In the four-year history of the College Football Playoff, no team has made the CFP with two losses. Now in Week 8, with only five undefeated teams left, playoff hopefuls have no margin for error.
Let’s check in on some of the top teams in the country to see what Week 8 told us about their playoff chances:
No. 1 Alabama 58, Tennessee 21
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Tua Tagovailoa had 300+ yards, 4 touchdowns, and didn’t play in the fourth quarter. Again. The sophomore quarterback now has 25 touchdowns and zero interceptions on the year. On his last play of the game, Tagovailoa took a big hit (while throwing a touchdown, of course) and hobbled off the field, but the initial reports don’t seem too concerning.
Alabama now has a bye before heading to Baton Rouge to take on No. 5 LSU on November 3 in what is the Crimson Tide’s toughest test on paper this season, facing a team that’s 3-0 against Top 10 opponents this season.
Purdue 48, No. 2 Ohio State 20
Purdue’s first win against a Top 2 team since 1984 puts Ohio State in a dangerous position for the rest of the season.
The Buckeyes didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter, and it was far too late at that point. Purdue dominated, with running back D.J. Knox and quarterback David Blough carving through the defense, each picking up three touchdowns. In the second half, Ohio State extended two Purdue touchdown drives with poorly-timed penalties (a roughing the kicker and passer) that helped seal the deal.
The Buckeyes still have all the opportunities to prove themselves the rest of the way, with a favorable rebound against 1-6 Nebraska before matchups against No. 24 Michigan State and No. 6 Michigan, but the margin for error just got a lot slimmer.
No. 3 Clemson 41, No. 16 NC State 7
Travis Etienne tallied three rushing touchdowns for the third straight game. Sheesh. He has 409 rushing yards in that stretch, though he managed only 39 against the Wolfpack. Instead, it was Trevor Lawrence picking up the yardage. Lawrence had 308 yards and one score on 26-for-39 passing — his first game ever breaking 200 yards. The result: Clemson looked completely in control against an undefeated NC State team for all 60 minutes.
The game against NC State was the only one of Clemson’s schedule against a ranked team this season, but if the Tigers win out and claim another conference title, it’s hard to imagine a CFP without them.
No. 6 Michigan 21, No. 24 Michigan State 7
Michigan picked up its seventh win in a row, throttling the Spartans in a rivalry game that had a little extra spice to it.
Shea Patterson was solid, throwing two touchdowns and picking up 212 yards, but it was the Wolverines defense that shined in East Lansing, holding the home team to just 94 yards and giving up the lone touchdown after the Spartans recovered a fumble on the Michigan 7-yard line.
The Wolverines have a bye week before picking back up at home against No. 18 Penn State on November 3.
No. 5 LSU 19, No. 22 Mississippi State 3
LSU kicker Cole Tracy continues to shine for the Tigers. Tracy was 4-for-4 against Mississippi State, a week after going 5-for-5 against Georgia. That puts him at 21-for-23 (91.3 percent) on the year.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, star linebacker Devin White was ejected for a targeting call in the fourth quarter of the game, meaning he’ll have to sit out for the first half of LSU’s next game, against none other than No. 1 Alabama.
That game — On Nov. 3, after a bye for both teams — will undoubtedly be LSU’s toughest test of the year, but the Tigers have an impressive 4-1 record against ranked teams this year, including three wins against Top 10 opponents.