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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Week 8

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Halfway through October and we have only three Power 5 undefeated teams remaining: Florida State, Mississippi State and Ole Miss (Warning: this is a Marshall-free zone). Alabama inserted themselves back into the playoff picture with a resounding dominating thump of Texas A&M. Georgia too flexed their muscle with a big win at Arkansas.

THE SEC:

The SEC West has four of the Top 5 teams:

1. Mississippi State (43)
2. Florida State (14)
3. Ole Miss (3)
4. Alabama
5. Auburn


Here comes the BOOM! (Photo by Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports)

Alabama 59 Texas A&M 0 - Did you happen to catch this game?
Georgia 45 Arkansas 32 - Gurley? We don't need no stinkin' Gurley! This is what UGA fans think as Mark Richt continues his quest to kill freshman running back Nick Chubb who had another 31 touches to go with 42 last week.
Ole Miss 34 Tennessee 3 - Bad Bo Wallace made a return to form as the Rebs started out this game with three straight 3-and-outs. After an 8-play drive that yielded no points, they had three more 3-and-outs. I don't know why lazy journalists keep putting Wallace on the cover of their publications and atop their websites. This team is all about the defense and a just-good-enough offense.

Playoff Contention:

Mississippi State (6-0): @ UK, Ark, cupcake, @ BAMA, Vandy, @ OM
Ole Miss (7-0): @ LSU, Aub, cupcake, bye, @ Ark, MSU
Alabama (6-1): @ Tenn, bye, @ LSU, MSU, cupcake, Aub
Auburn (5-1): SC, @ OM, TAMU, @ UGA, cupcake, @ BAMA
Georgia (6-1): bye, Fla, @ UK, Aub, cupcake, GaTech, SECCG

Obviously, all of these teams will have to play each other, meaning someone is going to be eliminated soon.

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WAAAAAA! (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

ACC & PSEUDO ACC*

Florida State 31 Notre Dame 27 - This game came down to one of the last plays of the game when an apparent winning touchdown by the Irish was wiped out by an offensive pass interference call which was more like a set pick. If you watch the replay, it is clear that the two outside receivers were blocking and not running routes. Referees will allow receivers to get a "rub" which is basically running into a defender but he HAS to look like he is attempting to run a route. Neither Irish receiver gave that appearance. Most everyone agrees it was the correct call. The dissenters are of course the ND fan base and coach Brian Kelly who is whining like a child. Many Irish fans think it is some kind of conspiracy.

Playoff Contention:

Florida State (7-0): bye, @ L'ville, UVa, @ Mia, BC, Fla, ACCCG - With a schedule like that, you might as well pencil FSU in.
Duke (6-1): bye, @ Pitt, @ Syra, VaT, UNC, Wake, ACCCG - It's only a matter of time...
*Notre Dame (6-1): bye, @Navy, @ Az State, NW, L'ville, @ SoCal - Sadly, they are still in the running.

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PAC-12

Arizona State 26 Stanford 10 – The 5-1 Sun Devils are slowly climbing the charts. Let's hope they save their best game for Notre Dame on Nov 8.
Oregon 45 Washington 20 - The Ducks are back in vogue. It's funny how I keep hearing Oregon lost to Arizona because their left tackle Jake Fisher was injured but nobody mentions Bama losing because of center Ryan Kelly being out.

Playoff Contention:

Oregon (6-1): @ Cal, Stan, @ Utah, bye, Colo, @ Ore St, P12CG - the easiest schedule of the four.
Arizona State (5-1): @ Wash, Utah, ND, @ Ore St, WSU, @ Az
Arizona (5-1): @ WSU, @ UCLA, Colo, Wash, @ Utah, AZ St
Utah (5-1): SoCal, @ Az St, Ore, @ Stan, AZ, @ Colo - could easily lose 4 of the next 5.

Very similar to the SEC in that these teams have to play each other with the added addition of Stanford & SoCal playing spoiler roles. Strangely enough, SoCal leads the South division with a 4-1 conference record.

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Head coach Mark Dantonio (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

BIG TEN

Minnesota 39 Purdue 38 – The Golden Gophers needed a 52 yard field goal to salvage a home win over lowly Purdue.
Michigan State 56 Indiana 17 - Expect more scores like this from Sparty. They realize that they cannot just win out. They have to win out BIG.

