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College Football Rankings Week 8: Bleacher Report's Official Top 25

Jonathan McDanalContributor IIIOctober 13, 2013

College Football Rankings Week 8: Bleacher Report's Official Top 25

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    Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

    Another week of college football, and another week of upsets. Stanford, Georgia and Michigan, among others, were taken down by teams which were thought to be inferior.

    At this point in the season, it's clear that any team can fall on any given week. With that, here is Bleacher Report's Week 8 Top 25 to detail how everything shook out.

     

    Poll voters (in alphabetical order): Chris Bello, Eric Bowman, Carter Bryant, Phil Callihan, Alex Callos, Andrew Coppens, Bill Eichenberger, Michael Felder, Sean Frye, Ben Kercheval, Sanjay Kirpalani, Marc Kohn, Adam Kramer, David Luther, Jonathan McDanal, Max Rausch, David Regimbal, Patrick Runge, Barrett Sallee, Alex Sims, Erin Sorensen, Marc Torrence and Greg Wallace.

    Each voter submitted an individual Top 25, and every first-place team was given 25 points. The second-place team received 24, and so on, with the 25th-place team earning one point. The teams are ranked in order according to total points.

    First-place votes broke the only tie.

     

    *All times are ET

Others Receiving Votes

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    Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

    Michigan Wolverines: 43

    Texas Longhorns: 34

    Auburn Tigers: 33

    Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 29

    Northwestern Wildcats: 23

    Michigan State Spartans: 10

    Utah Utes: 9

    Arizona State Sun Devils: 2

    BYU Cougars: 1

25. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: N/A

    Week 7 Result: Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 6

    Week 8: at Illinois, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m.

    Overall Record: 4-2

    Poll Points: 66

    Wisconsin's win over Northwestern was more impressive than the scoreboard showed. Sure, the score was lopsided in Wisconsin's favor, but the Badgers lost the turnover battle three-to-one. Despite this, they amassed 527 yards to the Wildcats' 241 and returned to the rankings as a result.

    Wisconsin has to take care of the ball, but good luck to the coaches; it's going to be difficult to teach something like that when you've posted a 29-point victory.

24. Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 24

    Week 7 Result: Nebraska 44, Purdue 7

    Week 8: Bye

    Overall Record: 5-1

    Poll Points: 73

    Nebraska gouged Purdue for 435 yards thanks to 21 first downs (11-of-21 on third down). On the other side of the ball, the Huskers defense stood strong and nearly shut the Boilermakers out.

    Despite the win, Huskers fans have to be concerned by the play of backup quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. Taylor Martinez's heir apparent will grow into his position, but he needed fifth-year senior Ron Kellogg III (10-of-13) to bail him out Saturday after starting the game 6-of-18 for 43 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions.

    Nebraska isn't at full health, but the decisive win over Purdue proved that there's enough talent left to contend for the Big Ten.

23. Northern Illinois Huskies

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 23

    Week 7 Result: Northern Illinois 27, Akron 20

    Week 8: at Central Michigan, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 3 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 76

    Northern Illinois learned that Akron is a tough out. The Huskies went 1-of-15 and only won by one possession. This casts a shadow over the Huskies' shot at the BCS. If you're going to get in, you have to obliterate lesser competition.

    The Northern Illinois defense gave up 372 total yards and let the Zips convert nine third downs. This defense is clearly the weakness of the team. The offensive line isn't exactly pulling its weight, either.

    Jordan Lynch went 16-of-35 for 220 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He tacked on a modest 83 rushing yards for one score, but he hasn't looked like a record-setting quarterback this season.

    If the Huskies can control the line of scrimmage, their BCS hopes will be revived.

22. Washington Huskies

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    Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 20

    Week 7 Result: Oregon 45, Washington 24

    Week 8: at Arizona State, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m.

    Overall Record: 4-2

    Poll Points: 81

    Washington lost to Oregon, but it held the Ducks to 45 points (their lowest of the season). The Huskies have competed well with two elite teams in a row, with Stanford being the other.

    There are some dangerous teams left on their schedule, starting with Arizona State in Week 8. They also have games with UCLA, Oregon State and Washington State. 

