Winners and Losers of Week 8 in College Football

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystOctober 22, 2017

Winners and Losers of Week 8 in College Football

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    Saquon Barkley
    Saquon BarkleyJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Following back-to-back weeks of utter chaos, a restoration of order was the biggest winner of Week 8 of the college football season.

    No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Penn State, No. 4 TCU and No. 5 Wisconsin won their four games by a combined margin of 168-33. There were a couple of scares along the way, but the only ranked teams to suffer losses were No. 11 USC and No. 19 Michigan, each of which was playing on the road against another ranked squad.

    In lieu of national-hierarchy-altering final scores, most of the week's biggest winners and losers were ridiculous box score stats—such as Air Force's 91 rushing attempts, Florida Atlantic's 804 yards of total offense and Kansas' meager 21 total yards.

    Read on for the rest of Week 8's biggest winners and losers

Winner: Air Force Rush Attack

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    Ronald Cleveland (3) and Timothy McVey (33)
    Ronald Cleveland (3) and Timothy McVey (33)Leon Halip/Getty Images

    This isn't breaking news, but Air Force is good at running the ball. The Falcons entered Friday's game against Nevada averaging 306.7 yards and 3.5 rushing touchdowns per game, ranking in the top 10 in the nation in both categories. This after ranking in the top seven in rushing yards per game in each of the past three years.

    But they took that rushing attack to a whole new level in the 45-42 win over the Wolf Pack.

    Led by Timothy McVey, four Falcons rushed for at least 92 yards and one touchdown. As a team, they gained 550 yards on the ground with six touchdowns. In terms of yardage, it was the second-best team effort of the season, trailing Navy's 569-yard game in Week 3 against Cincinnati.

    The number that stands out the most, though, was the 91 rushing attempts. Per Sports Reference, the only other time in the past 17 years a team registered at least 90 carries came when Navy rushed 93 times in a 2013 loss to Toledo.

    Late in the first half, Air Force had a 15-play, 75-yard, seven-plus-minute touchdown drive. All 15 plays were runs, four of which resulted in third-down conversions. And rather than giving the ball back to Nevada, they attempted and recovered an on-side kick, followed immediately by four more rushes that led to another touchdown.

    All told, it was a stretch of 8:15 in which every offensive snap was an Air Force rush. That's how you darn near set an all-time record for carries in a game.

Loser: Houston's Second-Half Defense

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    Ed Oliver
    Ed OliverEric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    For the first 30 minutes of Thursday night's marquee game, Houston shut down one of the most prolific offenses in the country.

    Memphis had scored at least six times in all but one game this season, including a 10-touchdown performance earlier this month against Connecticut. But in the first half against the Cougars, the Tigers had six punts, two turnovers, one missed field goal and zero points. They did have 188 yards of total offense, but on seven third-down plays, they had a combined total of negative-two yards with one conversion and one interception.

    To put it lightly, the second half was a different story.

    Memphis scored touchdowns on six consecutive possessions, storming back for a 42-38 victory.

    Riley Ferguson wasn't quite as ridiculous as Josh Rosen was in UCLA's historic Week 1 comeback win against Texas A&M, but he did put the Tigers on his back. In the process of helping his team amass those 42 points, the Memphis QB was 17-of-25 for 279 yards. He only threw for one touchdown, but he repeatedly got the Tigers inside the Houston 10-yard line, setting up Patrick Taylor Jr.who only carried the ball 14 times for 39 yards in the entire gamefor four rushing touchdowns.

    Houston's D had two sacks, created two turnovers and had zero penalties in the first half. After the intermission, those numbers were zero, zero and four, respectively. Special teams didn't help the defense, either, as Memphis' Tony Pollard returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.

Winner: Early-Slate Drama

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    Justin Jackson
    Justin JacksonJim Young/Associated Press

    If you wore out the batteries in your remote in the 3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET range trying to keep up with all the down-to-the-wire calamity, join the club.

