USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg breaks down the latest Amway Coaches Poll.


The Big Ten and Mountain West are joining college football party this week. And while they’re both fashionably late – but not as late as the MAC or Pac-12 – their arrival means the volume of games increases and story lines get more intriguing.

Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin are all harboring thoughts of reaching the College Football Playoff. They’ll be looking to get their season’s off on the right foot. As other leagues have shown, there should be some bumps in the road with an unprecedented preparation for the season and the lack of non-conference matchups allowing a smooth segue into conference play. 

For those almost at the midpoints of their season, there’s still games with conference championship an playoff implications on the line, meaning there’s something for everyone in Week 8.

Here are the five biggest questions for Saturday:

What would be a positive for Michigan?

A win, first of all, for the No. 17 Wolverines against No. 21 Minnesota. But there are certain markers beyond the final score that might suggest that Michigan is capable of winning the Big Ten title. One would be the play of new quarterback Joe Milton, who oozes talent but has made 11 pass attempts across his first two seasons. Another is how the secondary fares against a Minnesota passing game that finished second in the conference last season in efficiency. The Wolverines closed last season allowing a combined seven touchdowns on 12.3 yards per attempt in losses to Ohio State and Alabama. Saturday’s prime-time matchup against a trendy program would show progress and set up Michigan as a contender in the East division.

Michigan running back Zach Charbonnet carries the ball during his team’s 2019 game against Michigan State at Michigan Stadium. (Photo: Rick Osentoski, USA TODAY Sports)

Is this the Big 12 game of the year?

It’s hard to conceive that the conference won by Oklahoma for the past five seasons will have its showcase game without the Sooners. That’s what Saturday’s clash between No. 6 Oklahoma State and No. 18 Iowa State in Stillwater looks like. The Cowboys and Cyclones are two of three teams – along with Kansas State – unbeaten in Big 12 play. Oklahoma already has losses to the latter two, putting it on the outside of the race. OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders is healthy after being injured in the first quarter of the season opener. True freshman Shane Illingworth has filled in admirably. Both could play. Iowa State’s tandem of quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall will carry the team’s hopes of road upset that puts them in the driver’s seat for a spot in the conference championship game. Should be a fun shootout with plenty of drama.

FOUR QUESTIONS: Big Ten concerns ahead of its unprecedented season

BOWL PROJECTIONS: Oregon jumpst Georgia into College Football Playoff

Will the real North Carolina stand up?

The Tar