Week 8 Recap - Five Unbeatens, and 8 of Top 24 Teams, Go Down To Defeat

October 14, 2017 by Dave Congrove

Thirteen teams entered the college football weekend undefeated. Only eight exited the weekend still unscathed. Clemson, Washington, Washington State, Navy and San Diego State all absorbed their first loss of the season.

Add Auburn's loss at LSU, Georgia Tech's defeat at Miami and Houston's demise at Tulsa and, in all, nine members of the Congrove Computer Rankings' top 24 were beaten.

The upset week actually began on Thursday when Troy lost 19-8 at home to South Alabama.

Friday the 13th turned ugly for a pair of Top 10 teams as No. 3 Clemson fell 27-24 at Syracuse, and No. 8 Washington State was routed 37-3 at Cal. Clemson has a bye week to try to get quarterback Kelly Bryant healthy after losing him to a concussion just before halftime. Bryant was already struggling on a bum ankle to avoid hits before a tackle on an attempted scrambled knocked him out of the game.

On Saturday afternoon, Navy was upended 30-27 at Memphis. The hits kept coming on Saturday night as No. 18 San Diego State was belted 31-14 at home by Boise State, and No. 5 Washington capped off the weekend with a 13-7 defeat at Arizona State.

No. 9 Miami (Fla.), No. 17 USC, and No. 25 Michigan narrowly escaped the same fate.

For the second consecutive game, the Hurricanes pulled out a last-second win by kicking a 24-yard FG with 4 seconds left to avert the upset loss at home to Georgia Tech in a battle for the ACC Coastal division lead. Miami trailed 24-13 late in the 3rd quarter before scoring the final 12 points of the contest.

USC stopped Utah's last-second attempt at a 2-point conversion to get a heart-stopping 28-27 win in Los Angeles. The Trojans had dropped 2 of the last 3 to the Utes. USC is now 11-5 overall vs. Utah and hasn't lost at home in this series since the second-ever meeting in 1916. The Trojans seemed to be hung over from last week's loss at Washington State, falling behind 21-7 in the first half, but rallied for a 28-21 lead until QB Troy Williams' 1-yard run with 42 seconds left gave Utah a chance to finally end the 101-year streak of futility.

Michigan maintained its dominance over Indiana with a 22nd straight win. The 27-20 overtime victory was the second time in-a-row that the Hoosiers took the Wolverines to at least one extra period in Bloomington. In 2015, Indiana lost 48-41 in double-OT.

Houston was routed 45-17 at Tulsa.

Many of the losing teams were huge favorites.

Troy was an 18.74-point pick and lost by 11 for a nearly 30-point flip. Clemson was given a 16.79-point computer nod and lost by 3 for a 19.79-point swing. Wazzu was favored by 15.69 and fell by 34 for a 49.69-point flip. Washington was projected to win by 18.12 and lost by 6 for a 24.12 point swing.

Auburn was only favored by 3.52, San Diego State by 6.66, and Houston by 2.68. Still, the Aztecs' 17-point loss was a 23.66-point flip, and the Cougars' 27-point deficit at Tulsa was a 29.68-point swing from prediction to reality.

That's why we play the games. That's part of what makes college football so exciting every week. Parity can break out when you least expect it.

Other Interesting Outcomes

Oklahoma beat Texas 29-24 in the annual Red River Rivalry game as the Sooners rebounded from last week's stunning home loss to Iowa State.

Meanwhile, Iowa State further proved it has separated itself from Kansas by crushing the Jayhawks 45-0. Kansas and the Cyclones have finished in the bottom two of the Big 12 in each of the last 5 seasons, but Iowa State has won 7 of the last 8 meetings between them.

Nebraska announced on September 12 that it had extended head coach Mike Riley's contract for one extra year through 2020. Since that announcement, the 'Huskers have gone 2-3 with the wins coming against the two worst teams in the conference, Rutgers and Illinois. Nebraska gave further evidence of its awfulness on Saturday with a 56-14 home loss to Ohio State, a week after losing 38-17 to Wisconsin at home. Thus far, Riley is 18-15 overall in Lincoln, including an 11-10 mark in Big Ten games.

Virginia is becoming a story in the ACC. The Cavaliers won 20-14 over North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Saturday to improve to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. It's only the second time since 2012 that Virginia has reached 5 wins in a season.

Florida State ran its record to 20-0 versus Duke and improved to 2-2 in the ACC with a 17-10 win in Durham.

Louisville lost again. This time, the Cardinals fell prey to the Boston College Eagles at Papa John's Stadium in a 45-42 setback. Both teams are now 1-3 in the ACC this season. It was just the third conference win for B.C. over the last 3 seasons. Louisville is 4-5 is in its last 9 games.

