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CFB Week 8 Preview

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky is out of action but there's plenty of college football action elsewhere if you can't pry yourself away from the sport this weekend.

Always with an eye on what it all means for Kentucky, here's our Week 8 CFB Preview.

The biggest games are out west ... It doesn't often happen this way, but the biggest games in college football are happening west of the Mississippi this week.

Huge game in the Pac-12 ... Oregon has rebounded from its opening night debacle against UGA and is 5-1, ranked 10th, playing host to No. 9 UCLA. Chip Kelly has the Bruins 6-0 and these teams are both 3-0 in Pac-12 play. Oregon is a 6.5 point home favorite because the Ducks have really started to hit their stride but this game will be huge for the conference standings in both the north and south. We haven't seen too many top-10 games between Pac-12 teams like this in recent memory, especially not involving USC.

Texas a 6-point favorite at Oklahoma State ... That says quite a bit about how far Sark seems to have brought the Longhorns midway through this season. Texas has won three in a row including a 49-0 win against Oklahoma and then surviving the letdown last week against Iowa State. Oklahoma State would be 6-0 but came up just short, 43-40, in a loss at TCU last week. These are two top conference title contenders in a league where the crown seems to be pretty open so it will be significant either way it goes.

Can TCU keep it rolling? ... The games out west really are significant. No. 8 TCU (6-0, 3-0) plays host to No. 17 Kansas State (5-1, 3-0). The winner of that game would sit atop the conference standings, as both teams are undefeated in Big XII play whereas Texas and Oklahoma State each have one league loss.

How does Alabama respond to its loss at Tennessee? ... Now ranked No. 6, unfamiliar territory for folks in Tuscaloosa, but things aren't so bad for Bama. The Tide is a 21-point favorite against No. 24 Mississippi State, which just lost to Kentucky 27-17 in Lexington last week. This is probably not a prime upset watch opportunity with the Crimson Tide angry and possessing zero margin for error in terms of reaching the College Football Playoff, or maybe even the conference title game.

South Carolina has a big opportunity ... The Gamecocks could create a ton of momentum with a home win against Texas A&M, which is only 3-3 and 1-2 in SEC play. The Aggies are three-point favorites in Columbia but South Carolina is riding a three-game winning streak which includes a win against Kentucky in Lexington when QB Will Levis was out for the Cats.

Huge game for Ole Miss and LSU ... Ole Miss is 7-0 and ranked No. 7 in the country. Are the Rebels really the seventh best team in college football? Maybe, maybe not. LSU, 5-2, is a one-point home favorite against the Rebels in a mid-afternoon game. This would be a real signature win for Brian Kelly, who already has a couple of quality wins in his first year. If Ole Miss were to win and get to 8-0 they would be one of the most interesting teams in the country to watch down the stretch against a very difficult schedule.

Clemson should dispatch No. 14 Syracuse ... It has really been a great run for Dino Babers and the Orange this year, and it can still continue to be a great season... after this week. Beating NC State at home last week was a quality win, but winning in Death Valley would be a very different thing.

Tough one for Cincinnati on the road ... The Bearcats don't lose many games under head coach Luke Fickell but they're only 3-point favorites going on the road to SMU this weekend. Tanner Mordecia has put up solid numbers for SMU, which is just 3-3 on the season to date.