Tuesday September 14th, 2010

NCAA Football Power Rankings
11Florida Gators
Last Week: 11
The Gators began to snap out of their offensive funk in the second half against USF. They played that second half without slot receiver Chris Rainey, who suffered what appeared to be a concussion. Florida may have to get used to playing without Rainey, who was arrested early Tuesday morning and charged with aggravated stalking. Fortunately for Florida, a trip to Neyland Stadium isn't what it used to be. As long as the Gators' defense remains excellent, Florida should win even if the offense still has kinks to correct.
Last game: Beat South Florida, 38-14
Next game: Saturday at Tennessee
12Utah Utes
Last Week: 19
Utah Utes (2-0)
The Utes have a chance to climb high in the rankings, because they play a soft schedule between now and Oct. 30. Of course, the schedule gets tougher if quarterback Jordan Wynn (thumb) and center Zane Taylor (knee) can't play. Add the dings to the fact that Utah has had two punts blocked in its first two games, and the Utes should have plenty to keep them busy as they navigate the easiest portion of their schedule.
Last game: Beat UNLV, 38-10
Next game: Saturday at New Mexico
13South Carolina Gamecocks
Last Week: 25
The Gamecocks get a tune-up before we learn if they truly deserve to be ranked this high. After Furman on Saturday, South Carolina plays at Auburn and then takes a week off before hosting Alabama. No need to pound tailback Marcus Lattimore this week after his 37-carry, 182-yard performance against Georgia. The Gamecocks can rest their freshman star for the challenges that lay ahead.
Last game: Beat Georgia, 17-6
Next game: Saturday vs. Furman
14Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
Last Week: 13
I'm not a big believer in sinking a team in the poll because it lost on the road to a top two team. But the Hurricanes do have some issues to address. Specifically, quarterback Jacory Harris has got to learn that he can't force passes through defenders to his receivers. If he does that in nine days at Pitt, Miami could lose again. So instead of spending his time acquiring hideous Oakland Raiders overalls, maybe Harris should work on learning when to take shots downfield and when to throw the ball away.
Last game: Lost to Ohio State, 36-24
Next game: Sept. 23 at Pittsburgh
15Penn St. Nittany Lions
Last Week: 14
See the Miami blurb above for the reasoning behind Penn State's fairly consistent ranking. Freshman quarterback Robert Bolden handled himself pretty well against Alabama's defense, but he succumbed at times to pressure that a more veteran quarterback could have avoided. Kent State won't bring that kind of pressure. Neither will most of the teams remaining on Penn State's schedule.
Last game: Lost to Alabama, 24-3
Next game: Saturday vs. Kent State
16Stanford Cardinal
Last Week: --
The UCLA offense is more of a mess than these rankings, but the beatdown the Cardinal put on the Bruins can't be ignored. Stanford, more than any other program, puts the lie to the myth that the Pac-10 is a finesse league. First-year defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's 3-4 -- which wasn't on display in the season opener -- looked great against UCLA. This week, Fangio's charges will get tested by a Wake Forest offense that scored 54 against not-awful-anymore Duke.
Last game: Beat UCLA, 35-0
Next game: Saturday vs. Wake Forest
17Arizona Wildcats
Last Week: --
If the Wildcats want national respect, they can get it with a win here. They won't face many opponents as fundamentally sound as Iowa, and if quarterback Nick Foles and company can score on Clayborn and the Hawkeyes, they can score on anyone. A win could put Arizona in the top 10 for the first time since 1998.
Last game: Beat The Citadel, 52-6
Next game: Saturday vs. Iowa
18Arkansas Razorbacks
Last Week: 20
Admittedly, I haven't been as high on the Hogs as my fellow AP poll voters. That could change with an impressive showing between the hedges on Saturday. Yes, Georgia lost to South Carolina on Saturday, but the Bulldogs have plenty of weapons on offense. What the Razorbacks' doubters want to see is a stout defensive performance. If Arkansas can do that Saturday, the Hogs will be ranked quite high heading into their showdown against Alabama on Sept. 25.
Last game: Beat Louisiana-Monroe, 31-7
Next game: Saturday at Georgia
19Oregon St. Beavers
Last Week: 18
The Told-You-So e-mail of the week comes from Ken Scott in Bozeman, Mont., who addressed my lack of Corvallis retail knowledge. After I suggested last week that the people in charge of the BCS would leave their hollowed-out volcano and head to the Pacific Northwest to stock up on Beavers gear in advance of Oregon State's Sept. 25 matchup with Boise State, readers noticed I had some difficulty finding the correct outlet to purchase said gear. Ken set me straight the best. "If you're looking for Oregon State Beavers gear in Corvallis, Ore., then look no further than the Fred Meyer store located about a mile from Reser Stadium. (Fred Meyer is the Pacific Northwest's equivalent to Wal-Mart.)" So there you go. Meanwhile, Boise State fans may want Beavers gear of their own for this weekend. Because if Louisville beats Oregon State, then Boise State's "signature wins" are going to look pretty sad.
Last game: Lost to TCU, 30-21
Next game: Saturday vs. Louisville
20Auburn Tigers
Last Week: 22
Get ready for the Michael Dyer era on the Plains. Dyer, a freshman tailback from Little Rock, Ark., rushed for 143 yards on 23 carries in the Tigers' first two games. Expect him to carry more of the load after proving himself in the waning minutes of last Thursday's win at Mississippi State. When Auburn needed to eat clock, Dyer grabbed a fork and knife. With him getting the tough yards and Onterrio McCaleb operating as a speedy change-of-pace back, it should take pressure off quarterback Cameron Newton, who has so far had to carry the running game and the passing game.
Last game: Beat Mississippi State, 17-14
Next game: Saturday vs. Clemson
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