    In the game against Oregon, Washington logged 376 yards of offense but turned the ball over twice. The Huskies have to control the ball, especially against high-powered, uptempo offenses. 

21. Virginia Tech Hokies

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    Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 25

    Week 7 Result: Virginia Tech 19, Pittsburgh 9

    Week 8: Bye

    Overall Record: 6-1

    Poll Points: 86

    Virginia Tech has figured out college football's worst-kept secret: Win games, and thou shalt be ranked. The Hokies did not beat Pittsburgh in an impressive manner, but they still earned the win.

    The Hokies held Pitt to 4-of-14 on third down, and they gained 105 more total yards than the Panthers. Logan Thomas went 19-of-34 for 239 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. If Thomas continues to play clean football, the Hokies have a legitimate shot at a conference title.

20. Florida Gators

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 16

    Week 7 Result: LSU 17, Florida 6

    Week 8: at Missouri, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 12:21 p.m.

    Overall Record: 4-2

    Poll Points: 106

    The Florida Gators were once again in a defensive battle that they fell short in. The LSU Tigers ran for 175 yards on the ground, and the Gators posted 240 total yards to LSU's 327.

    Quarterback Tyler Murphy is simply not ready to face the elites in the nation yet. That's not a slight to him, as he's a first-year starter who only got on the field because Jeff Driskel went down with an injury. However, he must learn quickly if he wants to salvage a respectable bowl for his team.

19. Oklahoma Sooners

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 11

    Week 7 Result: Texas 36, Oklahoma 20

    Week 8: at Kansas, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-1

    Poll Points: 148

    Oklahoma lost to the unranked Texas Longhorns in Week 7. That likely ruined any national title hopes and put a potential conference title in jeopardy. Oklahoma simply could not find the answer for Case McCoy, nor could it stop Johnathan Gray or Malcolm Brown on the ground. (Each tagged the Sooners for more than 100 yards.)

    Oklahoma had serious problems on third down, converting just 2-of-13. Oklahoma now gets to regroup against the Kansas Jayhawks before taking on two strong teams in Texas Tech and Baylor.

18. Fresno State Bulldogs

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 22

    Week 7 Result: Bye

    Week 8: vs. UNLV, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 10 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-0

    Poll Points: 168

    Fresno State entered its Week 7 bye with the No. 6 scoring offense and No. 100 scoring defense in the nation. Fresno State has allowed over 700 yards on the ground and more than 1,500 through the air this season.

    Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they already won their two toughest games of the season against Rutgers and Boise State. Those weaknesses may not matter.

17. Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 21

    Week 7 Result: Bye

    Week 8: vs. TCU, Saturday, Oct. 19, at noon

    Overall Record: 4-1

    Poll Points: 170

    Oklahoma State rushed out to a 3-0 start this season, but then the Cowboys lost to the West Virginia Mountaineers (3-3) and struggled against the Kansas State Wildcats (2-4). Oklahoma State's season hinges on its upcoming matchup with TCU.

    If the Cowboys can't fix their issues on both sides of the ball (ranked 82nd in rushing offense and 81st in passing defense), then there's no way they will make it past the Horned Frogs, let alone anywhere near the Big 12 crown.

16. Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

    Previous Rank: No. 19

    Week 7 Result: Texas Tech 42, Iowa State 35

    Week 8: at West Virginia, Saturday, Oct. 19, at noon

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 221

    Texas Tech scored an ugly win against the Iowa State Cyclones, but plenty of other teams would gladly trade places with the Red Raiders. Sometimes, college football is a game of last man standing, and Texas Tech is still standing.

    The Red Raiders threw down 666 total yards and 36 first downs in the statistical massacre, but its three turnovers kept Iowa State within striking distance. Ball security must be Texas Tech's primary focus heading into back-to-back road games against West Virginia and Oklahoma.

15. Missouri Tigers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: N/A

    Week 7 Result: Missouri 41, Georgia 26

    Week 8: vs. Florida, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 12:21 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 228

    Missouri earned a lot of respect with its big win over Georgia. Quarterback James Franklin was knocked out of the game (and for the rest of the regular season, according to ESPN) with a shoulder injury, but Missouri rolled on without him. The Tigers scored quickly off a double-pass and continued to run the ball well, taking pressure off backup signal-caller Maty Mauk.

