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Stephen Vilardo’s 2022 Week 8 College Football Top 25

A pair of thrillers in Salt Lake City and Knoxville headlined the shakeups at the top

Posted on October 17, 2022

  By Stephen Vilardo, SuperWest Sports

Our top ranked team rolled yet again, but the SEC East may not be a foregone conclusion for Georgia.

Tennessee looks poised to challenge the Bulldogs after getting their first win over Alabama in 15 seasons.

TCU also jumps into my Top 10 proving they belong with a win over Oklahoma State.

A thriller in Salt Lake City and another in Knoxville combined to shake up the Week 8 College Football Toop 25.

Syracuse proved something with their win over NC State but a showdown with Clemson looms this week to see just where the Orange belong.

1. Georgia Bulldogs 7-0 (Last week 1)

Last Week: Beat Vanderbilt 55-0

Georgia shut out Vanderbilt for the second consecutive season following a 62-0-win last season.

It was the first time the Bulldogs held an SEC scoreless in consecutive seasons since 1980-81 against Kentucky (27-0 in 1980 and 21-0 in 1981).

It was also the 16th straight win in Athens for the Bulldogs.

Next Week: BYE

2. Ohio State Buckeyes 6-0 (2)

Last Week: BYE

Ohio State had the week off.

The Buckeyes’ offense is putting up 543.1 yards per game, the second most in the nation. That offense could get a test from Iowa and their stingy defense this week.

Really, though, if they only put up six points, it will probably be enough against Iowa’s offense.

Next Week: vs Iowa

3. Michigan Wolverines 7-0 (6)

Last week: Beat Penn State 41-17

The Wolverines have opened 7-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1973-74.

In this space last week, I said Michigan should get its first test against the Nittany Lions, and they passed it.

UM limited Penn State to 83 yards of total offense in the first half, making it five of seven opponents this year the Wolverines have held under 100 yards in the first half.

Michigan ran for 418-yards, its first 400-yard rushing day since going for 481 in 2016 vs Rutgers.

Next Week: BYE

4. Tennessee Volunteers 6-0 (7)

Last Week: Beat Alabama 52-49

The Vols snapped a 15-game skid to the Crimson Tide, claiming their first victory in the series since 2006.

Tennessee has opened the season 6-0 for the first time since its 1998 National Championship season.

Four of the six wins have been over ranked opponents; the last time UT defeated as many ranked teams in a single season was in 2001.

Next Week: vs Tennessee-Martin

5. Clemson Tigers 7-0 (4)

Last Week: Won at Florida State 34-28

Clemson extended the nation’s longest active win streak to 13-games, the fourth-longest in Tiger history.

Clemson beat Florida State for the seventh straight time

The Tigers own the second-longest winning streak against the Seminoles by an opponent all-time, trailing Florida’s eight-game winning streak against FSU from 1968-76.

Next Week: vs Syracuse

6. Mississippi Rebels 7-0 (10)

Last Week: Beat Auburn 48-34

Ole Miss won at home for the 14th straight game, the seventh-longest streak in the nation.

It is the longest winning streak in Oxford since the Rebols won 21 straight games from Nov. 1, 1952, to Nov. 7, 1959.

Mississippi ran for 448 yards, the most by a Rebel squad since 1962 (fifth-most all-time) and the second-most ever against an SEC opponent.

Ole Miss has totaled 575+ total yards in consecutive games.

Next Week: at LSU

7. TCU Horned Frogs 6-0 (13)

Last Week: Beat Oklahoma State 43-40 (2OT)

TCU outscored OSU 14-0 in the fourth quarter to send it to overtime and ultimately get the Pokes by three.

The Horned Frogs have beaten ranked opponents in three consecutive games for the first time in program history. They can make it four in a row with a win over Kansas State in their next game.

Sonny Dykes is just the second head coach in TCU history to win his opening six games, joining Francis Schmidt in 1929.

Next Week: vs Kansas State

8. Alabama Crimson Tide 6-1 (3)

Last Week: Lost at Tennessee 52-49

Alabama was flagged for a school record 17 penalties for 130 yards in its loss to Tennessee.

Bryce Young threw for 455 yards and Jahmyr Gibbs had 203 all-purpose yards.

The defensive issues for the Tide let them down against the Vols.

Next Week: vs Mississippi State

9. UCLA Bruins 6-0 (11)

Last Week: BYE

The Bruins, with a win over Utah already in their back pocket, got to enjoy an off week in which the Utes knocked off USC.

The matchup with the Ducks in Eugene will feature the final two unbeaten teams in Pac-12 play.

Next Week: at Oregon

10. Oregon Ducks 5-1 (12)

Last Week: BYE

The Ducks enter the showdown for control of the Pac-12 with UCLA having scored at least 40 points in each of their last five games.

Oregon’s 22-game win streak at Autzen stadium is the third-longest home-field win streak in the nation.

Next Week: vs UCLA

11. Syracuse Orange 6-0 (16)

Last Week: Beat NC State 24-9

Syracuse is 6-0 for the first time since 1987 and the third time since 1935.

The last two times The Orange have opened a season 6-0 (1959 & 1987) they have ended the season unbeaten.

Orande Gadsden has three 100-yard receiving games this season.