Playoff Contention:

Michigan State (6-1): Mich, bye, OhSt, @ Md, Rutgers, @ PSU
Ohio State (5-1): @ PSU, Ill, @ Mich St, @ Minn, Ind, Mich - how soon they (want us to) forget that embarrassing home loss to VaTech.
Nebraska (6-1): Rutg, Purd, bye@ Wisc, Minn, @ Iowa - weak non-conference play hurts them.
Minnesota (6-1): @ Ill, bye, Iowa, OhSt, @ Nebr, @ Wisc - No way they survive those last three games.

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Does anyone have a match?  (Photo by Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

BIG 12 CHAOS

Is it possible that the Big 12 may not be represented in the CFB playoff?

West Virginia 41 Baylor 27 - Baylor had an astronomical 18 penalties for 215 yards - a Big 12 record. The Mountaineers outgained the Bears 456 to 318. And the couches burned...
Kansas State 31 Oklahoma 30 - Sooners All-Everything kicker Michael Hunnicutt missed a fourth quarter chip-shot field goal from 19-yards and had an extra point blocked. That was enough to give the Sooners a devastating second loss.
TCU 42 Oklahoma State 9 - The Cowboys are in a rebuilding year. Nobody really expected them to be around in the end. The Frogs look good but I am not sure if they would beat out a one-loss SEC team.

Playoff Contention:

Baylor (6-1): bye, Kans, @ Okl, bye, OkSt, TexTech, KState
TCU (5-1): TexTech, @ WVU, KState, @ KU, bye, @ Tex, IowaSt
Kansas State (5-1): Tex, OkSt, @ TCU, bye, @ WVU, KU, @ Baylor

I've said it before, not having a conference championship game hurts them. Come join us here in 2014, Big 12!

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GRAB BAG

South Carolina 41, Furman 10 – Three straight 100-yard games for running back Mike Davis. Is he ready for Auburn?
Missouri 42, Florida 13 – Oh, so sad... Rece Davis mentioned that in the last 10 years, teams who allow 120 yards or less are 147-2. Both losses came by Will Muschamp-coached Florida teams.
Colorado State 16, Utah State 13 – BOWL ELIGIBLE! It's not unrealistic to think the Rams could go 11-1.

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BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

West Virginia 41 Baylor 27 - BIG UPS for Bama! WVU improves to 5-2, ranked #22.
Southern Miss 30 North Texas 20 - the Screaming Eagles are 3-4.
FAU 45 Western Kentucky 38 - FAU! is also 3-4.

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ELIMINATED:

It is looking more and more likely that we may just see at least one two-loss team in the College Football Playoff. Many of the below teams have two losses but I can't imagine any of the below winning any tie-breakers:

GEORGIA TECH
IOWA
KENTUCKY
OKLAHOMA
OKLAHOMA STATE
OREGON STATE
RUTGERS
WASHINGTON
Arkansas
Boise
Boston College
Byu
Cal
Clemson
Colorado
Florida
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa State
Kansas
Lose-Iana State
Louisville
Maryland
Miami (FL)
Michigan
Mizzou
Navy
Nc State
Northwestern
Penn State
Pitt
Purdue
South Carolina
Southern Cal
Stanford
Syracuse
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Ucla
Unc
Vanderbilt
Virginia
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest
Washington State
West Virginia
Wisconsin

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#TOOMANYBOWLS

The following 16 teams are bowl eligible for a ludicrous 76 bowl openings: Alabama, Baylor, Colorado State, Duke, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Oregon.

Miami (OH) is 1-7 and the first team officially eliminated from bowl eligibility.

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Amari_medium

Heisman Hype

  • Dak Prescott's week off has not hurt his stock. As long as Mississippi State keeps winning, he is the front-runner.
  • Oregon QB Marcus Mariota threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns. Too bad nobody outside the Pacific Northwest saw the game.
  • Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah blistered the Northwestern defense with 146 yards rushing and four touchdowns. However, nobody is really paying much attention to the Cornhuskers.
  • UGA running back Todd Gurley DNP.
  • Some jokers out there want to put the Florida State QB back in the running but the off-field stuff is probably too much for most voters to overcome. 1982 Heisman winner Herschel Walker has already publicly stated as much.
  • Bama's Amari Cooper bounced back with 8 catches for 140 yards and two scores. Unfortunately, West Viriginia's Kevin White (69 rec, 1020 yards) has passed Cooper in stats and national attention.

