Eliminator Week 8: Back-to-back losses have Cal, Texas A&M out of the playoff

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On what was supposed to be a quiet Saturday in college football, two undefeated top-10 teams fell, and one of the biggest contenders for the College Football Playoff might have lost its star quarterback to an injury.

Three-time defending ACC champion Florida State, which played in the inaugural four-team playoff last season, lost at Georgia Tech 22-16 on yet another "Are you kidding me?" moment. The Seminoles aren't out of the playoff discussion entirely, but losing to a team that had dropped five-straight games seriously damaged their chances.

Utah, which looked like the best team in the country a couple of weeks ago, was thoroughly dominated in a 42-24 loss at unranked USC. The Utes were the last unbeaten team in the Pac-12, and now surging Stanford could be the league's best chance to make the playoff.

And No. 2 Baylor, which looked unstoppable in its first six games, slogged through the rain in a 45-27 win over Iowa State. In the game, the Bears lost starting quarterback Seth Russell, who fractured a bone in his neck. The Bears are holding their collective breath waiting to learn the extent of his injury.

Unlike on the field, it was a relatively quiet week at The Eliminator, where only two teams -- California and Texas A&M -- were eliminated from consideration for one of the four spots in the playoff. Through Week 8, we've eliminated 104 of 128 FBS teams (81.2 percent), leaving 24 teams in contention.

Here's where the FBS stands after Week 8:

Jump to sections: Better luck next season | Previously eliminated | Who's in | Still in contention | On the fence

<strong>Better luck next season</strong>

California Golden Bears

Trending: DOWN

After losing back-to-back road games at Utah and UCLA, the Bears now need to focus on securing a sixth victory to become bowl-eligible. The rest of the slate isn't particularly easy, with USC (home), Oregon (road), Oregon State (home), No. 8 Stanford (road) and Arizona State (home) remaining.

Texas A&M Aggies

Trending: DOWN

And we thought Texas had the worst offense in the Lone State. Aggies quarterback Kyle Allen misfired on 18 of his last 20 pass attempts in Saturday night's 23-3 loss at Ole Miss before he was benched for Jake Hubenak (and not Kyler Murray). It's certainly not the kind of offensive performance we expected from a Kevin Sumlin-coached team.

<strong>Previously eliminated</strong>

Eliminated in Week 1 (30 teams):  Akron Zips, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Bowling Green Falcons, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers (not bowl-eligible),  Colorado Buffaloes, Eastern Michigan Eagles, Florida Atlantic Owls, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Idaho Vandals, Kansas Jayhawks, Kent State Golden Flashes, Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, Louisiana Monroe Warhawks, New Mexico State Aggies, SMU Mustangs, Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, Texas San Antonio Roadrunners, Texas State Bobcats, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, UCF Knights, UNLV Rebels, UTEP Miners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Washington State Cougars, Western Michigan Broncos, Wyoming Cowboys

Eliminated in Week 2 (27 teams): Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arkansas Razorbacks, Ball State Cardinals, Buffalo Bulls, Cincinnati BearcatsColorado State Rams, East Carolina Pirates, Florida International Golden Panthers, Fresno State Bulldogs, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Massachusetts Minutemen, Miami (OH) RedHawks, Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, North Texas Mean Green, Rice Owls, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, South Alabama Jaguars, South Florida Bulls, Utah State Aggies, Virginia Cavaliers

Eliminated in Week 3 (14 teams): Air Force Falcons, Auburn Tigers, Boston College Eagles, Connecticut Huskies, Iowa State Cyclones, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Northern Illinois Huskies, Old Dominion Monarchs, Purdue Boilermakers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, South Carolina Gamecocks, Texas Longhorns, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Eliminated in Week 4 (nine teams): Arizona State Sun Devils, BYU Cougars, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Ohio Bobcats, Oregon State Beavers, Tennessee Volunteers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies

Eliminated in Week 5 (four teams): Arizona Wildcats, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Texas Tech Red Raiders

