The losses of Florida State and Utah in week 8 means we’re left with 12 undefeated teams in the 2015 college football season. Three in the Big Ten (Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa), one in the SEC (LSU), three in the Big 12 (TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma State), one in the ACC (Clemson), three in the American conference (Memphis, Houston, Temple) and one in the MAC (Toledo).
Florida State haven’t lost a regular season game since 2012, but turns out that in Atlanta, against a disappointing Georgia Tech team that’s on the back of five consecutive losses, their streak ended. A blocked field goal turned into a touchdown returns and sparked the celebrations for the Yellow Jackets, who were ranked in preseason, tabbed as the team to once again try and disrupt Clemson or the Seminoles. They’re not going to play in the championship game (probably), but they might have ruined it for Florida State after a long run of dominance in the conference. Also, that number 9 ranking is going to turn into double digits.
Utah, for some unexplained reason, were the underdogs going by betting services heading into a road game in Southern California against USC. A 3-3 Trojan team. And yet Utah did look like the worse team in the loss, with Travis Wilson throwing four interceptions and leaving the Pac-12 without an undefeated team. Even worse, USC putting themselves back in the picture of winning the Pac-12 South might lead to the Pac-12 not having a team in the College Football Playoff, although one loss (Stanford also have one loss and are in the top 10) doesn’t rule out anyone.
As for the business as usual, Ohio State will probably get some number one votes they lost back going their way. They beat Rutgers 49-7 to improve to 8-0, and going with J.T. Barrett, who keeps scoring multiple touchdowns by arm and legs (five combined this time) is paying off, moving undisturbed towards their undefeated showdown with Michigan State.
The Spartans were number 7 before the week and will move up thanks to Utah losing and possibly TCU not playing. But once again, this time in a 26-point win over Indiana, it took them three quarters to shake off a far inferior team. They barely escaped Michigan and have been looking less than special since their win over Oregon, who have turned out to be a lot weaker than anyone imagined.
LSU keep on running over everyone in their way, this time against Western Kentucky, with Brandon Harris looking better and better with every game that goes by. Leonard Fournette running for 150 yards or more and getting into the end zone at least once a game is a given. Having played five games at home out of their seven so far hasn’t hurt either, as they’ll move to the number 4 or number 3 spot in the rankings.
Clemson will also move into the top 5 while grabbing the ACC by the horns as they get closer to their annual showdown with Florida State finally with some sort of pre-existing advantage. The Tigers produced the most impressive win of the weekend, 58-0 in Miami. Considering how difficult it was for the Seminoles to put away Miami in Tallahassee, it’s safe to say Clemson are right to think they’re the best team in the conference, and a legitimate contender to make the CFP.
While TCU didn’t play, Baylor and Oklahoma State abused two of the worst teams in their conference, Iowa State and Kansas. The Jayhawks are still without a win, just like UCF, North Texas and New Mexico State. The Cyclones actually got some points on the board against Baylor, but it happened only after the Bears took a 35-0 lead. The injury to Seth Russell, the starting quarterback, could turn out to be a serious twist in the plot of the Big 12 season.
And there are the four teams that won’t be in the playoff, regardless of what happens. Toledo struggled against UMass, Temple had a hard time against East Carolina, Memphis and Houston had a much easier time in their games. None of them will move up too much in the rankings or drop because of not playing well, but it’s hard seeing any of the four making it past the top 15, maybe getting closer to the top 10 eventually, but that’s it.
And those that will be leaving the rankings? California losing to an unranked UCLA will probably mean an end for their rare run (in recent years at least) in the top 25. Texas A&M lost for a second game in a row, and the only thing working for them is that both losses were against ranked SEC teams, and pollsters always forgive teams playing in the SEC.