Projected AP Top 25 college football rankings after Week 8: No. 15-11
15. LSU Tigers
No, LSU giving Army an unkind visit to Baton Rouge in a complete rout isn’t enough in itself to vault the Tigers up four spots in the college football rankings from last week. However, with the likes of Tennessee, Duke, UNC and USC all falling on Saturday, LSU gets a big bump up back into the Top 15, despite having two losses. The Tigers remain one of the most lethal offenses in the sport, but the defense will have to step up if Brian Kelly’s team is to cause chaos in the SEC West.
14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
It was a well-deserved off week for Notre Dame on Saturday after a hellacious stretch of game that, unfortunately, clipped the Irish on multiple occasions. Marcus Freeman’s team losing to Ohio State and Louisville all but surely takes them out of the Playoff mix, but they can still potentially punch a ticket to the New Year’s Six with a manageable finishing stretch featuring no more ranked opponents over the final four contests.
13. Utah Utes
Utah owned USC and ruined any dreams the Trojans may have had last season. With no Cam Rising on the field still, that wasn't the case on Saturday night in Los Angeles. But the Utah defense played a phenomenal game, as did backup QB Bryson Barnes, perhaps the best game of his career. The Utes did cough up a 28-14 lead, but Barnes came up massively in the final minute after USC took a 32-31 lead to set up the game-winning field goal and hand the Trojans their third straight loss to the Utes.
12. Ole Miss Rebels
On the heels of upsetting LSU on Sept. 30, Ole Miss messed around and had to survive against Arkansas. The hope was that, after a week off, the Rebels would be back in form as they went on the road to face Auburn. Instead, Lane Kiffin’s group ended up in another surprising dogfight. Credit to Ole Miss for pulling away and securing the win late, but they consistently make everyone doubt they’re actually one of the 15 best teams in the country.
11. Oregon State Beavers
Jonathan Smith’s Beavs picked up a huge win over UCLA last week, doing so in convincing fashion in Corvallis. They then had their bye in Week 8, which they might need before going on the road next week to face an Arizona team that has been tremendously on the upswing over the past few weeks. Having said that, Oregon State hasn’t just replicated last year’s success, they’re building on it, which is a great sign to see for this program as they aren’t out of the Pac-12 race just yet.