By Andy Staples
November 16, 2010
NCAA Football Power Rankings
21 Iowa Hawkeyes
Last Week: 13
The Hawkeyes expected more out of this season, but this does not seem like a group that would pack it in after a discouraging loss. Iowa can still play a part in the Big Ten title race by beating Ohio State. The Buckeyes would be wise to take advantage of Iowa's lack of defensive depth by cranking the tempo on offense. But if Ohio State gets conservative, Iowa has a chance.
Last game: Lost to Northwestern, 21-17
Next game: Saturday vs. Ohio State
22 South Carolina Gamecocks
Last Week: 24
The 2010 SEC East champion is talented but immature in a lot of key spots. That helps explain why the Gamecocks could get thrashed by Arkansas at home and then go on the road and lay an equally dominant beatdown on Florida. Going forward, that means a few things could happen. First, it wouldn't be the least bit shocking if South Carolina lost to either Troy or Clemson. It also wouldn't be shocking if South Carolina beat Auburn in the SEC title game.
Last game: Beat Florida, 36-14
Next game: Saturday vs. Troy
23 Mississippi St. Bulldogs
Last Week: 18
The Bulldogs already have exceeded expectations this season. Beating Arkansas on Saturday would pave the way for a nine-win regular season -- something few outside the program would have predicted in the preseason. It also could make Coach Dan Mullen's agent a popular guy.
Last game: Lost to Alabama, 30-10
Next game: Saturday vs. Arkansas
24 Nevada Wolf Pack
Last Week: --
We come to the last of the Black Friday combatants who can force a change atop the polls. The Wolf Pack won a thriller Saturday at Fresno State, and they should have little trouble dispatching 2-8 New Mexico State. Then they'll have a short week to prepare for Boise State in a game that should decide the WAC title.
Last game: Beat Fresno State, 35-34
Next game: Saturday vs. New Mexico State
25 North Carolina St. Wolfpack
Last Week: --
None of the teams in contention (NC State, Florida State, Maryland) appears to actually want to win the ACC Atlantic Division. Every time one team gets a chance to grab the division by the throat, it loses. Well, someone has to win it. If NC State wins Saturday at North Carolina, the following week's game against Maryland will determine the winner. (Even if that winner is Florida State, which can clinch with a win at Maryland and an NC State loss next week against Maryland.) If NC State loses to North Carolina on Saturday, the Wolfpack will watch helplessly that night as Florida State tries to clinch the division at Maryland. If Maryland beats the Seminoles, then the Terrapins can clinch the division with a win against NC State next week.
Last game: Beat Wake Forest, 38-3
Next game: Saturday at North Carolina

Next five: Utah, San Diego State, Florida State, Maryland, Navy

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

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