There are nine remaining undefeated teams in the 2016 college football season after week 8: Two in the Big Ten (Michigan, Nebraska) and Big 12 (Baylor, West Virginia); one in the SEC (Alabama), ACC (Clemson), Pac-12 (Washington), Mountain West conference (Boise State) and MAC (Western Michigan).
Teams that were undefeated going into this week and lost were Ohio State, beaten by Penn State on a late field goal block returned for a touchdown, and Texas A&M, beaten as expected by Alabama at Bryant-Denny stadium. No one is probably going to catch up with Alabama in the SEC West now, but it remains to be seen if the Aggies can try and keep up. How far will the Buckeyes fall from #2? Probably stay in the top 10, but they now have to win out in order to remain in the contest for Big Ten title game, including winning against the undefeated Michigan.
Speaking of the Wolverines, they’re one of two undefeated teams in the Big Ten, and will move up to #2 in the rankings. They beat Illinois 41-8, in another demonstration of Jim Harbaugh’s “cruelty”, calling for a fake punt with his team already up by more than 20. Nebraska remain en route to a west division title, despite not impressing half the time, including in their win over Purdue, looking quite shaky against the Boilermakers in the first half.
In the Big 12, West Virginia seem to set themselves apart from everyone by actually having a defense. They held TCU to just 10 points in Morgantown, and are enjoying their best season since joining the conference, although both Baylor and Oklahoma wait for them a bit further down the road. Baylor, who have to play in Morgantown later this season, didn’t play this week, their next game being on the road against Texas.
Alabama leave themselves as the only undefeated team in the SEC. They beat Texas A&M 33-14 in a game that started out slow, but once again, their depth and overall quality is simply too much to handle, even for good teams. They’re 5-0 in the SEC, with their visit to LSU next week their last true road game of the season, once again completing a season with only four of them.
Clemson didn’t play, remaining the only undefeated team in the ACC, but like Florida State two years ago, are failing to convince most of the time, and don’t seem likely to go all the way, even if they do end up winning the conference.
Washington will move up from #5 after yet another impressive performance by Jake Browning, the #2 on the Heisman list behind Lamar Jackson. Browning and Washington had no problem beating Oregon State 41-17, and their visit to Utah next week is probably their final tricky game until the regular season finale against Washington State.
Boise State avoided being upset by BYU, the team that excels at losing close games this season, winning 28-27 in what was probably the toughest test they’ll face all season. Western Michigan had no problem against Eastern Michigan, and look like a lock to win the MAC for the first time since 1988.