Here are 10 things I'm buzzing about at the outset of Week 8:
1. Missouri hasn't won in Austin since Grover Cleveland was in office. We're talking 1896, people. (Granted, the Tigers have only played seven games at Texas since then, but you know journos don't care about details ...) Can the Tigers end a 112-year drought in what looks to be another high-flying Big 12 shootout? Heisman candidates Colt McCoy and Chase Daniel will both rack up gaudy passing numbers in this one; Texas and Missouri rank 109th and 113th, respectively, in pass defense. Mizzou wins in a classic and Daniel leapfrogs McCoy in the Heisman race.
2. Who wants to see a couple guys on the verge of becoming multi-multi-multi millionaires? Flip to CBS at 3:30 for a showcase of (arguably) the nation's two best left tackles, Alabama's Andre Smith and Mississippi's Michael Oher. Six months from the '09 NFL draft, these two are rapidly approaching some major economic relief. Recession or not, LTs of this caliber tend to live pretty comfortably. Ask Jake Long.
3. Javon Ringer entered last year's Ohio State game averaging 133.1 yards per contest, but the victorious Buckeyes held him to just 49 yards on 18 carries. This year he comes in at 158.9. Sparty needs a Ringer humdinger to capture a seventh straight win for the first time since 1978, but I like how Ohio State's blue-collar D matches up against the straight-ahead runner.
4. Oklahoma-Kansas may be over within the first 15 minutes. The Sooners have outscored opponents 110-6 in the first quarter. On the flip side, the Jayhawks haven't scored a single first-quarter point in over a month. So make sure to tune in early ...
5. I still can't get used to the fact that Steve Spurrier's squad is defined by a spectacular defense, but that's certainly the case with South Carolina. The Gamecocks rank third in total defense, and this stout unit gives them a chance against defending national champion LSU. But S.C.'s mistake-prone offense, which has the third-most turnovers in America (20), has to stop leaving its talented D out to dry.
6. There are 106 players on Penn State's roster, and not a single one has beaten Michigan. In fact, no Nittany Lion in recent history has tasted victory over the Wolverines -- UM has won nine straight. So anyone who thinks Penn State could get caught looking ahead to next week's game at Ohio State should probably think again. JoePa wants blood.
7. Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno really broke out against Vanderbilt last season, starting a streak of five consecutive 100-yard games with 157 yards against the 'Dores. Will he run circles around Vandy once again? In three nonconference games, Moreno averaged 7.7 yards per carry. But in three SEC games, that lofty number has been sliced in half (3.8).
8. Brandon Tate's season-ending injury was an enormous blow to the Tar Heels, in particular fellow receiver Hakeem Nicks. Tate's dynamic playmaking ability demanded defensive attention on every play, allowing Nicks to quietly lead the ACC with 92.2 receiving yards per game. UNC takes on an erratic Virginia team today. How will Nicks perform now that he's the opponent's No. 1 concern?
9. Tyrod Taylor's nickname, T-Mobile, couldn't be more fitting. Virginia Tech's sophomore signal-caller can definitely beat you with his legs -- as evidenced by this third-and-31 conversion against Florida State last season -- but his passing aptitude ... well ... doesn't deserve mention. Taylor made strides in his past two games, though, completing 19 of 30 passes for 296 yards. It will be very interesting to see how he fares tonight against a stout Boston College pass defense.
10. Tennessee-Mississippi State -- two completely inept offenses, two stubborn defenses, one ugly showdown in Neyland Stadium. First team to double digits wins! VegasInsider.com has the over/under set at a meager 38 points. And that seems generous to this writer.