College Football Rankings 2014: Power Ranking All 128 Teams for Week 8

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2014

College Football Rankings 2014: Power Ranking All 128 Teams for Week 8

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    Another week, another round of major movement in the power rankings.

    With four more unbeaten teams losing for the first time and several matchups between highly-rated opponents during Week 7, there was plenty of shuffling that resulted near the top of the rankings. And with another big-time clash between Florida State and Notre Dame on the docket for this coming weekend, shifting is expected once again.

    The Bleacher Report power rankings are comprised of an average of five ratings: The Associated Press media and Amway coaches polls, Bleacher Report's Top 25, ratings guru Jeff Sagarin's computer ratings and my personal ranking.

    Take a look at how the 128 FBS teams are ranked heading into Week 8 and then give us your take in the comments section.

Nos. 128-91

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    For teams at the bottom of FBS, there's no such thing as a bad win. Just ask Tulane, which slugged its way through a 12-3 home win over Connecticut to win its first American Athletic Conference game. Quarterback Nick Montana, the son of NFL great Joe Montana, threw for 135 yards and a touchdown for the Green Wave. 

    For UTSA, its 16-13 home win over Florida International ended a four-game losing streak. Sean Ianno kicked three field goals for the Roadrunners, including two in the final 1:54 with the game-winning 39-yard kick sailing through as time expired. 

    • 128. Georgia State (1-5)
    • 127. Eastern Michigan (2-4). The Eagles won just their third Mid-American Conference game in the past 20, downing visiting Buffalo 37-27. Freshman Reginald Bell Jr. ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns and added 144 passing yards and a TD. 
    • 126. Kent State (0-6)
    • 125. Idaho (0-6)
    • 124. New Mexico State (2-5)
    • 123. Appalachian State (1-5)
    • 122. Miami, Ohio (1-6)
    • 121. Massachusetts (1-6)
    • 120. Connecticut (1-5)
    • 118. (tie) Troy (1-5). The Trojans beat visiting New Mexico State 41-24 in their first game since longtime coach Larry Blakeney announced his retirement after the season, his 24th. Troy ran for 360 yards, including 176 from Brandon Burks. 
    • 118. (tie) SMU (0-5)
    • 117. UNLV (2-5)
    • 116. Tulsa (1-5)
    • 115. Southern Mississippi (2-4)
    • 114. Old Dominion (3-4)
    • 111. (tie) New Mexico (2-4)
    • 111. (tie) Buffalo (3-4)
    • 111. (tie) Army (2-4)
    • 110. Ohio (3-4)
    • 109. Tulane (2-4)
    • 106. (tie) UTEP (3-3)
    • 106. (tie) Florida Atlantic (2-4)
    • 106. (tie) Ball State (1-5)
    • 105. Wake Forest (2-4)
    • 104. Louisiana-Monroe (3-3)
    • 103. Florida International (3-4)
    • 102. Texas State (3-2)
    • 101. Louisiana-Lafayatte (2-3)
    • 99. (tie) Kansas (2-4)
    • 99. (tie) Hawaii (2-4)
    • 98. Western Michigan (3-3)
    • 97. North Texas (2-4)
    • 96. Vanderbilt (2-5)
    • 95. South Florida (2-4)
    • 94. UTSA (2-4)
    • 93. South Alabama (3-2)
    • 92. Illinois (3-4)
    • 91. Central Michigan (4-3). The Chippewas pulled off a shocking 34-17 win at Northern Illinois, the first team to beat NIU in Dekalb since 2008. Thomas Rawls ran for 270 yards and two touchdowns, while Cooper Rush threw for 269 yards and two TDs. 

Nos. 90-61

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    Houston's change at quarterback paid off, as Greg Ward Jr. threw for 168 yards and a touchdown and added 95 rushing yards with a score in the Cougars' 28-24 win at Memphis in American Athletic Conference action. Ward's 25-yard TD pass to Markeith Ambles early in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference. 

    • 89. (tie) Wyoming (3-3)
    • 89. (tie) San Jose State (2-3)
    • 88. Air Force (4-2)
    • 87. Navy (3-4)
    • 86. Fresno State (3-4)
    • 85. Colorado (2-4)
    • 84. Purdue (3-4)
    • 83. Western Kentucky (2-3)
    • 82. UAB (4-2). The Blazers have matched their highest win total since 2010 following a 56-21 home win over North Texas. UAB scored three defensive touchdowns and got 316 passing yards and two TDs from Cody Clement. 
    • 81. San Diego State (3-3)
    • 80. Bowling Green (5-2)
    • 79. Nevada (3-3)
    • 78. Washington State (2-5)
    • 75. (tie) Rice (3-3)
    • 75. (tie) Northern Illinois (4-2)
    • 75. (tie) Akron (4-2)
    • 74. Texas Tech (2-4)
    • 73. Georgia Southern (5-2). The Eagles continue to dominate Sun Belt opponents in their first season of FBS play, rushing for 349 yards in a 47-24 home win over Idaho. Matt Breida led the charge with 155 on the ground. 
    • 72. Middle Tennessee (4-3)
    • 71. North Carolina (2-4)
    • 70. North Carolina State (4-3)
    • 68. (tie) Syracuse (2-4)
    • 68. (tie) Louisiana Tech (3-3)
    • 67. Michigan (3-4)
    • 66. Cincinnati (2-3)
    • 65. Toledo (4-3)
    • 64. Iowa State (2-4). The Cyclones won their first home game of the season, getting a career-high 351 passing yards from Sam B. Richardson in a 37-30 nonconference win over Toledo. 
    • 63. Indiana (3-3)
    • 62. Houston (3-3)
    • 61. Texas (2-4)