    There were only two ranked teams in action, one of which (Wisconsin) beat its opponent 38-13. Given that, you'd think the first batch of games would have been a good time to rest up for the long haul of a 14-hour day. Instead, it was an overtime bonanza with three other contests going right down to the wire.

    Regarding the close games that didn't need an extra period, Tulsa trailed Connecticut 20-0 in the fourth quarter before it put together three consecutive drives of 75-plus yards. The Golden Hurricane ran out of time, though, falling 20-14.

    Purdue scored a touchdown with 25 seconds remaining, but the Boilermakers were unable to complete the two-point conversion, losing at Rutgers 14-12. And Florida State fumbled with two minutes remaining in a tie game before allowing Louisville to drive 59 yards for the game-winning field goal.

    In summation, both Connecticut and Rutgers are on two-game winning streaks and Florida State has two wins all season. Who saw that coming?

    On the overtime front, Northwestern controversially played for overtime before topping Iowa 17-10. Oklahoma State did the same, beating Texas 13-10 (with help from a no-good, very bad throw from Sam Ehlinger). And in what might have been the game of the day, Army had a 14-play, 79-yard drive in 90 seconds and forced OT on a TD pass with one second remaining. The Black Knights won in overtime 31-28 when Temple's kicker missed a 27-yard field-goal attempt.

    In the past three weeks combined, there were only three games that went to overtime. Getting three in the span of an hour was a nice treat from the college football gods.

Loser: Offense in Oklahoma State vs. Texas

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    Sam Ehlinger
    Sam EhlingerTim Warner/Getty Images

    Oklahoma State entered the day averaging 610.7 yards of total offense and 48.8 points per game. In the former category, the Cowboys were leading the nation by a considerable margin. They ranked second in the latter. Texas hasn't typically been anywhere near that unstoppable, but the Longhorns had been solid at 458.0 and 33.7, respectively.

    Factor in a pair of defenses each allowing more than 24 points per game and this had all the makings of a 35-28 type of barn-burner.

    Instead, a fifth quarter was required before either team could surpass 10 points.

    Texas spent the afternoon practically begging Oklahoma State to run the ball, which the Cowboys did 51 times. But even though Texas was only rushing three, OK State couldn't even average 3.0 yards per carry. The Longhorns weren't any better, averaging 1.3 yards per carry and 4.1 yards per play overall.

    Take out the terrible tackling effort on John Burt's 90-yard reception and the 66-yard pass to Marcell Ateman on which Brandon Jones slipped and fell in coverage and these Big 12 teams combined for just 555 yards of total offensebarely half of their combined season average (1,068.7).

    But, hey, it was a great day for scouting punters. Michael Dickson and Zach Sinor combined for 934 yards' worth of booting the ball to the other team.

    And as mentioned on the previous slide, 60-plus minutes of terrible offense came to a head on an awful, game-ending interception thrown by Sam Ehlinger. The true-freshman QB was just trying to throw the ball away to set up a game-tying field goal, but he didn't put anywhere near enough on it and threw a lame duck straight into the hands of Ramon Richards, giving the Cowboys the 13-10 win.

    The last time Oklahoma State was held to 14 points or fewer was nearly three years ago in a 28-7 loss to Texas. And the last time Oklahoma State scored 14 points or fewer in a win, you ask? A 12-0 win over Oklahoma in November 1995.

Winner: Drew Lock, Missouri

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    Drew Lock
    Drew LockMichael Hickey/Getty Images

    There are plenty of unkind things you could say about Missouri's play to this point in the season, but quarterback Drew Lock has been the exception to that rule. With help from a 521-yard, seven-touchdown game in the season opener against Missouri State, Lock entered the day averaging a solid 8.6 yards per pass attempt with 17 touchdowns.

    How would he fare against an Idaho defense that had yet to allow an opponent to throw for more than 213 yards in a game this season?

    Quite well, it turns out.

    In fact, Lock eclipsed 213 yards before the end of the first quarter.

