College Football Rankings 2017: Updated NCAA Week 8 Standings, Final Poll Review

FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 file photo, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley runs with the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Penn State's Saquon Barkley leads all FBS players with 243.6 all-purpose yards per game and has seen his workload increase since last season. Through five games, Barkley’s scored rushing, receiving and return touchdowns and only four players have more touches than his 121, 23 more than he had at this point last season. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Week 8 of the 2017 college football campaign is going to have a hard time following the season-altering Week 7.

The horror show for ranked teams fittingly started on Friday the 13th when the No. 2 Clemson Tigers lost to the Syracuse Orange and the No. 8 Washington State Cougars fell by 34 points to the California Golden Bears.

From there, Arizona State beat No. 5 Washington, LSU beat No. 10 Auburn, Boise State beat No. 19 San Diego State, West Virginia beat No. 24 Texas Tech and Memphis beat No. 25 Navy.

There were also a number of close misses, with No. 11 Miami beating Georgia Tech by one point, No. 12 Oklahoma outlasting Texas by five, No. 13 USC surpassing Utah by a single point and No. 17 Michigan needing overtime to dispatch of Indiana.

There figure to be more surprises in store in Week 8, even if it doesn’t match the drama of the previous set of games. With that in mind, here is a quick review of the latest rankings before the Saturday action kicks off.

                 

Associated Press Top 25

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

2. Penn State Nittany Lions

3. Georgia Bulldogs

4. TCU Horned Frogs

5. Wisconsin Badgers

6. Ohio State Buckeyes

7. Clemson Tigers

8. Miami Hurricanes

9. Oklahoma Sooners

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys

11. USC Trojans

12. Washington Huskies

13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

14. Virginia Tech Hokies

15. Washington State Cougars

16. NC State Wolfpack

16. South Florida Bulls

18. Michigan State Spartans

19. Michigan Wolverines

20. UCF Knights

21. Auburn Tigers

22. Stanford Cardinal

23. West Virginia Mountaineers

24. LSU Tigers

25. Memphis Tigers

The Amway Coaches’ Poll can be found on USA Today, although the top-six teams are exactly the same as the AP rankings. The first difference comes at No. 7, where the Miami Hurricanes check in instead of Clemson, who is No. 8.

                 

Week 8 Look Ahead

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 07: Alize Mack #86 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish makes a catch against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the game at Kenan Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

There are a few potential upsets that stand out in the Week 8 slate.

Notably, Miami is playing the same Syracuse team that beat Clemson, while Oklahoma State has to go on the road to face a Texas team that nearly beat Oklahoma. Elsewhere in the Big 12, Oklahoma will be on the road after its tough battle with the Longhorns to face a previously ranked Kansas State squad.

While upsets always bring intrigue, there are only two games between ranked teams on the schedule.

Michigan travels to Penn State for a marquee Big Ten clash, and the Nittany Lions will be looking for revenge after losing 49-10 in last year’s matchup. The blowout loss likely kept Penn State out of the College Football Playoff, somewhere it has its eyes on again this season.

This year’s showdown will prove critical for positioning in the Big Ten East, especially since Ohio State and Michigan State are also without conference losses. A defeat for the Wolverines would mean they have two conference losses and dropped the head-to-head tiebreakers with the Spartans and Nittany Lions, all but rendering them irrelevant for the remainder of the Big Ten race.

The highlighted matchup comes between Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and a stout Michigan defense allowing 85.8 rushing yards per game (sixth in the nation, as of Thursday). However, Wolverines defensive end Chase Winovich said his team has to focus on the entire Penn State offense, per George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press.

“He’s obviously a great player,” Winovich said of Barkley. “But he’s a great player on a great team. Not like he’s the only good person on that offense. So we’re going to key them all. We’re not just going to—from my perception of how we’re handling things—we’re not just keying on any particular person. … We’re not taking any risks.”

Elsewhere, USC travels to Notre Dame in a high-profile showdown with more at stake than just bragging rights in a traditional rivalry between two blue-blood programs.

Each has one loss, meaning the loser is likely on the outside looking in at the College Football Playoff picture for the rest of the season. The Fighting Irish could be a nightmare for the power conferences considering there is already fewer playoff spots (four) than power conference champions (five) to begin with, and they could play their way into the discussion with wins over USC, NC State, Miami and Stanford.

The Trojans were tested by Western Michigan but pulled away at the end, needed double-overtime against 3-3 Texas and had to overcome a 14-point halftime deficit to beat Utah 28-27 in their last game.

They haven’t looked like powerhouses despite winning every game but the Washington State one to this point and will receive one of their stiffest tests of the season Saturday night.

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