Puzzling parity made its way into Week 8 and shook up the now more cloudy than ever college football landscape.
There were only two teams in the GridironGrit.com Top 10 that performed as we generally expected—No. 1 Alabama, rolling Tennessee 37-6 and the 10th-ranked Ducks running wild 45-2 over the Buffaloes.
The rest—simply put—was madness.
It was not a fair cat fight in the Bayou, as No. 18 Auburn was slaughtered 45-10 by the No. 2 Tigers of LSU. While 5th-ranked Boise State maintained its slim chances at competing on the national stage (beat Air Force 37-26), 3rd-ranked Oklahoma saw its high hopes trampled on, along with an amazing 39-game winning streak by the Red Raiders of Texas Tech.
Russell Wilson and No. 4 Wisconsin put up a great fight, but it wasn’t enough, as the 15th-ranked Spartans conquered the Badgers 37-31 with a Hail Mary touchdown on the final play of the game in thrilling and crowd-pleasing fashion.
No. 7 Oklahoma State, the favorite in the computers, assembled yet another pretty impressive win on the road against Mizzou 45-24.
8th-ranked Clemson faced more inevitable trouble against the Tar Heels, but pressed on the gas in the second half and won in style over North Carolina 59-38. No. 9 Arkansas also had its hands full with the Ole Miss Rebels, but overcame a 17-0 deficit to hold on 29-24.
Big East chaos came to the surface on Friday night, as the Orange beat the pulp out of No. 11 West Virginia 49-23.
No. 12 Texas A&M took the Cyclones for a spin 33-17. 13th-ranked Nebraska enjoyed a delectable cupcake in new rival Minnesota with a 41-14 road win. No. 14 Kansas State continued to thrive and kept its national title chances alive with a 59-21 smashing at Kansas.
USC upset No. 17 Notre Dame 31-17. No. 20 Virginia Tech won in convincing fashion over beleaguered Boston College 30-14. Georgia Tech got stung yet again and taken by a spin by the Hurricanes, falling 7-24 to Miami (FL) and Purdue steamed forward for a 21-14 shocker over Illinois.
No. 16 Michigan, No. 19 South Carolina, No. 21 Georgia and No. 25 Arizona State were on a bye week.
Here are my predictions results followed by my updated college football power rankings for Week 9.
Predictions Results: 21-2 in Week 1, 18-2 in Week 2, 20-3 in Week 3, 17-3 in Week 4, 14-3 in Week 5, 18-3 in Week 6, 17-2 in Week 7 and 11-7 in Week 8 (136-25 Overall)
What in the world happened to my record? I feared a losing performance…
My Worst Five Picks: Wisconsin 27-23 over Michigan State (37-31, MSU), Oklahoma 40-26 over Texas Tech (41-38, TTU), Missouri 34-31 in an upset against Oklahoma State (45-24, OKST), West Virginia 33-23 over Syracuse (49-23, SYR) and Georgia Tech 32-19 against Miami (FL) (24-7, MIA). I gotta admit, I was awful this week. Live and learn.
My Five Best Picks: Alabama 41-13 over Tennessee (37-6, ALA), Oregon 44-16 over Colorado (45-2, ORE), Texas A&M 37-20 over Iowa State (33-17, TEX A&M), Nebraska 45-7 over Minnesota (41-14, NEB) and Virginia Tech 38-10 over Boston College (30-14, VT).
Heisman Leading Candidates: Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford), Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama) and Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson).
Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, Boise State’s Kellen Moore, Russell Wilson of Wisconsin and Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State and RG3 from Baylor, among others, are also still in the mix.
Now, for the new updated power rankings…
Dropped From Rankings: No. 11 West Virginia, No. 17 Notre Dame, No. 18 Auburn, No. 22 Washington, No. 23 Georgia Tech, No. 24 Illinois
Just Missed Cut: Syracuse (5-2), West Virginia (5-2), Washington (5-2), Baylor (4-2), Notre Dame (4-3)
No. 25 Penn State (7-1): The Nittany Lions found a way to get the “W” in yet another close battle, topping Northwestern, 34-24.
Previous Ranking: NR; This Week: vs. Illinois (6-2)
No. 24 Southern Miss (6-1): The Golden Eagles are on a roll. After smashing SMU 27-3, the C-USA Championship shapes up to be a fun watch.
Previous Ranking: NR; This Week: at UTEP (4-3)
No. 23 Houston (7-0): The Cougars just keep winning, baby. Case Keenum continues to set records and receive more of the national spotlight.
Previous Ranking: Just Missed Cut; This Week: vs. Rice (2-5) (Thurs)
No. 22 Miami (FL) (4-3): The Hurricanes took the Yellow Jackets for a spin and shut them down. With just two losses against Kansas State and Virginia Tech (seven points combined) since the opening loss to Maryland, this team still has a chance in the ACC Coastal Division.
Previous Ranking: NR; This Week: vs. Virginia (4-3) (Thurs)
No. 21 USC (6-1): The Trojans earned an impressive 31-17 comfortable triumph over the Fighting Irish.
Previous Ranking: NR; This Week: vs. No. 3 Stanford (7-0)
No. 20 Arizona State (5-2): After getting roughed up by Oregon and getting a week off, the Sun Devils are raising the fork with a manageable upcoming five-game stretch.
Previous Ranking: 25; This Week: vs. Colorado (1-7)
No. 19 Georgia (5-2): Saturday’s game in Athens could be for all of the cards in the SEC East and could further rectify Mark Richt’s job security.
Previous Ranking: 21; This Week: vs. Florida (4-3)
No. 18 Virginia Tech (6-1): The Hokies can beat you any way they want. Well, at least they can beat anyone in the ACC other than Clemson.