    After throwing an interception on the first play of the game, Lock torched the Vandals secondary for 467 yards and six touchdowns. He threw for 216 yards and four touchdowns in Missouri's 34-point first quarter. It was only after taking a 65-14 lead late in the third quarter that Mizzou called off the dogs and mercifully starting running out the clock.

    Lock is now averaging 312.9 yards per game with 23 passing touchdowns. It may not hold up through the end of the night, but at the end of the afternoon, the QB for the 2-5 Tigers was leading the nation in passing TDs.

Loser: Florida State's Bowl Streak

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    Jimbo Fisher and James Blackman
    Jimbo Fisher and James BlackmanButch Dill/Getty Images

    Technically, Florida's State's bowl streak only stands at nine years because of the wins it was forced to vacate in 2006-07 due to an academic scandal. But, come on. Just like we all know Reggie Bush won the 2005 Heisman, we all know those games happened and that the Seminoles have been invited to a bowl in every season dating back to 1982.

    That streak is in all sorts of jeopardy.

    Adding to previous losses to Alabama, North Carolina State and Miami, Florida State fell to 2-4 with a home loss to Louisville.

    At least the offense was a little better than usual. The Seminoles were averaging 18.2 points and 346.6 yards per game and had not yet eclipsed 26 points in a game. They had 28 and 403, respectively, against the Cardinals. However, Louisville had been allowing 38.8 points and 486.6 yards against Power Five opponents, so the Seminoles were well below-average, given the opponent.

    Florida State's defense, on the other hand, was just plain bad no matter how you slice the numbers.

    Louisville rushed for 293 yards, and most of that (178) came courtesy of QB Lamar Jackson. The reigning Heisman winner can make any defense look silly, but this wasn't even one of those days where he did half-a-dozen inhuman things to put up video game numbers. He simply had the opportunity to rush for five to seven yards just about any time he wanted. And on the 25-yard TD run by Dae Williams, it was a rather basic jet sweep on which he wasn't even touched. Poor containment all around by the Seminoles.

    They'll need to win four of their final five games to become bowl-eligible. With road games against Clemson, Boston College and Florida among those five contests, that will be a problem.

Winner: Darrin Hall, Pittsburgh

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    Darrin Hall
    Darrin HallGerry Broome/Associated Press

    For most of the season, Pittsburgh's rushing game has been an absolute disaster. Through seven contests, the Panthers were averaging 113.7 rushing yards per game and 3.28 yards per carry. Take out the opener against Youngstown State and those numbers drop to 98.0 and 3.09, respectively.

    Meanwhile, Duke entered the day with one of the best rushing defenses in the country, as it was holding opponents to 108.0 yards per game and 3.36 yards per carry.

    In other words, there was no good reason to expect Pittsburgh to rush for more than 100 yards against the Blue Devils.

    But Darrin Hall darn near had 100 yards on one play en route to finishing the afternoon with 254 yards and three touchdowns.

    Hallwho had a grand total of 108 rushing yards in the first seven weekshad rushing touchdowns of 79 and 92 yards. He became just the second Panthers player in the past seven seasons to run for at least 250 yards in a game. Coincidentally, the other player (James Conner) did so against Duke in 2014.

    As a team, Pittsburgh ran for 336 yards. For both Pittsburgh's offense and Duke's defense, that's more than 100 yards greater than the previous season high.

Loser: Eastern Michigan Eagles

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    Chris Creighton
    Chris CreightonDavid Stephenson/Associated Press

    It's not often that we find any room in Winners and Losers for a healthy dose of #MACtion, but it's about time we make note of Eastern Michigan's recent stroke of bad luck against quality opponents.

    It all started four weeks ago when the Eagles lost in double overtime to Ohio. One week later, they held Kentucky to 228 total yards, but a blocked punt and two late interceptions resulted in a 24-20 loss. Against Toledo, it was a similar storyone shanked punt that set up a Rockets TD and interceptions on the final two drives that sealed a 20-15 loss for the Eagles. And last week against Army, a failed two-point conversion in the final minute gave Eastern Michigan its fourth straight loss.

