Joe Burrow was speculated to be the distinction between this yr’s LSU group and all of the others that did not have almost sufficient offense to topple Alabama in current seasons.
The Ohio State switch has largely been a steadying affect for the Tigers’ offense, main them to 4 wins over ranked groups. However Burrow’s underwhelming 16-of-28, 129-yard, one-interception efficiency in opposition to Mississippi State has created sufficient nagging doubt about what sort of menace LSU really poses to the nation’s greatest groups — not to mention Alabama.
Think about that Saturday’s outing was the fourth recreation of the season through which Burrow did not throw a landing cross.
Of the handful of groups considered severe nationwide title contenders, the Tigers most likely have the weakest and least-threatening cross offense, and that is in no small half due to Burrow’s limitations.
That is why Oklahoma (with Kyler Murray) and Michigan (Shea Patterson) get the early nod over LSU within the prime 5 of those rankings, not less than till Nov. Three in Demise Valley in opposition to Alabama.
1. Alabama (Eight-Zero, 5-Zero SEC)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Tennessee 58-21What’s subsequent: Open week
It is assumed the Crimson Tide will face their first actual problem of the season on Nov. Three in opposition to LSU in Demise Valley. However even that appears a stretch after their eighth straight blowout of the season; no different group has even come inside three scores. Former Bama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee have been the newest to endure a 60-minute beatdown, one more instance of the gap between this system Nick Saban’s acolytes depart and those they hope to rebuild. In working his file to 15-Zero in opposition to former assistants, Saban obtained one other Heisman Trophy-worthy efficiency from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (306 yards, 4 touchdowns) despite the fact that he was hobbled by a knee harm.
2. Clemson (7-Zero, Four-Zero ACC)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated North Carolina State 41-7What’s subsequent: at Florida State (midday Saturday)
In comparatively quick order, the Tigers cleared up any confusion about whether or not they have a authentic challenger for the Atlantic Division title. Clemson scored touchdowns on two of its first three possessions, rapidly taking the suspense out of this supposed showdown between two undefeated groups. In solely his third profession begin, true freshman Trevor Lawrence appeared like every little thing that recruiting analysts mentioned he could be in going 26-of-39 for 308 yards and a landing. Lawrence and Clemson’s protection, which did not permit a rating till the fourth quarter and harassed star Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley into three turnovers, seems to be (thus far) like the one one able to stopping an Alabama repeat.
The Tide and Tigers maintain marching towards a playoff rematch, with each groups trying stronger than ever.
Ohio State’s first lack of the season to Purdue did not simply deal a blow to the Buckeyes’ playoff résumé, it additionally gave new life to different one-loss hopefuls.
1 Related3. Notre Dame (7-Zero)
Week Eight outcome: Open weekWhat’s subsequent: at Navy (Eight p.m. Saturday, CBS)
It is approach too early for speak of the playoff and waking up the echoes, particularly now that opponents have 4 video games of movie on junior quarterback Ian Guide. In reality, do not be stunned if the Combating Irish’s subsequent few video games look lots like their last-minute escape over Pittsburgh final week. Navy and Northwestern have historically performed them robust, and Florida State has made regular enchancment in current weeks. However because the Irish confirmed in going to the wire with the Panthers, Guide can rescue them in video games after they’re not at their greatest. That hasn’t been true for Notre Dame in fairly some time.
Four. Michigan (7-1, 5-Zero Huge Ten)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Michigan State 21-7What’s subsequent: Open week
Jim Harbaugh adopted up a press release win in opposition to Wisconsin with one other assertion win. Yet one more at Penn State on Nov. Three will certainly quell these critics who puzzled if his large wage and blustery persona have been value it. Will not it? At the least till Ohio State? Regardless, this needed to be one of the vital satisfying victories in current reminiscence for the Wolverines. They held the Spartans to 94 yards of offense, their third-lowest output at school historical past and worst offensive efficiency in 71 years. Plus, Karan Higdon slapped 143 yards on the nation’s top-ranked run protection, and Shea Patterson (212 yards passing, 2 TDs) continued to offer Michigan a dimension it has been missing at quarterback for years. General, the Wolverines backed up Devin Bush’s pregame trash speak in an enormous approach.