Previous Ranking: 20; This Week: at Duke (3-4)
No. 17 Texas Tech (5-2): The Red Raiders lost to the Wildcats and Aggies on their own turf by just 12 points combined. They followed it up with a mind-boggling upset in Norman, ending the Sooners’ 39 home game winning streak.
Previous Ranking: NR; This Week: vs. Iowa State (3-4)
No. 16 South Carolina (6-1): Still the frontrunner in the SEC East division, the Gamecocks are in for some tough sledding without Marcus Lattimore.
Previous Ranking: 19; This Week: at Tennessee (3-4)
No. 15 Michigan (6-1): With plenty of tough teams left on the schedule, the Wolverines are very much still in the mix for the Big Ten Championship.
Previous Ranking: 16; This Week: vs. Purdue (4-3)
No. 14 Nebraska (6-1): The ‘Huskers are still tough to gauge, but are definitely neck and neck with the two foes from the state of Michigan in the three-team race in the Big Ten Legends division.
Previous Ranking: 13; This Week: vs. No. 9 Michigan State (6-1)
No. 13 Kansas State (7-0): The Wildcats ran wild over Kansas and have proven all season long they can fight and claw away with close, hard-fought victories. With the two teams from the state of Oklahoma and Texas A&M on tap in the next three weeks, this sure-fire dark-horse national title contender could find itself on the big stage.
Previous Ranking: 14; This Week: vs. No. 11 Oklahoma (6-1)
No. 12 Texas A&M (5-2): The Aggies, hands down the best two-loss team in the nation right now, are committed to departing the Big 12 with a bang.
Previous Ranking: 12; This Week: vs. Missouri (3-4)
No. 11 Oklahoma (6-1): If you were convinced the Sooners were headed to the National Title and were the best team in the country (cough…like Skip Bayless…), with all due respect, you weren’t objective enough. Oklahoma came into Week 8 with no wins against current ranked opponents, only two wins against teams with a winning record (Texas and Ball State) and had struggled in nearly half their games. Nevertheless, after a disappointing defeat at the hands of Texas Tech, there’s still a chance to get back into the scheme of things if chaos ensues.
Previous Ranking: 3; This Week: at No. 13 Kansas State (7-0)
No. 10 Wisconsin (6-1): I have no idea what the pollsters (especially in the BCS) are smoking. The Badgers beat the heck out of Nebraska on the road and fall behind the ‘Huskers at No. 15. Futhermore, Oklahoma drops to ‘Tech in a game that was lopsided most of the way and Wisconsin blows it on the final play of the game at Michigan State, a team that was already ranked 16th in the BCS and the OU slips to 9th, six spots ahead? Forget the computers. Just watch the games and use logic.
Previous Ranking: 4; This Week: at Ohio State (4-3)
No. 9 Michigan State (6-1): That 31-13 letdown to Notre Dame may have ruined the Spartans’ chances for a BCS Title, but it certainly didn’t stop them from hitting on all cylinders and pushing forward for back-to-back wins over the previously highest ranked teams in the conference.
Previous Ranking: 15; This Week: at No. 14 Nebraska (6-1)
No. 8 Oregon (6-1): Is it possible for Quack Attack to somehow return to the big stage despite getting their feathers roughed up in the season opener? It is possible, but doubtful. Right now, the Ducks have some big fish to fry with Washington, USC and Stanford coming up first.
Previous Ranking: 10; This Week: vs. Washington State (3-4)
No. 7 Arkansas (6-1): The usually razor-sharp Razorbacks were given more than a scare against Ole Miss. The Rebels were up 17-0, but Arkansas didn’t stay down or lay down. Don’t count this team out of the SEC West just yet. Wins, at the end of the day, especially for teams in the SEC, is really all that matters.
Previous Ranking: 9; This Week: at Vanderbilt (4-3)
No. 6 Boise State (7-0): With no help from TCU, Air Force, San Diego State and Nevada, the BCS bustin’ Broncos have to rely on Georgia and continuous widespread chaos. Unfortunately for the passionate Boise Nation, that won’t be nearly enough this year.
Previous Ranking: 5; This Week: Idle
No. 5 Clemson (8-0): The comeback kids from Clemson seem to be the real deal. Only once has the fervent program not scored 30 points this season and it won that game by 20 points (at Virginia Tech). This is Clemson, though. So while it’s easy to throw our support in the unsuspecting national title contender, which could also be making a case to join the SEC, the Tigers also have a history of falling apart when you least expect it.
Previous Ranking: 8; This Week: at Georgia Tech (6-2)
No. 4 Oklahoma State (7-0): Defense has and always will win championships. But if outscore every team you play, you can accomplish that same goal. One thing is certain—the Cowboys can’t break the snooze meter if their lives depended on it.
Previous Ranking: 7; This Week: vs. Baylor (4-2)
No. 3 Stanford (7-0): For the first time all season, Stanford surrendered 20 points or more (21) to Washington. The Cardinal also scored 65 points, the most the Andrew Luck-led team has scored this year with a ton of ground and pound.
Previous Ranking: 6; This Week: at No. 21 USC (6-1)
No. 2 Alabama (8-0): The Crimson Tide rolled over the Vols in the second half en route to a 37-6 rout.
Previous Ranking: 1; This Week: Idle
No. 1 LSU (8-0): The Tigers made a statement in the 45-10 thrashing over Auburn. They also did it without three key players.
Previous Ranking: 2; This Week: Idle
Both teams have a bye before facing off in an SEC West street fight with immeasurable implications. With the game in Tuscaloosa, the Tide will also be playing for a city that was devastated in late April.
Verse of This Piece:
“Peace of mind means a healthy body, but jealousy will rot your bones.”—Proverbs 14:30