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18 things you need to know from Week 8 in college football


With just one loss, Baylor can't quite be counted out of the College Football Playoff hunt. But if you think the Bears' loss to West Virginia Saturday merely drops them back into the same pool of all the other one-loss contenders -- Oregon, Michigan State, Auburn, Alabama and the FSU-Notre Dame loser -- think again.

This was as big a blow on a single afternoon as any playoff contender has absorbed all year. Why? Because the Bears' argument against those teams isn't going to stack up very well at the end of the season. At this point, the Bears need other one-loss teams to lose more than they need unbeaten teams to. And that's a bad position to be in by mid-October.

A tissue-soft non-conference schedule of SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo isn't going to do the Bears any favors with the CFP selection committee, nor will a Big 12 schedule help much, for that matter. Even if Baylor wins the Big 12 and is sizing itself up with other one-loss competition in the first week of December, it will be all the easier for the committee to write off the Bears after conference championship weekend puts a stamp of approval on somebody else. Baylor, with no Big 12 title game to play, will look like a bridesmaid that weekend.

Maybe the selection committee will let Bryce Petty throw the bouquet.

Here are 16 more things you need to know from the day in college football:

  1. Aggies in agony. Just when it looked like Alabama, a loser to Ole Miss and one-point winner over left-for-dead Arkansas, was ready to be written off as a playoff contender, the Crimson Tide had a 59-0 answer for critics Saturday in a walloping of Texas A&M.

It was also a personal response for junior wide receiver and potential 2015 NFL Draft entrant Amari Cooper. He caught eight passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns coming off his least-productive game of the season last week (2 for 22). For junior running back T.J. Yeldon, the Aggies' defense obliged for 114 yards and two more scores. Both were watching from the sideline for much of the second half as backups finished the game. By the time the bludgeoning was complete, Texas A&M was accurately cast as little more than the SEC West's sixth-best team. They've suffered three consecutive SEC West losses and face a road trip to Auburn early next month. At this point, the Aggies aren't just reeling -- they're staggering and looking for their collective mouthpiece. It got so bad at one point, even Johnny Football had to weigh in, tweeting, "Make it stop," before deleting the sentiment in short order.

  1. Thanks, refs. What should have been a game remembered for back-and-forth lead changes, some spectacular quarterback play and a thrilling finish will instead go down as a game remembered for a penalty flag. FSU's 31-27 win over Notre Dame, a matchup of top-five teams, came about as the result of a questionable offensive pass interference call against Notre Dame on a would-be game-winning touchdown pass. The call set up a 4th-and-18 situation for the Fighting Irish that it could not convert. It was the basketball equivalent of calling a moving screen on a buzzer-beating jump shot.
  1. The Ducks are still afloat. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for 336 yards in a 45-20 rout of Washington as the Ducks improved to 6-1. Perhaps more impressively, he continued his season-long streak without an interception. Dating back to last year, Mariota has thrown just four picks in his last 541 pass attempts. The Ducks are running away in the Pac-12 North.
  1. Stoudt was stout.*Cole Stoudt, the son of former Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback *Cliff Stoudt, subbed for the injured Deshaun Watson in impressive fashion Saturday, throwing for 285 yards without an interception as Clemson nipped Boston College, 17-13.
  1. Digging for dollars. It's been a good but not great year for one of Maryland's top NFL draft prospects, wide receiver Stefon Diggs. On Saturday, however, Diggs was on his game in burning Iowa for season-highs in yards (130) and catches (nine) with a touchdown to lead a 38-31 win over the Hawkeyes.
  1. It was another big day for West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White. And you'd be hard-pressed to find a more deserving nominee than White's one-handed touchdown catch for West Virginia in a catch-of-the-year argument. White, a senior, is a fast-rising NFL draft prospect. He's having a huge season in Morgantown (8 catches, 132 yards, two TDs Saturday), and NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiahis a believer.
  1. Another thing about that WVU game ... We've made note in this space for a couple of weeks about the year Mountaineers quarterback Clint Trickett is having. Make it seven straight games of 300-plus passing yards for Trickett. He had 322 on Saturday and hasn't thrown for less than 300 since Nov. 2, 2013.
  1. Another quietly strong performance for South Carolina running back Mike Davis. Davis posted 118 yards and two touchdowns against Furman in a game that, exposure-wise, was the SEC Network equivalent of a pay-per-view snoozer. After a slow start to the season, he's now rushed for more than 100 yards in three consecutive games, scoring six touchdowns in that stretch. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier suggested before the season that Davis would enter the 2015 NFL Draft and skip his last season in Columbia.
  1. It's not Oklahoma's year. But it's most definitely Sterling Shepard's. In the Sooners' second loss of the season, devastating as it was to OU's Big 12 and College Football Playoff hopes, the junior wide receiver played a fabulous game in making a career-high 15 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown.
  1. Give credit to Michigan State. After an early-season loss to Oregon, the Spartans have rebounded in dominant fashion, as Indiana learned Saturday. Quarterback Connor Cook completed 24 of 32 passes for 332 yards and three scores in a 56-17 rout. Next up for 6-1 MSU: rival Michigan at home. Someone get Brady Hoke an ice pack.
  1. Trojan trumps. In a battle of two of the country's most prolific receivers, USC's Nelson Agholor bested Colorado's Nelson Spruce Saturday in Southern Cal's 56-28 rout of the Buffaloes. Agholor, a junior with legitimate NFL aspirations, caught six passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns, plus 50 return yards. Spruce had a solid day with nine catches for 69 yards and a score.
  1. From the dual-threat quarterback category ... Chalk up another huge Saturday for two of the college game's best: TCU's Trevone Boykin and Ohio State's J.T. Barrett. Boykin threw for 410 yards with three touchdowns and ran for 41 in a rout of Oklahoma State. Barrett, the Buckeyes' Braxton Miller replacement who had the confidence of few outside Columbus at the beginning of the season, led a 56-17 rout of Rutgers with five touchdowns and 368 total yards, 107 of them on the ground.
  1. Now this is good company.*Rakeem Cato* isn't known for much beyond being the quarterback of the undefeated Marshall Thundering Herd. But he passed Seattle SeahawksSuper Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson Saturday for the NCAA record for consecutive games with a TD pass. Cato now has 39.
  1. Nobody in Athens, Ga., has forgotten who Todd Gurley is. But the Bulldogs showed for the second week in a row that the star junior isn't all they have on the offensive side of the ball. Nick Chubb is no slouch.
  1. Forget Brett Hundley's stats. He puts those up week after week. What stood out about UCLA's 36-34 win over Cal was that his jersey was finally kept clean. The Bruins' star quarterback, sacked 24 times this season as a result of both poor pass protection and poor recognition on his own part, was sacked just once against Cal. The fourth-year junior threw for 330 yards and rushed for 94 in one of his most complete games of the season.
  1. The order of the day for Missouri and Ole Miss was defense. Both have undersized but quick, active defensive fronts, and they combined for 19 tackles for loss against two of the SEC's most troubled offensive lines, Florida and Tennessee. Predictably, **Shane Ray** led the charge for the Tigers. Meanwhile, Senquez Golson'ssenior-year heroics continued in Oxford.
  1. There's no drama quite like Trojans drama. Former Tennessee Titans and USC running back LenDale White was escorted out of the LA Coliseum Saturday night after USC's 56-28 win over Colorado, and had some choice words on his way out, according to the LA Times. "Fire Sark tonight," he shouted, referring to head coach Steve Sarkisian, and added, "You can win championships for this program, but you can't voice your opinion." White said the decision to toss him out was made by USC athletic director Pat Haden, but USC officials refuted that.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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