5. Oklahoma (6-1, Three-1 Huge 12)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated TCU 52-27What’s subsequent: vs. Kansas State (2:30 p.m. Saturday, Fox)
Saturday was an enormous step towards the Sooners’ reinserting themselves into the playoff race. Coming off a heartbreaking loss to archrival Texas, Oklahoma returned to kind in its dominating highway victory over TCU. Apart from a sluggish near the primary half, Heisman contender Kyler Murray and the Sooners managed the sport from begin to end. And their first recreation underneath new defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill was a powerful success, holding the Frogs to 275 yards and 12 first downs. Oklahoma might need even found out tips on how to change the manufacturing of the injured star working again Rodney Anderson, with each Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon topping 100 yards speeding
Joe Burrow has led LSU to a 7-1 file. Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images6. LSU (7-1, Four-1 SEC)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Mississippi State 19-3What’s subsequent: open week
After wins over Miami, Auburn and Georgia, the narrative was that the Tigers have been much-improved underneath second-year head coach Ed Orgeron. However a middling win over Mississippi State ought to increase questions on how a lot better LSU really is. The identical issues from earlier seasons crept up in opposition to the Bulldogs. Cole Tracy’s 4 area objectives supplied just about the one scoring for the Tigers, who obtained their lone landing following a turnover deep in Bulldogs territory and who have been really outgained 260-240. There isn’t any approach the Tigers survive the same efficiency in opposition to Alabama on Nov. Three, a activity already made harder provided that star linebacker Devin White will miss the primary half of that recreation following a concentrating on name in opposition to Mississippi State.
7. Georgia (6-1, Four-1 SEC)
Week Eight outcome: Open weekWhat’s subsequent: vs. Florida (Three:30 p.m. Saturday, CBS)
How for much longer can Jake Fromm maintain off tremendous freshman Justin Fields? We’ll possible discover out in opposition to the Gators in Jacksonville on Saturday. Florida has a formidable protection not altogether totally different from the one at LSU that pressured Fromm into the worst recreation of his profession (16-of-34, two interceptions, 4 sacks and loads of missed throws). If Fromm will get off to a tough begin, it isn’t arduous to ascertain Kirby Sensible feeling strain to show to Fields. Past that, one other loss would most probably maintain the Bulldogs from making one other journey to the SEC championship recreation. Principally, Fromm and Sensible each have lots driving on these first few possessions in opposition to Florida.
Eight. Ohio State (7-1, Four-1 Huge Ten)
Week Eight outcome: Misplaced to Purdue 49-20What’s subsequent: Open week
It is arduous to know what to make of the Buckeyes’ dramatic collapse at Purdue. Was this merely their annual inexplicable letdown, like final yr’s 31-point loss at Iowa? Was this an indication of a deeper downside on a group that impulsively cannot maintain the run or deal with within the open area? Ohio State will get an opportunity to make up for that mulligan, because it faces the softest portion of its schedule following its bye week (Nebraska, three-loss Michigan State and Maryland) earlier than a sure little recreation up in Ann Arbor. However following an evening when quarterback Dwayne Haskins had virtually as many cross makes an attempt (73) because the Buckeyes had speeding yards (76), City Meyer most likely will not allow them to overlook anybody else down the stretch.
9. Texas (6-1, Four-Zero Huge 12)
Week Eight outcome: Open weekWhat’s subsequent: at Oklahoma State (Eight p.m. Saturday, ABC)
OK, sure, Oklahoma is ranked forward of the Longhorns despite the fact that this was supposedly settled in Dallas a few weeks in the past. However these are energy rankings, not a listing beholden to the transitive property. And if these two groups meet once more, say, within the Huge 12 championship recreation, relaxation assured that the Sooners would be the favourite. All that mentioned, Texas’ bye could not have come at a greater time, because it gave quarterback Sam Ehlinger extra time to get well from the shoulder harm he suffered in opposition to Baylor final week. Experiences out of Austin have been that Ehlinger was throwing once more and may be capable of play on Saturday. Texas will want him whether it is to win in opposition to an Oklahoma State group that’s positive to place up some factors.
