The early season has come and gone, a lot of surprises have been made this year in college football. This week featured some upsets and tight battles between top teams that will shape the rest of the season. The winners are ranked here from Week 8’s College Football Power Rankings.,
College football power rankings after Week 8. The top 25 is included in this article. Read more in detail here: college football power rankings week 2.
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The Week 8 college schedule was underwhelming, but given how the year has gone, the mediocre schedule did nothing to mitigate the season’s uncertainty.
Both Cincinnati and Oklahoma, both unbeaten and with realistic College Football Playoff hopes, were pushed by large underdogs but came out on top to keep their perfect season hopes alive. Other clubs were not as fortunate as the heavy favorites.
Penn State was upset by Illinois in nine overtimes — yes, nine — in Happy Valley, while previously undefeated Oklahoma State was upset by Iowa State in Ames, upsetting this week’s top 10.
Meanwhile, Michigan continued to win as it prepares for a matchup with rival Michigan State next week. After early-season setbacks, Alabama and Ohio State have continued to comeback in remarkable manner, and the ACC power balance has officially flipped.
Isn’t that a lot for a “boring” week?
Now that the action has over, it’s time to look at the Power Rankings for this week.
The top-ranked Bulldogs used their bye week to focus on getting healthy ahead of their last push for a College Football Playoff berth. Coach Kirby Smart said quarterback JT Daniels has been throwing more in practice, but he hasn’t decided whether Stetson Bennett III or Daniels will start against Florida on Saturday. Bennett has started the previous three games in place of Daniels and has led the Bulldogs to victory over three ranked opponents. Running back Kendall Milton is anticipated to lose time due to a knee ailment, and Kenny McIntosh has been plagued by a hamstring problem, so tailback depth might be an issue as the season progresses. Schlabach, Mark
This isn’t your grandfather’s Alabama defense, and there was a point Saturday night when the Crimson Tide seemed to be closing in on them. However, an interception and 47-yard return by redshirt freshman Jalyn Armour-Davis transformed the game’s complexion and ignited a 28-point fourth quarter, culminating to Alabama’s 52-24 triumph against Tennessee. The Crimson Tide gave up 346 yards but gained 574 yards on offense, with quarterback Bryce Young completing 371 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns. Young has thrown for 719 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions in his previous two games. Chris Low (c)
The Bearcats offense woke up just long enough and scored just enough to stave off an upset-minded Navy team, but they went three-and-out four times and gained just 271 yards (5.3 per play) against a Midshipmen defense that had allowed 370 yards per game and 6.1 per play. Desmond Ridder completed 18 of 30 passes for 176 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. The Bearcats were up 27-10 and cruising until they let up 10 late scores and an onside kick recovery, giving Navy, a 27-point underdog, a chance to tie or win before Arquon Bush’s interception clinched the victory. The Bearcats survived and progressed despite having their least outstanding performance of the season. Then it’s on to Tulane. Bill Connelly’s quote
The Buckeyes dominated Indiana in the first half, scoring 44 points. The offense has now scored 35 points or more in the first half of four consecutive games, tying for the longest stretch in a season in the previous 15 years. C.J. Stroud, the quarterback, has found his stride and threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns, while TreVeyon Henderson, the running back, added two touchdowns of his own. The Buckeyes have been on a roll over the last several games, and they are playing as good as they have all season. Tom VanHaaren (Tom VanHaaren)
Looking forward to their game against Michigan State, the Wolverines averted any possibility of a loss by defeating Northwestern 33-7. With the exception of a few fumbles, Michigan had a rather uneventful game, finishing with 294 running yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Northwestern was kept to 233 total yards of offense by the defense, which also had a fumble recovery and an interception, as well as a blocked punt on special teams. Michigan improves to 7-0 as it prepares to face the Spartans in East Lansing on Saturday. Tom VanHaaren (Tom VanHaaren)
MSU, which is 7-0 but has only won two of its last four games, took advantage of the open week (Nebraska, Indiana). Mel Tucker’s squad will try to drive the ball downfield against a Michigan defense that hasn’t seen many good passing attacks this season. The Spartans are third in the Big Ten with 9.2 yards per attempt. Jayden Reed, Jalen Nailor, and Tre Mosley, the team’s top receivers, all average more than 15 yards per catch. Payton Thorne, who completed a season-low 53.8 percent of his passes against Indiana and had his first multi-interception game, could benefit from the additional week. Adam Rittenberg’s remark
How awful was the Sooners’ first-half performance when they were down 10-0 against Kansas? On their opening drive of the second half, the Oklahoma offense gained almost as many yards (75) as they had in the first 30 minutes (78), and had one more first down (five to four). In the second half, the Sooners piled up 35 points and 320 yards to break away. The Sooners, on the other hand, are irritated by their sluggish starts and defensive troubles. (Kansas hung in there till the end.) No question, winning 16 games in a row is a remarkable achievement, especially considering the amount of rated teams who have lost this season. The Sooners, on the other hand, have been operating on razor-thin margins. Dave Wilson is an author.