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Extra Points

  • Archie Manning is stepping down from the College Football Playoff Committee due to knee surgery. This seems bit suspicious. If you have knee surgery, all you are going to be doing is sitting around. Why not watch some football while you are at it? [UPDATE: The committee will not replace him this season and go forward with 12 members.]
  • Speaking of the CFB Playoff Committee, with news that Mike Slive would be retiring as SEC Commissioner came some wild speculation of who his replacement might be. A few writers are floating the name of Condoleezza Rice.
  • Alabama fans need to start cheering against Minnesota. Much like the Tide rooting for a team they beat in West Virginia, TCU is rooting for the Gophers (6-1) who they beat 30-7 back in September. Minnie finishes the season vs Ohio State, @ Nebraska, and @ Wisconsin.
  • Gus Malzahn announced Tuesday that Auburn safety Jermaine Whitehead has been reinstated to the team from the deep dark hole of a dog house he was in.
  • SMU is officially the worst team in FBS. Alabama scored more points in the first half against TAMU (45) than the Mustangs have in 6 games this season (39). At 0-6, they are also the only winless team in FBS.

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Kristi_malzahn_says_shut_up_medium

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to the Big 12. That state with a diving board took a hit as the Sooners and Cowboys both suffered their second loss of the season. #4 Baylor took their first loss of the year to West Virginia.

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Sad_face_medium

  • Just as Alabama redshirt freshman Bradley Bozeman was starting to look comfortable at center comes the news that Ryan Kelly will be back this week to face Tennessee. Kelly was injured during the Ole Miss game and sat out against Arkansas and Texas A&M.
  • Bama right tackle Austin Shepherd left the Texas A&M game after he sprained an ankle and knee when a player rolled his leg. He should be back on Saturday.
  • Texas Tech leading receiver Jakeem Grant was injured during an off-campus shooting in Lubbock, Texas. Reports state that more than 20 rounds were fired from multiple guns during an altercation about 1:30am Sunday. Grant was hospitalized after the incident, treated, and released. No word on whether he was actually hit by a bullet.

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Black_white_tv_salesman_medium

THURSDAY & FRIDAY:

There are games on these days but only one might be of national significance:

Oregon at Cal 9:00pm CT / 10:00pm ET FOX Sports 1 - The Bears (4-3) are surprisingly improved after going 4-20 over the last two seasons.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25:

SEC

UAB at Arkansas 11:00 AM CT / 12:00 PM ET - SEC Network
Mississippi State at Kentucky 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET - CBS- Some see this as a trap game. Not me.
Vanderbilt at Missouri 3:00 PM CT / 4:00 PM ET - SEC Network- UP-down-UP-down. What's it gonna be Mizzou?
Ole Miss at LSU 6:15 PM CT / 7:15 PM ET - ESPNESPN- They call this game the Magnolia Bowl. Believe it or not, the two teams have split the last 6 meetings (OM winning 2008, 2009, 2013).
South Carolina at Auburn 6:30 PM CT / 7:30 PM ET - SEC Network- The Tigers have had two weeks to stew over their first loss of the season.


NATIONAL
(No HUGE games but a lot of teams can be spoilers)

Texas at Kansas State 11:00 AM CT / 12:00 PM ET - ESPNESPN KSU -10
Michigan at Michigan State 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET - ABCABCMSU -17
Texas Tech at TCU 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET - FOX  TCU -21
West Virginia at Oklahoma State 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET - ESPNESPNOSU -2.5
Arizona at Washington State 4:00 PM CT / 5:00 PM ET - ? Az -3
Wyoming at Colorado State 6:00 PM CT / 7:00 PM ET - ROOT Sports CSU -18.5
Ohio State at Penn State 7:00 PM CT / 8:00 PM ET - ABCABC OSU -13.5
Southern Cal at Utah 9:00 PM CT / 10:00 PM ET - FOX Sports 1 SC -1
Arizona State at Washington 9:45 PM CT / 10:45 PM ET - ESPNESPNASU -2.5

* No GAME OF THE WEEK

Nothing else really worth mentioning, except...

Bama_storm_trooper_medium
(Photo by CB969)

#ALABAMA

Alabama at Tennessee 6:30 PM CT / 7:30 PM ET ESPN2ESPN2- Joe Tessitore, Brock Huard & Shannon Spake.

ROLL TIDE!