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Darren Cummings / Associated Press
Amid the excitement of two conferences that have returned, week 8 brought a critical result in the Big 12 and a huge upset for the start of the Big Ten season.
The state of Oklahoma knocked out the state of Iowa and reduced the group from the Big 1
North Carolina and Michigan also won victories over ranked teams, but Virginia Tech fell to the invaluable Wake Forest. These results topped the changes in the Top 25 of B / R.
Our expert panel of five people–David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Carrie Miller, Joel Reuters and Brad Shepard–everyone submitted the best 25 ballots for week 7. Voting for first place costs 25 points, voting for second place costs 24 points, and so on.
B / R Week 8 Top 25
1. Clemson (last week: 1)
2. Alabama (2)
3. Ohio (3)
4. Notre Dame (5)
5. Georgia (4)
6. Oklahoma State (T-7)
7. Cincinnati (T-12)
T-8. Michigan (17)
T-8. Wisconsin (T-12)
T-10. Oregon (T-7)
T-10. Texas A&M (9)
12. Miami (10)
13. BYU (11)
14. Florida (14)
15. North Carolina (15)
16. Indiana (NR)
17. Coastal Carolina (21)
18. Marshall (23)
19. State of Kansas (NR)
20. USC (25)
21. Freedom (NR)
22. Penn State (6)
23. Arkansas (24)
24. High school (16)
25. Army (NR)
Others received votes: Memphis, Boys, Northwest, Rutgers
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Brody Schmidt / Associated Press
Since both Oklahoma and Texas already have two losses in the conference, the Big 12 is officially someone else’s loss. At the moment, someone else is either Oklahoma or Kansas.
Oklahoma grabbed the biggest win of the weekend, knocking down Iowa 24-21 in a battle of undefeated Big 12 teams. Second-year quarterback Spencer Sanders returned from a leg injury and reported 306 yards in victory.
In addition, the Cowboys limited Brock Purdy to a meager 4.8 yards per pass. The state of Iowa is still rushing for 227 yards, but the one-dimensional violation has kept the cyclones under control.
Oklahoma–which improved to 4-0 overall and climbed to No. 6 in the B / R Top 25–is scheduled to host Texas next weekend.
Kansas lost to Arkansas six weeks ago. At this point, it looked like the Wildcats would be no close to a Big 12 contender. Still, after beating rivals Kansas 55-14 in Week 8, they now won four consecutive conference wins.
On Saturday, they discovered the final zone in all three phases. Justin Gardner had six, Philip Brooks returned two strokes for a touchdown, and the offense scored four times. K-State is now 4-1, ranked 19th by B / R and is preparing for a trip to West Virginia.
But we look ahead.
On the first weekend of November, Kansas hosts Oklahoma. The winner will officially be the front of the Big 12.
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Bruce Klukhon / Associated Press
Prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, the last time Minnesota had four defenders was selected in 1969. Among this quartet–which included stellar safety Antoine Winfield Jr.–moving forward and leaving four more key adults, the Gophers had to restore the defensive side of the ball this season.
At first glance, well, it wasn’t great.
Michigan went on to win 49-24 behind quarterback Joe Milton, who made 15 of 22 assists for 225 yards and a touchdown in his first career start. He added 52 yards and scored on the ground, where the Wolverines controlled the game.
Hassan Haskins lifted 82 yards and two touchdowns on six runs, while Zach Charbone rushed for 70 yards and scored in four attempts. Blake Corum cut 21 yards and Chris Evans secured 19 yards and a touchdown on five runs.
Minnesota forced only seven situations from third place, and Michigan transformed four of them. In total, the Gophers surrendered 478 yards–more than allowed in 12 of 13 games last season.
Although the Gophers can still chase Wisconsin in the Big Ten West race, they are no longer in the Top 25 of the B / R.
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Mori Gash / Associated Press
Being a quarterback is incredibly difficult, but Graham Merz of Wisconsin and Justin Fields of Ohio made it easy.
Mertz–in his first career start–finished his first 17 assists and helped Wisconsin beat Illinois 45-7. The freshman in a red shirt finished 20 of 21 in 248 yards and five touchdowns. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the only unfinishing was a drop.
Despite his lack of experience, Mertz seemed to suffer a certain amount of confusion and he fell to a passable level of organization.
“It’s good to see that he has that confidence,” said Jake Ferguson, according to Josh Schaefer of 247Sports. “And like I said, man, he’s definitely smooth.”
The fields matched Mertz’s degree of completion, directing Ohio to a 52-17 victory over Nebraska. The fields passed for 276 yards and two results, adding 54 yards and a touchdown to the ground.
The competition will soon be tougher–especially for the state of Ohio, which travels to Penn next weekend–but Mertz and Fields offered clear reminders of why Wisconsin and Ohio State benefited from reaching the Big Ten.
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Barry Rieger / Associated Press
Penn State is seeking redemption.
In last season’s game with Ohio, the Nittany Lions had a chance to divert their victory from securing a place in the game for the Big Ten title. But it was a memorable day for quarterback Sean Clifford.
All of Penn State’s five possessions in the first half ended in a fuss. Then, at the opening of the third quarter, he came out with an obvious leg injury. Clifford collected just 71 yards on 17 assists, leaving the game with Nitani Lions 21-0. The state of Ohio eventually won 28-17 and won the division.
And the 2020 campaign didn’t start as Clifford had hoped.
Penn State lost to Indiana 36-35 in overtime with an incredible and controversial realization of two points. Although the Nittany Lions still have championship dreams, they suddenly depend on the Ohio state disorder. Penn State cannot afford a second loss.
However, the Bucks would like to eliminate their opponent.
Expected to finish no worse than 7-1, Ohio could take a team game from Penn State with a tiebreak. Michigan and Indiana–and, hey Rutgers is 1-0!–will become a major contender for Bucky in the Big Ten East.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on ABC next Saturday.