That was some craziness in college football in Week 8. Four Top 10 ranked teams lost. My rankings, like everyone else’s, changed dramatically. One thing that didn’t change? The incredible Alabama Crimson Tide rolled over yet another SEC opponent. This time Alabama throttled the Arkansas Razorbacks 41 to 9.
Alabama remains number one on my Top 20. Penn State is number 2 while TCU climbs all the way to number 3. Check out my 2017 College Football Top 20 Rankings for Week 8!
2017 College Football Top 20 Rankings Week 8
1. Alabama Crimson Tide 7-0
Coach Nick Saban has the Tide playing as if every game were for the National Championship. Alabama beat Vanderbilt 59 to 0. They dominated Ole Miss 66 to 3. They had a tough game versus Texas A&M, only beating the Aggies by 8 points 27 to 19. No worries. After Saban got into his players, the Tide responded with a sweet 41 to 9 win over Arkansas in Week 7.
2. Penn State 6-0
Penn State took Week 7 off. That’s a good thing for the Nittany Lions. They battle Michigan in Week 8. Then, they’re on the road versus Ohio State and Michigan State back-to-back. Most handicappers believe in the Nittany Lions. Penn State is a big -11.5 favorite at home to dominate the Wolverines.
3. TCU 6-0
I like TCU slightly better than Georgia because TCU has that signature win over Oklahoma State already on the resume. The Horned Frogs 26 to 6 workmanlike victory over Kansas State wasn’t anything spectacular. It did show that TCU can beat a rival Big 12 team on the road. It also showed that if given the choice, the Horned Frogs would much rather prefer to beat opponents with their defense then outscoring opponents in shootouts.
4. Georgia 7-0
Georgia was supposed to dominate Missouri. They didn’t. Not exactly. As a 28.5 spread favorite, the Bulldogs could only beat Mizzou 53 to 28. Domination? Sure. Impressive? Not really. Georgia faces Florida on Oct. 28. That could be a sneaky tough game for the undefeated Bulldogs.
5. Wisconsin 6-0
The Badgers played way worse than I thought they would when only beating Purdue 17 to 9 in Week 7. Wisconsin is undefeated. They’ve been decent against the spread (for the most part!) this season. But, the Badgers were favored by 17 over Purdue. It just wasn’t as strong of a win as I thought it would be.
6. Miami 5-0
Heck, Miami needed a last second field goal to take down Georgia Tech 25 to 24. The Hurricanes didn’t play well at all. Then again, the Canes faced one of the better offensive teams in the ACC. Georgia Tech is 3 and 2 on the season with the loss. What’s more impressive? The Yellow Jackets are 5 and 0 ATS. I don’t believe the Canes escaped with a win. I believe they earned the win.
7. Ohio State 6-1
Okay. Now, I can start to believe in the Ohio State Buckeyes. I wasn’t sure that Ohio State would right their sinking ship. Man, have they ever! Ohio State has scored 50 points or more in 4 straight games. Their Week 7 win over Nebraska, a 56 to 14 blasting, was the most impressive. Nebraska usually plays much tougher at home than they do on the road. The Buckeyes trounced them. Ohio State gets Week 8 off before taking on Penn State on Oct. 28.
8. Oklahoma 5-1
I thought the Sooners might lose straight up to Texas. The fact they beat the Longhorns in the annual Red River Rivalry proves that Oklahoma is okay after the upset loss to Iowa State. The Sooners play enough ranked teams Oklahoma State, TCU, and West Virginia, to get back into the College Football Playoff discussion.
9. Clemson 6-1
The Tigers bombed against Syracuse last Friday night. No, seriously. If you haven’t heard the news already, the second ranked team in the nation lost straight up to a team in a game where they were 24 point favorites. Clemson lost to Pittsburgh last season. They managed to parlay that into a National Championship. The problem with this season is that neither Louisville nor Florida State figure to make it to a New Year’s Day Bowl Game. Also, so what if Clemson beats Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship? They already dominated VA Tech.
