Most of the top-ranked teams in action in Week 8 held serve, a departure from weeks past in this wild college football season. That left this week's Amway Coaches Poll closely resembling last week's edition, with a few key changes.
Below, we'll take a look at those rankings and analyze the past week of action.
2. Penn State
6. Ohio State
10. Notre Dame
12. Oklahoma State
13. Virginia Tech
14. South Florida
15. North Carolina State
16. Washington State
18. Michigan State
22. West Virginia
24. Texas A&M
After a Week 7 full of shocking upsets, Week 8 offered fewer surprises.
Alabama smoked Tennessee. TCU rolled Kansas. Wisconsin was never bothered by Maryland. Even the day's two most intriguing matchups—Michigan at Penn State and USC at Notre Dame—were blowouts.
The No. 2 Nittany Lions justified their ranking Saturday night, hammering a solid Wolverines team 42-13. Heisman Trophy hopeful Saquon Barkley didn't disappoint, accumulating 161 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns.
"Obviously we knew they were very aggressive," he said of the Michigan defense, per the Associated Press. "They're a great defense, got a great defensive coordinator. Sometimes it seems like a heavyweight fight. They're going to get some, and we're going to get ours. When you got your opportunity, you got to score."
It's fair to say Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley (282 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception; 76 rushing yards, three touchdowns) provided the knockout punch.
Saturday's matchup was also a reminder that Penn State possess one of the most dangerous offenses in college football.
"When you have an explosive offense like we do and you're playing really good first-quarter defense and you can get a lead, it changes how people have to play," head coach James Franklin told the AP. "So we play with an aggressive mindset and an aggressive mentality in all three phases, and it's working out pretty good for us right now."
While the Big Ten power continued to trend upward, the team that beat it with a final-snap field goal in last season's Rose Bowl, USC, continued its descent. The Trojans visited the Fighting Irish still on the fringes of the playoff picture.
After Saturday's 49-14 drubbing, however, those dreams are likely dead.
"Got a sad football team in there right now," head coach Clay Helton sad, according to the AP. "We'll live and learn from this."
Notre Dame, on the other hand, remained in the playoff conversation and jumped six spots to No. 10 in the poll. While the six undefeated squads in the Top 10 still control their seasons, teams like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma, among others, are lurking with just one loss.
And there are no shortage of important matchups this week, including the aforementioned Buckeyes hosting the Nittany Lions. Add in Oklahoma State at West Virginia, TCU at Iowa State and North Carolina State at Notre Dame, and Week 9 should play a major part in determining this year's postseason.
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