10. UCF (7-Zero, Four-Zero American)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated East Carolina 37-10What’s subsequent: Open week
On Saturday, the Knights obtained an prolonged glimpse of life with out McKenzie Milton, who noticed his streak of 27 straight begins finish due to an ankle harm. It wasn’t fairly. Sophomore Darriel Mack Jr. began, and predictably, it took some time for UCF to get right into a rhythm with him on the helm earlier than pulling away to increase its nation-leading win streak to 20 video games. Mack was a lot better on the bottom (120 yards, 1 TD) than he was by way of the air (12-of-20 for 69 yards), and the Knights’ protection pressured 5 turnovers that led to 24 factors. Milton may have the bye week to get wholesome earlier than a Thursday night time battle in opposition to Temple for first place within the American East.
11. Florida (6-1, Four-1 SEC)
Week Eight outcome: Open weekWhat’s subsequent: at Georgia (Three:30 p.m. Saturday, CBS)
Maybe Dan Mullen’s best accomplishment within the first half of his first season in Gainesville is that this: There isn’t any longer any dispute about who the beginning quarterback is. Feleipe Franks definitely hasn’t made anybody neglect about Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel and even Chris Leak. However he has proven modest enchancment from final yr, already throwing extra touchdowns (15) than he did all of final yr (9) and creating a greater really feel for avoiding strain. He is even coming off the very best recreation of his profession within the win over Vanderbilt, going 19-of-29 for 284 yards and two touchdowns. For the Gators to knock off Georgia, he’ll have to be even higher and definitely not a lot worse.
12. Texas A&M (5-2, Three-1 SEC)
Week Eight outcome: Open weekWhat’s subsequent: at Mississippi State (7 p.m. Saturday, ESPN)
It is arduous to think about anybody might’ve anticipated Jimbo Fisher’s first season in Faculty Station going a lot better than it has. A nail-biter in opposition to Clemson and a good displaying in opposition to Alabama are the one blemishes on his file and, hey, these are most likely the 2 greatest groups within the nation. The Aggies eked out three straight shut convention wins — and at present have the nation’s top-rated recruiting class, in line with RecruitingNation. Now Fisher has an opportunity to show there’s been actual enchancment in this system in an upcoming three-game stretch in opposition to SEC West rivals Mississippi State, Auburn and Ole Miss. Win not less than two of these, and possibly these Aggies jokes will lastly be at another person’s expense.
13. Kentucky (6-1, Four-1 SEC)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Vanderbilt 14-7What’s subsequent: at Missouri (Four p.m. Saturday, SEC Community)
Benny Snell Jr. and one of many nation’s stingiest defenses helped the Wildcats rebound from an extra time loss at Texas A&M a few weeks in the past. After Kentucky pressured a fumble within the pink zone early within the fourth quarter, Snell rushed for 74 yards on the game-clinching drive that ended along with his 7-yard landing. The Wildcats pressured one other late fumble to place the sport away, conserving them within the thick of the SEC East race. Snell’s hard-charging 169 yards on 32 carries steadied Kentucky because it struggled to separate from a surprisingly stingy Vanderbilt. It was the sort of bruising, gutsy effort that has typified the change in Lexington, the place the Wildcats appear like contenders for the primary time in current reminiscence.
14. Washington (6-2, Four-1 Pac-12)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Colorado 27-13What’s subsequent: at California (Four:30 p.m. Saturday)
Not surprisingly, the Huskies obtained off to a gradual begin following their heartbreaking extra time loss at Oregon. However they obtained again on observe in opposition to Colorado within the perfunctory model that has been a staple of the Jake Browning period. It was Browning’s 26-yard landing cross on fourth down with fewer than 4 minutes left that lastly put the sport out of attain for the Huskies. Most spectacular was that Browning and Washington needed to do it with out Myles Gaskin, the college’s all-time main rusher who missed a recreation for the primary time in his profession. However they will want him again and wholesome for the season-ending stretch, which incorporates video games in opposition to Stanford and Washington State that’ll possible determine the Pac-12 North champion.