Nos. 60-51

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    Utah State got 22 tackles, including eight for loss, from linebacker Zach Vigil, in a 34-16 home win over Air Force in Mountain West play. Vigil's brother, Nick, added an 8-yard touchdown run while quarterback Darrel Garretson threw for 298 yards and two TDs and also ran for a score. 

    • 60. California (4-2)
    • 59. Pittsburgh (3-3)
    • 58. Arkansas State (4-2)
    • 57. Penn State (4-2)
    • 56. Northwestern (3-3)
    • 53. (tie) Utah State (4-2)
    • 53. (tie) Boston College (4-2)
    • 53. (tie) Boise State (4-2)
    • 52. Miami, Florida (4-3). The Hurricanes got 100-yard rushing performances from two players for the first time since 2003 in a 55-34 nonconference home win over Cincinnati. Duke Johnson ran for 162 yards on just 10 carries, while Joseph Yearby ran for 113 yards on only eight rushes. 
    • 51. Memphis (3-3)

50. UCF Knights

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    Average rating: 47.5

    Week 7 result: Won 31-24 vs. BYU (OT)

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Tulane

    UCF (3-2, 1-0 American) rallied from a 24-10 deficit to force overtime, then after William Stanback caught a touchdown pass the Knights' defense prevented a tying score.

    It was UCF's third straight win and came thanks to Justin Holman's 326 passing yards and two touchdowns. Holman also ran for a TD, as did Stanback, who only had 44 rushing yards on 22 carries.

49. Temple Owls

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    Average rating: 46.5

    Week 7 result: Won 35-24 vs. Tulsa

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 17 at Houston

    Temple (4-1, 2-0 American) got two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from P.J. Walker to erase a 24-21 deficit as the Owls won their third straight game and doubled their win total from a year ago.

    Walker threw for 294 yards and also ran for a score, while Jahad Thomas had 152 rushing yards on 14 carries. Both Jalen Fitzpatrick and Jamie Gilmore each had more than 100 receiving yards.

48. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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    Average rating: 46.13

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Ohio State

    Rutgers (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten) plays its first conference road game in its new conference, with the trip to Ohio State serving as a major barometer for how good the Scarlet Knights really are.

    Gary Nova has had a career year to this start, throwing for 1,601 yards and 13 touchdowns. Leonte Carroo has been the top target with 548 yards and five TDs, and the Scarlet Knights have so far been able to overcome the loss of running back Paul James to a season-ending injury.

47. Maryland Terrapins

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    Average rating: 46.0

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Iowa

    Maryland (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) were off last week, a chance to regroup after getting blown out at home by Ohio State in its last game. Now the Terrapins host West Division hopeful Iowa but will need to avoid throwing interceptions like the four they had against Ohio State.

    C.J. Brown and Caleb Rowe have combined for 1,556 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, with Brown also serving as Maryland's leading rusher with 263 yards and five TD runs.

46. Colorado State Rams

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    Average rating: 45.88

    Week 7 result: Won 31-24 at Nevada

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Utah State

    Colorado State (5-1, 1-1 Mountain West) jumped out to leads of 17-0 and 31-3 in the key road victory ahead of next week's big conference clash with rising Utah State.

    Garrett Grayson threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns, with Rashard Higgins catching 10 passes for 194 yards and two scores. Dee Hart added 90 rushing yards and a TD.

45. Virginia Cavaliers

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    Average rating: 43.0

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Duke

    Virginia (4-2, 2-0 ACC) is alone atop the ACC's Coastal Division as the only team yet to lose in conference play, but now the Cavaliers hit the road to face one of the four teams only one game behind then in the loss column.

    The Cavaliers have already doubled last season's win total mostly because of their defense, which is 27th in the country in yards allowed. They have given up 23 or fewer points in four of six games.

43. (tie) Oregon State Beavers

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    Average rating: 41.0

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 16 vs. Utah

    Oregon State (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) plays its first conference home game after splitting a pair of road tilts to begin the Pac-12 slate.

    The Beavers sit 82nd in total offense, with Sean Mannion's 1,304 passing yards far below his pace of last season when he threw for 4,662 yards. Instead, OSU is running it much better, averaging 132.4 yards per game led by Terron Ward and Storm Woods.

