Tuesday September 15th, 2009

I heard the warning, but I didn't listen. As I waited for Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy to break down his team's season-opening win against Georgia on Sept. 5, another writer leaned over and offered a chilling piece of advice. "You know," he said, "that Google will always remember what you write this week."

The reminder should have sobered me, but I continued to take long, deep pulls from the bottle of Cowboy Kool-Aid. Google the name "Andy Staples" and the phrase "elite team," and the second and third entries are the Web and mobile versions of my column from the Oklahoma State-Georgia game. In that column, I called the Cowboys an elite team capable of winning the national title. In these power rankings, which mirror my Associated Press poll ballot, I yanked them up to No. 5. Then they went out the next week and lost to Houston at home.

With all due respect to Cougars quarterback Case Keenum, an elite college team should only lose to one team from Houston: the Texans. But until the Internet explodes and we all go back to reading newspapers, I'll be the fool who jumped the gun and called Oklahoma State an elite team.
PODCAST: Chatting upsets, hot seat alert and more

Lesson learned. So now you'll understand why you have to scroll down so far to find Michigan today. I attended the Wolverines' coming-out party against Notre Dame at the Big House on Saturday. I was duly impressed with the poise of freshman quarterback Tate Forcier. But Michigan will have to keep winning to move up, because the Oklahoma State fiasco has taught me to be more measured in my praise.

And because Google never, ever forgets.

NCAA Football Power Rankings
1Florida Gators
Last Week: 1
Florida coach Urban Meyer ordered a field goal against Miami while up 23 with 25 seconds remaining. A year after Georgia's full-team "stomp" celebration, Meyer called two timeouts in the final minute to rub in Florida's 49-10 win against the Bulldogs. What do you think he's going to do to Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin, who in February accused Florida of cheating?
Last game: Beat Troy, 56-6
Next game: Saturday vs. Tennessee
2Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 2
Revenge is the theme of the week. If not for a daring move by Michael Crabtree in the waning seconds of last year's game, the Longhorns probably would have played for the national title. If Texas wants to play for this year's title, it still has to beat the Red Raiders.
Last game: Beat Wyoming, 41-10
Next game: Saturday vs. Texas Tech
3Alabama Crimson Tide
Last Week: 3
After the stress of opening against Virginia Tech, the Crimson Tide took the next two weeks to decompress. After a tune-up against the Mean Green this week, Alabama should be tested again when it opens SEC play against Arkansas.
Last game: Beat Florida International, 40-14
Next game: Saturday vs. North Texas
4USC Trojans
Last Week: 4
I promised I would re-evaluate USC's position vis-à-vis Alabama after the Ohio State game. After re-evaluating, I still think Alabama looked more impressive in its win over Virginia Tech. The Trojans could overtake the Tide in the next few weeks, though. A good step would be annihilating an improved Washington team.
Last game: Beat Ohio State, 18-15
Next game: Saturday at Washington
5Brigham Young Cougars
Last Week: 6
The Cougars wish Florida State had beaten Miami and looked better against Jacksonville State. In that case, just winning the upcoming matchup with the Seminoles would have been enough to keep BYU in the mix for the national title game. Now, some voters may want to see a blowout.
Last game: Beat Tulane, 54-3
Next game: Saturday vs. Florida State
6Ole Miss Rebels
Last Week: 8
The Rebels are still coasting on a reputation built in the second half of last season. That won't change this week, but a test at South Carolina -- on four days' rest -- will be here sooner than they think.
Last game: Beat Memphis, 45-14
Next game: Saturday vs. Southeastern Louisiana
7California Golden Bears
Last Week: 9
The Golden Bears have the hang of this top 10 thing. When a sacrificial lamb comes to town, slaughter it. Now, Cal will have to steel itself for a Minnesota team looking for a signature win in the second game in its palatial new stadium.
Last game: Beat Eastern Washington, 59-7
Next game: Saturday at Minnesota
8Penn State Nittany Lions
Last Week: 16
I ranked the Nittany Lions way too low in the past two polls. Beating Temple on Saturday won't prove much, but Penn State will get another crack at Iowa -- the team that kept it out of the BCS title game last season -- on Sept. 26.
Last game: Beat Syracuse, 28-7
Next game: Saturday vs. Temple
9Ohio St. Buckeyes
Last Week: 7
I'm not a big fan of sending a highly ranked team tumbling after it loses to another highly ranked team. USC was ranked ahead of the Buckeyes last week, so we shouldn't act surprised that the Trojans won the game. This week won't exactly be a breather for the Buckeyes, though, as Toledo's no-huddle offense isn't easy to stop.
Last game: Lost to USC, 18-15
Next game: Saturday vs. Toledo in Cleveland
10LSU Tigers
Last Week: 10
The Tigers still haven't administered the thumping that will prove they belong back among the nation's elite, but a win over Vanderbilt never hurts. Expect LSU to blast a Ragin' Cajuns squad still celebrating its win last week against Kansas State.
Last game: Beat Vanderbilt, 23-9
Next game: Saturday vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
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