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College Football Rankings: NCAAF Top 25 (After Week 8)

Bo Nix, Oregon Ducks Football

Weekly college football top 25 rankings are a big part of every season, and Athlon Sports will update its top 25 following the games each weekend. The eighth weekend of the 2022 season was headlined by Oregon's victory over UCLA, TCU's comeback against Kansas State, Oklahoma State's win over Texas, and Clemson's second-half rally to beat Syracuse. It's a close call at the top of our rankings once again this week. And looking ahead to the rest of '22, there isn't much separation among the top six. Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan take the top four spots, with Clemson at No. 5 and Alabama at No. 6 in the post-Week 8 top 25 rankings. With the eighth week of the 2022 season officially in the books, here are the top 25 teams in college football:

College Football Top 25 Rankings (After Week 8)

1. Tennessee (7-0)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated UT Martin

Thanks to some shrewd scheduling with a matchup against UT Martin a week after beating Alabama, Tennessee ensured there would be no hangover on Saturday. The Volunteers recorded 696 total yards in a 65-24 victory.

2. Georgia (7-0)
Week 8 Result:
Off Week

The Bulldogs were off in Week 8 and return to action next Saturday against Florida in Jacksonville.

3. Ohio State (7-0)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated Iowa

Iowa’s defense gave Ohio State a fight for a half, but coach Ryan Day’s offense eventually scored on four straight possessions to pull away for a 54-10 win. Quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 286 yards and four scores and guided the offense to an average of 5.8 yards per play. The Buckeyes also scored once on defense and held Iowa to 2.7 yards per snap.

4. Michigan (7-0)
Week 8 Result:
Off Week

The Wolverines were off in Week 8 and return to action next Saturday at home against Michigan State.

5. Clemson (8-0)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated Syracuse

The Tigers kept their unbeaten record and CFB Playoff hopes alive thanks to 17 points in the fourth quarter to beat Syracuse 27-21. A sloppy day by the offense (four turnovers) forced coach Dabo Swinney to make a change under center to Cade Klubnik, and while the freshman provided a spark, running back Will Shipley (172 yards and two scores), and the defense were the reasons for a second-half rally.

6. Alabama (7-1)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated Mississippi State

A late touchdown prevented a shutout, but Alabama rebounded from last week’s loss at Tennessee with another dominant victory over Mississippi State (30-6). The defense harassed Will Rogers (four sacks and six tackles for a loss) all night and forced five three-and-outs on the Bulldogs’ high-powered offense.

7. TCU (7-0)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated Kansas State

Another week, another second-half comeback for TCU. The Horned Frogs appeared to be in real trouble once Kansas State opened a 28-10 lead in the second quarter. However, the Wildcats bogged down on offense thanks to injuries at quarterback, and the Horned Frogs used a streak of four touchdowns on five drives in the middle of the game to stay unbeaten in a 38-28 win. 

8. Oregon (6-1)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated UCLA

In a game where both teams had high-powered offenses, small things added up for Oregon’s 45-30 win over UCLA. Quarterback Bo Nix was brilliant (22 of 28 for 283 yards and five touchdowns through the air), and the defense made stops when it mattered (three field goals forced). Also, a timely onside kick call by coach Dan Lanning gave the Ducks an extra possession in a back-and-forth game.

9. Oklahoma State (6-1)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated Texas

Despite injuries taking a toll, coach Mike Gundy’s team found a way to step up on both sides of the ball to score a 41-34 win over Texas. After giving up 31 points in the first half, Oklahoma State’s defense gave up just three in the final two quarters. Also, quarterback Spencer Sanders connected on 34 of 57 passes for 391 yards and two scores. The Cowboys played smart (zero penalties compared to 14 for Texas) and won third downs (8 of 19 conversions to 3 of 17 for the Longhorns). 

10. USC (6-1)
Week 8 Result:
Off Week

The Trojans were off in Week 8 and return to action next Saturday on the road against Arizona.

11. UCLA (6-1)
Week 8 Result:
Lost to Oregon

UCLA’s defense had no answer for Oregon’s offense (545 yards and 7.4 yards per play) in Saturday’s 45-30 loss in Eugene. The Bruins were able to move the ball successfully but couldn’t convert drives into touchdowns. A looming showdown against USC on Nov. 19 should decide whether or not UCLA gets another shot at Oregon in the Pac-12 title game.

