College football Power Rankings after Week 8

Although the Week 8 college schedule left a lot to be desired, it did not deter the unpredictable nature of the season.
Both Oklahoma and Cincinnati, undefeated teams with realistic College Football Playoff prospects, were overcome by significant underdogs, but they survived to continue their hopes of a perfect season. Some teams were not as fortunate as the ones that were considered to be strong favorites.

Penn State lost in nine overtimes to Illinois in Happy Valley, while Oklahoma State, which was previously unbeaten, fell in Ames in Iowa State to disrupt this week’s top 10.

Michigan continued to win ahead of a undefeated matchup with Michigan State next week. After early season losses, Alabama and Ohio State have shown remarkable recovery and the balance of power in the ACC has officially shifted.

This all in one "boring" week?

We are now done with the action and it is time to look at the Power Rankings for this week.

The Bulldogs, who are ranked #1 in the country, spent their week getting healthy and preparing for their final attempt at a College Football Playoff slot. Kirby Smart, UGA's coach, said that quarterback JT Daniels was throwing better in practice. However, he wasn't sure if Stetson Bennett III will be starting against Florida. While Daniels was out, Bennett played well and led the Bulldogs' victories over three top-ranked opponents. Running back Kendall Milton will be out with a knee injury and Kenny McIntosh has been afflicted by a hamstring so there is concern about the tailback depth. -- Mark Schlabach

This is not the Alabama defense that was once common. Saturday night, the Crimson Tide seemed to be moving at a snail's pace. It was a redshirt freshman JalynArmour-Davis' 47-yard interception that changed the game. This led to a 28-point fourth quarter and the 52-24 win for Alabama over Tennessee. The Crimson Tide gave up 346 yards but gained 574 yards offensively. Quarterback Bryce Young threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns. Young has passed for 719 yards, six touchdown passes, and no interceptions in his last two games. -- Chris Low

Play 3:33 No. 4 Bama's strong ground game defeats the tenacious Vols Alabama's Brian Robinson Jr., and Bryce Young. They total five rushing touchdowns to overcome a slow start, beating relentless Tennessee 52-24.

The Cincinnati offense was able to wake up and score just enough points to defeat an upset-minded Navy. However, the Bearcats only gained 271 yards (5.3 yards per play) against a Midshipmen defense that allowed 370 yards per match and 6.1 yards per play. Desmond Ridder was 18-for-30 and gained 176 yards with just two touchdowns. The Bearcats were up 27-10 and cruising. They allowed 10 late points and an offside kick recovery to give Navy (a 27-point underdog) a chance at tie or win before Arquon Bush's interceptions finally sealed the victory. Although this was Cincinnati's worst performance of the season so far, the Bearcats still managed to advance. Next is a trip to Tulane. -- Bill Connelly

Indiana was dominated by the Buckeyes, who scored 44 points in halftime. For the fourth consecutive game, the offense has scored 35 or more points in each half. This is the longest streak of points in a single season in the past 15 years. Quarterback C.J. Quarterback C.J. The Buckeyes are moving in the right direction these past few games, and the team is performing as well as ever this season. -- Tom VanHaaren

The Wolverines avoided any loss and beat Northwestern 33-7. It was a fairly uneventful game, with Michigan finishing the game with 294 yards rushing and four touchdowns on ground. The defense held Northwestern to just 233 yards total offense. They also had a fumble recover and an interception. Special teams blocked a punt as well. Michigan now stands at 7-0 and prepares to make the short trip to East Lansing in order to face the Spartans. -- Tom VanHaaren

MSU was able to host the open week at a time that was right for them. They are 7-0 and have won two of their past four games (Nebraska and Indiana). Mel Tucker's team will be looking to attack downfield against Michigan's defense, which hasn't been able to face great passing offenses this year. The Spartans are third in the Big Ten with 9.2 yards per attempt. Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor are the top receivers, with Tre Mosley averaging more than 15 yards per reception. Payton Thorne should have a week to reset as he only completed 53.8% of his season against Indiana, and had his first interception game. -- Adam Rittenberg

The Sooners were trailing Kansas 10-0 in the first half. Oklahoma's offense had almost as many yards (75), on the Oklahoma's first drive of the second period, as in the first 30 minutes (78). They also had one more first down (five to 4) To win, the Sooners scored 35 points and gained 320 yards in halftime. The Sooners are disappointed by their slow start and poor defense. (Kansas held on until the end. It's an achievement to win 16 consecutive games. This is despite the fact that we have seen record numbers of teams fall this season. The Sooners have had some razor-thin margins. Dave Wilson

play 1:52 Oklahoma Sooners against the Kansas Jayhawks : Full Highlights Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas Jayhawks: All Highlights