    Thus, as this week's game against Western Michigan was coming down to the wire and progressing into overtime, the only question was: In what heartbreaking way would the Eagles lose this time?

    Western Michigan got the ball first in the extra frame and kicked a field goal, meaning the Eagles could win with a touchdown. And when they got down to the WMU for a 2nd-and-goal play, it looked like they might get the job done. Instead, the final three plays of the game were a two-yard loss, a three-yard loss and a shanked 24-yard field goal.

    Add it all up and Eastern Michigan has lost five consecutive gameslikely against five teams that will qualify for bowl seasonby a combined total of 20 points. With marginally better luck and end-game execution, EMU would be 7-0. But it'll have to settle for being one of the best 2-5 teams in the country.

Winner: Scott Frost, UCF

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    Scott Frost
    Scott FrostAlex Menendez/Getty Images

    Two years ago, UCF went 0-12 and was almost unarguably the worst team in the country. There were a couple of close games against bad opponents early in the season, but the Knights lost each of their final nine contests by at least 14 points. They ranked dead last in the nation in total offense and were only a little bit better on defense (No. 114).

    But in Scott Frost's second year as head coach, UCF is undefeated, has one of the best offenses in the nation and is arguably the front-runner to represent the Group of Five in the New Year's Six bowls. And, who knows, if the Knights run the table and beat South Florida in the regular-season finale and Memphis in the AAC championship game, they just might have a voice in the College Football Playoff conversation.

    That's still a long ways away, but the Knights cleared one major hurdle this weekend in a 31-21 road win over Navy.

    The unexpected development is that UCF was better on the ground than Navy. Both teams rushed for more than 245 yards, but the Knights averaged 5.9 yards per carry and had three TDs compared to 4.2 and two for the Midshipmen.

    From there, UCF's advantage in the passing game was too much. It wasn't McKenzie Milton's greatest performance, but the fringe Heisman candidate did more than enough, throwing for 233 yards and one touchdown.

    With the win, the Knights improved to 6-0 and will all but certainly get to 7-0 after next week's home game against Austin Peay. Get ready to hear Frost's name linked to every Power Five opening during the December/January ride on the coaching carousel.

Loser: Tyler Huntley, Utah

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    Tyler Huntley
    Tyler HuntleyRick Bowmer/Associated Press

    After a pair of heart-wrenching losses to Stanford and USC, Utah was supposed to get back on the winning track this week against Arizona State. Not only was the level of competition (supposedly) a big step down from those Pac-12 powerhouses, but the Utes were also getting starting QB Tyler Huntley back on the field for the first time in nearly a month.

    Huntley went down with a shoulder injury in the second quarter against Arizona on Sept. 22. Prior to that, the sophomore had been lights-out, completing 73.3 percent of his pass attempts with six touchdowns and just a pair of interceptionseach of which came at meaningless junctures in games Utah won by at least a three-possession margin. Troy Williams had struggled mightily at QB over the past two weeks, but surely the offense would improve with Huntley back, right?


    Huntley threw more touchdowns to Arizona State than he threw to Utah. He completed just 54.3 percent of his pass attempts for 155 yards and four interceptions. Even worse, each of the four interceptions came on the third play of the drive and came on plays that were snapped in Utah territory. Not only was he throwing picks, but he also wasn't even giving the offense a chance to get going.

    (Huntley did finally lead a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, but the Sun Devils were leading 30-3 and were content with letting him dink and dunk his way down the field, eating up most of the clock along the way.)

    The wild thing is that Arizona State had not yet recorded a defensive interception in September or October. The Sun Devils picked off a pair of New Mexico State passes Aug. 31, but over the past five games, they had given up 11 passing touchdowns without a single interception. Couple this performance with their defensive effort last week against Washington (139 yards allowed) and, out of nowhere, this team is winning games with defense for the first time since 2012.