Eliminated in Week 6 (12 teams): Georgia Bulldogs, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Kansas State Wildcats, Miami Hurricanes, Missouri Tigers, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Oregon Ducks, Syracuse Orange, USC Trojans, West Virginia Mountaineers

Eliminated in Week 7 (6 teams): Boise State Broncos, Kentucky Wildcats, Northwestern Wildcats, Ole Miss Rebels, Penn State Nittany Lions, UCLA Bruins

Who's in

After watching Clemson embarrass Miami 58-0 on the road on Saturday, the Tigers look like the best team in college football right now (or, at the very least, the Hurricanes might be the worst). Ohio State also looked much better with J.T. Barrett under center, so you could argue either Clemson or Ohio State is most deserving of the top spot right now. Baylor gets the third spot, although quarterback Russell's neck injury leaves the Bears' chances in doubt. If Baylor loses Russell, TCU might be the team to beat in the Big 12. LSU gets the fourth spot for now, but its Nov. 7 showdown at Alabama might go a long way in determining which team comes out of the SEC.

<strong>Still in contention</strong>

Alabama Crimson Tide

Trending: EVEN

After beating Tennessee for the ninth consecutive time with a 19-14 victory on Saturday, the No. 7 Crimson Tide will have an extra week to rest -- and clear their lungs -- before hosting No. 4 LSU on Nov. 7.

Baylor Bears

Trending: EVEN

The No. 2 Bears' Big 12 title hopes and College Football Playoff chances might depend on Russell's health. Bears coach Art Briles said Russell will be out for a while, but the severity of his injury won't be known until after he sees a specialist on Monday. If Russell can't play, freshman Jarrett Stidham will take over the high-flying offense.

Clemson Tigers

Trending: UP

OK, Tigers, we're believers. Clemson defeated Miami 58-0 on the road on Saturday, handing the Hurricanes their worst loss in school history. It was the No. 3 Tigers' biggest win over an FBS team since walloping Wake Forest 82-24 on Oct. 31, 1981. ESPN's FPI projects the Tigers have a 72 percent chance to win their remaining scheduled games and a 32 percent chance to enter the bowls undefeated. Dance, Dabo, dance.

Florida Gators

Trending: EVEN

The No. 11 Gators took the weekend off to prepare for Saturday's game against Georgia in Jacksonville, Florida. The Bulldogs might still have tread marks on their chests from last season's game; the Gators ran for 418 yards in a 38-20 victory.

Iowa Hawkeyes

Trending: EVEN

The No. 10 Hawkeyes didn't play this past weekend, and they're still in the driver's seat in the Big Ten West. Iowa hosts Maryland on Saturday and doesn't play a ranked team the rest of the way in the regular season.

LSU Tigers

Trending: EVEN

The Tigers took care of business in a 48-20 win over Western Kentucky, and now they'll get an extra week to prepare for their Nov. 7 showdown at Alabama. The Tigers are the lone unbeaten team in the SEC, but they still have to play at Alabama and Ole Miss.

Michigan State Spartans

Trending: EVEN

Hey, the Spartans finally blew somebody out in a 52-26 win over Indiana. Oh, it was a one-score game with five minutes left. I'll still take Spartans quarterback Connor Cook over just about anybody in the FBS.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Trending: EVEN

I'm sure the No. 9 Fighting Irish didn't think this Saturday night's trip to No. 21 Temple would be a big deal when the season started. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it's the first ranked matchup in Temple's history and only the ninth game the Owls have ever played as a ranked team. Conversely, the Fighting Irish have played 211 ranked matchups, third most in AP poll history.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Trending: UP

There's no question the No. 1 Buckeyes looked better with Barrett under center in Saturday night's 49-7 rout at Rutgers. Former starter Cardale Jones didn't see the field until the Buckeyes had a seven-touchdown lead. Jones, who is scheduled to graduate from OSU in December, will look great in a Florida State uniform next season.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Trending: UP


Stanford Cardinal

Trending: UP

I'm not afraid to say it: This Stanford team looks a lot like the Ohio State team last season. After losing to Northwestern in the opener, No. 8 Stanford is absolutely rolling right now and looks like the team to beat in the Pac-12.

