By Andy Staples
October 05, 2010
NCAA Football Power Rankings
11 Arkansas Razorbacks
Last Week: 14
The Razorbacks have had a week to recover from their loss to Alabama. If they spent any of that week watching the rest of the college football landscape, they should realize that they're going to be better than almost every team remaining on their schedule. Though they'll need a near-miracle in the form of two conference losses for Alabama to get back into the SEC title race, but if the Hogs play well down the stretch, the idea of Arkansas as an 11-1 or 10-2 BCS at-large team is not so far-fetched.
Last game: Lost to Alabama, 24-20
Next game: Saturday vs. Texas A&M
12 Stanford Cardinal
Last Week: 8
The Cardinal simply wore down against Oregon. At one point, it appeared a linebacker faked an injury simply to keep the Ducks from running another play. The good news for Stanford? No other team in the country plays that fast. This week, Stanford and USC reprise the "What's your deal?" game from last year that signaled the end of USC's Pac-10 dominance. The Cardinal match up much better with the Trojans than they do the Ducks, so Lane Kiffin might also find himself asking what Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh's deal is by the end of the game.
Last game: Lost to Oregon, 52-31
Next game: Saturday vs. USC
13 Florida Gators
Last Week: 7
Are the Gators really as inept on offense as they appeared in Tuscaloosa, or is Alabama's defense that good? We'll probably get an answer to that question Saturday night, because LSU's defense is every bit as athletic as Alabama's. So far, this Florida season is running dangerously parallel to 2005, when Urban Meyer tried to turn Chris Leak into an option quarterback with disastrous results. In 2005, the Gators also got disemboweled in Tuscaloosa. The following week, LSU exposed the offense even more, reducing Meyer to tears. Then, after the LSU loss, Meyer and his staff cobbled together a better scheme that became the basis for the offense run by Florida's BCS title team in 2006. The Gators might want to skip the tears and just fix the offense this week.
Last game: Lost to Alabama, 31-6
Next game: Saturday vs. LSU
14 Iowa Hawkeyes
Last Week: 16
The Hawkeyes get two weeks to prepare for Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. That could be quite an advantage. Another advantage? They may have defensive coordinator Norm Parker back as well. Parker has missed the past four games because of a 19-day hospital stay due to complications from diabetes. Parker was released from the hospital Thursday, but linebackers coach Darrell Wilson called defenses against Penn State this past weekend. The return of one of the nation's top defensive minds would be a welcomed one; Iowa's schedule for the remainder of the month is at Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State.
Last game: Beat Penn State, 24-3
Next game: Oct. 16 at Michigan
15 LSU Tigers
Last Week: 15
LSU Tigers (5-0)
I had planned to drop LSU for what should have been a loss against Tennessee, but there are so few teams that deserve anywhere near a top-15 ranking that I had to settle for leaving the Tigers where they were last week. That probably won't bother most LSU fans. The Louisiana-based hate mail that came so steadily early in the season has been replaced by tortured pleas from Tigers fans who simply can't stomach the emotional roller-coaster that is rooting for a Les Miles-coached team. Even they don't believe in their undefeated team, which will face one-loss Florida as a seven-point underdog. But consider this, LSU fans. Despite all your suffering this season, you're still in a better position than all but about 10 teams right now. Go 1-3 against the Florida-Auburn-Alabama-Arkansas meat grinder, and you still probably wind up with a nine-win season and a great bowl game. Go 2-2 or 3-1 and you still might wind up in a BCS bowl. Go 4-0 and ... never mind. Even Miles isn't that lucky.
Last game: Beat Tennessee, 16-14
Next game: Saturday at Florida
16 Michigan St. Spartans
Last Week: 25
Coach Mark Dantonio did not follow the example of Ed "Straight Arrow" Genarro, the fictional Texas State Fighting Armadillos coach who listened helplessly from his hospital bed as his team upset No. 1 Texas. Dantonio, hospitalized last week for a blood clot just days after he suffered a heart attack, provided his input in the form of calls and text messages as the Spartans beat Wisconsin last week. In fact, Dantonio made the call for Michigan State to go for it on fourth-and-goal late in the game. That decision led to Michigan State's final touchdown. Dantonio was released from the hospital Monday, and Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis tweeted that if doctors give the OK, Dantonio will coach at Michigan Stadium in some form on Saturday.
Last game: Beat Wisconsin, 34-24
Next game: Saturday at Michigan
17 South Carolina Gamecocks
Last Week: 17
Apparently, the history department at the University of South Carolina has failed to impart upon the student body and fan base that if they don't learn from their mistakes, they are doomed to repeat them. There has been talk in Columbia of a Blackout for the Alabama game. Never mind what happened to Georgia when it tried this high-school shenanigan against Alabama in 2008. South Carolina fans should remember the last time they attempted a Blackout against an elite team. The date was Nov. 10, 2001. The opponent was Florida. The final score was 54-17. "It was like they weren't even there," Florida quarterback Rex Grossman said. "They were blacked out. Then we drove them out. They left." Even Florida's coach -- some guy named Spurrier -- couldn't help but laugh at the Gamecocks. "One of our receivers said, 'Coach, it was nice of them to wear all black so we can pick the ball out of the sky,"' Spurrier said. Don't do it, Gamecocks. You have a chance Saturday. Don't anger the football gods.
Last game: Lost to Auburn, 35-27
Next game: Saturday vs. Alabama
18 Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
Last Week: 18
Rodney Harris, the father of Miami quarterback Jacory Harris, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Monday that the Hurricanes' signal-caller is not hampered by injuries. A radio station had reported Harris might have suffered a torn labrum. The elder Harris said that wasn't true. More speculation has suggested Jacory Harris has struggled at times because of lingering effects from a thumb injury suffered last season. The elder Harris said that wasn't true, either. Harris beat Florida State last year with a numb throwing hand, but the Hurricanes would probably prefer their star stay as healthy as possible during this meeting with the Seminoles.
Last game: Beat Clemson, 30-21
Next game: Saturday vs. Florida State
19 Wisconsin Badgers
Last Week: 11
Saturday's loss to Michigan State dropped Wisconsin to 5-8 against ranked Big Ten opponents under Coach Bret Bielema. Bielema said the Badgers didn't approach the Michigan State game in the correct way. They'll need to get past Minnesota -- which scared Northwestern on Saturday -- this week. Then Bielema and his staff can turn their attention to preparing better for Ohio State next week. Look for more carries for James White, who carried 10 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns against the Spartans.
Last game: Lost to Michigan State, 34-24
Next game: Saturday vs. Minnesota
20 Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Last Week: 21
Oklahoma State is visiting Louisiana-Lafayette because this is the front of a two-for-one that will bring the Ragin' Cajuns to Stillwater twice. Still, the Cowboys should be leery of traveling to face Sun Belt Conference teams. In 2007, Oklahoma State went to Troy for a nationally televised Friday night game and got stomped, 41-23. That loss inspired the Jenni Carlson column in The Oklahoman that inspired Cowboys coach Mike Gundy's "I'm a man" rant.
Last game: Beat Texas A&M, 38-35
Next game: Friday at Louisiana-Lafayette
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