By Andy Staples
September 21, 2010
NCAA Football Power Rankings
21 Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Last Week: --
Like conference rivals Missouri and Texas A&M, the Cowboys have had their cupcake close-call (a three-point win against Troy in Week 2). But a year after Oklahoma State was supposed to have a top offense with receiver Dez Bryant and quarterback Zac Robinson, the Cowboys seem to have more explosive potential than most of their Big 12 foes. Tailback Kendall Hunter averages 157.7 rushing yards a game, while quarterback Brandon Weeden averages 325 yards a game through the air. If they can keep it up, the Cowboys may actually live up to their 2009 hype in 2010.
Last game: Beat Tulsa, 65-28
Next game: Sept. 30 vs. Texas A&M
22 USC Trojans
Last Week: 22
The Trojans still haven't quite worked out the kinks. Saturday, they trailed in the third quarter to a Minnesota team that had already lost to South Dakota. Fortunately for the Trojans, the schedule gods smiled upon them this season. They get a trip to Pullman this week -- the closest thing in the Pac-10 to a bye week -- and they'll face Washington in a revenge game next week. We won't really know who the Trojans are until they travel to Palo Alto to face Stanford on Oct. 9. That's probably a good thing for USC, which needs more time to find itself.
Last game: Beat Minnesota, 32-21
Next game: Saturday at Washington State
23 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last Week: 23
The Yellow Jackets followed their stunning loss to Kansas by barely surviving a North Carolina team with 12 players in NCAA purgatory. Their reward? A hot NC State team with two extra days to prepare -- which always helps against Georgia Tech's option.
Last game: Beat North Carolina, 30-24
Next game: Saturday vs. NC State
24 West Virginia Mountaineers
Last Week: --
This has been an awful season so far for the Big East, but the Mountaineers can ease the pain considerably with a win in Tiger Stadium. If that happens, hope West Virginia fans don't introduce LSU fans to the concept of the burning couch. Remember kids, flaming furniture and drive-through daiquiris don't mix.
Last game: Beat Maryland, 31-17
Next game: Saturday at LSU
25 Air Force Falcons
Last Week: --
Missouri occupied this spot last week, and it needed a miracle play -- set up by some beautiful perimeter blocking -- to beat San Diego State. So which team deserves a better ranking? The one that nearly ended an Oklahoma home winning streak that dates back to 2005, or the one that needed a miracle to beat San Diego State? Keep an eye on the Falcons, because they could feature prominently in the BCS title discussion. Not because they have a chance to win, but because they might knock off TCU or Utah and keep them from potentially playing for the title.
Last game: Lost to Oklahoma, 27-24
Next game: Saturday at Wyoming

Next five: Missouri, Michigan State, Michigan, Kansas State, NC State

Andy Staples' Power Rankings also serve as his ballot in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

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