    Mauk attempted just three passes for 23 yards. The Tigers rushed 37 times for 142 yards and three scores, and their defense forced four turnovers.

    Mizzou legitimized itself against the Bulldogs, but the hype machine won't be at full power until Mauk proves himself against Florida in Week 8.

14. Georgia Bulldogs

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 7

    Week 7 Result: Missouri 41, Georgia 26

    Week 8: at Vanderbilt, Saturday, Oct. 19, at noon

    Overall Record: 4-2

    Poll Points: 235

    Georgia could not overcome all of its injuries at home against Missouri. The Dawgs are missing 15 players, including Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall—their two best running backs.

    Luckily for Georgia, the toughest part of its season is in the rear-view mirror, and only Florida and Auburn should pose legitimate challenges moving forward. 

13. Stanford Cardinal

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    Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 4

    Week 7 Result: Utah 27, Stanford 21

    Week 8: vs. UCLA, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-1

    Poll Points: 312

    Stanford went nearly 45 minutes between scores against the Utah Utes. The Cardinal didn't have much of an issue keeping the Utes out of the end zone, but Stanford's offense was inept when it mattered most. 

    Stanford fumbled twice, which killed two third-quarter drives before they could really get started. Ultimately, ball security crushed the Cardinal.

12. Miami Hurricanes

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 15

    Week 7 Result: Bye

    Week 8: at UNC, Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-0

    Poll Points: 335

    Miami has navigated its schedule so far with success, winning by at least five points over everyone, including the Florida Gators. The Hurricanes gain nearly 500 yards of total offense per game for 45.2 points, and the defense has held its opponents to the tune of just 16 points per game.

    Miami faces UNC and Wake Forest before traveling to Florida State for the biggest game of its season. The Hurricanes must remain focused in order to have a shot at the national title, but it's going to be an entertaining few weeks regardless.

11. South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 14

    Week 7 Result: South Carolina 52, Arkansas 7

    Week 8: at Tennessee, Saturday, Oct. 19, at noon

    Overall Record: 5-1

    Poll Points: 339

    South Carolina obliterated the Arkansas Razorbacks in Week 7. Even Steve Spurrier felt bad for the Hogs. The Gamecocks defense finally stopped someone, and it held Arkansas to its lowest point total of the season.

    South Carolina racked up 277 rushing yards, 260 passing yards and a 43:25 time of possession. The season finale with Clemson will be a must-see game. 

10. Baylor Bears

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    Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 13

    Week 7 Result: Baylor 35, Kansas State 25

    Week 8: vs. Iowa State, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-0

    Poll Points: 359

    Kansas State held Baylor short of the 69-point mark for the first time this season. Baylor even had to play from behind in the fourth quarter (also a first this season), and it came up big with 14 points.

    The Bears gained 446 total yards but allowed 445. Nobody is questioning Baylor's elite status on offense, but its defense has to improve for it to sniff the Top Five.

    Specifically, it has to get better against the run. Kansas State owned the line of scrimmage, rushing for 327 yards in the game. If Baylor can't stop the run, it won't make it through the season undefeated.

9. UCLA Bruins

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 12

    Week 7 Result: UCLA 37, California 10

    Week 8: at Stanford, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-0

    Poll Points: 384

    UCLA pushed California to 1-5 on the season with its Week 7 beatdown of the Bears. The Bruins racked up 488 total yards, although 410 of those came through the air, leaving a clear imbalance in the run-pass ratio.

    The Bruins have to find their ground game to secure elite status. Jim Mora will need to be able to move the ball on the ground when he matches up against a tight secondary, such as Washington's or Oregon's (ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the Pac-12).

8. Texas A&M Aggies

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    Previous Rank: No. 9

    Week 7 Result: Texas A&M 41, Ole Miss 38

    Week 8: vs. Auburn, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-1

    Poll Points: 412

    Texas A&M survived against Ole Miss with a last-second field goal. The Aggies struggled to defend their airspace, and the Rebels exploited that for 329 yards. It was actually a low-scoring game through three quarters; the score was 21-17 heading into the fourth.

