We’re past the midway point in this college football season, and while we still don’t have enough clarity in the College Football Playoff picture, we do now have a decent sample size of information to sift through. We also have another Saturday’s worth of results to overreact to.
Here are Week 8’s biggest knee-jerk reactions:
1. West Virginia is the best team no one is talking about.
The Mountaineers are 6-0 with a legitimate shot to go undefeated in the Big 12 — which, despite the league being down, would get them into the College Football Playoff — because they have their toughest games left at home. West Virginia has Oklahoma on Nov. 19 and Baylor, who is also unbeaten, on Dec. 3 to close out the regular season.
The Mountaineers are not only crazy good on offense, by the way. Against TCU on Saturday, they recovered two fumbles on special teams and got an interception by cornerback Rasul Douglas. West Virginia’s defense also was great at getting itself off the field; TCU was just 2-for-11 on third down.
2. Alabama should be undefeated heading into the Iron Bowl.
It’s clear that the Crimson Tide are far and away the best team in the Southeastern Conference with arguably the most terrifying defense in the country, and it would be shocking if they do not make the four-team Playoff. They passed their tough three-game stretch with flying colors, beating No. 16 Arkansas, No. 9 Tennessee and No. 6 Texas A&M by an average of 25.7 points.
The only team left on the schedule that it appears can give Alabama a good fight is Auburn, which quietly has been one of the better teams in the SEC after losing two of its first three. Saturday's Auburn win wasn't quiet, however. The Tigers thrashed a good Arkansas team 56-3 and appears to be significantly stronger on both sides of the ball than anyone left on Alabama’s schedule — though a resurgent Leonard Fournette could make the Bama-LSU game intriguing — which should mean we’re headed for a fun and hopefully quite competitive Iron Bowl to close out the regular season.
3. Colorado is relevant — and one of the best stories in college football.
By beating Stanford 10-5 on Saturday afternoon, the Buffaloes notched their sixth win and became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2007. What an incredible season for coach Mike MacIntyre and Co., and also for a program that had struggled mightily since its move to the Pac-12 five years ago.
Colorado, which currently sits atop the Pac-12 South standings, will face the team biting at its heels — UCLA — next weekend in one of the most important games in the Pac-12 this year. That’s a sentence no one could have predicted before the season.
4. Louisville’s slim Playoff chances just got even slimmer.
Not Louisville's fault, either; Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals cruised to a 54-13 win against North Carolina State on Saturday. But a rather surprising result — SMU’s win against No. 11 Houston, giving the Cougars their second loss of the year — has damaged Louisville’s long-shot chances of making the Playoff as a non-league champion.
The Cards desperately needed a really good (ideally, undefeated) Houston team coming to town in November to boost their nonconference strength of schedule and to give them a big stage to show off on. A two-loss Houston team that’s out of the running for the Group of Five spot in a New Year’s Six bowl is most definitely not going to do that.
Copyright 2016 WCNC