behind center. Both Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd sit near the top in the Heisman race standings.

No. 6 LSU at Ole Miss (Vaught-Hemingway Stadium – Oxford, Miss., 6 p.m. CT, ESPN2)

Three weeks ago, Ole Miss was possibly the hottest commodity in college football. Now three straight losses later, including a near upset against Texas A&M, the Rebels are just looking to stay afloat in the competitive SEC West. Up next comes LSU, which despite its loss to Georgia three weeks ago, finds itself quietly waiting in the wings at No. 6 in the nation. The Rebels must find a way to contain dynamic junior wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, who have combined for 1,407 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns so far this season.

No. 24 Auburn at No. 7 Texas A&M (Kyle Field – College Station, Texas, 2:30 p.m. CT, CBS)

Johnny Manziel has been Johnny Football for all the right reasons as of late. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner came back from an early injury scare to lead the Aggies to a thrilling come-from-behind win late in the fourth quarter at Ole Miss last week. This week, he faces another tough task against an upstart Auburn team, making its first top 25 appearance since 2011. With both teams ranking in the top 30 in total offense, expect a close, high-scoring shootout.

No. 9 UCLA at No. 13 Stanford (Stanford Stadium – Stanford, Calif., 2:30 p.m. CT, ABC/ESPN2)

After receiving a damaging blow to its national championship hopes last week against unranked Utah, the Cardinal must avoid any lingering hangover against a steadily rising UCLA team, led by an emerging star in sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley, to keep its BCS hopes alive. Though Stanford will have its hands full against the Bruins’ high-powered offense, the Cardinal should be aided by playing on its home-field, where it has lost at only twice since 2009.

No. 11 South Carolina at Tennessee (Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, Tenn., 11 a.m. CT, ESPN)

Tennessee is on a 19-game losing streak against ranked opponents, but it gets yet another opportunity to end that mark against South Carolina. The Volunteers came close in the last game they played two weeks, but ultimately fell short in a 34-31 heartbreaker in overtime against Georgia. On the other side, South Carolina may have finally hit its stride this season, following its 52-7 beatdown of Arkansas last week. Though his numbers have disappointed many, the matchup to watch will be Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney against Tennessee’s stout offensive line.

No. 22 Florida at No. 14 Missouri (Faurot Field – Columbia, Mo., 11:21 a.m. CT, SEC TV)

There might not be a more surprising team in the country this year than Missouri, who sit at a perfect 6-0 just one year after being a punch line in the SEC. But while the Tigers have impressed in 2013, they now must rely on the arm of redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk, who is expected to fill in for injured starter James Franklin for the next three-to-five weeks. His first significant snaps as a Tiger will come against the nation’s No. 3-rated defense in Florida.

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