10. USC 6-1
USC could climb further into the Top 10 with a big road win over Notre Dame in Week 8. The Trojans spotted Utah 21 points in Week 7. USC beat Utah 28 to 27. The Trojans must make a statement this Saturday on the road against the mighty Irish to have any hopes of climbing back into the CFP discussion.
11. Notre Dame 5-1
I get it. Notre Dame is an Independent football team. The Irish don’t belong to any conference. Why should they be considered a challenger for one of the Top 4 CFP spots? I’ll tell you why. Notre Dame has the best loss of any of the one loss teams on this list. The Irish lost 19 to 20 to Georgia. If Notre Dame beats USC convincingly in Week 8, I don’t see how they don’t jump into the Top 10 on both the AP and Coaches Poll.
12. Washington 6-1
College Football Playoff teams don’t lose to opponents like Arizona State. Washington let a huge chance of jumping into the Top 4 slip from their grasps with the loss. What’s so amazing is that ASU’s defense, which allowed New Mexico State to score 31 points, held the Huskies to only 7 points. It should be tough for the Huskies to get anywhere close to the CFP after that loss.
13. NC State 6-1
If NC State hadn’t lost 28 to 35 to South Carolina in Week 1, they’d be undefeated. NC State could end up the team from the ACC that challenges for a spot in the CFP. The Wolfpack battles Notre Dame on Oct. 28. A week later, they take on Clemson.
14. Oklahoma State Cowboys 5-1
The Cowboys roughed up Baylor 59 to 16 on October 14. The loss to TCU notwithstanding, the Cowboys have been the better Oklahoma team this season than the Sooners. TCU is undefeated and in the top 4 in every major poll. Oklahoma lost to Iowa State. It’s still tough for me to move the Cowboys any higher than 14 on my rankings because beating Baylor is what Oklahoma State should do.
15. UCF 5-0
Central Florida is a good football team. The Knights should be turning some heads after their sprawling 63 to 21 win over Eastern Carolina as a -35 favorite. It could have been much, much worse for ECU. The Knights won’t get any CFP love. I don’t know. Maybe, they should. UCF averages over 50 points a game. They hold their opponents to under 17 points a game. They’re also 5 and 0 against the spread as well as being 5 and 0 straight up.
16. South Florida 6-0
The Bulls’ defense finally came together in Week 7. South Florida held Cincinnati to only 3 points in a 33 to 3 win. The only way for South Florida to turn heads is for their defense to step it up. Everyone knows how good their offense is.
17. Washington State 6-1
Oh, man. It’s the way Washington State lost that has sent them careening down my rankings. Cal dominated Washington State 37 to 3. Washington State’s offense could only score a field goal against the Bears’ defense. The Cougars’ defense could do nothing to stop Cal’s offense. It was as embarrassing as it gets
18. Virginia Tech 5-1
Virginia Tech is ranked 14th in both the AP and Coaches polls. I didn’t see a reason to send Virginia Tech down my rankings. First, they didn’t play any team of note. Second, the team that they lost to, Clemson, dropped a game to Syracuse. Maybe, if Clemson had won and covered, I might have moved Virginia Tech to a better ranking. Clemson didn’t.
19. LSU 5-2
I thought LSU might upset Auburn. I didn’t know that LSU would upset Auburn. That’s what LSU did. Louisiana State is now ranked 24th in the AP Poll. It’s amazing because a few short weeks ago, LSU had lost straight up to Troy. I suppose that’s what happens when you beat Florida in The Swamp and then take down a Top 15 ranked Auburn team 27 to 23 at home as a +6.5 dog.
20. Michigan State 5-1
I debated on putting Michigan or Michigan State into my Top 20 for College Football Week 8. I decided to go with Sparty. Michigan State’s lone loss on the season was to Notre Dame. They barely got by Indiana in Week 7. Michigan State pushed against Minnesota in a 30 to 27 win as a -3 favorite. I’ll make Sparty my 20th team for Week 8.