National Whiparound Week 8: Down Goes Ohio State

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Week 8 provided yet another eventful weekend in college football — most notably Penn State’s upset of Ohio State in Happy Valley. The weekend also provided yet another signature performance from Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, a dominant win from both Alabama schools and another heartbreaking loss for Texas.

Here’s a look at four of the biggest takeaways from Week 8.

FIRST DOWN

Penn State spoils Ohio State’s perfect season

Ohio State entered Saturday’s game against Penn State favored by 18 points. The Buckeyes had rolled to a perfect record and looked like the Big Ten’s best chance at a College Football Playoff berth. However, Penn State had the advantage of coming off a bye week and playing at home in a hostile environment.

Trailing 21-7, the Nittany Lions scored 17 unanswered points, including a game winning 60-yard blocked field goal return. The upset proved how elusive an undefeated season in college football truly is. But it’s not the end of the world. All three of Urban Meyer’s national championship teams experienced a loss during the regular season.

However, the Buckeyes still have several tough matchups remaining, including the rivalry week game against No. 2 Michigan, now the favorite in the Big Ten following Ohio State’s loss.

SECOND DOWN

Lamar Jackson, Louisville reminds us of early season hype 

“‘Memba Lamar Jackson? ‘Memba Louisville beating FSU 63-20? Oh I ‘memba!”

And in case you didn’t, the Cardinals provided reason to on Saturday. Two weeks after losing a crucial game at Clemson, Louisville captured a decisive 54-13 win over NC State which saw Jackson play like the undisputed favorite to win the Heisman once again.

The sophomore threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns on 20 of 34 passing and rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts. Still, the Cardinals’ loss to Clemson could be the biggest factor in the ACC standings. However, the CFB committee could decide otherwise and give Louisville the nod.

THIRD DOWN

Both teams in Alabama are really really good

Tell me if you’ve heard this before: Alabama cruised against a ranked opponent and managed to further legitimize itself as the best team in the country. Yeah, there’s not much surprising about the Tide’s 33-14 win over then-No. 6 Texas A&M. The defending champs have long been assumed to be the best team in the SEC and FBS.

But what about what’s happening within state lines with Gus Malzahn and Auburn? Several weeks ago, Malzahn was sitting on the hottest coaching seats in college football.

But Auburn has looked better each week since its Week 4 win against LSU, including Saturday’s 56-3 win over Arkansas. The Tigers recorded 543 rushing yards, which was the most against an SEC opponent in school history. If Auburn can continue its momentum, the Iron Bowl could be very interesting this year.

FOURTH DOWN

Texas, Charlie Strong falls again

Texas coach Charlie Strong didn’t provide much reason to be optimistic about his job security on Saturday. After losing three of their last four games, the Longhorns fell, 24-21, to Kansas State, which marked their fifth straight loss in Manhattan and their 12 loss in 17 games on the road during Strong’s three seasons as head coach.

Strong’s Monday morning press conference featured Texas AD Mike Perrin, looming like a not-so-subtle specter.

At this point, it’s going to take a miracle for the coach to survive the rest of the season and/or offseason, especially with Houston coach Tom Herman becoming a possible candidate, a process accelerated once plans of the Cougars possibly joining the Big 12 fell through.