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Oct 18, 2014 4:22 AM

Home woes in Pac-12; Ohio St rolls, helpless Heels

The Associated Press

The new No. 1 team gets a week off and the state of Mississippi steps back from the spotlight after two weeks of being the dominant story in college football.

Top-ranked Mississippi State it still seems odd to hear that has an open day after leaping Florida State in the rankings last week. No. 3 Mississippi is a big favorite at home against Tennessee.

So the old No. 1 is the center of attention this week. The now second-ranked Seminoles face No. 5 Notre Dame in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday night. The off-the-field drama never seems to stop following Jameis Winston, but Florida State just keeps on winning. The school-record streak is at 22 games.

What else to watch for in week eight of the college football season.

HOME WOES: Being home has been far from an advantage in the Pac-12, where road teams are 15-4 going into Saturday's games. Utah was the latest Pac-12 team to win away from home, beating Oregon State 29-26 in double overtime on Thursday night.

If the trend continues, it's good news for UCLA, which will try to break a two-game skid at California; Washington, which has lost 10 straight games to Oregon; Stanford, which has won four straight at Arizona State; and Colorado, which goes to USC as the only Pac-12 team without a conference victory.

O-H! I-O! ON A ROLL: Remember Ohio State? The Buckeyes were preseason top-10, lost quarterback Braxton Miller to an injury in the preseason, lost to Virginia Tech at home and looked like a team that could be in for a long year. Well, the 13th-ranked Buckeyes have righted themselves in recent weeks, scoring 168 points while winning three straight games. Those wins haven't come against the toughest of competition (Kent State, Cincinnati and at Maryland), but J.T. Barrett (third in the nation in passer rating) is developing nicely as Miller's replacement and suddenly a Big Ten championship run doesn't seem so unlikely. Rutgers gets its first taste of Ohio Stadium on Saturday.

HELPLESS HEELS: The numbers are staggering and scary if you are a North Carolina fan. The Tar Heels rank second-to-last in FBS scoring defense at 43.3 points per game. Only SMU (49.4) is allowing more points per game, and no other Big Five conference team is allowing more than 39. Georgia Tech gets a crack at that UNC defense on Saturday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The good news for the Tar Heels is they have been better against the run (73rd in the nation in yards per rush) than against the pass (118th in yards per attempt) and the Yellow Jackets' triple-option isn't built to throw it around.

SACK MAN: Washington defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha leads the nation with 10 sacks. He'll try to add to that total against an Oregon line that looked much improved with the return from injury of Jake Fisher in the Ducks' big win against UCLA last week.

WINLESS: Three FBS teams remain winless and all are at home on Saturday against teams with losing record.

Idaho (0-6) hosts New Mexico State (2-5). Kent State (0-6) plays Army (2-5). SMU hosts Cincinnati (2-3).


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