43. (tie) BYU Cougars

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    Average rating: 41.0

    Week 7 result: Lost 31-24 at UCF (OT)

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Nevada

    BYU (4-2) blew a 24-10 lead midway through the third quarter, falling in overtime despite forcing four turnovers.

    The Cougars got three passing touchdowns from Christian Stewart, making his first start in place of injured quarterback Taysom Hill. Devin Mahina caught two TD passes, but BYU allowed 326 passing yards to Justin Holman and couldn't score in OT after host UCF took the lead on its possession.

42. Missouri Tigers

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    Average rating: 39.13

    Week 7 result: Lost 34-0 vs. Georgia

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Florida

    Missouri (4-2, 1-1 SEC) lost its second straight home game, getting shut out for the first time since 2002 and falling back into the pack in the East Division.

    The Tigers had only 147 yards of offense and were plagued by five turnovers, with quarterback Maty Mauk throwing four interceptions. Missouri was 0-for-7 on third downs, and only ran for 50 yards while giving up 143 rushing yards to Georgia freshman Nick Chubb.

41. Tennessee Volunteers

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    Average rating: 39.0

    Week 7 result: Won 45-10 vs. Chattanooga

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Ole Miss

    Tennessee (3-3, 0-2 SEC) got three passing touchdowns and two rushing scores from Justin Worley in the Volunteers' final nonconference game.

    Worley threw for 198 yards and completed 19-of-24 passes, while Johnathon Johnson catching two of his TD throws. Tennessee's defense held Chattanooga to 201 yards and forced three turnovers.

40. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    Average rating: 36.9

    Week 7 result: Lost 31-25 vs. Duke

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at North Carolina

    Georgia Tech (5-1, 2-1 ACC) committed three turnovers in losing for the first time, and in doing so fell out of first place in the ACC's Coastal Division.

    The Yellow Jackets ran for 282 yards, including 119 from quarterback Justin Thomas, but Thomas was benched after throwing two interceptions. Backup Tim Bylerly led a late comeback after down 31-12, rushing for two TDs and adding 125 yards, but Tech couldn't get the go-ahead score.

39. Florida Gators

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    Average rating: 36.0

    Week 7 result: Lost 30-27 vs. LSU

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Missouri

    Florida (3-2, 2-2 SEC) squandered a 10-point first-half lead, losing on a 50-yard field goal with three seconds left after Jeff Driskel was intercepted in the final minute.

    Driskel committed all three of the Gators' turnovers, playing the whole game with freshman Treon Harris unavailable after being suspended for most of the week while the school investigated allegations of sexual assault that were later withdrawn. Driskel was 14-of-25 for 183 yards and a touchdown and he ran for 71 yards and a score.

    Andre Dubose returned a punt 62 yards for a TD in the first quarter, while Demarcus Robinson had five catches for 104 yards and a TD.

37. (tie) South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Average rating: 35.75

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Furman

    South Carolina (3-3, 2-3 SEC) had last week off and now returns to action against a nonconference opponent, a chance to tinker with things after reaching three losses earlier than in any season since 2005.

    The Gamecocks have been outscored 210-205 this season, losing their last two games by eight points. Quarterback Dylan Thompson has thrown for 1,577 yards and 13 touchdowns, while Mike Davis has rushed for 551 yards and six scores.

37. (tie) Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Average rating: 35.75

    Week 7 result: Lost 14-13 vs. Alabama

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Georgia

    Arkansas (3-3, 0-3 SEC) had another shot after pulling out a signature win, something it hasn't done yet under coach Bret Bielema, but instead lost its 15th straight SEC game because of a blocked extra point and a late interception.

    The Razorbacks led 13-7 entering the fourth quarter, but after falling behind couldn't get another score. Brandon Allen threw for 246 yards, but his late interception prevented a comeback. Allen had to throw 40 times, far more than planned, because Arkansas' run game was held to just 89 yards after averaging 316.6 yards per game on the ground coming in.

36. Virginia Tech Hokies

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    Average rating: 35.5

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 16 at Pittsburgh

    Virginia Tech (4-2, 1-1 ACC) has won two straight and is coming off a bye ahead of its second consecutive ACC road game. The Hokies are one of four teams trailing Virginia in the conference's Coastal Division with one loss apiece, including Thursday opponent Pittsburgh.

    The Hokies have gotten 1,409 passing yards and 10 touchdowns from quarterback Michael Brewer, but he's also been intercepted 11 times including at least once in every game.

35. Kentucky Wildcats

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    Average rating: 34.7

    Week 7 result: Won 48-14 vs. Louisiana-Monroe

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at LSU

    Kentucky (5-1, 2-1 SEC) shook off an early 14-3 deficit to roll past Louisiana-Monroe of the Sun Belt, getting two touchdown catches from Javess Blue and a pair of defensive scores.

    Blue had an 83-yard TD catch as part of his 109 receiving yards, while Patrick Towles threw for 216 yards and three TDs. Stanley Williams added 104 rushing yards and a TD for the Wildcats.

