With Week 8 of the college football season in the books, the list of true College Football Playoff contenders has dwindled to just a handful of teams. Several of the usual suspects, including No. 2 Ohio State and No. 6 Alabama, made big statements during the penultimate weekend in October. The Buckeyes offense took advantage of great field position all day in a 54-10 win over Iowa, while the Crimson Tide bounced back from last week's loss to No. 3 Tennessee with a dominant 30-6 win over No. 24 Mississippi State.
There were some clunkers, though. No. 5 Clemson needed a quarterback switch to spark a 27-21 comeback win over No. 14 Syracuse, and No. 7 Ole Miss was blown out by LSU in Death Valley 45-20 in one of the saddest second-half performances of the season.
How did the rest of college football's contenders fare? Let's hand out grades for the challenging for a national title, according to the odds laid out by Caesars Sportsbook prior to the Week 8 action.
College football grades: Week 8 report card
|9/5||A-||The Buckeyes, as usual, sliced and diced an opposing defense. This time, though, it was a good Iowa defense. The Buckeyes cruised to a 54-10 win with the Hawkeyes' only touchdown coming on a scoop-and-score. It was total domination, but it's not like Iowa's offense was much of a threat.|
|19/10||N/A||The Bulldogs were off on in Week 8.|
|4-1||A+||The Crimson Tide nearly shutout Mississippi State. It was total control from the moment toe met leather to the final second of the game. If there is a criticism, it's that Alabama gave up a touchdown to the Bulldogs as time expired, marking their first end zone trip in Tuscaloosa since 2014.|
|10-1||C-||The Tigers got the win over Syracuse, but it was ugly. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was pulled in favor of Cade Klubnik with 4:53 left in the third quarter and the Tigers down 21-10. Coach Dabo Swinney said after the game that Uiagalelei is still "our guy," but the junior's struggles -- combined with his ineffectiveness last year -- should have Tiger fans on pins and needles moving forward.|
|16-1||N/A||The Wolverines were off in Week 8.|
|18-1||B+||Any team that beats an FCS foe can't earn an "A," according to my completely made up rules. Tennessee almost made me break my own rule, though. The Volunteers racked up 696 yards and averaged 8.4 yards per play in a 65-24 win over UT Martin.|
|60-1||D+||Oregon quarterback Bo Nix absolutely lit up a Bruins defense that prides itself on winning at the line of scrimmage and rattling opposing quarterbacks. What's more, the chunk plays in the passing game were few and far between for quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.|
|60-1||A+||As mentioned above, Nix dominated the Bruins defense in a 45-30 win. The Ducks won the battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and controlled this game from the second quarter through the final whistle. It solidified the Ducks as a true CFP contender.|
|60-1||B+||TCU has played big game after big game during the month of October, and Saturday's 38-28 win over No. 17 Kansas State was another example of the Horned Frogs coming through in key spots. However, they dug themselves a 28-10 hole in the second quarter -- which is the second time in as many weeks that they had to scramble to win. Championship-caliber teams can't live that way.|
|60-1||N/A||The Trojans were off in Week 8.|
|75-1||F||The Rebels had a 17-3 lead over LSU early in the second quarter and were up 20-17 at halftime. However, the defense allowed four second-half touchdowns, and the offense was held scoreless over the final 30 minutes. That's two straight weeks that the defense has struggled mightily in the second half.|