College football Week 8 review: what we learned from a crazy weekend

Louisiana Ragin Cajuns take on Coastal Carolina at Cajun Field. Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020.
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Matthew Lowrimore

NCAAF

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Matthew has been with Pickswise for a while now, covering a wide variety of sports. His main passions are college football and UFC, and those are the sports he has covered the most. Matthew uses a variety of methods to handicap games, including stats, trends, injuries, and situational factors. His goal is to consistently give out winners and will put in the research to try and achieve this.

We all knew the 2020 college football season was going to be different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I’m not sure anybody saw it being quite this crazy. We’ve seen some massive upsets, some bizarre finishes, and a whole lot of craziness all around.

The power structure is much more balanced, and every week there’s a feeling of uncertainty. Today we’ll be breaking down a few of the biggest takeaways from this past weekend’s action:

1. Coastal Carolina is not getting enough respect

One of the biggest surprises in college football this season is the rise of Coastal Carolina. This is the same Coastal team that was picked to finish last in the Sun Belt. Where are they now? Well, they are undefeated and ranked 20th in the country. The Chants look like a legit contender in the Sun Belt, yet they still are not getting respect.

They beat Louisiana a few weeks ago to earn their ranking, and then last week all you heard was, “Take the Georgia Southern Eagles to pull the upset.” Not only did Coastal Carolina win the game, but they did so with a backup quarterback and a dominant defensive effort. The betting lines continue to be way off, which just means Vegas has yet to acknowledge that Coastal is a good team. Until the Chanticleers slip up, I would continue to ride their winning streak.

2. The Liberty Flames should be ranked

Liberty is by no means a household name in college football. Most people might only know of them because Hugh Freeze is the head coach. The Flames are an Independent, but they should be a top-25 team. First of all, they are undefeated. That is all you can ask of a program, regardless of their schedule. The Flames beat Syracuse on the road a few weeks ago as well and held the Orange to fewer points than Clemson.

The Flames have the 9th best rushing attack in the country, averaging 255.5 yards on the ground per game. They average 38.0 points per game, and allow just 21.3 points. I am not saying they should be a top-10 team, but there is no question that they should be in the conversation for a ranking. Especially since the Pac-12 have yet to play at all, and there are still teams in the top-25. The Flames have plenty of ACC games coming up, so if they manage to pull another upset, look for them to have a number next to their name.

3. Kansas State is the second-best team in the Big 12

To open the season, the Wildcats lost to Arkansas State, but ever since, they have been perfect. Starting with the upset over Oklahoma, Kansas State has looked like a team that can run through the conference. The Wildcats are averaging 36.2 points per game in their four conference games, but their defense has allowed just 21.0 points. The biggest threat remaining on the schedule is Oklahoma State, but with an improved defense, they could certainly win that game. The most important factor is that they have yet to lose a conference game, so unless they lose two, look for the Wildcats to be in the Big 12 championship.

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