15. Penn State (5-2, 2-2 Huge Ten)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Indiana 33-28What’s subsequent: at Iowa (Three:30 p.m. Saturday)
The hangover from losses to Ohio State and Michigan State virtually doomed the Nittany Lions in Bloomington, which is more and more a tricky place to play for the convention’s heavyweights. Hint McSorley helped Penn State escape with a win, passing for 220 yards, working for 107 and scoring three touchdowns. It was barely sufficient to offset a protection that surrendered 554 yards however managed to create two turnovers on Indiana’s final three possessions. The Nittany Lions will have to be much-improved in subsequent week’s recreation at Iowa, all of a sudden a recreation that appears each bit as formidable as those they’ve already misplaced.
16. Iowa (6-1, Three-1 Huge Ten)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Maryland 23-0What’s subsequent: vs. Penn State (Three:30 p.m. Saturday)
On a day when wind gusts topped 40 mph in Iowa Metropolis, the Hawkeyes took the air out of the sport and caught to bullying Maryland alongside each traces of scrimmage. Iowa held the ball for greater than 40 minutes, holding the Terrapins to simply 115 yards and 7 first downs in its first shutout of a Huge Ten opponent in almost two years. Heading into subsequent week’s showdown in State Faculty, few groups within the nation are taking part in higher than the Hawkeyes, who’ve received their previous three video games by a mean of 21 factors. It is not arduous to think about Iowa persevering with this spectacular run in opposition to Penn State.
17. Washington State (6-1, Three-1 Pac-12)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Oregon 34-20What’s subsequent: at Stanford (7 p.m. Saturday)
This afternoon was a very long time within the making, because the Cougars welcomed presumptive Pac-12 North favourite Oregon and Faculty GameDay to city. However with Mike Leach’s high-powered offense now backed by a salty protection, Washington State made its personal case for the function of division favourite. Whereas the Cougars appeared unstoppable in constructing a 27-point lead within the first half, it was their protection that slowed Justin Herbert and Oregon down the stretch for the win. The Geese wanted drives of 9, 11 and 16 performs to attain within the second half and their final offensive possession ended with three straight incompletions and a sack. Wazzu will want an encore at Stanford, which has misplaced two of its previous three however nonetheless has offensive weapons.
18. West Virginia (5-1, Three-1 Huge 12)
Week Eight outcome: Open weekWhat’s subsequent: vs. Baylor (7 p.m. Thursday, FS1)
The Mountaineers had proven indicators of wobbliness in a closer-than-expected win over Kansas and have been toppled the subsequent week of their hardest take a look at up to now, at Iowa State. Is a bye week sufficient to repair no matter is occurring with the offense, as soon as thought one of many nation’s greatest however held to solely 152 complete yards on 42 performs within the loss at Ames? West Virginia’s protection did not precisely cowl itself in glory, both, surrendering 498 yards to an Iowa State offense led by a real freshman quarterback making his first profession begin. All the Mountaineers’ hardest video games are nonetheless forward of them (at Texas, TCU, at Oklahoma State, OU). They will must determine it out fast.
19. Wisconsin (5-2, Three-1 Huge Ten)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Illinois 49-20What’s subsequent: vs. Northwestern (midday Saturday)
The Badgers might already be out of playoff race, however they’re nonetheless within the thick of the Huge Ten West. The win over Illinois units up an enormous recreation in opposition to Northwestern, which leads the division by a half-game. To win that one, Alex Hornibrook should construct on Saturday’s efficiency following his 100-yard, two-interception debacle at Michigan. Hornibrook went 13-of-22 for 188 yards and was steadier than within the loss at Ann Arbor, however he nonetheless had two interceptions with a 3rd erased by a defensive penalty. A extra promising signal was the Badgers’ protection, which was lacking as many as 5 starters at Michigan. It created 5 turnovers and held the Illini to solely 90 passing yards.
20. Oregon (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12)
Week Eight outcome: Misplaced to Washington State 34-20What’s subsequent: at Arizona (10:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN)
Saturday in Pullman was about as near a scheduled ambush as a group can have. After pulling out an emotional extra time win over longtime nemesis Washington, it ought to’ve been anticipated that the Geese would come out flat. However 27-Zero was merely an excessive amount of of a deficit to get well from. That mentioned, Oregon can discover solace in a gritty second-half comeback that introduced it inside a landing late within the fourth quarter. And dealing with the league’s greatest offense, the Geese pressured two three-and-outs and a punt earlier than surrendering the game-clinching landing. That is one thing to construct on. Two of the league’s weakest groups — Arizona and UCLA — are up subsequent earlier than a highway recreation in opposition to Pac-12 South chief Utah.