Speaking of losing, UCLA has lost 11 of its last 16 games and is just 3-8 in the PAC-12 over the last 2 seasons. The latest failure was a 47-30 loss at Arizona on Saturday night. When it comes to a coach being on the hot seat, Jim Mora's buns must be burning.

Speaking of hot seats, Butch Jones' isn't getting any cooler at Tennessee after a 15-9 home loss to South Carolina. The Vols are now 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the SEC. Butch's teams are a horrendous 14-22 in SEC play during his tenure.

West Virginia tallied the last 29 points of the game to down Texas Tech 46-35 in Morgantown after trailing 35-17 in the 3rd quarter.

Rutgers ended the nation's longest conference losing streak at 16 games with a 35-24 win at Illinois.

Don't look now, but UAB is 4-2 overall and 2-1 in CUSA in its revival year. The Blazers abruptly shut down their football program amid financial distress after the 2014 season and resurrected it this year. UAB upset Middle Tennessee 25-23 at Legion Field in Birmingham on Saturday for its third win in the last four games.

Fresno State has come out of nowhere in the Mountain West. After going 1-11 last year, and 4-20 over the last 2 seasons, the Bulldogs are now 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the conference following Saturday night's 38-0 shutout of New Mexico.

In their first game without Gary Andersen as head coach (mutually parted ways with the school on Monday), Oregon State nearly pulled off the upset of Colorado. Alas, the Buffaloes scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:34 left after trailing much of the game. Defensive backs coach Cory Hall is serving as the interim head coach of the Beavers who fell to 1-6.

So Close and Yet So Far Away

Buffalo is 3-4 with 3 of those losses by a combined 8 points. The Bulls lost 14-13 to Northern Illinois on Saturday, a week after falling 71-68 in 7 overtimes to Western Michigan. Buffalo lost 21-17 earlier in the year to Army. The fourth loss was by only 10 points in the season-opening 17-7 defeat at Minnesota.

Weather Forces Game To Be Rescheduled For Sunday

The Akron-Western Michigan game was delayed until Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (12 p.m. CT) after torrential downpours flooded the stadium in Kalamazoo. It was slated to kick off at 3:30 on Saturday but several lightning strikes put that on hold. By the time lightning was no longer a threat, the accompanying rain nearly submerged the entire field.

Undefeated List Dwindles To 8

To recap, the undefeated list was reduced to 8 teams after losses by Clemson, Navy, San Diego State, Washington and Washington State.

The remaining unbeaten teams are Alabama, Georgia, Miami (Fla.), Penn State, TCU, UCF, USC, and USF.

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Passes

For the second time this season, Army won a game with zero pass completions as the Black Knights edged Eastern Michigan 28-27. Army secured the win when EMU failed to convert a 2-point conversion after scoring on an 8-yard pass with 49 seconds remaining. The Black Knights were 0-for-5 passing. They also went 0-for-5 in a loss to Tulane, and 0-for-2 in an opening season win over Fordham. For the year, they're 8-of-33 for 125 yards with 1 TD and 4 INT's. Army has rushed for 2,649 yards and 28 touchdowns. They began the week ranked 3rd nationally in rushing yards per game.


No FBS vs. FCS battles were staged this week. FBS teams are 82-9 (.901) vs. the FCS this season, and 1,212-117 (.912) since 2003.

These are the FCS victories in 2017:
September 23: Western Illinois 52, Coastal Carolina 10
September 16: North Carolina A&T 35, Charlotte 31
September 16: Idaho State 30, Nevada 28
September 9: South Dakota 35. Bowling Green 27
September 9: New Hampshire 22, Georgia Southern 12
September 2: Liberty 48, Baylor 45
September 2: Howard 43, UNLV 40
September 2: James Madison 34, East Carolina 14
August 31: Tennessee State 17, Georgia State 10.

98 FBS teams are playing 98 games vs. FCS members this year, down substantially from the 110 FBS schools that played 113 games vs. FCS squads last year.


Alabama - Won 39 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Won 16 straight home games (FBS longest). Won 13 straight road games. Won 21 straight conference games (FBS record). Won 41-9 vs. Arkansas on Saturday.

Clemson - Had won 11 straight overall (was FBS longest) before losing 27-24 at Syracuse on Friday night.

South Florida - Won 11 straight overall (now FBS longest). Won 33-3 vs. Cincinnati on Saturday.

Rutgers - Had lost 16 straight conference games (was FBS longest) before winning 35-24 at Illinois on Saturday.

Texas State - Lost 13 straight conference games (now FBS longest). Lost 24-7 at Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday.

Charlotte - Lost 10 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 45-14 at Western Kentucky on Saturday.

Massachusetts - Lost 9 straight overall (FBS 2nd-longest). Idle for a second straight  week.

Kansas - Lost 43 straight road games (FBS longest). Lost 45-0 at Iowa State on Saturday.