The College Football Playoff committee won’t announce its first official top 25 for a couple more weeks, but we still have a pretty good idea of how things are shaping up in real time.
Below, the full Week 8 results of college football games involving teams ranked by the AP Poll, which is a good enough approximation of Playoff rankings for now.
This week, most of the big ramifications looked likely to involve the SEC West, with six of its seven teams playing each other in ranked games. The biggest shakeup, however, is AP No. 2 Ohio State losing at Penn State.
Remember a few of the things the committee values: record vs. committee-ranked teams, record against bowl-eligible teams, and whatever vague sense of qualitative analysis the committee decides to articulate at any point. The committee also re-ranks its top 25 from scratch each week, with each team’s entire schedule getting a fresh evaluation.
No. 1 Alabama 33, No. 6 Texas A&M 14
The Tide are two wins, at most, from clinching the SEC West and just added a likely high-quality win in resounding fashion, for whatever that even matters.
Penn State 24, No. 2 Ohio State 21
The Nittany Lions are now an Ohio State win over Michigan away from a three-way tie for the division title, if they win out. However, PSU would rank last among that trio, due to its overall record, meaning Michigan-Ohio State could still decide the Big Ten East anyway.
(So in a weird way, OSU’s Playoff shape is basically unchanged, unless we end up with four unbeatens, which would be extremely rare. A one-loss Big Ten champion would make the Playoff.)
No. 3 Michigan 41, Illinois 8
Non-quality home win, but Michigan’s now in even better Big Ten East shape anyway.
No. 5 Washington 41, Oregon State 17
Nothing changes at all, unless the Beavers somehow make a bowl.
No. 7 Louisville 54, NC State 13
A total domination, and should count as a win against a decent team. The Cardinals remain just behind Clemson, though they’d need some tiebreaker help to win the division.
No. 8 Nebraska 27, Purdue 14
No one cares. The Huskers are unbeaten, though.
No. 10 Wisconsin 17, Iowa 9
Should count as a win over a bowl team. Next week’s Nebraska-Wisconsin might decide the Big Ten West.
SMU 38, No. 11 Houston 16
UH just lost to a team that’s now 3-4. The American’s New Year’s Six bowl hopes are now down to Navy. Tom Herman might be regretting some trash talk about SMU from back in the spring.
No. 12 West Virginia 34, TCU 10
The undefeated Eers are probably gonna be one of the quietest top-10 teams in October in a long time, and they just added a blowout of a decent team.
No. 14 Boise State 28, BYU 27
This should stand up as a pretty good win, bizarre ending and all. If Boise wins out, it’s probably at least the mid-major New Year’s Six autobid.
No. 16 Oklahoma 66, Texas Tech 59
The biggest shootout in Division I history, as far as yards go. Hey, the Sooners host Baylor and might still be the Big 12 favorite after all?
No. 21 Auburn 56, No. 17 Arkansas 3
Um, damn. The 5-2 Tigers still have trips to Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama, but are close to fulfilling season expectations with room to spare.
No. 19 Utah 52, UCLA 45
The Pac-12 South is a damn mess. I do not have time to elaborate. Let’s just say Utah-Colorado at the end of the season could help decide a Power 5 conference.
No. 20 Western Michigan 45, Eastern Michigan 31
“Beating EMU gives WMU a win likely to count as a decent resume item and keeps the Broncos’ New Year’s hopes alive” is a real sentence in the year 2016.
No. 22 North Carolina 35, Virginia 14
The Heels remain alive in the ACC Coastal. Probably won’t stand as a win over a bowl team.
No. 24 Navy 42, Memphis 28
The Midshipmen added a quality W and still control the AAC race, with a fair shot at New Year’s.
No. 25 LSU 38, No. 23 Ole Miss 21
Well, the SEC West’s upper-middle class isn’t a bad place to be.