    However, the defenses gave out, and the teams combined for five touchdowns and two field goals in the final 15 minutes. Texas A&M's weakness continues to be on defense, although the Aggies offense took a while to get going as well. 

7. Louisville Cardinals

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    Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 8

    Week 7 Result: Louisville 24, Rutgers 10

    Week 8: vs. UCF, Friday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 424

    Louisville is winning relatively close games against what should be inferior competition. The Cardinals beat Temple by 23, and the Owls are ranked 141st by Jeff Sagarin's college football ratings.

    Next, they beat Rutgers by 14 after the Scarlet Knights held them to just seven points in the second half. Winning is not enough for Louisville. It has the No. 140 strength of schedule, and it will need more emphatic wins going forward. 

     

6. LSU Tigers

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 10

    Week 7 Result: LSU 17, Florida 6

    Week 8: at Ole Miss, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-1

    Poll Points: 431

    LSU waged a defensive war with the Florida Gators to score its Week 7 win. The defenses locked down the passing games, and the winner was the team that won on the ground.

    Enter Jeremy Hill, who rushed for 121 of LSU's 175 yards on the ground. He was the difference in this game despite not scoring any touchdowns.

    LSU hits the road to face Ole Miss in Week 8, but Zach Mettenberger will likely need to complete more than nine passes (9-of-17 for 152 yards against Florida). 

5. Florida State Seminoles

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    Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 6

    Week 7 Result: Bye

    Week 8: at Clemson, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-0

    Poll Points: 478

    Florida State took its second bye of the season in Week 7. The Seminoles have impressed through the first half of the season, but their final seven games will be tougher. 

    It starts off with Clemson, NC State and Miami, and it finishes with Wake Forest, Syracuse, Idaho and Florida. Clemson, Miami and Florida will all be tough outs, and it would be nothing short of remarkable if FSU can win all three. 

4. Clemson Tigers

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    Tyler Smith/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 3

    Week 7 Result: Clemson 24, Boston College 14

    Week 8: vs. Florida State, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 515

    Clemson's Week 7 win was ugly, and turning the ball over twice didn't help. The Tigers racked up 496 yards of total offense, but they were never able to put the game out of reach. 

    Statistically, Clemson controlled the game, although Boston College won the time-of-possession battle (31:21 to 28:39). Tajh Boyd went 30-of-44 for 334 yards, although he only managed one touchdown through the air. 

    Florida State will certainly hope Clemson doesn't step its game up in Week 8. 

     

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 5

    Week 7 Result: Bye

    Week 8: vs. Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 515 (1)

    Ohio State scores 46.8 points per game, and it allows 19.2, which isn't as low as some top teams. The Buckeyes faced Jared Goff and the California Golden Bears a few weeks ago, and they followed it up with back-to-back games against ranked Wisconsin and Northwestern.

    The Buckeyes win, and that by itself will keep them in the hunt for the crystal football. Style points certainly wouldn't hurt, but consistently solid play and a giant zero in the loss column has worked. 

2. Oregon Ducks

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 2

    Week 7 Result: Oregon 45, Washington 24

    Week 8: vs. Washington State, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 10 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 551 (5)

    Oregon started slowly against the Washington Huskies but rallied to a 21-7 halftime lead. The Ducks were statistically sound, accumulating 631 total yards with zero turnovers. The Huskies are a quality team who had nearly knocked off then-No. 5 Stanford the week before this game.

    Oregon scored fewer points than usual, but it tagged Washington for 14 points more than any other team this season. The Ducks beefed up their resume against Washington, and they are still on track for the BCS title game.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Previous Rank: No. 1

    Week 7 Result: Alabama 48, Kentucky 7

    Week 8: vs. Arkansas, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 568 (17)

    Alabama dealt Kentucky its worst loss of the season. The Tide tallied 668 total yards and held Kentucky to just 76 passing and 94 rushing yards. Despite that dominance on paper, Alabama started with a punt followed by two straight fumbles.

    The Tide rallied with 24 points in the second quarter alone, and the game was never in jeopardy. It wasn't the cleanest win, but Alabama still finds itself at No. 1. 

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