Winner: Miami's Secondary

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    Michael Jackson (28) intercepts an Eric Dungey pass
    Michael Jackson (28) intercepts an Eric Dungey passMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Eight teams entered Week 8 with a zero in the loss column, one of which was the Miami Hurricanes. They haven't made things easy, though, winning each of the previous two weeks with help from some wild, last-minute drama.

    This week against Syracuse, the defense set out to put the game away as early as possible.

    Demetrius Jackson picked off Eric Dungey on the fifth play of the game. However, Dungey stripped him during the return, which gave the ball back to the Orange. Still, it set the tone for a turnover-filled first half for Syracuse.

    Dungey proceeded to throw interceptions on his fourth, fifth and seventh possessions of the game. He entered the half with a line of 7-of-22 for 62 yards and four interceptions.

    Unfortunately for the 'Canes, the offense didn't do much with all that help. They only led 13-3 at the half and eventually allowed the Orange to claw all the way back to make it a 20-19 game. But Dungey's hurdling wasn't enough to bring Syracuse the lead. Travis Homer scored a late touchdown to help give Miami the 27-19 win.

    Though he didn't throw any more interceptions in the second half, Dungey didn't fare any better against Miami's secondary, completing just six of 19 pass attempts for 75 yards. All told, he averaged 3.3 yards per attempt, completed 31.7 percent of passes and had four interceptions with no touchdowns.

    It was one heck of a defensive effort against a guy who had thrown for at least 265 yards in each of the previous five games, including a three-TD, zero-interception performance in last week's upset of Clemson.

Loser: Butch Jones, Tennessee

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    Butch Jones
    Butch JonesScott Halleran/Getty Images

    Even if Tennessee had upset Alabama, the odds of Butch Jones' having a job as the head coach of the Volunteers in 2018 were slim to none. But it could have at least saved his head until the end of this season.

    Instead, the Vols suffered a 45-7 blowout, and he may well have been fired by the time you read this.

    Alabama is plenty great enough at making good teams look terrible, but Tennessee played like a team that has given up on the season—and on its coach.

    It gained just 108 yards of total offense and did not have a single play go for more than 18 yards. The Volunteers managed only seven first downsone for each scoring drive Alabama had.

    Aside from John Kelly's getting through the day without suffering an injury, the only positive was a 97-yard interception return for a touchdown by Daniel Bituli. But even that play couldn't motivate this team to accomplish anything, as Tennessee had just 36 yards of total offense on its next (final) four possessions.

    The Volunteers won the turnover-margin battle by one, but that isn't nearly enough to avoid some turnover on the coaching staff in the immediate future.

Winner: Florida Atlantic's Offense

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    Lane Kiffin
    Lane KiffinJoel Auerbach/Getty Images

    If Lane Kiffin has any interest in entering the inevitable search for a head coach at Tennessee, he sure did pick one heck of a day to lead Florida Atlantic to a ridiculous offensive performance. While the Volunteers had 108 yards of total offense against Alabama, Kiffin's Owls went for 804 yards in a 69-31 win over North Texas.

    The rushing portion of the equation was no surprise. Florida Atlantic had rushed for at least 250 yards in each of its last four games, including 439 yards against Bethune-Cookman and 453 yards against Old Dominion in its most recent game. This week, Devin Singletary ran for at least 100 yards for the fifth straight game, leading an offense that had 447 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

    The prolific passing performance was significantly more shocking. FAU had been held to 187 or fewer passing yards in each of its last five games and had thrown for just three touchdowns in the those five games combined. But Jason Driskel threw for 357 yards and two touchdowns, taking advantage of a North Texas secondary that has now allowed 18 passing touchdowns against just three interceptions on the season.

    Prior to a turnover on downs with less than four minutes remaining, Florida Atlantic was 7-of-11 on third down and 3-of-3 on fourth-down conversions. And after North Texas scored a touchdown in the final minutes, Kiffin decided he wanted to go for history, calling a running play to get over 800 yards instead of taking a knee with 30 seconds remaining.