The Ducks seem to be making a habit of playing down to their opponents until it becomes impossible to afford. It happened again at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. The unranked UCLA played a flawless first quarter and led 14-0. Oregon's defense looked like Swiss cheese. The Ducks responded with a 34-3 scoring streak over the next quarters, which included a 43-yard touchdown run by Anthony Brown that seemed to win the game. Oregon's defense forced Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the Bruins quarterback, to beat the Ducks using his arm rather than his feet. In the fourth quarter, he almost did. Thompson-Robinson led touchdown drives, while Brown was picked off twice by the Bruins defense. The comeback fell apart at midfield when Thompson-Robinson was forced to leave the game due to an undisclosed injury. -- Paolo Uggetti

Maybe Ed Orgeron was correct. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss coach, may have been trying to smokescreen him when he claimed that quarterback Matt Corral was not fit for play. Corral looked fine during warm-ups, when he started to slice and dice the LSU defense's running and passing. Perhaps more impressive was the Ole Miss defense which stood up after the Tigers' opening-drive touchdown and kept them out of the end zone for the remainder of the game. It won the 31-17 victory. Alex Scarborough

On Wednesday, Brian Ferentz, offensive coordinator, spoke out about the differences between calling plays for Hawkeyes and when he was a child playing Tecmo Bowl. Ferentz stated that he was searching for the reset button when he lost his phone. After a poor performance at Purdue on Oct. 16, which saw only seven points, four interceptions, and 271 yards, Spencer Petras as Quarterback and the Hawkeyes' offense try to restart. Petras must be sharper in the future, but he also needs support from a wide receiver team that is largely insignificant outside of Nico Ragaini. Iowa needs a better offensive strategy when it is behind in games, or fails to collect takeaways in large numbers. -- Adam Rittenberg

Notre Dame's choppy offense had the chance to recover thanks to an open week at USC. The Fighting Irish enjoyed steady production from Kyren Williams, top running back (138 yards rush, two touchdowns), and a more expansive passing game, Jack Coan featuring freshman wideout Lorenzo Styles Jr. (57 receiving yard) and other players. Notre Dame also gave Tyler Buchner, a freshman quarterback, a few passing opportunities. The Trojans were unable to stop Drake London, USC's quarterback. However, the Irish defense held the Trojans off the line for 424 yards. -- Rittenberg

In a convincing victory at Army, the Demon Deacons proved once again that they are capable of scoring with anyone. Sam Hartman was outstanding with six touchdowns and a record-setting 458 yards passing as Wake Forest remained unbeaten in the ACC. Although the Deacons have scored at least 35 points in seven of their games, they gave up 416 yards of rushing to Army and allowed the Knights convert 12 of 19 third- or fourth downs. It was still a Wake Forest defensive play that saved the game in the third quarter. Traveon Redd intercepted the fourth-down pass on trick play and returned the ball 83 yards for touchdown. -- Low

The Aggies defeated South Carolina with dominance, looking exactly like the team many had hoped to see. The defense line delivered a dominant performance, holding the Gamecocks to just 15 yards in three quarters. This is the lowest total yardage a FBS team has gained over that period of time in 15 years. Ainias Smith started the scoring early with a 95 yard punt return. Jalen Wydermyer caught 2 TD passes and the Aggies led 31-0 at the half. A&M is now on a roll as they head into a bye week. Wilson

Play 1:46 South Carolina Gamecocks against Texas A&M AGgies: Full Highlights South Carolina Gamecocks and Texas A&M Agies: All Highlights

After losing to Georgia 30-13, the Wildcats were granted an open date. Kentucky is likely to finish 11-1 with games against Vanderbilt (road), Tennessee, Vanderbilt, New Mexico State (home), Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt, Louisville (road) and Mississippi State (road). If Georgia fails twice, they could be in the running for the New Year's Six bowl or the SEC East championship. Last season, the Wildcats beat the (MSU Bulldogs) 24-2. This was the first win for Mike Leach's coaching staff. In that win, the Wildcats intercepted six Bulldogs passes. -- Mark Schlabach

Technically, the Cowboys' defeat to Iowa State was not considered an upset since the Cyclones were 7 points favorites. OSU was the 9th team in the top-10 to lose to an opponent unranked, making it the most losses to an unranked opponent through the first 8 weeks since 2007. The Cowboys lost in Ames to Iowa State for the second time since 2011. This is the same Cowboys team that lost to Iowa State in Ames in 2011. 2 Cowboys lost in double overtime. The stubborn Cowboys defense held Breece hall to 70 yards on 21 runs, which was below his average of just 125 yards per game. With 1:09 remaining in the game, the Cowboys fell short of fourth at the Iowa State 41. This ended a chance for another OSU win that had led to their eight-game winning streak. Wilson

