Honoring 10 highlights of Week 8:
Play of the week, offense. Unsurprising, but I suppose the point of these is not to be cunning. Andy Staples was on the scene for Kirk Cousins' late-night Hail Sparty pass that vaulted No. 15 Michigan State over No. 5 Wisconsin and provided the first of two Week 8 body blows to the BCS top-10 rankings:
Referee Dennis Lipski clicks on his mic late Saturday night and steels himself. "The ruling on the field," Lipski says, "is that the receiver was short of the goal line." Boo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!
Lipski keeps talking. "The previous play," he says, "is under further review." Yea-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-h!
Play of the week, defense. Clemson defensive end Kourtnei Brown's bat-and-run pick-six against North Carolina. At 230 pounds, Brown is too slender to be considered for Fat Guy Touchdown honors, but the execution is to be applauded. (And keep watching that video to see Clemson's second defensive score of the afternoon, perpetrated by guess who.)
Play of the week, What Not To Do. Minnesota, in coaching parlance, this is what we call Doing It Wrong.
Photo of the week. Really very fond of everything about this top photo here. Mingo's snarl makes the shot a winner on its own merits, but that perfectly positioned Pro Combat glove with the one glowering eye makes it art. Photographer Bill Haber, we salute you.
Most improved: Geno Smith's mishaps against Syracuse in 2010: Five sacks, three interceptions. In Friday night's loss to the Orange: Four sacks, two interceptions. Tangible progress is tangible!
Loneliest celebration. B.J. Cunningham, in his excitement at claiming Michigan State's first lead of Saturday night's rollicking win against Wisconsin, leaves his plush warrior buddy to dance alone. Afraid of a blow from Sparty's vicious chin? That thing looks lethal.
Most overlooked blowout heroes. It bears mentioning one more time that Stanford amassed 446 rushing yards against Washington, with three Cardinal backs (in descending order, Stepfan Taylor, Tyler Gaffney, and Anthony Wilkerson) gaining over 90 yards.
Grape Job! Worst argument for playing time: Cliff Harris could stand to do some locking down on his impulse control. Besides being tackled for a safety on a punt return, he was also flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty before the game even kicked off. Unsportsmanlike and unsmartsmanlike, indeed.
Worst accommodations. Oregon State booked a hotel for players in Seattle for Saturday's game against Pullman, and upon arriving, discovered they'd be sharing hall and lobby space with ... a zombie convention. The Beavers are 2-5 in 2011 regular-season play.
Best endorsement. Les Miles is fist-bumping a dog while advertising Cane's, the lord of all late-night chicken run establishments. Of course he is. Can you see Les Miles sleeping on pillows constructed entirely of Texas toast? You can, right?