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AP Top 25 takeaways: Buckeyes still have playoff path

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Another big game for Lamar Jackson. Another bad game for Charlie Strong. Another non-offensive touchdown for Alabama.

Just when it looked like the college football weekend was going to be filled with more of the same, Penn State pulled off the biggest upset of the season.

Thoughts, takedowns and takeaways from Week 8.

1. As No. 2 Ohio State picks up the pieces from a surprising loss at Happy Valley, the most important thing to know is this: If the Buckeyes win out they will most likely be in the College Football Playoff.

2. And Ohio State-Michigan is still in line to settle the Big Ten East.

3. But every week it gets harder to even imagine somebody beating No. 1 Alabama.

4. The Crimson Tide tore up the No. 6 team in the country without playing its A game.

5. Here’s the difference between Alabama and most normal football teams. With most teams, when the 295-pound lineman tries to grab the bouncing loose football, he falls over his own feet and is lucky to just recover the fumble. At Alabama, Jonathan Allen scoops it up like a defensive back and outruns everybody to the end zone.

6. Allen has two of Alabama’s 10 defensive touchdowns this season. His score against Texas A&M was the 12th non-offensive touchdown for the Tide this season and made it 10 straight games dating back to the College Football Playoff semifinal against Michigan State with at least one non-offensive score.

7. All that said, the Iron Bowl is starting to look intriguing after the way No. 21 Auburn humiliated No. 17 Arkansas with 543 yards rushing.

8. Feels a little like 2013 for Auburn and Gus Malzahn, when about halfway through the season the offense clicked, the Tigers made a couple miraculous plays and ended up playing in the BCS championship game.

9. Reggie Bush of Southern California had the most decisive Heisman Trophy voting victory of all time, as calculated by percentage of available points received. Bush, whose 2005 award was later vacated because of NCAA infractions, received 91.77 percent of the available points. Troy Smith of Ohio State (91.63) was second best in 2006 and Marcus Mariota of Oregon is third on the list (90.92 in 2014).

10. Might want to keep those numbers handy for Dec. 10 the way Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is going.

11. Jackson (16 rushing touchdowns and 18 touchdown passes) is closing in on becoming the seventh FBS player and first since Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois in 2013 to score at least 20 touchdowns and pass for at least 20 touchdowns in the same season. Among the other six are three Heisman winners (Tim Tebow, 2007; Cam Newton, 2010; Johnny Manziel, 2012).

12. The player with the best chance to catch Jackson might be Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, but that’s only if the Wolverines are dedicated to giving him enough offensive touches to accumulate stats. And it’s still a long shot.

13. Against Illinois, Peppers had six touches for 14 yards . That’s not going to get it done.

14. LSU’s Leonard Fournette is not going to win the Heisman. But he reminded everyone on Saturday night that he is probably the best running back in the country.

15. Trace McSorley completed eight passes for Penn State in its upset of Ohio State. Patrick Mahomes threw 88 passes in Texas Tech’s loss to No. 16 Oklahoma . Football, man.

16. Time seems to be running out for Charlie Strong at Texas. The Longhorns (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) are 14-18 under Strong after losing at Kansas State. At this point, Strong might need to win out to keep his job.

17. There are many ways to highlight Kansas State coach Bill Snyder‘s greatness, but maybe none better than this: The Wildcats are 7-4 under Snyder against Texas. The 76-year-old Snyder now has 197 career victories. While nobody is looking to run the Wizard out of Manhattan, Kansas, the Wildcats are probably looking at another middle of the pack Big 12 finish. Maybe 200 victories will convince Snyder it is time to step aside for good?

18. For the second straight week, No. 12 West Virginia held a Big 12 rival to its lowest scoring output of the season.

19. Colorado is bowl eligible for the first time since 2007 after smothering offensively challenged Stanford . No reason for the Buffaloes (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) to be content with that. The Pac-12 title game is in sight.

20. Trivia (no Googling): Colorado’s last bowl opponent? Answer below.

21. Best graduate transfer this season? Syracuse receiver Amba Etta-Tawo , who left Maryland with 61 career catches for 938 yards and three touchdowns, has 66 receptions for 1,077 yards and seven touchdowns for the Orange. In a victory against Boston College in Saturday, Etta-Tawo had 10 catches for 144 yards and a TD.

22. Poor Rutgers .

23. Jokes about the Civil ConFLiCT aside, UCF beat UConn and is now 4-3 after going winless last season. Credit new coach Scott Frost for pulling together a team that had basically quit last year as former coach George O’Leary bailed into early retirement. How closely is Oregon watching what Frost, the Ducks’ former offensive coordinator, is doing in Orlando?

24. The quarterback who led South Carolina to a closer-than-expected victory against UMass skipped his entire senior year of high school to enroll in college this year. Eric Bentley threw two touchdown passes in his college debut.

25. Answer (did you think we forgot?): Alabama beat the Buffaloes 30-24 in the Independence Bowl in Saban’s first season as Tide coach.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

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