Week 8 of the college football season was supposed to be about the ACC on Oct. 19. But even before the Florida State Seminoles and Clemson Tigers kicked off, the SEC was the talk of college football again. Yet it wasn’t for the usual reasons, as upset after upset claimed every traditional SEC power except the Alabama Crimson Tide -- with the biggest upset of all belonging to the once and future power Auburn Tigers.
The Tigers went into Texas A&M and actually kept up with Johnny Manziel’s latest fireworks. What’s more, they rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Manziel and the Aggies by 48-45, and not just because of Manziel’s late shoulder injury. While it gave Auburn time to take the lead, Manziel returned after missing one series and put Texas A&M right back on top.
Since the Aggies were up by 45-41, it shouldn’t have been a shock that the Tigers drove down the field one more time. Tre Mason capped a 178-yard rushing day with his only touchdown, although it gave Manziel 79 seconds to come back. It seemed he would have a storybook finish when he drove the Aggies to the Tigers’ 18 -- but in a rare display of defense, an incompletion, short run and two sacks closed Manziel’s day.
Manziel’s 454 yards weren’t enough to prevent a second loss, which all but ended Texas A&M’s SEC and BCS hopes. But on a day where the LSU Tigers, South Carolina Gamecocks, Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators all lost, and Auburn and the Missouri Tigers became the best teams other than Alabama left standing in the SEC, the future is very uncertain.
Last year, Auburn’s future was bleak as it collapsed into a 3-9 record. In just seven games under new coach Gus Malzahn, the Tigers are 6-1 and could well host the Tide in the Iron Bowl with the SEC West at stake. But with the way the SEC has gone lately, the Tigers could just as easily never win again.
Here is a list of the other best games and upsets of Week 8, in which ranked and favored SEC teams were nearly winless, only one powerhouse remained in the ACC and the Pac-12 became a two-team race again.