Next Week: at Clemson

12. USC Trojans 6-1 (5)

Last Week: Lost at Utah 43-42

usc logoThe Trojans put up 28 on the Utes in the first half and retook the lead late in the fourth quarter but it was not enough as Utah put together a game-winning drive ending in the final minute.

Caleb Williams was phenomenal in the loss, throwing a season-high five TDs for 381 yards, and adding 97 on the ground.

Next Week: BYE

13. Kansas State Wildcats 5-1 (17)

Last Week: BYE

The lone loss of the season was a 17-10 defeat to a pretty good Tulane squad at home. How big might that misstep prove to be as the season continues?

This week the Wildcats can take control of the Big 12 as they travel to Fort Worth in a game between the final unbeatens in conference play.

Next Week: at TCU

14. Utah Utes 5-2 (19)

Last Week: Beat USC 43-42

Utah won for the 12th straight time in Rice-Eccles Stadium with their thrilling victory over USC.

The Utes averaged 8.1 yards per play against the Trojans, racking up 556 yards of offense.

The defense, however, did allow 562 to SC.

Next Week: BYE

15. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 5-1 (15)

Last Week: BYE

Wake Forest comes out of its bye with a visit from Boston College.

Following the visit from the Eagles, the Deacons will have Louisville ahead of a three-game in stretch NC State, UNC, and Syracuse.

The latter two will come to Winston-Salem.

Next Week: vs Boston College

16. Oklahoma State Cowboys 5-1 (8)

Last Week: Lost at TCU 43-40 (2OT)

In the double OT loss, Spencer Sanders set a new quarterback rushing record for Oklahoma State.

He has rushed for 1,874 yards in his career, surpassing Brent Blackman’s total of 1,870. OSU lost for just the 13th time in their last 45 games decided by 10 points or less.

This is just the second Cowboy loss in their last nine against a ranked opponent.

Next Week: vs Texas

17. Penn State Nittany Lions 5-1 (9)

Last Week: Lost at Michigan 41-17

Penn State had the week off ahead of its showdown with Michigan, and it did not matter.

The bright side is PSU held Michigan to 145 passing yards, the flip side is the Lions allowed 418 yards on the ground.

Penn State is now 13-18 all-time in matchups featuring a pair of top-10 teams.

Next Week: vs Minnesota

18. Cincinnati Bearcats 5-1 (21)

Last Week: BYE

The Bearcats have won 18-straight conference games and will look for number 19 off an AAC opponent against SMU.

Ivan Pace leads the nation with 2.1 tackles for loss per game this season.

Next Week: at SMU

19. Illinois Fighting Illini 6-1 (23)

Last Week: Beat Minnesota 26-14

Illinois knocked off Minnesota to take control of the Big Ten West. The Illini are a late-game collapse on a Friday night at Indiana away from being 7-0 this season.

Chase Brown has run for at least 100 yards in the last eight games.

Illinois limited the Gophers to just six completions for 38 yards and three interceptions.

Next Week: BYE

20. Kentucky Wildcats 5-2 (24)

Last Week: Beat Mississippi State 27-17

Kentucky has allowed 24 points or less in each of their last 11 games played.

Chris Rodriguez Jr. has run for 100-yards 17 times in his career, the third-most in UK history.

Against MSU he ran for 197 and topped the 3,000-yard mark for his career, the fourth-most of any Wildcat ever.

UK will have a week off to prepare for a showdown with Tennessee.

Next Week: BYE

21. Texas Longhorns 5-2 (NR)

Last Week: Beat Iowa State 24-21

Texas re-enters my Top 25 on the heels of a three-game win streak.

The Longhorns snapped a three-game losing streak to Iowa State.

UT has had at least four plays from scrimmage of 20+ yards in every game this season.

Next Week: at Oklahoma State

22. North Carolina Tarheels 6-1 (22)

Last Week: Won at Duke 38-35

UNC has four-straight road victories for the first time since the 2016 team won its first four away games.

The win over Duke improved Mack Brown to 12-2 against the Blue Devils and the head coach has won 12 in a row over the rivals.

Drake Maye has thrown 24 touchdown passes, the most by a Tar Heel in the first seven games in a season.

Next Week: BYE

23. NC State Wolfpack 5-2 (14)

Last Week: Lost at Syracuse 24-9

NC State fell to Orange on the field and announced that the shoulder injury Devin Leary suffered against Florida State will require surgery and end his season.

NC State was held to a season-low 255 total yards against the Orange.

Jack Chambers was 18 of 30 for 160 yards in his first start at QB.

Next Week: BYE

24. Mississippi State Bulldogs 5-2 (18)

Last Week: Lost at Kentucky 27-17

A week ago, the Bulldogs ran for 173 yards against Arkansas, the highest total in Mike Leach’s tenure in Starkville, this week they only had 10 rushing attempts, their fewest under Leach.

Mississippi State has scored on 18 consecutive red zone opportunities with a touchdown on each of its last 15.

Next Week: at Alabama

25. Tulane Green Wave 6-1 (NR)

Last Week: Won at South Florida 45-31

The Green Wave are off to their best start since 1998 when Shaun King led them to a 12-0 season.

Michael Pratt threw for a career-high 329 yards in the win over USF.

Tyjae Spears ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns as Tulane’s balanced offense put up numbers against the Bulls.

Next Week: vs Memphis

Dropped Out: BYU, Kansas

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