College Football’s Winners and Losers: Week 8

Nate Marrero, Sports Writer

With so many upsets and close calls, Week Eight of the season was chaos.

And we live for chaos.

Let’s get into the winners and losers.



Casey O’Brien

Casey O’Brien, a walk-on who is the holder for the No. 17 Minnesota Gophers has had cancer on four separate occasions. And O‘Brien has beaten it every time. 

With the Gophers up 27-0 over Rutgers, O’Brien saw his first action, holding the extra point and, of course, it was good. Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck was moved to tears after the kick. 

Here’s to hoping that O’Brien continues to play and inspire others who have to go through the same thing he did. Moments like these are what make sports great. 

No. 11 Oregon Ducks

Husky Stadium is one of the tougher environments in college football to play for opposing teams, but despite being down 14 points in the second half, the Oregon Ducks managed to pull off a come-from-behind win over Washington 35-31.

Justin Herbert showed why he’s the top quarterback on some NFL teams’ draft boards, completing 24 of his 38 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns—including a five-yard, go-ahead strike to Haylon Redd in the fourth quarter.

The win was the biggest of the season for the Ducks, and it kept their playoff hopes alive. If they can run the table and win the Pac-12 championship game, there’s still a slight chance they can sneak in with a bit of help. 

No. 12 Utah Utes

Hey look, it’s another Pac-12 team who came out of this week a winner. How many times do we get to say that?

To say that Utah bullied the No. 24 Arizona State Sun Devils may very well be an understatement. Utah hung Arizona State from a flagpole by their underwear. Utah held Arizona State by the ankles and shook them until their lunch money fell out of their pockets.

Utah’s defense held Arizona State to 25 (!) yards passing and just 136 total yards of offense. 

While Utah’s offense wasn’t anything special, it may not matter if their defense can continue to pull off performances like this. 

Utah also now finds themselves in the exact same situation as Oregon, a one-loss team that would have a chance to make the playoff if only they weren’t in a conference that was under a gypsey’s curse.

Should both teams win-out, they’ll meet in the Pac 12 championship game and we’ll really get to see who the class of the west coast is.

No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions

Another week, another win over a ranked Big 10 opponent for the Penn State Nittany Lions. 

It came down to the wire, but Penn State managed to escape their white-out game with a 28-21 win over the Michigan Wolverines. 

Michigan outgained the Nittany Lions 417 yards to 283 yards, had 26 first downs to Penn State’s 14, ran 26 more plays and had the ball for over 15 minutes longer than Penn State – but it still wasn’t enough. 

Sean Clifford turned in his best performance against a ranked opponent, throwing for 182 yards with two touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. KJ Hamler had 108 of those yards on six catches and two touchdowns. 

With the win, Penn State is the clear cut second-best team in the Big 10 behind Ohio State. 


No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers

To say that the Wisconsin Badgers were looking ahead to the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes next week may very well be an understatement. 

They found themselves on the wrong end of the biggest upset of the season, losing to the Illinois Fighting Illini 24-23. You know, Illinois – that team that is always terrible.

What’s worse is the Badgers were up 23-14 in the 4th quarter before Illinois scored 10 answered points and sealed the upset with a game-winning 39-yard field goal from James McCourt in the waning seconds.

Now the Badgers have gone from playoff contender to 13th in the AP Poll. Even if they run the table, there’s almost no chance that they’ll be able to contend for a national championship.

Missouri Tigers

With the struggles of the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators not looking as dominant as they were to start the season, the Missouri Tigers were potentially sneaking up on those two teams in the SEC East. 

And then they weren’t after they lost to the Vanderbilt Commodores 21-14. 

Kelly Bryant looked more like the guy who lost his job to Trevor Lawrence at Clemson, completing just 13 of his 26 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown and one interception. 

Now, Missouri has practically made themselves ineligible to make it to the SEC championship game, like how NCAA made them ineligible to play in a bowl game this year.

Miami Hurricanes

The U is back…to losing.

If you have a friend who happens to be a fan of the Hurricanes and the Miami Dolphins, give them a hug. And if they’re also a Miami Marlins fans you should probably hook them up with a counselor or therapist. Times are rough for them to say the least. 

Just one week after they beat the Virginia Cavaliers, Miami lost to the rebuilding Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 28-21 in overtime. 

One step forward, two steps backward for Miami and it feels like they’ll be saying that they’re back at the beginning of every season only to realize it isn’t true just four games into the season. 

Looking ahead

No. 2 LSU vs No. 9 Auburn

Another week, another big game for the Auburn Tigers. 

Coming off of a tough 24-13 loss on the road to the Florida Gators, Auburn bounced back nicely by pummeling the Arkansas Razorbacks 51-10. 

LSU undoubtedly has the best resume in college football and should be ranked number one in the AP Poll. With two top 10 wins over the Texas Longhorns and the Florida Gators, no other team comes close. 

With that being said, this should be a typical hard-hitting, physical SEC game. LSU’s offense faces another tough test in Auburn’s defense and we’ll see if Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn takes the training wheels off of Bo Nix in Death Valley. Or, more likely, if the wheels come off and the bike careens into a ditch. 


No. 3 Ohio State vs No. 13 Wisconsin

This easily had the makings of being the best game of the weekend. Two Big 10 teams ranked inside the top six of the AP Poll with the winner becoming the clear favorite in the Big 10. 

But Wisconsin had to schedule their annual collapse a little early this season.

There’s still a chance that this is a good competitive game should Wisconsin play like the team who won their first six games of the season, but it’s tough to expect a team that just lost to the Fighting Illini to give this Ohio State team that tough a fight. Then again, we didn’t expect Illinois to give the Badgers that tough of a game so who the hell knows. 


No. 19 Michigan vs No. 8 Notre Dame

There is no rest for the weary as the Michigan Wolverines are forced to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish right after a heartbreaking 28-21 loss to Penn State. 

Notre Dame is coming off of a bye week too, so expect them to be well-rested and prepared. 

Michigan showed signs of improvement though, in their game on the road against Penn State, it looks like they are once again headed for a disappointing season under Harbaugh. The “White Out” game is one of the tougher environments to play in and they came back from down 21-0 to almost pulling off the upset if a few plays had gone their way. 

Penn State is in the past though, and the Wolverines need to recover quickly. If they find a way to pull out a win against Notre Dame, it would easily be the biggest win for Michigan with Harbaugh.