The top four is still the same after the action played out in week eight, but there were some more results that changed the lower end of these rankings. Here is how the teams should be ranked after week eight:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)
The Crimson Tide got another blowout win this week, routing Tennessee 45-7. It may not have been a win over a successful team, but Alabama looks really good, which means a lot to the committee too. If they can keep controlling games like this they will be at the top of the rankings when the committee release their initial rankings next Tuesday.
Alabama has their decent wins so far, but none of the teams they have beaten are currently ranked. They will get this ranking because of their game control, dominance and because they have beaten a lot of solid teams, even if they aren’t ranked. Wins over Texas A&M, Colorado State and Vandy will all likely end up being wins over bowl teams.
The schedule does get tougher from here on out, as Alabama plays at least two ranked teams, depending on how things change.
This week: Bye
2. Georgia Bulldogs (7-0)
Georgia didn’t play this weekend, but were able to retain their number two spot in the rankings.
The Bulldogs still have some really solid wins and deserve the number two spot. Their win over Notre Dame looks more impressive now that the Fighting Irish dominated USC. They also have recorded wins over an Appalachian State team that is on their way to a 10 win season, a solid Mississippi State team and a tricky Vanderbilt team.
Of their five games left, Georgia has three rivalry games. They should be favored in each game, but anything can happen in rivalry games.
This week: vs. Florida Gators (in Jacksonville, Florida)
3. TCU Horned Frogs (7-0)
TCU did exactly what they were supposed to and blew out Kansas. They won 43-0 and set records for the defensive performance. While this won’t do much for their resume, the look like the most balanced and best team in the Big 12.
The Horned Frogs have beaten two teams that are still ranked and have one of the best wins of the season: at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys haven’t lost since, so TCU has a great case to be in the top three teams. Their other big win over West Virginia also looks pretty good, as the Mountaineers will be moving up the rankings again this week. Add those two wins to a decent road win over Kansas State and you have one of the most battle tested teams in the country.
Their are still some tough games on the schedule for TCU, including Oklahoma, but the key is to make sure they make the Big 12 Championship Game even if they suffer a loss.
This week: at 25 Iowa State Cyclones
4. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0)
Penn State destroyed a Michigan team that had been struggling. That was their first win over a ranked team this season, but Michigan isn’t ranked any longer. They controlled the game and look like a playoff team.
The reason why Penn State is still number four is that they haven’t beaten too many good teams. The win at Iowa looks worse now that the Hawkeyes lost to Northwestern. The win over Michigan won’t be as much of a statement with Michigan likely trending downwards. The good news is that Penn State looks like one of the top two or three teams in the country and the committee will appreciate that.
One game down on the gauntlet of a three week schedule for Penn State, two more to go. If they win in Columbus this week they will move up the rankings into a more secure position.
This week: at 6 Ohio State Buckeyes
First Four Out:
5. Clemson Tigers (6-1)
The Tigers got a bye week to regroup after their tough loss on the road to Syracuse. A lot of the future of this team depends on the health of Kelly Bryant, so the next few weeks will show people a lot as far as how healthy Bryant is.
Losing to Syracuse still hurts their resume, but Syracuse is putting up good fights against good teams. The committee tends to care more about wins than losses and Clemson still has a lot of impressive wins. The wins over Virginia Tech and Auburn are still very good wins and the win at Louisville is still solid.
There are still some tough games left for Clemson, but they still have a good resume and if chaos happens could get in the CFP with two losses.
This week: at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1)
Notre Dame dominated USC in a way that no one saw coming. They were the more physical football team and ended up winning 49-14. The Trojans ended up falling to number 21 in the rankings as a result of the game, but it is still a very good win for Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish have this win to pair with their huge road win over Michigan State, which looks better by the week. In every win on the season they have physically dominated their opponent and it has shown up on the scoreboard. With their only loss coming to Georgia, Notre Dame looks like one of the best football teams in the country.
If people don’t like Notre Dame being this high over undefeated teams then: A. Those undefeated teams need to play someone. B. Notre Dame will have a chance to play their way into or out of the CFP with the remaining schedule, because it is brutal.
This week: vs. 14 N.C. State Wolfpack
7. Oklahoma Sooners (6-1)
Lincoln Reilly got a nice bonus in his first year after the Sooners became bowl eligible. They were able to come back and beat a tough Kansas State team on the road. The Wildcats are under .500, so this win won’t do much, but it was a tricky game and the Sooners were able to avoid a second loss.
Oklahoma has the win at Ohio State to keep them this high in the rankings. Ohio State has continued to win and make Oklahoma look better. If the Buckeyes can beat Penn State this weekend it would help more. The Sooners’ wins over Texas and Kansas State should look better with time as well. Even the Sooners only loss on the season looks better, as Iowa State cracked the top 25 this week.
The last five games will have four tough matchups and a cakewalk, so the Sooners have to be ready to go.
This week: vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
8. Miami Hurricanes (6-0)
Miami keeps on edging out wins in close games. This week they avoided a second straight upset bid from Syracuse and won the game 27-19. They may not be winning in a good-to-watch fashion, but they are getting the job done.
So what separates Miami from Wisconsin? A win over Toledo. That’s how bad of schedules these two teams have. Toledo is not a bad team by any stretch and will likely be ranked by the end of the year, but that is the only team getting votes in the AP Poll that either team has beaten. The Hurricanes get the nod for now over Wisconsin, but these rankings get updated every week for a reason.
Miami will find some separation in a few weeks when they get to play Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in back to back weeks.
This week: at North Carolina Tarheels
Next Four Out:
9. Wisconsin Badgers (7-0)
The Badgers got another win, which is all they can do. This time they beat a Maryland team who is on their third string quarterback due to injury. Wisconsin won 38-17, which is what they should have done.
Wisconsin has only beaten two teams that have a record above .500, Northwestern and Florida Atlantic. They will need to beat stiffer competition than that to make it into the CFP.
The schedule gets a little tougher going forward, but it couldn’t get easier. There will be games against Iowa and Michigan to prove themselves before the Big Ten Championship Game.
This week: at Illinois Fighting Illini
10. Washington State Cougars (7-1)
Washington State had to play in the rain, but got a win over a Colorado team that is now .500. They won easily, 28-0. This was just the win that the Cougars needed to get back on track.
Their win over USC looks worse now, but it is still a solid win. They also have a win over a Boise State team that they can hang their hat on. Both are good wins. Their loss to Cal was pretty embarrassing, but there is still hope if they can handle their difficult Pac-12 schedule.
This week the Cougars’ high-powered offense will be in a shootout with an Arizona team that has Khalil Tate making plays all over the field.
This week: at Arizona Wildcats
11. N.C. State Wolfpack (6-1)
The Wolfpack had a bye week to prepare to their back-loaded schedule.
N.C. State have wins over Louisville and Florida State that probably were thought more highly of a couple of weeks ago. Other than those, their win over Marshall is nice, but their resume needs to have some bigger wins on it for the Wolfpack to move up.
The next two weeks will tell the world if N.C. State is for real or not.
This week: at 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
12. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1)
Virginia Tech won big over North Carolina, 59-7. North Carolina isn’t very good, but the Hokies looked good.
The Hokies still have just the loss to Clemson. They only have one win of note coming at the expense of West Virginia, who is now number 22 in the rankings. There are about eight or so teams that could easily slide into this spot, but Virginia Tech has the best win so they get the nod.
Justin Fuente’s team will get a few more chance for marquee victories in the coming weeks, to enhance their status in these rankings.
This week: vs. Duke Blue Devils
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