TCU Horned Frogs

Trending: EVEN

The No. 5 Horned Frogs didn't play this week, and they'll have a short week before hosting West Virginia on Thursday night. Last season, the Horned Frogs needed a field goal at the buzzer to survive a 31-30 win over the Mountaineers on the road.

<strong>On the fence</strong>

Duke Blue Devils

Trending: UP

I wonder how Miami fans feel about the coaching matchup in next week's game against Duke. David Cutcliffe just guided the Blue Devils to a 45-43 win in four overtimes against Virginia Tech, the longest game in ACC history. Larry Scott will be in his first game as Miami's interim coach after Al Golden was fired a day after the Hurricanes' 58-0 loss to Clemson, which might have been the least competitive game in league history.

Florida State Seminoles

Trending: DOWN

After losing at Georgia Tech 22-16 in the worst way imaginable -- the Yellow Jackets returned a blocked field goal 78 yards for the winning touchdown as time expired -- FSU football's official Twitter account announced it was going silent. If only it had been #FSUTwitter.

Houston Cougars

Trending: UP

After scoring 52 straight points to beat winless UCF 59-10 on the road, the Cougars will step out of conference to play Vanderbilt on Saturday. Then they'll have two huge AAC home games against Cincinnati on Nov. 7 and Memphis on Nov. 14. FPI gives Houston a 25.9 percent chance to win the league.

Memphis Tigers

Trending: UP

If Ole Miss beat Alabama, and Alabama beat Texas A&M, and then Ole Miss beat Texas A&M, doesn't Memphis get to play LSU for the SEC West?

Michigan Wolverines

Trending: UP

I'm sorry, Wolverines. But, yeah, it really happened. You can come out from under the covers now. It has been more than a week.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Trending: UP

I'm sure Auburn fans are thrilled to see that former coach Gene Chizik's UNC defense is ranked in the top 25 nationally in scoring defense (16.7 points), pass-efficiency defense (98.6 rating) and red-zone defense (76.2 percent). He's still cashing bigger paychecks from the Tigers, too.

Oklahoma Sooners

Trending: UP

Run the ball, Bob! Sooners tailbacks Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon combined to run 39 times for 355 yards with six touchdowns in a 63-27 rout of Texas Tech on Saturday. They had 16 carries combined in an ugly 24-17 loss to Texas on Oct. 10.

Pittsburgh Panthers

Trending: EVEN

At this point, Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt might need a name change. A week after Blewitt hit a 56-yard field goal with 1:11 left to beat Georgia Tech 31-28 on the road, he made a 25-yarder as time expired to beat Syracuse 23-20 on the road on Saturday. How about Chris Madeitt?

Temple Owls

Trending: UP

I don't want to put too much emphasis on this Saturday night's game against Notre Dame, but it's the biggest home contest in the history of Temple football. The Owls didn't get caught looking ahead in Thursday night's 24-14 win at East Carolina.

Toledo Rockets

Trending: EVEN

For a while, it looked like Toledo was as much of an impostor as, oh, Texas A&M. But after falling behind 1-5 UMass 28-10 at the half, the Rockets scored 38 unanswered points to pull away 51-35.

Utah Utes

Trending: DOWN

Just imagine what Utes coach Kyle Whittingham could do with that USC talent.

Wisconsin Badgers

Trending: EVEN

The Badgers are still hanging around with a 6-2 record, and they trail Iowa by only one game in the loss column of the Big Ten West standings. But the Hawkeyes would have to lose twice for the Badgers to win the division because of the head-to-head tiebreaker (Iowa beat Wisconsin 10-6 on Oct. 3). The Badgers still look capable of winning 10 games in coach Paul Chryst's first season, if quarterback Joel Stave doesn't miss too much time with a head injury.