Pittsburgh won a dramatic victory over Clemson on Saturday, beating them 52-17. The Panthers had also been defeated by Clemson in the previous year. With 302 yards passing and two touchdowns, senior quarterback Kenny Pickett was once again the star of Pitt. He also made a few brave runs in the fourth quarter, picking up important first downs. The Panthers remained unbeaten in league play, and now lead the ACC's Coastal Division by two games. This was especially impressive considering that the Panthers were without running back Israel Abanikanda (running back) and wide receiver Jordan Addison (wide receiver), who both left the game with head injuries. -- Low

The Mustangs offense was soaring against Tulane. Tanner Mordecai went 30-of-42 for 427 yard, three touchdowns and one TD run. The Mustangs had 612 yards total offense for the season, 400 of which came before the half. They were the first FBS team to have 300 passing yards or 100 rushing yards in a half against an FBS opponent. They spread it all: Ten players caught passes, and six received a carry in the 55/26 victory. Wilson

After a win of 38-24 over No. 1, the Bears were granted a week off. 19 BYU is a measure of Dave Aranda’s turnaround in Year 2. After starting from 1-6, the Bears are now 6-1. After a disappointing first season, this is the largest turnaround in FBS. Jeff Grimes was Zach Wilson's tutor at BYU and has been a valuable addition to the FBS. Quarterback Gerry Bohanon now completes 66% of his passes, for 1,563 yards, with 12 touchdowns to one interception. Wilson

San Diego State won 20-14 against Air Force to remain undefeated (7-0). The Aztecs pulled it off with the same formula: good defense, great special teams, and enough offense. This win is San Diego State's most impressive in 46 years. It came against Air Force, which had won four consecutive games. The Aztecs brought the game with 61.2 yards of rushing defense, which is the best in the country. They also limited the Falcons' rushing attack to just 192 yards, well below their season average (3336.4 mpg). Matt Araiza's punt of 81 yards was the highlight of the game. He's now the second week in a row to boom one over 80 yards. Bonagura

After closing as a 25.5 point favorite at Caesars Sportsbook, the Nittany Lions lost 20-18 to Illinois after going through nine overtimes. To start the game, Quarterback Sean Clifford was able to complete 19 of 34 passes for an impressive 165 yards. The offense couldn't get much moving on the ground as it managed only 62 yards total rushing. The defense held Illinois to 38 yards of passing, but allowed 357 yards rushing and one touchdown. Only two other teams have won against AP Top-10 opponents with fewer passing yards in the last 15 years (UCLA, 2010, and Florida, 2014). Penn State has now suffered two losses in conference this year with remaining games against Ohio State and Michigan. -- VanHaaren

Play 0:41 Illinois beats Penn State in 9th overtime Casey Washington converts the crucial two-point conversion that won Illinois victory over No. 7 Penn State.

Although it wasn't always easy, the Tigers and Bryan Harsin, the first-year head coach, were able to get to the bye week at 5-1. It was a huge confidence booster to be on the road against a ranked Arkansas team. Bo Nix, who is known for his struggles at times, had one of the best performances of recent memory. He completed 80.8% of his passes. We will see if he can maintain momentum after the bye, and if the defense can take advantage of the extra time to prepare themselves for Ole Miss's difficult offense. Alex Scarborough

The Roadrunners had a historic season. They were ranked for their first time and then won in Ruston against Louisiana Tech. This made them 8-0. Larry Coker set the program record for most wins in one season in 2012. UTSA used the same formula as last season to win. Sincere McCormick ran 113 yards and scored three touchdowns. Dadrian Taylor returned a 51-yard interception for their fifth defensive touchdown, tied with Ohio State's record. Wilson

Things started to click just as the Cyclones season was over. Iowa State continued a tradition of winning against top-10 Oklahoma State programs in Ames. This time it was 24-21. After its second loss in September, many thought that Matt Campbell's team was dead. Campbell's team still has room for improvement with less than a month to go before Oklahoma. However, things seem to be moving in the right directions. Shea Carlson

Jamey Chadwell's Chanticleers, Jamey Chadwell, had everything going according to plan on Wednesday night at Appalachian State. They led 27-21 at the end of the third quarter and had scored on five out of seven of their first seven drives. Although they were struggling to slow down the Mountaineers' explosive passing game, the offense was still doing its job. The offense stopped performing its duties. Coastal punted on its three last possessions and gave up 10 points in a row to win the game. This was its first loss of regular season in 23 months. Although the Chants are favored to win 11-1, they have no control over their destiny in Sun Belt East. Connelly

The Cavaliers' 6-2 start is not being noticed as much as the undefeated Wake Forest or upstart Pittsburgh, with Kenny Pickett leading. The first half of Virginia's season was marred by big losses to Wake Forest and North Carolina, but the Cavs have won four straight, including Saturday’s win against Georgia Tech (48-41). Week 9 will be a tough test with a trip to BYU and games against Notre Dame, Pitt, but for now the Cavaliers are in the Power Rankings. Carlson