    The defense held ULM to 264 yards, with Josh Forrest and Marcus McWilson each returning interceptions for touchdowns.

34. Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Average rating: 33.9

    Week 7 result: Won 45-29 vs. Indiana

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Maryland

    Iowa (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) scored a season high in points in a shootout win over visiting Indiana, getting three first-half touchdowns of 35 or more yards.

    The Hawkeyes got 210 passing yards and two TDs from quarterback Jake Rudock, while Mark Weisman had two short rushing scores in the second half. They allowed a season-high 29 points, though, and gave up 210 rushing yards to Indiana's Tevin Coleman.

33. Louisville Cardinals

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    Average rating: 33.88

    Week 7 result: Lost 23-17 at Clemson

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. North Carolina State

    Louisville (5-2, 3-2 ACC) was stuffed on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line with 21 seconds left, a fitting end to a defensive struggle.

    The Cardinals managed only 264 yards and held Clemson to just 229 and no offensive touchdowns, but allowed scores on a punt return and a fumble in the end zone. Louisville ran for only 47 yards, and Reggie Bonnafon was replaced at quarterback by Will Gardner.

32. West Virginia Mountaineers

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    Average rating: 32.3

    Week 7 result: Won 37-34

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Baylor

    West Virginia (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) won its second road game this season on a last-second field goal, with Josh Lambert drilling a 55-yard kick as time expired to win at Texas Tech.

    Lambert, who had a game-winning kick at Maryland last month, missed a shorter field goal earlier in the game but was perfect on that final attempt. It was part of a 17-0 run for the Mountaineers in the final six minutes.

    Clint Trickett threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, while Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell each ran for more than 100 yards.

31. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Average rating: 32.1

    Week 7 result: Won 38-28 vs. Illinois

    Week 8 matchup: Bye

    Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) grinded out 401 rushing yards and scored 31 straight point after falling behind 14-7 at home to Illinois.

    Melvin Gordon had 175 rushing yards and four touchdowns while Corey Clement ran for 164 yards and a TD on 13 carries. That made up for only 97 yards from Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy on 10-of-18 passing.

    The Badgers' defense held Illinois to 288 yards, giving up two late touchdowns to make the score closer.

30. Washington Huskies

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    Average rating: 31.9

    Week 7 result: Won 31-7 at California

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Oregon

    Washington (5-1, 1-1 Pac-12) forced three turnovers and held down a California offense that had scored 165 points in its last three games.

    The Huskies got 273 yards and three touchdowns on 22-of-29 passing from Cyler Miles, who threw an 86-yard TD pass to John Ross for a 28-0 halftime lead. Washington's first TD came on a fumble return score by linebacker Shaq Thompson, who has four defensive scores as well as a rushing TD this season.

29. Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Average rating: 31.5

    Week 7 result: Won 24-17 vs. Northwestern

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Purdue

    Minnesota (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) got a 100-yard kickoff return from Jalen Myrick midway through the fourth quarter to break a 17-17 tie, while quarterback Mitch Leidner had two short touchdown runs.

    The Golden Gophers only gained 274 yards, with Leidner having 184 of that and David Cobb adding 97 rushing yards on 30 carries.

    Minnesota is off to its first 2-0 start in the Big Ten since 2004.

28. Duke Blue Devils

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    Average rating: 29.9

    Week 7 result: Won 31-25 at Georgia Tech

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Virginia

    Duke (5-1, 1-1 ACC) scored 17 straight points to start the second half, breaking open a tight 14-12 game to give the Blue Devils a big road win over previously unbeaten Georgia Tech.

    The Devils were outgained 483-373, but they forced three turnovers to even the playing field. Josh Snead ran for 102 yards and a touchdown, while backup quarterback Thomas Sirk scored two rushing TDs.

    Duke intercepted Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas twice in winning on the road against the Yellow Jackets for the first time in 20 years.

27. Marshall Thundering Herd

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    Average rating: 26.2

    Week 7 result: Won 49-24 vs. Middle Tennessee

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Florida International

    Marshall (6-0, 2-0 Conference USA) topped 42 points for the sixth time in as many games this season, getting 337 passing yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Rakeem Cato in the rout of Middle Tennessee.

    Devon Johnson added 134 rushing yards and three TDs, and Cato also rushed for a score as the Thundering Herd racked up 589 yards.

    Cato has thrown a TD pass in 38 straight games, tying Russell Wilson's FBS record.

26. Utah Utes

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    Average rating: 25.6

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 16 at Oregon State

    Utah (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) had a break between two straight conference road games, with the first one resulting in a surprise victory at UCLA.

    The Utes have used two different quarterbacks this season, with Kendal Thompson leading the win over UCLA in place of Travis Wilson. Both could play this week, while Utah figures to lean heavily on the running of Devontae Booker after he's gained 334 yards on 57 carries in the past two games.

