NCAA Football Report (Week 8)

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Week 8 in the NCAA was yet another lesson in following the NCAA as for another week just when things were seemingly figured out everything changed.

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Alabama Crimson Tide looked like they were on a collision course for the National Championship.

It was a good thing as two of the most dominant programs over the last few years were set to play each other for the ultimate prize.

It would have been one of the biggest games in the NCAA especially during the new era of the playoff.

Looking at the schedules both had fairly easy paths until the end of the year where they would meet challenges with their biggest rivals.

It seemed like both were set to run away with their chance at the playoff and eventually meet in the national championship for a great game.

That was until the Buckeyes met their biggest challenge a little earlier than many thought.

Week 8 was not supposed to be much of a fight for either team and for the Tide it wasn’t all that bad.

They beat the Aggies and although it wasn’t as dominant as some expected they still were never really challenged as they remained at the #1 spot in the rankings.

The Buckeyes had a little different of an experience as they took on a Big Ten rival in the Penn State Nittany Lions.

They were an unranked team that was struggling through the year while the Buckeyes were one of the best teams in the country.

The Nittany Lions were set to prove a point though and the long-time conference rivals were the team to prove that point against.

They did just that fighting them the entire way and eventually getting the points they needed to win the game and create one of the biggest upsets of the year.

The win by Penn State has not entirely eliminated the Buckeyes from contention but the loss certainly hurts their chances of making the top four.football-sidebar

What is more interesting is what happens at this point in the season when an almost sure bet to make the playoffs loses a game to an unranked team.

Not only does that team, in this case, the Buckeyes, fall out of the playoff with a bit of a tougher road to get back but it also gives a chance to a number of teams stuck at the top.

When the top four is ranked every week generally by this point in the season they are locked in.

There is little another team can do to knock off one of the top four in the big polls because everyone is just watching them.

It is truly up to the top four to actually do something bad for them to fall out of favour with the voters.

The process only gets tougher when the committee begins their rankings as it takes that much more to convince the committee that a team doesn’t belong in the playoff.

Essentially teams in the top ten all need the top four to stumble for their chance at the playoff and when the season comes to an end that happens less and less, at least until rivalry week.

That is the case now though as the #2 team in the country has fallen and although they remain in the top ten they now are a part of the other teams that just need someone in the top four to falter in order to find their way back to the top of the rankings.

Meanwhile, every other top ten team was waiting for exactly this as the Buckeyes left a spot in the top four open and another team found their way into the top four.

The Washington Huskies were the biggest winners of the week as they moved into the top four for the first time this year.

Michigan was another winner as they moved to the second spot in the rankings taking their rivals spot as a top team in the rankings.

There is one week left before the official CFP rankings begin and everyone is positioning making the loss from the Buckeyes that much more difficult to come back from.

They won’t be entirely out of it as anyone in the top ten has a chance but like any other year, they will likely need someone to stumble before they can take advantage.

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Key Scores:
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide 33-14 Texas A&M Aggies #6
– Based on the rankings this was going to be the toughest test of the season for the Tide as they took on a top ten team in the Aggies but it wasn’t much of a challenge for the top team in the country as the Tide easily got by Texas A&M

Penn State Nittany Lions 24-21 Ohio State Buckeyes #2
– It will likely be one of the biggest upsets of the season as the Buckeyes looked like they were headed straight for a national championship but came up against a conference rival in the Nittany Lions who took the win and knocked off the #2 team

#7 Louisville Cardinals 54-13 NC State Wolfpack
– Lamar Jackson continues to take over the league as he put on a show for another week against a team that many were seeing as ready for an upset with the Wolfpack’s great defence trying to stop the Heisman favourite but couldn’t do it

#21 Auburn Tigers 56-3 Arkansas Razorbacks #17
– The Tigers were all but forgotten this year but as the season comes near the end they are beginning to find themselves in the national spotlight as they seem to be only getting better as they head into rivalry week against Alabama

Next Week:
Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans (Saturday, October 29th; 12:00 pm ET)
– The Wolverines are now sitting near the top of the rankings and they do not want to look back but they will have a challenge to keep their ranking as they have to face one of their biggest rivals in the Spartans

Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs (Saturday, October 29th; 3:30 pm ET)
– It is the World’s Largest Cocktail Party and although it doesn’t mean the same as it would have a few years ago it remains one of the biggest rivalries in the sport as two neighbours face-off with Florida looking to stay ranked

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Saturday, October 29th; 7:00 pm ET)
– Two old school Big Ten teams face-off in an early rivalry game that began in 1901 and with both teams looking to rise up the rankings before the CFP rankings come out they will both need a win

Clemson Tigers vs. Florida State Seminoles (Saturday, October 29th; 8:00 pm ET)
– At the start of the year, the Seminoles were meant to be a top team with this game meaning a lot but the Tigers did what they were supposed to and the Seminoles faltered with Florida State trying to climb back into the playoff conversation

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