Midweek college football is always, always a thing of beauty. But tonigh's schedule, though light in terms of the number of games, could be one of the most entertaining two-game slates we've had in quite some time.
No, there aren't any Top 25-ranked teams in action that could potentially be staring down a short week and a possible upset -- we'll have to wait until the weekend of Week 9 for that. However, there are som fascinating college football battles taking shape at both the Power 5 and Group of 5 levels, and we'll get to see two of them tonight.
So who is playing college football tonight on Thursday, Oct. 26? Let's break down the mini-schedule that you should definitely be skipping the milquetoast Bucs-Bills NFL matchup for the night to tune into.
College football schedule tonight for Thursday, Oct. 26
- Syracuse Orange at Virginia Tech Hokies - 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Georgia State Panthers at Georgia Southern Eagles - 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Both games will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday night and we have what should be two quite good matchups on deck, though the better one might actually be on ESPN2.
Yes, the ACC programs in Syracuse and Virginia Tech are the bigger brands taking the field tonight, but the two programs have been trending in different directions since conference play began. The Orange were unebeaten in their four non-conference matchups, but have dropped all three ACC games on the schedule. The Hokies, on the other hand, were middling in the non-conference, but now sit as one of just five teams in the ACC with one or fewer losses, putting them in a dark-horse spot to possibly make the conference title game.
In the Sun Belt, though, we have Clay Helton's Eagles hosting rival Georgia State in game between two of the better Group of 5 teams in the country. The conference as a whole is probably the best G5 league in college football this season, and either of these teams could end up winning the East division this season. Winning on Thursday night could go a long way in accomplishing that, too.
ACC Standings entering Week 9
- Florida State Seminoles (5-0, 7-0)
- Louisville Cardinals (3-1, 6-1)
- North Carolina Tar Heels (3-1, 6-1)
- Duke Blue Devils (2-1, 5-2)
- Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1, 3-4)
- Boston College Eagles (2-2, 4-3)
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-2, 3-4)
- Clemson Tigers (2-3, 4-3)
- North Carolina State Wolfpack (1-2, 4-3)
- Miami Hurricanes (1-2, 5-2)
- Virginia Cavaliers (1-2, 2-5)
- Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-3, 4-3)
- Pittsburgh Panthers (1-3, 2-5)
- Syracuse Orange (0-3, 4-3)
Syracuse will obviously be looking for its first ACC win on Thursday night in Blacksburg, but the Hokies are certainly the more interesting case. There hasn't been too much conversation concerning Virginia Tech under Brent Pry this season, but the team has played well enough in the ACC this point to at least look like a potential sleeper to upend the hopes of a Louisville, UNC or Duke as all four teams have just one loss in conference play behind undefeated Florida State.
Sun Belt East Standings entering Week 9
- James Madison Dukes (4-0, 7-0 | Ineligible for Sun Belt Championship)
- Georgia State Panthers (3-1, 6-1)
- Old Dominion Monarchs (3-1, 4-3)
- Georgia Southern Eagles (2-1, 5-2)
- Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (2-2, 4-3)
- Marshall Thundering Herd (1-2, 4-3)
- Appalachian State Mountaineers (1-2, 3-4)
With JMU ineligible for postseason play and, by Sun Belt rules, the conference championship, the Georgia State-Georgia Southern rivalry matchup holds a ton of weight on Thursday night. Particularly with James Madison playing Old Dominion this week, the winner of the Week 9 matchup between the Panthers and Eagles could have the best path then to play for the Sun Belt Championship Game title in early December.