College Football Roundup Week 8: What It All Means, Winners, Losers, Overrated, Underrated

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College football Week 8 roundup with the 5 things that matter, winners and losers, overrated and underrated parts of the weekend, and what it all means.

College Football Week 8 Roundup

Week 8 Roundup
CFN 1-130 Rankings | Bowl Projections
Week 8 scoreboard, all the predictions
Week 8 opening lines | AP | Coaches
Big Game Reaction: Illinois, Oregon, Pitt, more

– AAC expansion: One Really Big Thing
– OU-Kansas: Most Overrated Thing
– ACC & CFP: Most Underrated Thing
– Curveballs coming What It All Means, Week 8

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

Winners & Losers From Week 8

Winner: Cincinnati, San Diego State, Wake Forest

It might not have been a walk in the park, but there are just nine unbeaten teams left, and Cincinnati, San Diego State, and Wake Forest have managed to be among them. They each had quirky tests last week that turned out to be somewhat historic – unbeaten ranked teams all going against service academies – and they all passed.

Loser: Air Force, Army, Navy

The amazing San Diego State run defense held Air Force to just 192 rushing yards in a 20-14 win. Army put up 56 points and 416 rushing yards on Wake Forest, but gave up 70 points. 1-6 Navy scored ten fourth quarter points to push Cincinnati – who was held to just 271 yards of total offense – in a 27-20 Bearcat win.

Winner: Pitt QB Kenny Pickett

Ole Miss’ Matt Corral and Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall have each thrown 15 touchdown passes with just one interception. There’s only one quarterback who’s better at the whole TD-to-INT thing.

Kenny Pickett has thrown 23 touchdown passes with just the one pick, he has two or more scoring throws in every game, and he’s coming off a 302-yard, two touchdown, no interception day in the 27-17 win over Clemson, which was massive because …

Loser: Clemson losing by double-digits

November 15th, 2014. That was the last time Clemson lost a regular season game by ten points or more, dropping the date to Georgia Tech 28-6. It took a total of seven regular seasons before Pitt finally broke the streak with its win on Saturday.

Winner: Sun Belt

The natural expansion progression appeared to be the Power Five would take American Athletic Conference schools, the AAC would take Conference USA schools, and Conference USA would take Sun Belt schools.

But things have flipped – the Sun Belt is grabbing Southern Miss from Conference USA, and it might get Marshall and Old Dominion, too. Throw in James Madison from the FCS, and the Sun Belt is about to get a whole lot stronger.

Loser: Conference USA

The doom-and-gloom is warranted with Conference USA likely losing nine of its 14 members, but there’s a flicker of hope. It can go add a slew of FCS programs, a few independents might be added to the mix, and there’s always the option of trying woo a few schools from the MAC, but there’s also a shot that the league can’t go on. It’s going to all depend on what kind of TV and streaming deals the league can rework.

Winner: USF

The Bulls beat Temple 34-14 on Saturday for their first win over an FBS program this season – they beat Florida A&M in September. That broke a streak of 17 straight losses against FBSers since getting by East Carolina in late October of 2019.

Loser: Arizona, Kansas, UNLV

With the heartbreaking 21-16 loss to Washington, Arizona is now 0-7 and on a 19-game losing streak since beating Colorado in early October of 2019.

With its tough loss to Oklahoma, Kansas has lost 19 straight to FBS teams 23 of its last 24.

UNLV had San Jose State there for the taking, but couldn’t catch a break on a ton of Spartan fumbles and collapsed late in a 27-20 loss. It’s now 0-7 and lost 13 straight – and 21 of its last 24 – with the last victory coming over Nevada to close out 2019.

– AAC expansion: One Really Big Thing
– OU-Kansas: Most Overrated Thing
– ACC & CFP: Most Underrated Thing
– Curveballs coming What It All Means, Week 8

NEXT: The really big Week 8 thing was …

The Really Big Week 8 Thing Was …

The American Athletic Conference expanded, and it might not be the plus it should be.

It all flew way under the radar because 1) nothing could beat the shocker of Texas and Oklahoma all of sudden deciding to up and leave the Big 12 for the SEC, and 2) it all hit just before the weekend of massive sporting events was about to get going.

But it should say something that it barely registered a blip.

The American Athletic Conference’s announcement that it was adding Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Rice, UAB, North Texas, and UTSA is a dream college football storyline in late May. In late October, nope.