25. UCLA Bruins

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    Average rating: 25.4

    Week 7 result: Lost 42-30 vs. Oregon

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at California

    UCLA (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) has suddenly gone from looking like one of the best teams in the country to one that will struggle to beat most teams after losing for the second straight week at home. This past one wasn't nearly as close as the final score shows, as the Bruins scored 20 fourth-quarter points after falling behind 42-10.

    Despite outgaining Oregon 553-468 and rushing for 328 yards, UCLA was rarely in this game. It started with a bad fumble that led to the Ducks' first touchdown and went downhill from there, as Oregon had no turnovers and only got to third down seven times.

    Brett Hundley had 305 yards of total offense and accounted for three touchdowns, while Paul Perkins had another big game with 187 yards on 21 carries. Perkins' play has been the most promising this season, wrote Everett Cook of the Los Angeles Times

    "Six games into the season, Perkins already has more than 900 yards rushing," Cook wrote. "Hundley got all the preseason hype, and rightfully so, but Perkins has been the most valuable player in this offense so far."

24. LSU Tigers

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    Average rating: 24.5

    Week 7 result: Won 30-27 at Florida

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Kentucky

    LSU (5-2, 1-2 SEC) got a 50-yard field goal from Colby Delahoussaye with three seconds left, shortly after Ricky Jefferson intercepted a pass in the final minute of a wild finish.

    The Tigers only got 110 passing yards from Anthony Jennings, but his 11-yard touchdown pass to Travin Dural gave them a 27-24 lead with 2:40 left. Freshman Leonard Fournette ran for a career-high 140 yards and two touchdowns, and LSU forced three turnovers to avoid going 0-3 in SEC play for the first time since 1999.

23. USC Trojans

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    Average rating: 23.6

    Week 7 result: Won 28-26 at Arizona

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Colorado

    USC (4-2, 3-1 Pac-12) shook off its Hail Mary loss to Arizona State at home by holding off Arizona late, paced by a career day from running back Javorius Allen.

    Allen ran for 205 yards and three touchdowns, scoring on 34- and 48-yard runs in the first half and then adding a 1-yard score that gave USC a 28-13 lead early in the fourth quarter. Arizona got to within 28-26 with 1:09 left and then recovered an onside kick, but USC coach Steve Sarkisian iced Arizona's kicker (as he made a field goal) and then Casey Skowron was wide on a 36-yard attempt with 17 seconds left.

    Sarkisian did the same trick just before halftime, resulting in a blocked field goal.

    Cody Kessler threw for 185 yards and a TD but threw his first interception of the season.

22. East Carolina Pirates

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    Average rating: 21.7

    Week 7 result: Won 28-17 at South Florida

    Week 8 matchup: Bye

    East Carolina (5-1, 2-0 American) rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit to win its fourth straight and remain near the top of the list for the at-large spot in the College Football Playoff system giving to a non-power conference team.

    Breon Allen and Anthony Scott had fourth-quarter touchdown runs to fuel the comeback, with Allen rushing for 124 yards to compliment Shane Carden's 24-of-33, 250-yard performance at quarterback.

    Justin Hardy had 10 catches for 114 yards, giving him 313 for his career to move into fourth on the all-time FBS list.

20. (tie) Texas A&M Aggies

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    Average rating: 20.4

    Week 7 result: Lost 35-20 vs. Ole Miss

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Alabama

    Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2 SEC) has dropped two straight after a 5-0 start that's no longer looking as impressive, and after getting crushed at home (the score was 35-10 before two late touchdowns) the Aggies now have to go to Alabama. 

    Kenny Hill threw for 401 yards, on 42-of-53 passing, but he was intercepted twice and lost a fumble, with two of those turnovers getting returned for Ole Miss touchdowns. Hill has committed six turnovers in his past two games. 

    The Aggies could only run for 54 yards against Ole Miss, while they allowed Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace to score two rushing touchdowns during a 21-0 start. 

20. (tie) Clemson Tigers

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    Average rating: 20.4

    Week 7 result: Won 23-17 vs. Louisville

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Boston College

    Clemson (4-2, 3-1 ACC) used defensive and special teams touchdowns and three field goals from Ammon Lakip to pull out the defensive struggle with Louisville, but in the process loss rising freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson to injury.

    Watson broke a bone in his throwing hand and had surgery Monday, causing him to miss a month. Senior Cole Stoudt came in and threw for 162 yards, but the Tigers only gained 227 yards. Instead their scoring came on a 72-yard punt return by Adam Humphries in the first quarter and Grady Jarrett's fumble recovery in the end zone in the second quarter.

    Lakip's 40-yard field goal on the final play of the third quarter gave Clemson a 20-17 lead, and he added a 21-yard kick late in the fourth quarter. Clemson's defense then came through, stopping Louisville on 4th-and-goal in the final minute.

18. (tie) Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Average rating: 20.2

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Northwestern

    Nebraska (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten) had a week off to regroup after its first loss, a game in which it trailed 27-3 before trying to mount a furious comeback in the fourth quarter.

