After a ton of upsets last week, Week 8 of college football was a return to a more steady balance. We still had some shockers like Notre Dame destroying USC, but otherwise, a series of non-competitive games and BYE weeks meant that there were very few shakeups in this week’s Top 25.
Let’s take a look.
1. Alabama — SEC, 8-0
LW: 1 — Result: W, 45-7 vs. Tennessee
Honestly the only surprise here might be that Alabama gave up points at all. Of course, it was an Alabama offensive miscue that turned into a pick-6, so Tennessee still didn’t actually score a touchdown on offense. Tennessee’s offense now hasn’t scored a touchdown in a full month.
2. Penn State — Big Ten, 7-0
LW: 2 — Result: W, 42-13 vs. Michigan
There had been some talk that maybe Penn State was a bit overrated considering their competition up to this point. It was a little unfair, but regardless, this just put that argument in the books.
3. Georgia – SEC, 7-0
LW: 3 — Result: BYE
Georgia had this week off. They get Florida next week in Jacksonville.
4. TCU — Big 12, 7-0
LW: 4 — Result: W, 43-0 vs. Kansas
TCU had a weird primetime spot on FOX for this game against Kansas, and they didn’t suffer any bit of a letdown.
The best way to some up this game is this: TCU had more first downs (22) than Kansas had total yards of offense (21). That’s not generally something you see any more, even when your powerhouse teams are taking on FCS schools.
5. Wisconsin — Big Ten, 7-0
LW: 5 — Result: W, 38-13 vs. Maryland
Things looked promising for the Terps at the start of the year when they beat Texas, but after losing their top two quarterbacks (AGAIN!) this season, things have been awful again.
This wasn’t a great performance from Wisconsin, as their offense actually looked very mediocre at points in this game, but they eventually got the job done thanks to the non-competitive Maryland offense.
6. Clemson — ACC, 6-1
LW: 6 — Result: BYE
Clemson had a desperately needed week off in Week 8. That week of rest and getting healthy comes at a great time, as they have to deal with Georgia Tech’s option attack on Saturday.
7. Ohio State — Big Ten, 6-1
LW: 8 — Result: BYE
Ohio State had off this week. They get Penn State in a clash of the Big Ten titans next week.
8. Notre Dame — ACC adjacent, 6-1
LW: 17 — Result: W, 49-14 vs. USC
So if you have any “4-8” jokes to get off, you might need to use them up in a hurry.
Notre Dame looked incredible against USC on Saturday night, as a myriad of Trojan errors allowed the Fighting Irish to jump out to a 28-0 lead at halftime. At this point, Notre Dame’s only loss was a 1-point defeat to Georgia, so be prepared for the Notre Dame-to-the-Playoffs machine to start revving up.
9. Miami — ACC, 6-0
LW: 10 — Result: W, 27-19 vs. Syracuse
Miami keeps getting wins, and that’s always a good things, but the Hurricanes are giving off a vibe much like USC was earlier in the season. To be fair, the close wins over Georgia Tech and Syracuse are wins over quality teams, but USC was doing the same things for several weeks before their eventual first loss Washington State.
The good news for Miami is that they should have an easy win next week against an ailing 1-7 UNC squad. Any problems there would really be concerning, even with an undefeated record.
10. Oklahoma State — Big 12, 6-1
LW: 7 — Result: W, 13-10 at Texas
Well this was probably closer that the Pokes would have wanted…
Oklahoma State will have some battles down the road as they deal with some injuries to their offensive line, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. As for now, they did get a tough win in Austin, partially thanks to Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger throwing an absolutely atrocious interception to close the game in overtime.
11. Oklahoma — Big 12, 6-1
LW: 11 — Result: W, 42-35 at Kansas State
If you aren’t watching some Big 12 football every week, you are really missing out on some exciting games.
Oklahoma came back down from 21-10 at halftime to win in a thriller thanks to performances from Baker Mayfield and Rodney Anderson. Anderson’s performance was particularly noteworthy, as the running back turned a potentially disastrous play with barely any time left on the clock into the game-winning 22-yard touchdown.
12. Virginia Tech — ACC, 6-1
LW: 13 — Result: W, 59-7 vs. North Carolina
It’s not exactly Beamer Ball, but Bud Foster is still showing his prowess as a defensive coach as the coordinator for the Hokies. VT scored three non-offensive touchdowns in the first half in what was just an absolute laugher of a game out of the ACC Coastal.