Anecdotally, anything on the site written about it – like my 10 Quick Thoughts piece – received the bare minimum of traffic and interest, and out of the 15 or so radio appearances I did over the last few days, the subject was brought up once, and only for a brief second, and only because the co-host went to North Texas.

But it matters.

It means the American Athletic Conference is still alive. It lost UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati to the Big 12, but it’s still going forward.

It means the Sun Belt is about to get stronger by adding Southern Miss, and it means Conference USA has some work to do, and it means …

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I’m sorry, I know this story didn’t do much for you, but this really is a big deal – as if it’s a big deal if I keep saying it’s a big deal.

It means the big are only going to get bigger, the Big 12 is still a thing, and it means the Mountain West is going to be the strongest of the Power Five conferences – if it can keep its members.

The Big 12 is already expanding west with BYU – adding Boise State, Nevada, and maybe San Diego State would expand the footprint, but that’s who the American Athletic Conference should’ve gone after full bore.

This story didn’t make any noise because it was Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Rice, UAB, North Texas, and UTSA. They’re fun programs with good fan bases and a whole lot of excitement, but all it means is that the AAC isn’t getting the attractive Mountain West programs, and if anything, it means the Mountain West might have some moves to make.

And it means the Pac-12 had better wake up fast and take the win with Nevada and San Diego State while it still can, and …

I know, I know. Back to the football side of things and we’ll save this for the offseason.

– Service academies, Pickett Winners & Losers
– OU-Kansas: Most Overrated Thing
– ACC & CFP: Most Underrated Thing
– Curveballs coming What It All Means, Week 8

NEXT: The most overrated thing was …

The Most Overrated Thing Was …

Oklahoma struggled against Kansas 35-23.

Oklahoma wasn’t going to lose to Kansas.

The social media world got all crazy that OU had a bad day and Kansas looked functional. But no, Oklahoma wasn’t going to lose to Kansas, and it was cute that so many people though it could’ve happened.

Oh sure, it was entertaining, and that sure didn’t feel like a 12-point road win against a Power Five program, but Oklahoma scored 35 points in the second half – that seems to have been ignored.

The Sooner defense played like it had eight men on the field, and it took Caleb Williams to play like the Heisman candidate he should be to get the job done, but Oklahoma won its game over a one-win team by 12 and moved down in the rankings.

Cincinnati won its road game over a one-win team by seven and moved up/stayed – depending on your poll of choice – to No. 2.

Now, this performance by Oklahoma matters if it can’t start playing up to its ability. The season is there for the taking, and this program is trying its best to make that very, very difficult.

The same unwritten rules for the College Football Playoff world still apply.

Go unbeaten in your Power Five conference and you will go to the playoff. No way, no how, no chance that this game against Kansas matters if OU runs the table and goes 13-0.

And it almost certainly doesn’t matter if OU goes 12-1 with a Big 12 championship, either.

This season, with upsets left and right and big teams collapsing all around us – like preseason top 25 Clemson, Iowa State, North Carolina, LSU, Wisconsin, USC, Miami, Indiana, Penn State, Washington, Louisiana, and Coastal Carolina – staying unbeaten and being 8-0 in the Power Five is enough.

For now.

Oklahoma, though, enough is enough. Bring that Lawrence focus, energy, and effort to Texas Tech, at Baylor, Iowa State, and/or at Oklahoma State, and you’re about to get thrown on the pile of also-rans.

– Service academies, Pickett Winners & Losers
– AAC expansion: One Really Big Thing
– ACC & CFP: Most Underrated Thing
– Curveballs coming What It All Means, Week 8

NEXT: The most underrated thing was …

The Most Underrated Thing Was …

The ACC is still alive in the College Football Playoff chase.

It was assumed that the ACC was left for dead in the run to the College Football Playoff, and for realistic intents and purposes, it’s still in trouble.

But it’s still alive.

Clemson, North Carolina, and Miami were all supposed to be good at college football this year, and they’re not. That made it easy to dismiss a conference that’s been easy to dismiss over the years when it’s been Clemson and a bunch of other teams. But there’s a chance the college football world might really have to pay attention to the league over the finishing kick.

Wake Forest hung 70 on the board in the wild win over Army to get to 7-0. Yeah, hell and at North Carolina, NC State, at Clemson, at Boston College are coming to breakfast after the free space home date against Duke, but the Demon Deacons will end up going into November unbeaten in a Power Five conference.

