By Stewart Mandel
December 03, 2008

I made a small "adjustment" to my ballot this week, dropping Florida from second to fourth. This was by no fault of the Gators, who rolled off their eighth-straight lopsided victory Saturday. The problem is their conference.

As the season has progressed, all those SEC teams Florida had been beating up on -- Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt -- have been exposed as frauds. At this point, only one of the Gators' victims, Georgia, remains in any of the polls, and even then in the low teens. (Ironically, the one team Florida lost to, Ole Miss, has since entered the rankings.)

Simply put, the Gators don't deserve to be ahead of Texas or Oklahoma right now. But before any of you conspiracy theorists start blasting my inbox, this is not part of some ploy to see the Sooners and 'Horns rematch in Miami. If Florida knocks off 12-0, top-ranked Alabama this weekend, they will most certainly move back into my top two, if not No. 1.

NCAA Football Power Rankings
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1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Last Week: 1
Alabama's recipe against Florida? Simple. Double Tim Tebow's season interception total (two). Shut down the nation's 10th-ranked rushing offense. Run the ball like they always do, and hit Julio Jones for a couple of long TDs.
Last game: Beat Auburn, 36-0.
Next game: Saturday vs. Florida.
2 Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 3
I've got nothing left to add about the Texas-Oklahoma fiasco. ... OK, one more thing. We all know "defense wins championships." Texas currently ranks 21st in scoring defense, Oklahoma ... 60th. Just thought you should know.
Last game: Beat Texas A&M, 49-9.
Next game: Bowl game TBA.
3 Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 4
Is there any tight end in the country playing better right now than Jermaine Gresham? Against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, he had 14 catches for 253 yards and three TDs and is an invaluable blocker downfield.
Last game: Beat Oklahoma State, 61-41.
Next game: Saturday vs. Missouri.
4 Florida Gators
Last Week: 2
There's a lot of nervous people in Gainesville this week. Percy Harvin is questionable for Saturday's SEC title game with an ankle sprain. At the very least, he won't practice. That's 103 yards per game at stake.
Last game: Beat Florida State, 45-14.
Next game: Saturday vs. Alabama.
5 USC Trojans
Last Week: 5
USC Trojans (10-1)
The Trojans held Notre Dame to 91 total yards (including nine in the first half) Saturday. Yes, the Irish stink, but that's still pretty darn impressive. It also marked the sixth time this season USC did not allow a touchdown.
Last game: Beat Notre Dame, 38-3.
Next game: Saturday at UCLA.
6 Penn State Nittany Lions
Last Week: 6
JoePa had successful hip replacement surgery the day after Penn State's season-ending win over Michigan State, is expected back at work this week and could be on the field -- sans cane -- for the Rose Bowl.
Last week: Beat Michigan State, 49-18.
Next game: Bowl game TBA.
7 Texas Tech Red Raiders
Last Week: 7
The news of Graham Harrell's two shattered fingers on his non-throwing hand may help explain why he wasn't his usual self in the first half against Baylor. Losing Michael Crabtree in the second quarter didn't help, either.
Last game: Beat Baylor, 35-28.
Next game: Bowl game TBA.
8 Ohio State Buckeyes
Last Week: 8
Oregon State's loss to Oregon likely freed up the last BCS at-large berth for the Buckeyes -- but is that a good thing? Their likely Fiesta Bowl opponent, Texas, will be a prohibitive favorite. Can OSU endure another BCS blowout?
Last game: Beat Michigan, 42-7.
Next game: Bowl game TBA.
9 Utah Utes
Last Week: 9
Utah Utes (12-0)
It turns out, the Utes would have qualified for the BCS this year even under the old, pre-2006 rules that mandated a top-six finish instead of top 12. In the latest standings, Utah moved up to sixth, above Texas Tech and Penn State.
Last game: Beat BYU, 48-24.
Next game: Bowl game TBA.
10 Boise State Broncos
Last Week: 10
The Broncos saved their best for last, blasting rival Fresno State 61-10 in a game that, remarkably, was 13-10 at halftime. Jeremy Avery's 43-yard TD run and Kyle Wilson's 90-yard punt return to start the third quarter opened the dam.
Last game: Beat Fresno State, 61-10.
Next game: Bowl game TBA.
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