The Ducks look to be developing a practice of playing down to their opponents until they can no longer afford it. It occurred again in the Rose Bowl on Saturday. UCLA had a picture-perfect first quarter, jumping up 14-0 and making Oregon’s defense seem like it was made of Swiss cheese. However, Oregon replied with a 34-3 scoring run over the following two quarters, highlighted by Anthony Brown’s 43-yard touchdown run that seemed to put the game away. Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was forced to defeat the Ducks with his arm rather than his feet by Oregon’s defense, and he came close in the fourth quarter. Two touchdown drives were led by Thompson-Robinson, while Brown was intercepted twice by the Bruins defense. The comeback, however, was cut short at midway when Thompson-Robinson was forced to leave the game due to an unexplained injury. Paolo Uggetti (Paolo Uggetti)
So it’s possible that LSU coach Ed Orgeron was correct. When Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin indicated quarterback Matt Corral was banged up and wasn’t sure if he’d play, it’s possible he was throwing him a smoke screen. When Corral went through warm-ups and began running and throwing against the LSU defense, he seemed to be in good shape. But maybe more amazing was the Ole Miss defense, which stepped up after conceding a touchdown on the first drive and didn’t let the Tigers score again for the remainder of the half and third quarter in a 31-17 victory. Alex Scarborough’s remark
On Wednesday, Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz spoke about how calling plays for the Hawkeyes isn’t like when he was a child playing Tecmo Bowl. “The other day, I was hunting for the reset button and couldn’t locate it,” Ferentz remarked. After a dreadful showing against Purdue on Oct. 16 that included just seven points, four interceptions, and 271 yards, Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras and the Hawkeye offense are looking to rebound. Petras will need to improve his accuracy in the future, but he will also need assistance from a wide receiver corps that has been mainly ineffective outside of Nico Ragaini. When Iowa falls behind in games or fails to secure takeaways in large numbers, it has to improve its offensive strategy. Adam Rittenberg’s remark
Notre Dame’s shaky offense had a week off and a game against USC to prepare for. Top running back Kyren Williams (138 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and a passing game that widened a little under Jack Coan, who featured rookie wideout Lorenzo Styles Jr. (57 receiving yards) and others. Notre Dame also kept an eye on the future by giving freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner a couple chances to throw the ball. Despite allowing 424 yards to USC’s Drake London, the Irish defense held the Trojans out of the end zone until the opening minute of the fourth quarter. — Richard Rittenberg
In a 70-56 win against Army on Saturday, the Demon Deacons proved once again that they can score with anybody. As Wake Forest remained the ACC’s only undefeated team, Sam Hartman shone with six total touchdowns and a career-high 458 throwing yards. The Demon Deacons had scored 35 points or more in each of their first seven games, but they gave up 416 rushing yards against Army and enabled the Knights to convert 12 of 19 third- and fourth-down opportunities. Even yet, Wake Forest’s defensive performance in the third quarter turned the game around: Traveon Redd intercepted a fourth-down ball on a trick play and returned it 83 yards for a score. — Low-cost
Against South Carolina, the Aggies were dominating, playing like the squad many anticipated to see before the season began. The defensive line led a smothering effort that limited the Gamecocks to 15 total yards through three quarters, the fewest yards gained by an FBS club in that time period in the previous 15 seasons. Ainias Smith kicked off the scoring in the first quarter with a 95-yard punt return, and Jalen Wydermyer grabbed two touchdown passes as the Aggies lead 31-0 at halftime. A&M is currently on a run heading into its bye week. Wilson’s words
After losing for the first time this season, 30-13 against Georgia, the Wildcats had an open date. Kentucky has a decent chance of going 11-1, which would place them in the mix for a New Year’s Six bowl game, with games left against Mississippi State (road), Tennessee (home), Vanderbilt (road), New Mexico State (home), and Louisville (road) (or even the SEC East title, if Georgia falters twice). Last season, the Wildcats beat the (MSU) Bulldogs 24-2, becoming the first team in Mike Leach’s career to shut out a Mike Leach-coached offense. In the triumph, the Wildcats intercepted the Bulldogs six times. Schlabach, Mark
Because the Cyclones were 7-point favorites, the Cowboys’ defeat against Iowa State did not qualify as an upset. However, OSU became the 9th top-10 team to fall to an unranked opponent in the first eight weeks of the season, the most since 2007. The Cowboys had not lost to Iowa State in Ames since 2011, a historic OSU setback in which the No. 2 Cowboys were defeated in double overtime. Breece Hall was restricted to 70 yards on 21 attempts, much below his average of 125 yards per game, by the tenacious Cowboys defense. However, with 1:09 remaining in the game, the Cowboys came up a yard short on fourth down at the Iowa State 41, ruining a chance at another OSU upset that had propelled them to an eight-game winning run. Wilson’s words
A year after being thrashed 52-17 by Clemson, the Panthers delivered a statement victory against the Tigers on Saturday, a 27-17 thrashing that might have been much worse if the Panthers hadn’t piled up so many costly penalties. With 302 passing yards and two touchdowns, senior quarterback Kenny Pickett was once again the standout for Pitt. He also had a couple of brave fourth-quarter rushes for crucial first downs. The Panthers remained unblemished in league play and currently lead the ACC’s Coastal Division by two games in the loss column. The Panthers were able to win despite missing two of their finest playmakers, running back Israel Abanikanda and wide receiver Jordan Addison, both of whom were forced to leave the game due to head injuries. — Low-cost
