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Power Rankings Week 8: Penn State, Notre Dame make strong statements

Week 8 was all about declarations.

Penn State declared it does, in fact, belong in the top four with a resounding win over Michigan that echoed beyond the happy folks in Happy Valley. About 450 miles to the west, Notre Dame declared it can do more than almost beat a great team (Georgia), as the Irish embarrassed a talented but flawed one (USC).

Alabama's wins aren't really declarations at this point but reminders that the Tide will be tough to take down. So will TCU, the only Big 12 team that seems to avoid hiccups in its play. Miami, meanwhile, declared that despite another close call, it isn't going anywhere yet.

Despite a fairly large contingent of contenders on byes, we now have a good idea about the group that should contend for playoff spots. Other than Notre Dame, there isn't much movement in the top section of the rankings, while the bottom continues to shuffle and welcomes newcomers such as Iowa State.

So long, Michigan.