AP College Football Poll 2016: Week 8 Rankings Unveiled for Top 25 Teams

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2016

Oct 15, 2016; Madison, WI, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) rushes with the football as Wisconsin Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt (42) dives from behind during the fourth quarter at Camp Randall Stadium.  Ohio State won 30-23.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State needed overtime to get it done. Alabama...did not. Regardless of their methods, the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide remain the cream of college football's crop in the latest Associated Press poll.

Alabama sits unimpeded at the top for the eighth straight week, while Ohio State remains in second. Michigan, Clemson and Washington round out a Top Five that's unchanged from last week.

Here is a look at how the rankings played out:

If there were any lingering questions about Alabama's status as a world-beater, the Crimson Tide answered them Saturday. They never trailed in a 49-10 drubbing of ninth-ranked Tennessee. It's the second straight game Alabama has hung 49 on a ranked opponent while playing away from Tuscaloosa.

Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters he was proud of his team:

We said we wanted a complete game, and we certainly did that. We wanted to make sure that the other team did not gain any momentum in the game and that we wanted to play 60 minutes in the game, and we obviously did that. I think the defense played outstanding, and our ability to run the ball for more than 400 yards took a lot of time off the clock and kept them off the field.

I think our guys just did a really, really good job, and this is as proud of our team as I've been all year long.

Things were not as easy for Ohio State or Clemson, which each needed overtime to stay undefeated. The Buckeyes spent most of their night trying to claw back on the road against Wisconsin, trailing by 10 at halftime before outscoring the Badgers 17-7 in the second half. A Tyler Durbin field goal with less than four minutes remaining tied the score, and Noah Brown's seven-yard touchdown reception proved to be the game-winning score in the extra session.

Wisconsin's game-tying drive ended on a sack on 4th-and-goal from the 4-yard line.

Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett accounted for three touchdowns and 318 total yards in the win.

"J.T. Barrett I thought was outstand—was not outstanding, but he's one of the toughest cats I've ever been around," Urban Meyer told reporters. "I know who I want behind center in those kind of environments. It's J.T. Barrett."

Clemson needed a three-touchdown performance from its star quarterback as well, going to overtime in a 24-17 triumph over unranked N.C. State. Deshaun Watson threw for 378 yards and two touchdowns while adding a scoring scamper on the ground in a hard-fought battle that was closer than anyone expected. The Tigers were held to just three yards per attempt on the ground, and Watson didn't complete a pass longer than 29 yards.

It was the Clemson defense that came through, picking off Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley twice and keeping the NC State offense at bay despite four turnovers from the Tigers offense. Clemson was also the recipient of some good luck, including a missed 33-yard field goal as regulation expired. Wolfpack kicker Kyle Bambard missed three of his four field-goal attempts in a nightmare afternoon.

"I kind of looked up and I saw it started to sail, then I closed my eyes because I couldn't believe it was actually happening," Clemson defensive end Christian Wilkins said of Bambard's miss, per the AP's Pete Iacobelli. "I waited for the crowd to cheer. They messed up because they gave us another chance."

Notable results elsewhere were few and far between. The biggest upset from Saturday was unranked Syracuse's taking down No. 17 Virginia Tech. The Orange were 2-4 coming into the game and facing a Hokies squad that was coming off a dominant win at North Carolina.

The Tar Heels got back to their winning ways with a 20-13 win over No. 16 Miami. The Hurricanes have lost two straight ACC games by one score.

North Carolina moves back into the rankings at No. 22, while LSU enters at No. 25.


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