By Stewart Mandel
September 16, 2008

There were some weird and (possibly) unprecedented occurrences on my ballot this week.

One team, Fresno State, moved into the rankings following a loss. (Taking top-10 foe Wisconsin to the wire sold me). Another team, Tennessee, dropped out following a win. (Such is life when the team you lost to loses its next game 59-0.)

And this I know to be a personal record -- three ranked teams from the Mountain West this week (BYU, Utah and TCU), more than either the Pac-10 (two) or Big East (one). (Chime in here.)

NCAA Football Power Rankings
1 USC Trojans
Last Week: 1
The mark of a championship team is its ability to dominate both lines of scrimmage. The Trojans had 11 tackles for loss (including five sacks) against Ohio State while allowing just three. Oh, and they've got some pretty good skill players, too.
Last game: Beat Ohio State, 35-3.
Next game: Sept. 25 at Oregon State.
2 Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 2
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sam Bradford's three-game stat line (which includes two BCS foes): 79 percent completions for 882 yards, 12 TDs and two INTs. Against Washington, he was 18-of-21 for 304 yards and five TDs.
Last game: Beat Washington, 55-14.
Next game: Sept. 27 vs. TCU.
3 Georgia Bulldogs
Last Week: 3
The Dawgs' biggest concern coming into the season was their offensive line, and against South Carolina we found out why. Georgia averaged just 3.0 yards per rush and allowed four sacks. Those freshmen better grow up in a hurry.
Last game: Beat South Carolina, 14-7.
Next game: Saturday at Arizona State.
4 Missouri Tigers
Last Week: 5
You would never know Jeremy Maclin left the Tigers' opener against Illinois on crutches. He was his usual explosive self against Nevada, racking up 234 all-purpose yards while catching touchdowns of 49 and 14 yards.
Last game: Beat Nevada, 69-17.
Next game: Saturday vs. Buffalo.
5 LSU Tigers
Last Week: 6
LSU Tigers (2-0)
LSU's quarterback derby remains in flux, but there's no question as to the Tigers' top tailback. Charles Scott followed up his 160-yard performance in the opener with 102 yards and two TDs on just eight carries against North Texas.
Last game: Beat North Texas, 41-3.
Next game: Saturday at Auburn.
6 Florida Gators
Last Week: 7
I can't imagine the Gators' bye week was enjoyable for the offensive line. The veteran group had trouble handling the various blitzes Miami threw at them. The good news is they had an extra week to work out the kinks prior to Tennessee.
Last game: Beat Miami, 26-3.
Next game: Saturday at Tennessee.
7 Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 8
While the Longhorns have cruised past their first two opponents, concerns remain about a secondary that struggled the past two years and currently ranks 98th in pass defense. Then again, their first two foes had to pass to play catch-up.
Last game: Beat UTEP, 42-13.
Next game: Saturday vs. Rice.
8 Wisconsin Badgers
Last Week: 10
LB DeAndre Levy was the unquestioned star of the Badgers' 13-10 victory at Fresno State. His first-quarter interception set up Wisconsin's lone touchdown, while his third-and-11 sack in the final minutes helped preserve the victory.
Last game: Beat Fresno State, 13-10.
Next game: Sept. 27 at Michigan.
9 Penn State Nittany Lions
Last Week: 11
The Nittany Lions have obliterated their first three opponents by a combined score of 166-37, but it's tough to get a true gauge when those same foes have combined for one FBS victory. Conference play can't come soon enough.
Last game: Beat Syracuse, 55-13.
Next game: Saturday vs. Temple.
10 East Carolina Pirates
Last Week: 12
Watch out for Tulane. A week after playing Alabama tough, the Green Wave took ECU to the wire before Patrick Pinkney threw a game-winning 24-yard TD pass with 1:41 left. Pinkney has completed 76 percent of his throws.
Last game: Beat Tulane, 28-24.
Next game: Saturday at N.C. State.
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