Tuesday October 28th, 2008

This week's top 10 looks slightly different from last week's: I moved Texas Tech and Georgia ahead of USC on account of their decisive road wins against decent opponents, as opposed to the Trojans' ugly road win against a decent opponent. However, this will become moot as soon as this weekend, when the Red Raiders face No. 1 Texas and the Dawgs face No. 5 Florida in Jacksonville.

A Georgia win would likely push it to the top of the one-loss pecking order (it would mark two straight wins over highly ranked foes) -- that is, unless Texas Tech knocks off Texas, in which case the 'Horns might stay above the Dawgs based on having beaten three straight ranked foes.

The question would then become: How high do the Red Raiders rise? The answer: Probably up to No. 3, behind Alabama and Penn State. But they would immediately become a threat to surpass one or both teams with upcoming games against No. 9 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Oklahoma.

NCAA Football Power Rankings
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1Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 1
Opposing defenses, like Oklahoma State's, know Colt McCoy is going to look for WR Jordan Shipley in the flat -- yet he still gets open again and again. He had 15 catches for 168 yards against the Cowboys.
Last game: Beat Oklahoma State, 28-24.
Next game: Saturday at Texas Tech.
2Alabama Crimson Tide
Last Week: 2
Freshman receiver Julio Jones had his best performance to date against Tennessee, catching six passes for 103 yards (both season highs). The Tide remain a run-first team, but they need Jones' presence to stretch defenses.
Last game: Beat Tennessee, 29-9.
Next game: Saturday vs. Arkansas State.
3Penn State Nittany Lions
Last Week: 3
Defensive lineman Josh Gaines says he "can't wait to kick my feet up and watch some of these other teams," during Penn State's bye week. Would those teams happen to include Texas and Alabama? "I'd be lying if I said it didn't," he said.
Last game: Beat Ohio State, 13-6.
Next game: Nov. 8 at Iowa.
4Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 4
Each of the past two weeks, I've considered dropping the Sooners on account of their shoddy defense. But how on earth do you downgrade a team that scored 55 points in a half? And that was with Sam Bradford having an off day.
Last game: Beat Kansas State, 58-35.
Next game: Saturday vs. Nebraska.
5Florida Gators
Last Week: 5
Urban Meyer has put a gag order on his players regarding Georgia's "Gator Stomp" end-zone dance last year. However, he reportedly expressed his displeasure quite clearly in the recently published book Urban's Way.
Last game: Beat Kentucky, 63-5.
Next game: Saturday vs. Georgia in Jackonsville.
6Texas Tech Red Raiders
Last Week: 8
Mike Leach's teams have lost five straight to Texas, during which the Longhorns have averaged 48 points per game. As lethal as Tech's offense is, the Red Raiders won't beat Texas unless they can keep the 'Horns out of the end zone more often.
Last week: Beat Kansas, 63-21.
Next game: Saturday vs. Texas.
7Georgia Bulldogs
Last Week: 9
Atlanta Journal Constitution blogger Tony Barnhart recently called Matthew Stafford "the best quarterback in college football." I don't know if I'd go that far (See McCoy, Colt), but he certainly looked like a future pro against LSU.
Last game: Beat LSU, 52-38.
Next game: Saturday vs. Florida.
8USC Trojans
Last Week: 6
There's a feeling of helplessness starting to hover over the Trojans. Not only do they need some serious carnage above them to reach the BCS title game, but Oregon State also holds the tiebreaker for the Pac-10's Rose Bowl berth.
Last game: Beat Arizona, 17-10.
Next game: Saturday vs. Washington.
9Oklahoma State Cowboys
Last Week: 7
Those who attended Saturday's Texas-Oklahoma State game realize the Cowboys are the real deal. Kendall Hunter (18 carries, 161 yards) gashed the 'Horns' top-three rushing defense, and his team took Texas to the wire on its home field.
Last game: Lost to Texas, 28-24.
Next game: Saturday vs. Iowa State.
10Utah Utes
Last Week: 11
Utah Utes (8-0)
It's crunch time for the Utes, who visit New Mexico (which beat Arizona) on Saturday, turn around and host 8-1 TCU five days later, then, after a de facto bye week against 1-7 San Diego State, close with 7-1 archrival BYU.
Last game: Beat Colorado State, 49-16.
Next game: Saturday at New Mexico.
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