Next week right about now in Grapevine, Texas, one of the College Football Playoff committee members will do a deep dive on just how bad Pitt’s 44-41 loss to a mediocre Western Michigan really is.

It’s not like there’s an amazing win on the 6-1 Panther slate so far, but beating Tennessee and Virginia Tech on the road, and taking care of Clemson at home, are good enough. And unlike Wake Forest, Pitt’s chances of getting to the ACC Championship with an honest shot at the CFP are more reasonable.

At Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, at Syracuse, and then it’ll probably get Wake Forest or NC State in the ACC Championship – if all goes well.

In a dream world for the conference, it’s 12-0 Wake Forest against 11-1 Pitt for the championship, but even then it’s going to take some help to get into the playoff.

Alabama can’t beat Georgia in the SEC Championship. Oregon might have to lose, Oklahoma might have to lose twice, and there are too many teams still alive in the Big Ten to start.

And, of course, there’s the Cincinnati problem – an unbeaten Wake Forest gets in over an unbeaten American Athletic Conference team – but that’s for another time if the ACC champion get do its part and be viable in the discussion.

For now, Clemson is out. North Carolina is out. Miami and Florida State and Virginia and Virginia Tech are all out – at least for the College Football Playoff – and yet the ACC still matters in the last week of October.

Yay. That’s a good thing.

– Service academies, Pickett Winners & Losers
– AAC expansion: One Really Big Thing
– OU-Kansas: Most Overrated Thing
– Curveballs coming What It All Means, Week 8

NEXT: What It All Means: Week 8

What It All Means: Week 8

Okay, so what’s next? Where’s the next curveball going to come from?

Who saw Clemson with three losses before the end of October?

Who saw Penn State losing at home to Illinois in nine overtimes? (Actually, I did say on a national appearance that the Illini over the Nittany Lions was the one big upset to watch out for, but I didn’t really believe it.)

Who saw UTEP and UTSA being bowl eligible before Wisconsin, and Penn State, and Florida?

Who saw DJ Uiagalelei and Spencer Rattler on the sidelines instead of front and center in the Heisman race?

Who saw Washington, and USC, and LSU, and Virginia Tech all needing to worry about even being bowl eligible?

Of course this happens every year – all the twists and turns make this fun – but outside of Clemson, there hasn’t been anything that crazy.

Week 8 Roundup
CFN 1-130 Rankings | Bowl Projections
Week 8 scoreboard, all the predictions
Week 8 opening lines | AP | Coaches
Big Game Reaction: Illinois, Oregon, Pitt, more

Before the season, it was hardly wacky to suggest that Oregon would beat Ohio State and Texas A&M would get past Alabama.

It wasn’t insane to think that Cincinnati would beat Notre Dame and Indiana and roll through the rest of its slate.

Michigan being good was more gettable than you’d think – the preseason polls whiffed badly on that – and it really wasn’t that stunning that the darlings of the bizarre 2020 season – Liberty, Sun Belt teams, Indiana, Northwestern, San Jose State – would be mediocre.

Would it shock you if Florida beat Georgia this Saturday?

Would you be floored if Iowa State really did get past its early issues to be a true player in the Big 12 championship chase?

At this point, would you be stunned if we’re soon arguing about whether or not a one-loss Kentucky – whose lone defeat was at Georgia – should deserve nice things?

The Big Ten East is about to eat itself up, Oregon is probably going to blow it at Utah or against Oregon State, as always in the College Football Playoff era, everything will shake out and it’ll be one dominant SEC team vs. one terrific Power Five team for the national title.

But what if Georgia does lose in the next few weeks and the SEC Championship turns into a College Football Playoff elimination game?

What if Iowa is in the Big Ten championship at 11-1, or Baylor is in the Big 12 championship with one loss, or if these ACC teams are for real, and if Michigan State starts to pick off the good teams on its schedule, and if San Diego State is the Group of Five program we should be talking about instead of Cincinnati, and …

We’re two months into an amazing college football season. It’s not going to slow down now.

– Service academies, Pickett Winners & Losers
– AAC expansion: One Really Big Thing
– OU-Kansas: Most Overrated Thing
– ACC & CFP: Most Underrated Thing
– Curveballs coming What It All Means, Week 8