12. Penn State (6-1)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated Minnesota

A week after a 41-17 loss to Michigan, the Nittany Lions got a much-needed rebound effort in a 45-17 win over Minnesota. Quarterback Sean Clifford was solid after a slow start (295 yards and four scores) to lead an offense that averaged 7.1 yards per play. Penn State’s defense limited the Golden Gophers’ standout ground attack to just 165 yards (3.6 per carry).

13. Wake Forest (6-1)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated Boston College

Quarterback Sam Hartman threw for 313 yards and five touchdowns to lead Wake Forest to a 43-15 win over Boston College. The Demon Deacons have scored 43 or more points in five out of their seven games this season.

14. Utah (5-2)
Week 8 Result:
Off Week

The Utes were off in Week 8 and return to action on Thursday night at Washington State.

15. LSU (6-2)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated Ole Miss

The Bayou Bengals are trending up at the right time under first-year coach Brian Kelly. After giving up 17 points on Ole Miss’ first three drives, LSU’s defense allowed three points the rest of the way. Also, quarterback Jayden Daniels was excellent for the second week in a row and guided the offense to six touchdowns on the team’s final eight possessions. 

16. Ole Miss (7-1)
Week 8 Result:
Lost to LSU

Optimism was high for the Rebels after scoring on four of their first five drives in Saturday’s game at LSU. However, the offense was held scoreless the rest of the way, and the defense allowed four straight scoring drives by the Tigers in the second half to drop Ole Miss from the ranks of the unbeaten.

17. Syracuse (6-1)
Week 8 Result:
Lost to Clemson

The Orange dropped their first game of the year (27-21 at Clemson) but won’t drop far in our rankings after a good showing in Death Valley. The lack of carries or touches (10 overall) for running back Sean Tucker was puzzling, however.

18. Illinois (6-1)
Week 8 Result:
Off Week

The Fighting Illini were off in Week 8 and return to action next Saturday at Nebraska.

19. Kentucky (5-2)
Week 8 Result:
Off Week

The Wildcats were off in Week 8 and return to action next Saturday at Tennessee. 

20. Kansas State (5-2)
Week 8 Result:
Lost to TCU

Injuries to quarterbacks Adrian Martinez and Will Howard were simply too much to overcome in the second half of Kansas State 38-28 loss at TCU. After leading 28-10, the Wildcats were held scoreless the rest of the way and struggled to get stops against the Horned Frogs' high-powered offense.

21. Cincinnati (6-1)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated SMU

A combination of timely stops on defense, a few big plays on offense and good special teams lifted Cincinnati to a 29-27 win at SMU. The Bearcats have won 19 in a row over AAC foes.

22. North Carolina (6-1)
Week 8 Result:
Off Week

The Tar Heels were off in Week 8 and return to action on Saturday at home against Pitt. Considering the other six teams in the Coastal Division all have at least two losses in conference play, coach Mack Brown’s team is moving closer to a trip to Charlotte.

23. Tulane (7-1)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated Memphis

Memphis made things interesting with 28 points in the second half, but a 35-0 run to start the game was enough for Tulane to hold on for a 38-35 victory. The Green Wave have matched the highest win total (seven) of a single season in coach Willie Fritz’s tenure.

24. NC State (5-2)
Week 8 Result:
Off Week

The Wolfpack were off in Week 8 and return to action on Thursday against Virginia Tech in Raleigh.  

25. South Carolina (5-2)
Week 8 Result:
Defeated Texas A&M

The Gamecocks join the top 25 after Saturday night's win against Texas A&M. Coach Shane Beamer's team used a kickoff return for a score and converted two turnovers into 10 points to jump out to a 17-0 lead. Although the Aggies rallied, South Carolina answered late in the fourth quarter. Running back MarShawn Lloyd scored on a four-yard rush with just over three minutes left to secure a 30-21 win for the Gamecocks. 

The Next Tier: Oregon State, Maryland, Liberty, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Washington, Texas, Florida State, Baylor