21. Utah (5-2, Three-2 Pac-12)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated USC 41-28What’s subsequent: at UCLA (10:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN)
The Utes’ third straight win stamped them as the favourite within the Pac-12 South, virtually by default in a yr when virtually everybody else within the division has been a disappointment. Utah recovered from an early 14-Zero deficit by scoring 34 straight factors, a run punctuated by three landing passes from Tyler Huntley. Most spectacular was a Utes protection that held the Trojans to solely 205 yards, forcing them to sub out true freshman starter JT Daniels for backup Matt Fink. It reeked of a helplessness that was as palpable for USC because it was affirming for Utah. The Utes can full a sweep of the L.A. faculties on the Rose Bowl subsequent week.
22. NC State (5-1, 2-1 ACC)
Week Eight outcome: Misplaced to Clemson 41-7What’s subsequent: at Syracuse (Saturday, ESPN2)
The Wolfpack entered Demise Valley underneath a cloud of suspicion, with an undefeated file constructed an particularly weak nonconference slate — although a recreation in opposition to West Virginia was canceled due to Hurricane Florence — and two ACC wins in opposition to Virginia and Boston Faculty. Saturday clarified the gap between the Wolfpack and Clemson (and it is immense), however they nonetheless ought to be favored in each recreation remaining on their schedule. That is assuming, in fact, that star quarterback Ryan Finley and NC State emerged with their confidence and well being intact in a recreation through which they have been held to fewer than 300 yards and dedicated three turnovers. There isn’t any nice disgrace in shedding to Clemson, however they will need to get well rapidly to outlive Saturday’s highway recreation at Syracuse.
23. Appalachian State (5-1, Three-Zero Solar Belt)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 27-17What’s subsequent: at Georgia Southern (7:30 p.m. Thursday, ESPNU)
Looking back, the Mountaineers’ season-opening loss at Penn State in extra time is trying higher and higher with time. A five-game profitable streak additionally helps their trigger for getting into the Prime 25 for the primary time this season. Saturday’s 10-point victory was their first aggressive recreation after beating the earlier 4 opponents by a mean of 43 factors. Darrynton Evans paced Appalachian State with 183 yards and a landing on 26 carries. There’s possible one other shut recreation forward Thursday night time, when the Mountaineers journey to Georgia Southern for a matchup of groups which can be unbeaten within the Solar Belt East.
24. South Florida (7-Zero, Three-Zero American)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Connecticut 38-30What’s subsequent: at Houston (Three:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC/ESPN2)
It is more and more arduous to place numerous inventory within the Bulls’ unblemished file after one more squeaker previous a one-win group. First USF narrowly pulled out a one-point win at Tulsa, then adopted it up with an unimpressive efficiency in opposition to UConn on Saturday. Regardless of; these Bulls have matched the very best begin at school historical past heading right into a recreation in opposition to Houston — identical as final yr. USF misplaced that recreation in opposition to Houston in 2017. The Bulls enter the rematch with a extra diversified offense, leaning on a speeding assault that features Johnny Ford (164 yards and three TDs on 7 carries), Jordan Cronkrite (103 yards) and even quarterback Blake Barnett (78 yards and a TD). Protection? Which may want some work after the Huskies rolled up 455 yards of offense.
25. Texas Tech (5-2, Three-1 Huge 12)
Week Eight outcome: Defeated Kansas 48-16What’s subsequent: at Iowa State (midday Saturday, ESPN2)
It has been a very long time because the Purple Raiders had a protection value mentioning, however Saturday was the third time in 4 video games they held an opponent to 17 or fewer factors and the primary time they held consecutive convention opponents underneath 20 factors since 2013. However as all the time, Texas Tech’s offense carried the day. True freshman Alan Bowman threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns in his first recreation since struggling collapsed lung three weeks in the past. They will get a stiffer take a look at on Saturday at Ames, the place Iowa State shut down an much more potent West Virginia offense a few weeks in the past.