    The Cornhuskers have gotten great offensive production from the trio of quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. (1,325 passing yards, 427 rushing yards, 12 total touchdowns), running back Ameer Abdullah (878 rushing yards, 10 TDs) and receiver Jordan Westerkamp (25 catches, 474 yards, three scores).

18. (tie) Arizona Wildcats

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    Average rating: 20.2

    Week 7 result: Lost 28-26 vs. USC

    Week 8 matchup: Bye

    Arizona (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) followed up its big win at Oregon the week before with a lackluster performance at home against USC, and despite making a late comeback failed to finish it off after Casey Skowron's third missed field goal sailed wide right with 17 seconds left.

    The Wildcats trailed 28-13 entering the third quarter before scoring two touchdowns to get within two, coming up short on the two-point conversion with 1:07 left. They recovered the onside kick, but then Skowron's 36-yard was no good moments after making one as USC called a timeout to negate the play.

    Arizona was without one of its top rushers, then Terris Jones-Grigsby went out with a head injury. Jared Baker stepped in and scored three touchdowns, but the Wildcats only ran for 77 yards and needed quarterback Anu Solomon to throw 72 times for 395 yards and a TD.

    The Wildcats couldn't stop the run themselves, allowing 205 rushing yards and three TDs to USC's Javorius Allen.

17. Stanford Cardinal

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    Average rating: 19.6

    Week 7 result: Won 34-17 vs. Washington State

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Arizona State

    Stanford (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) shut down Washington State's prolific passing game and limited the visiting Cougars to minus-26 rushing yards in the Friday night victory.

    The Cardinal got 284 passing yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Kevin Hogan, while Remound Wright ran for 98 yards and a TD. But they also failed to score on a pair of red zone possessions, making it nine times this season they've been inside an opponent's 20-yard line and came away without points.

    Stanford's defense limited Connor Halliday to 292 yards on 42-of-69 passing, a week after he set the FBS record for single-game yardage with 734.

16. Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Average rating: 19.0

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Stanford

    Arizona State (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) avoided a two-game losing streak thanks to a Hail Mary touchdown pass from Mike Bercovici to Jaelen Strong a week ago, and now it heads into a key game against Stanford with backup Bercovici having thrown for 998 yards in his two starts.

    Taylor Kelly could play this week, but if not the Sun Devils have a capable second option in Bercovici, who for the season has nine touchdown passes.

    Whoever throws will have a top-tier receiver in Strong, who has 41 catches for 614 yards and five TDs.

15. Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Average rating: 17.7

    Week 7 result: Won 27-20 at Kansas

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at TCU

    Oklahoma State (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) got a 99-yard kickoff return from Tyreek Hill with 6:43 left to break a 20-20 tie and avoid the road upset.

    The Cowboys led 20-7 but then stopped moving the ball, finishing with just 275 yards and two turnovers. Daxx Garman was 17-of-31 for 161 yards, while Desmond Roland ran for 87 yards and a touchdown.

    OK State sealed the win by intercepting Kansas quarterback Michael Cummings with 53 seconds left to win its fifth straight game.

14. Kansas State Wildcats

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    Average rating: 15.0

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Oklahoma

    Kansas State (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) are heading into its first road game since Sept. 6, but since losing at home to Auburn the Wildcats have scored 103 points in their past two games.

    Jake Waters has 1,526 yards of total offense and 13 touchdowns, accounting for nearly 69 percent of K-State's production. Receivers Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton have combined for 57 catches for 734 yards and five TDs.

13. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Average rating: 13.2

    Week 7 result: Bye

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Rutgers

    Ohio State (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) have won three straight since losing at home to Virginia Tech, with quarterback J.T. Barrett showing increasing confidence in the pocket after a rocky start to the season.

    Barrett has thrown for 1,354 yards and 17 touchdowns in place of Braxton Miller, and he's added 276 yards and two TDs on the ground. The Buckeyes are 12th nationally in total offense and have averaged 56 points per game during their three-game win streak.

12. TCU Horned Frogs

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    Average rating: 13.0

    Week 7 result: Lost 61-58 at Baylor

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Oklahoma State

    TCU (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) matched Baylor blow for blow for 49 minutes, and actually landed more solid punches to build a 21-point lead before blowing it all at the end.

    The Horned Frogs used a 24-7 run to lead 59-38 early in the fourth quarter after Marcus Mallett returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown. Combined with a kickoff return TD just before halftime by B.J. Catalon, TCU built its lead from all corners but then couldn't hold on.

    Despite giving up 782 yards of total offense, TCU's defense was in control until the final 11 minutes, forcing Baylor quarterback to throw 55 times and keep Shock Linwood out of the end zone even though he ran for 178 yards. 

    Trevone Boykin threw for 287 yards but completed only 21-of-47 passes, while Catalon added two rushing TDs to his interception score. 

11. Georgia Bulldogs

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    Average rating: 9.8

    Week 7 result: Won 34-0 at Missouri

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Arkansas

    Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) made the loss of Todd Gurley to an indefinite suspension seem like nothing, at least for one game, as freshman Nick Chubb and a surprising defensive performance paced the shutout road win.