    Despite an average starting position at their own 29and only once starting a drive in North Texas territorythe Owls scored on each of their first 11 possessions. They are now 3-0 in conference play, averaging 55.0 points against C-USA opponents. At some point in the next five weeks, they should qualify for their first bowl game since 2008.

Loser: The Pac-12's Case for the College Football Playoff

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    Sam Darnold
    Sam DarnoldJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    USC vs. Notre Dame was effectively a College Football Playoff elimination game. Maybe the loser still would've had a snowball's chance in hell if both teams played extremely well in one of those rare back-and-forth battles in which you end up feeling better about both teams by the time it's over.

    That was, uh, not the case for USC.

    The Trojans eventually did some scoring in the second half, but the first two quarters belonged to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish outgained the Trojans 190 to minus-four on the ground and forced three turnovers while allowing zero points.

    What was supposed to be the best game of the week quickly turned into a laugher. Notre Dame scored touchdowns on two of its first three possessions and led 28-0 by the time the first half mercifully came to a close.

    After the 49-14 loss, USC is effectively dead in the playoff race, and the Pac-12 as a whole is on life support, at best.

    With both Washington and Washington State's losses last week, the No. 11 Trojans were the highest-ranked Pac-12 team in the most recent AP poll. The Huskies and Cougars are now the only Pac-12 teams without multiple losses, and they still each play Stanford and Utah before a season-ending clash against each other. Factor in the Pac-12 title game and what are the odds either team runs the table? Five percent? Less?

    It's possible the SEC (or Big Ten) can get two teams into the CFP, but it seems as though we're down to four conferences (and one independent in Notre Dame) as realistic candidates for those four spots.

Winner: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Josh Adams and Brandon Wimbush
    Josh Adams and Brandon WimbushMichael Conroy/Associated Press

    So, if USC vs. Notre Dame was a CFP elimination game, where does that leave the winner?

    The Fighting Irish ran a freight train through the USC defense. As has been the case three times already this season, QB Brandon Wimbush and running back Josh Adams rushed for at least 100 yards each. Adams led the way with 191 yards and three touchdowns, though if you factor in passing stats, Wimbush accounted for 226 yards and four scores.

    As a whole, Notre Dame ran for 377 yards and five touchdowns in the 49-14 blowout. It was the fifth time in seven games that the Irish rushed for at least 333 yards and the sixth time they scored at least 33 points and had three or more touchdowns on the ground.

    The real story, though, was the defense. Plenty has been written about this Notre Dame rushing attack over the past several weeks, but it has flown well below the national radar that Brian Kelly's bunch has held every opponent to 20 points or fewer this season. That streak extended to seven games and might be the most important thing to monitor as the brutal half of the schedule continues in earnest.

    Notre Dame hosts North Carolina State and Wake Forest in the next two weeks before finishing at Miami, at home against Navy and at Stanford. We can probably agree that Wake Forest is the "worst" of those five opponents, and the Demon Deacons are 4-3 with a point differential of plus-70 on the season. This was a great stepping stone for the Fighting Irish, but they've got one heck of a journey to get to 11-1.

    If they do it, though, their strength of schedule would obliterate that of the loser of the SEC championship game, should we get 12-0 Georgia vs. 12-0 Alabama.

    A lot of things went wrong last season, but perhaps the biggest reason Notre Dame went 4-8 is it allowed the opposition to score at least 27 points in eight games. If the defense continues to play like thiswhile the offense keeps rushing at willthe Fighting Irish just might run their way into the College Football Playoff.

Loser: Kansas Jayhawks

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    Peyton Bender
    Peyton BenderTom Pennington/Getty Images

    Kansas had 106 yards of total offense in last week's 45-0 loss to Iowa State, and things somehow got even worse in a 43-0 loss to TCU.

    In a measure of offensive futility that you almost couldn't make up, the Jayhawks had one first down on their first nine drives. Midway through the third quarter, TCU was outgaining Kansas 415 to negative-four. The Jayhawks did eventually finish with positive yardage, but when you give up more than twice as many points (43) as you amass yards (21), there's not a whole lot you're going to learn from watching game film that week.