North Carolina has been decimated by injuries this season, but this is just downright bad at this point.
13. Washington — Pac-12, 6-1
LW: 14 — Result: BYE
Really needed a BYE after a 13-7 loss at Arizona State last week. They have UCLA next.
14. Washington State — Pac-12, 7-1
LW: 15 — Result: W, 28-0 vs. Colorado
After losing by what I believe was a bazillion last week, Washington State was able to turn around and beat Colorado 28-0 in what was an awful, rainy game.
The weather had some effect on him, but man, quarterback Luke Falk also still didn’t look all the way there after taking a beating last week against Cal. Hopefully he’s able to get more rest, as Washington State faces a very hot Arizona team next week on the road.
15. Auburn — SEC, 6-2
LW: 18 — Result: W, 52-20 at Arkansas
Arkansas is a bit of a disaster right now thanks to injuries, but regardless, this was the kind of win Auburn really needed. The game was close early thanks to some Auburn miscues, but the Tigers got those out of their system by scoring four touchdowns in the third quarter.
16. South Florida — AAC, 7-0
LW: 16 — Result: W, 34-28 at Tulane
South Florida has had some impressive wins recently. This was not really one of them, as Tulane nearly came back to give Charlie Strong’s team a real scare at the end.
The positive for South Florida is that they set a modern record for the most consecutive games (24) scoring 30 or more points. That will probably continue next Saturday when they face Houston, who is currently allowing over 400 yards a game this season.
17. Central Florida — AAC, 6-0
LW: 20 — Result: W, 31-21 at Navy
It’s a good year to be directional Florida.
After several weeks of just smacking teams around, UCF finally got a taste of some real competition by playing at Navy on Saturday. Fun game, with UCF only sealing the deal in the final minutes with a touchdown that extended the lead to 10.
18. N.C. State — ACC, 6-1
LW: 19 — Result: BYE
Another team on a BYE. Hopefully the Wolfpack used it wisely, because they play in South Bend next week.
19. Stanford — Pac-12, 5-2
LW: 21 — Result: BYE
Seriously another BYE here. Stanford plays next on Thursday night at Oregon State.
20. Michigan State — Big Ten, 6-1
LW: 22– Result: W, 17-9 vs. Indiana
Not a pretty win by any circumstance. Michigan State was actually losing for most of the game, but they did score two fourth quarter touchdowns to eek out the victory.
Michigan State plays at Northwestern next week before a murderer’s row of games against Penn State and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks.
21. West Virginia — Big 12, 5-2
LW: 23 — Result: W, 38-36 at Baylor
If you turned this game off early, you might be thinking that the final score there is a typo. It’s not.
West Virginia had a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter before Baylor nearly completed what would have been one of the greatest comebacks in college football history. Baylor scored a touchdown after an incredible 16-play drive with a chance to tie the game, but West Virginia finally woke back up and scored a sack on the two-point conversion to get the win.
22. USC — Pac-12, 6-2
LW: 9 — Result: L, 14-49 at Notre Dame
Maybe this is a bit of a harsh drop after where I had USC last week, but goodness, this has not looked like the same team that whooped Stanford earlier in the year.
Obviously errors like the botched punt allowed Notre Dame to take that big lead in the first half, but this isn’t even about that any more. The offensive line is starting to become a bit of a problem for USC, as quarterback Sam Darnold has less and less to work with every week it seems.
23. Texas A&M — SEC, 5-2
LW: 25 — Result: BYE
BYE week here. They get Mississippi State at home next week for a chance to become bowl eligible.
24. Michigan — Big Ten, 5-2
LW: 12 — Result: L, 13-42 at Penn State
Well this was fun for the first half…
The offense looked fine at the start of the year with Wilton Speight out there, but ever since Speight’s injury, things just haven’t been the same. Obviously giving up 42 isn’t great, but there’s a certain point where you just can’t keep giving the ball back to Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley and expect the defense to hold.
25. LSU — SEC, 6-2
LW: NR — Result: W, 40-24 at Ole Miss
So who reading this is old enough to remember when Ed Orgeron was on the hot seat?
Oh yeah, that was like two weeks ago…
Running back Derrius Guice finally appears to be back to full health, as his 276-yard rushing performance was his third career game with at least 250 rushing yards. No one in LSU history — not even Leonard Fournette — has pulled that one off.
As long as Guice as healthy, LSU is still capable of dealing a lot of damage in the SEC West.
DROPPED FROM THE RANKINGS: San Diego State (24)