    Chubb carried it 38 times for 143 yards and a touchdown, after he'd only run the ball 31 times in the Bulldogs' first five games. His running enabled quarterback Hutson Mason to have a stress-free game, completing 22-of-28 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown along with a rushing score.

    Georgia's defense was the biggest player, though, holding Missouri to 147 yards and forcing five turnovers including four interceptions of Maty Mauk. Last year the Bulldogs gave up 41 at home to Missouri in a loss, but now have their second shutout of the season.

9. (tie) Oregon Ducks

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    Average rating: 9.2

    Week 7 result: Won 42-30 at UCLA

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Washington

    Oregon (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) rebounded in the best way possible from its home loss to Arizona, dominating on the road against a UCLA team that came into the game off a similarly shocking defeat.

    "Oregon was innovative and edgy again on offense," wrote John Canzano of the Oregonian. "It challenged UCLA, one snap at a time. The Ducks were crisp, and played clean, and squeezed the Bruins into submission one gorgeous possession after another."

    A week after losing two key fumbles and running for his life, Marcus Mariota was able to operate without much pressure thanks to the return of left tackle Jake Fisher. Mariota threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 75 more with two scores, including a 13-yard TD run late in the first quarter after Oregon recovered a UCLA fumble. 

    The Ducks had leads of 21-3 and 42-10, with Royce Freeman scoring their last two TDs on the ground as part of his 121 yards. 

9. (tie) Oklahoma Sooners

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    Average rating: 9.2

    Week 7 result: Won 31-26 vs. Texas (in Dallas)

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Kansas State

    Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) had the kind of win that looks horrible on paper but still counts as much as any other, as its offense was lethargic but was propped up by big plays on defense and special teams.

    The Sooners managed only 232 yards, less than half what Texas gained, and they didn't convert a third down until late in the fourth quarter on a drive that helped seal the victory. Trevor Knight threw for only 129 yards, but he had a touchdown pass and no interceptions.

    Oklahoma led 17-3 without an offensive touchdown, as Alex Ross returned a kickoff for a TD and Zack Sanchez intercepted a Tyrone Swoopes pass and brought it back 43 yards for a score.

8. Michigan State Spartans

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    Average rating: 8.0

    Week 7 result: Won 45-31 at Purdue

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Indiana

    Michigan State (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) had to win a high-scoring game instead of relying on its defense to pace things, with the Spartans using 294 rushing yards to hold off upset-minded Purdue on the road.

    Jeremy Langford had 104 yards on 13 carries, while Nick Hill rushed for 72 yards and two TDs on nine carries. Connor Cook only completed 19-of-37 passes but had 238 yards and three touchdowns, with Tony Lippett catching six balls for 138 yards and a score.

    MSU only led 24-17, but then scored two touchdowns in three minutes midway through the third quarter to break the game open.

7. Alabama Crimson Tide

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Average rating: 7.2

    Week 7 result: Won 14-13 at Arkansas

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Texas A&M

    Alabama (5-1, 2-1 SEC) has to be happy with the overall result, but not by the process in which it squeaked out a road win over a pesky Arkansas team. The Crimson Tide managed only 227 yards of offense and just 66 yards on the ground, needing a big defensive play late and a blocked extra point to survive.

    Blake Sims threw for 161 yards and two touchdowns but T.J. Yeldon had just 45 rushing yards, as Arkansas kept the game close throughout and led 13-7 before Sims hit DeAndrew White on a 6-yard TD pass with 12:36 left.

    Then defensive back Landon Collins made the play of the game for Alabama, intercepting Brandon Allen's pass late in the fourth quarter to ice the victory. The Tide's defense was strong, holding Arkansas' run game to only 89 yards.

    Alabama has scored only 24 points on offense in its past two games.

6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Average rating: 6.8

    Week 7 result: Won 50-43 vs. North Carolina

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at Notre Dame

    Notre Dame (6-0) overcame an early deficit and won a sloppy shootout over undermatched North Carolina, not the best performance right before hitting the road for the first time against the defending national champions.

    Everett Golson threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns, but he again was mistake-prone. He committed three more turnovers, continuing his recent struggles holding onto the ball, and that enabled North Carolina to stay in the game the whole time.

    It was the most points the Fighting Irish allowed since yielding 45 to Stanford in 2009, with UNC quarterback Marquise Williams throwing for 303 yards and rushing for another 132. The Tar Heels had 510 yards, compared to 519 for Notre Dame. 

    Now comes the first game Notre Dame will have played in an opponent's stadium, and one that may make or break its season.

    "This is the best change (sic) the Irish will have to prove they're for real, worthy of consideration in the new College Football Playoff and worthy of being counted among the nation's elite," wrote Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune. 