    On the bright side, the Jayhawks did not turn the ball over once. At least that's improvement from last week's two turnovers. But they are now a combined 4-of-32 on third down with nine first downs over the past two weeks.

    Their grip on "worst Power Five team in the country" is nothing short of a strangehold, and if they're not careful, we might be able to drop "Power Five" from that distinction in the near future.

    The real loser here is the Fox Network, as it had to air an unwatchable blowout while other stations had Penn State vs. Michigan, Notre Dame vs. USC, Ole Miss vs. LSU and Arkansas vs. Auburnnot to mention ALCS Game 7. Should be fun to check the overnight ratings to find out if anyone watched this mess.

Winner: The Preseason Heisman Candidates at RB

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    Saquon Barkley
    Saquon BarkleyChris Knight/Associated Press

    Bryce Love, Jonathan Taylor, Rashaad Penny and Josh Adams have all joined the conversation, but before the season began, there were two running backs that everyone was talking about as potential Heisman winners: Penn State's Saquon Barkley and LSU's Derrius Guice.

    Barkley put on an absolute show in the Nittany Lions' 42-13 decimation of Michigan. Against what had been the best defense in the nation in terms total yards allowed per game, Barkley rushed for 108 yards, added 53 yards through the air and had three total touchdowns.

    As is often the case with Barkley, the total number of yards wasn't mind-boggling, but the flair with which he got them was. On his first touch of the game, he ran 69 yards for a touchdown. He added multiple plays where it looked like some gamer was controlling him with a joystick and a juke button. And on his receiving touchdown, he bobbled the ball multiple times before completing a one-man tip drill.

    But while everyone was focusing on Penn State vs. Michigan and Notre Dame vs. USC, Guice finally showed up in a huge way against Ole Miss. In LSU's last five games, Guice had one DNP and rushed for a total of 211 yards in the other four contests. But facing an Ole Miss offense that ranks in the bottom 20 nationally in both yards allowed per carry and rushing yards allowed per game was quite the panacea.

    Guice carried the ball 22 times for 276 yards and a touchdown. Half of his carries went for at least nine yards, and he had chunk gains of 26, 33, 48 and 59, pacing the Tigers to a 40-24 victory over the Rebels. It feels like a lifetime ago that this team lost to Troy and had people screaming for Ed Orgeron's head. All of a sudden, LSU is arguably the third-best team in the SEC. And the Tigers are darn near unbeatable when Guice is running like this.

Loser: Baylor Bears, and WRs Not Named David Sills V

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    David Sills V
    David Sills VJoe Sargent/Getty Images

    Baylor came painfully close to pulling off one of the most incredible come-from-behind wins in college football history. Trailing 38-13 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Bears scored on four consecutive possessionsincluding recovering one onside kick attemptto come within a two-point conversion of sending the game to overtime.

    However, they failed to convert and lost 38-36 to fall to 0-7. They have now lost 13 consecutive regular-season games, primarily because the defense is leakier than a sieve trying to hold water. On the season, the Bears are allowing 39.7 points and 514.1 yards per game. They somehow improved marginally in both of those categories while giving up 38 points in three quarters.

    In this particular game, the biggest problem was David Sills V, though Baylor is far from alone in struggling to slow that man down.

    Sills made seven receptions for 136 yards and three touchdowns. Incredibly, two of those touchdowns came in the span of 19 seconds, as he had a 16-yard score with one second remaining in the first half and followed it up with a 53-yard TD on the first play of the second half.

    Though, if any receiver were to score twice in two plays, Sills was the obvious choice. He has now scored multiple touchdowns in six of seven games and has six more receiving touchdowns (15) than the next-closest playerMemphis receiver Anthony Miller has nine. We've still got one week left in October, but you might as well start etching his name on the Fred Biletnikoff Award. As long as he doesn't get injured, it's his to lose.