On the Ball: College Football Power Rankings—Week 8
After the Seminoles gave Notre Dame their first loss of the season, the number of unbeatens left is down to four: Florida State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Marshall, which has yet to play an opponent from one of the Power Five conferences. Here’s the ten best in the country.
10. Baylor (6–1): The upcoming bye week should be a welcome one for the Bears, and for their defense in particular, which was burned for 58 and 41 points the last two weeks. One-time Heisman hopeful Bryce Petty needs to regroup as well after completing less than 50 percent of his passes (44 of 91) over the same span.
This week: Bye week. Previous Ranking: 5
9. Texas Christian (5–1): It was thought that once the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012, their dominant years of 10-to-12-win seasons were over. But after going 7–6 and then 4–8 the past two years, TCU has taken the conference by storm this season, beating Oklahoma and Oklahoma State while narrowly falling to Baylor in between.
This week: versus Texas Tech. Previous Ranking: 9
8. Michigan State (6–1): In one of the more eye-popping performances of the season, the Spartans had a pair of 100-yard rushers, a 100-yard receiver, as well as a 300-yard quarterback in ringing up 662 yards of offense in the 56–17 win over Indiana. It also marked the fifth time this season that Michigan State scored 45 or more points.
This week: versus Michigan. Previous Ranking: 8
7. Oregon (6–1): With two more TD passes Saturday, Marcus Mariota has now thrown at least two scores in all seven games this season, and has yet to be picked off in any of them. In addition, his 289 rushing yards and five rushing TDs are second-best on the team.
This week: at California. Previous Ranking: 7
6. Auburn (5–1): Although the Tigers are sixth out of 128 total FBS teams in the power rankings here, they’re just fourth out of seven in the ridiculously tough SEC West—a subdivision that’s already eaten up once-powerful Texas A&M. The schedule really heats up after this weekend, though, as the Tigers still have to face Alabama, Georgia, and Ole Miss down the stretch.
This week: versus South Carolina. Previous Ranking: 6
5. Notre Dame (6–1): Even though they were denied in the final seconds of the 31–27 loss to Florida State, the Irish come off looking pretty good. Not only did they lead the Seminoles, in Tallahassee, for a majority of the contest, the much-disputed offensive pass interference that went against them in the final seconds, negating the winning touchdown, is a common “pick play” and is usually allowed. They played good enough to win.
This week: Bye week. Previous Ranking: 4
4. Alabama (6–1): After looking rather ordinary the past two weeks against Ole Miss (23–17 loss) and Arkansas (14–13 win) the Alabama we all know and fear came out and annihilated Texas A&M 59–0 last weekend. In addition, Heisman-hopeful Amari Cooper was back in true form, hauling in eight catches for 140 yards and a pair of scores.
This week: at Tennessee. Previous Ranking: 10
3. Florida State (7–0): After being out-gained 470–323 in total yards, the Seminoles were fortunate to escape the showdown against Notre Dame with a win. For the second game in a row, though, Jameis Winston was on his game completing 23 of 31 passes for 273 yards, two TDs, and a pick against a tough Irish defense.
This week: Bye week. Previous Ranking: 3
2. Ole Miss (7–0): The Rebels allowed just 191 yards of offense in their 34–3 win over Tennessee and are now eighth in total defense (290.6 yards per game) and first in points allowed (10.6) in the nation. Quarterback Bo Wallace is ninth nationally with a QB rating of 163.0 and has gone three straight games without a pick.
This week: at LSU. Previous Ranking: 2
1. Mississippi State (6–0): The Bulldogs are on top of the college football world right now and could easily be there for a while. The schedule gets a bit easier the coming few weeks with matchups against Kentucky, Arkansas, and UT-Martin next on the agenda.
This week: at Kentucky. Previous Ranking: 1