5. Auburn Tigers

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    Average rating: 5.6

    Week 7 result: Lost 38-23 at Mississippi State

    Week 8 matchup: Bye

    Auburn (5-1, 2-1 SEC) was as much to blame as its opponent for its first loss of the season, as two early turnovers contributed to a 21-0 hole that the Tigers could never climb out of.

    Its first two offensive snaps both resulted in giveaways, first an interception on a tipped ball and then a fumble by receiver D'haquille Williams. Mississippi State converted both of those into quick touchdowns, and for the game Auburn turned the ball over four times yet couldn't capitalize as well on MSU's four turnovers.

    "We have to learn from this," coach Gus Malzahn told the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com).

    With the early mistakes, Auburn's run game couldn't get into gear as it played from behind. The Tigers ran for 232 yards, but needed quarterback Nick Marshall to rush for 100 yards while throwing 35 times for 209 yards. 

    Williams had 108 receiving yards and two touchdowns, but his fumble negated the other production.

4. Baylor Bears

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    Average rating: 4.2

    Week 7 result: Won 61-58 vs. TCU

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 at West Virginia

    Baylor (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) needed a miraculous late comeback to remain undefeated, using its offensive firepower and some timely defense to fuel a 24-0 run over the final 11 minutes to hold off TCU. 

    The Bears trailed 59-38 after Bryce Petty was intercepted and the Horned Frogs returned the pick for a touchdown, but with an offense that averages 622.5 yards and 52.7 points per game there wasn't much panic. Petty had two of his six touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, finishing with 510 yards on only 28 completions. 

    In the end, it was Baylor's kicker of all people that proved to be the final hero, kicking a 28-yard field goal as time expired for the final margin. After making just 1 of 6 tries coming into the game, redshirt freshman Chris Callahan made three field goals.

    "I don't think I could be a placekicker," Petty told Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News. "There's too much pressure."

    Without Petty, though, Baylor wouldn't have been able to make the comeback. All of his TD passes went for at least 25 yards, and after throwing for just 111 yards on 7-of-22 passing the week before the senior had arguably his best game. 

3. Florida State Seminoles

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    Average rating: 4.0

    Week 7 result: Won 38-20 at Syracuse

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Notre Dame

    Don't look now, but Florida State (6-0, 4-0 ACC) appears to be hitting its stride. And at just the right time, with a showdown looming at home against fellow unbeaten Notre Dame.

    The Seminoles cruised past Syracuse on the road, as Jameis Winston had his cleanest game of the season with 317 passing yards and three touchdowns, while freshman Dalvin Cook ran for 122 yards and a score. FSU's defense also showed up strong, forcing three turnovers. 

    "While Florida State is not finding the same success forcing turnovers as it did a season ago, the Seminoles did pick off two passes when Syracuse was in the red zone Saturday," wrote Jared Shanker of ESPN.com

    Since falling behind 24-7 after the first quarter three weeks ago at North Carolina, FSU has outscored its opponents 130-40. 

2. Ole Miss Rebels

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    Average rating: 2.6

    Week 7 result: Won 35-20 at Texas A&M

    Week 8 matchup: Oct. 18 vs. Tennessee

    Ole Miss (6-0, 2-0 SEC) jumped all over Texas A&M on the road and then cruised to a huge victory, avoiding a letdown after the big win over Alabama behind continued heady play from senior quarterback Bo Wallace and a very impressive defense. 

    Wallace had two first-quarter rushing touchdowns, and threw a TD pass just before halftime to give the Rebels a 28-7 lead. The defense did the rest of the work, with Cody Prewitt returning an interception for a touchdown early in the second quarter and then Keith Lewis scoring on a 21-yard fumble return just 12 seconds into the second half. 

    The defense also kept A&M fight for its yards, according to ESPN, noting that "Ole Miss allowed one pass of 25 yards or longer Saturday against Texas A&M. The Aggies had 21 such plays coming into the game, the most in the SEC."

    Ole Miss held A&M to just 54 rushing yards, and for the season has allowed only 70 points. 

1. Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Average rating: 1.4

    Week 7 result: Won 38-23 vs. Auburn

    Week 8 matchup: Bye

    Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 SEC) has knocked off three straight top-10 teams, as good a resume to warrant being the nation's top-rated team as anything. But even with the impressive wins over LSU, Texas A&M and now Auburn, Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen is doing his best to temper the excitement that has engulfed Starkville.

    "Right now, we haven't even guaranteed ourselves a winning season," Mullen told Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel

    True, MSU could conceivably lose its remaining games and fall in a bowl game to finish 6-7, but that seems unrealistic. Not with how the Bulldogs have looked so far, especially how quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Josh Robinson have performed. Prescott had 367 yards of total offense, including two rushing TDs, against Auburn, while Josh Robinson added 97 rushing yards and two scores.

    But where MSU has really been making its mark has been with how it's stifled opponents' offenses early. Against Auburn it forced two turnovers on the first two offensive plays for the Tigers, helping stake a 21-0 lead that would never be seriously challenged. 

    All statistical information courtesy of CFBStats.com.

    Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.