Tanner Mordecai was 30-of-42 for 427 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, and another touchdown run for the Mustangs against Tulane. The Mustangs recorded a season-high 612 total yards of offense, including 400 before halftime, becoming the first FBS team to have 300 passing yards and 100 running yards in any half this season against an FBS opponent. In the 55-26 victory, they distributed the ball about, with ten men catching passes and six carrying the ball. Wilson’s words
The Bears had a week off following a 38-24 victory against then-No. 19 BYU, which served as a litmus test for Dave Aranda’s comeback in Year 2. After beginning the season 1-6, the Bears are now 6-1. After a staff reshuffle after a dismal first season, it’s the largest turnaround in the FBS. The hiring of new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes, who previously worked with Zach Wilson at BYU, has paid off: Gerry Bohanon, the quarterback, is completing 66 percent of his throws for 1,563 yards and 12 touchdowns against just one interception. Wilson’s words
San Diego State stayed unbeaten (7-0) with a 20-14 victory against Air Force, and the Aztecs did it with the traditional formula: outstanding defense, good special teams, and adequate offense. San Diego State is off to its best start in 46 years, and the victory came against an Air Force team that had won four consecutive games. The Aztecs had the nation’s best running defense (61.2 yards per game) before the matchup, and they held the Falcons’ deadly rushing offense to 192 yards, significantly below their season average (336.4 mpg). In all seriousness, Matt Araiza’s 81-yard punt could have been the game’s highlight. It’s the second week in a row that he’s thrown one over 80 yards. Bonagura’s
After closing as a 25.5-point favorite at Caesars Sportsbook, the Nittany Lions went to nine overtimes with Illinois before falling 20-18. Sean Clifford, who had been out with an injury, started the game and completed 19 of 34 passes for 165 yards. The offense struggled to get traction on the ground, finishing with just 62 total yards. The defense only allowed 38 passing yards against Illinois, but they did give up 357 running yards and a score. Only two other teams have won against an AP top-10 opponent with fewer passing yards than Illinois did on Saturday in the last 15 years (UCLA, 2010; Florida, 2014). With games against Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State more to come, Penn State now has two league defeats on the season. VanHaaren (VanHaaren)
Although it wasn’t always attractive, the Tigers and first-year head coach Bryan Harsin deserve credit for reaching the bye week with a 5-2 record. It was a huge confidence booster to go on the road and upset a rated Arkansas squad. Bo Nix, who has had his share of struggles, had one of his greatest games in recent memory, completing 80.8 percent of his throws. We’ll see whether he can keep the momentum going into the bye, and if the defense can use the additional time to prepare for Ole Miss’s challenging attack. Alex Scarborough’s remark
The Roadrunners continued their historic season by being ranked for the first time and then winning their first-ever game against Louisiana Tech in Ruston to improve to 8-0, matching the school record for most victories in a season (set in 2012 by Larry Coker). UTSA accomplished this by sticking to the same recipe that has served them well all season. Dadrian Taylor returned an interception 51 yards for their fifth defensive score of the season, tying Ohio State for the most in the FBS. Sincere McCormick ran for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson’s words
Things began to fall into place just as the Cyclones’ season was coming to an end. Iowa State repeated a school history by defeating a top 10 Oklahoma State team, this time by a score of 24-21 in Ames. Matt Campbell’s side has already won three consecutive games after suffering its second setback of the season in late September. Campbell’s team still has space to improve with less than a month before a matchup against Oklahoma, but things look to be trending in the right way. Shea Carlson is a writer.
On a difficult Wednesday night at Appalachian State, things were basically going according to plan for Jamey Chadwell’s Chanticleers. In the third quarter, they were up 27-21 and had scored on five of their first seven possessions. They were having trouble slowing down the Mountaineers’ dynamic passing attack, but the offense was doing its job. The offense then ceased to function. Coastal punted on its last three possessions, surrendered 10 consecutive points to conclude the game, and lost for the first time in 23 months. The Chants have a good chance of finishing 11-1, but they no longer have control over their own fate in the Sun Belt East. — Sean Connelly
With so much attention focused on unbeaten Wake Forest and resurgent Pittsburgh, led by Kenny Pickett, the Cavaliers’ 6-2 start has gone underappreciated. The first half of Virginia’s season was overshadowed by big losses to North Carolina and Wake Forest, but the Cavs have now won four consecutive, including a 48-41 victory against Georgia Tech on Saturday. The Cavaliers will have a challenge in Week 9 when they travel to BYU, followed by games against Notre Dame and Pitt, but for now, they are ranked in the Power Rankings. Carlson’s words
The “college football power rankings 2021” is a weekly ranking of the top teams in college football. The rankings are based on how well each team has performed during the course of the season.
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