By Stewart Mandel
September 16, 2008
NCAA Football Power Rankings
11 Oregon Ducks
Last Week: 13
The Ducks go through quarterbacks like Spinal Tap does drummers -- now Justin Roper is out 2-to-4 weeks with a knee injury. But RBs Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount combined for 228 yards in Oregon's comeback win at Purdue.
Last game: Beat Purdue, 32-26 (OT).
Next game: Saturday vs. Boise State.
12 Alabama Crimson Tide
Last Week: 14
A week after stalling against Tulane, Alabama's offense lit up Western Kentucky for 557 total yards -- 281 rushing, 276 passing. Freshman WR Julio Jones continues to impress: He had five catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Last game: Beat Western Kentucky, 41-7.
Next game: Saturday at Arkansas.
13 Auburn Tigers
Last Week: 9
Apparently, Auburn's spread offense is more than just a simple "work in progress" -- it's an architectural nightmare. Coordinator Tony Franklin plans to simplify his attack following a brutally ugly 3-2 win over Mississippi State.
Last game: Beat Mississippi State, 3-2.
Next game: Saturday vs. LSU.
14 Brigham Young Cougars
Last Week: 19
Now that's a BCS buster. The Cougars went up 35-0 on UCLA -- the same team that beat Tennessee 12 days earlier -- by early in the second quarter. QB Max Hall threw seven TD passes. And the defense held UCLA to 239 yards.
Last game: Beat UCLA, 59-0.
Next game: Saturday vs. Wyoming.
15 South Florida Bulls
Last Week: 19
When Kansas jumped to a 20-3 lead last Friday, it appeared the Big East's last remaining hope was doomed. The Bulls rallied behind QB Matt Grothe (32-of-45, 338 yards), some clutch defense and Maikon Bonani's game-winning 43-yard field goal.
Last game: Beat Kansas, 37-34.
Next game: Saturday at Florida International.
16 Texas Tech Red Raiders
Last Week: 17
Apparently I'm not the only one that's down on Mike Leach's team. "What we've done ... for 2 1/2 games, I don't consider acceptable," he said in a rant directed primarily at star QB Graham Harrell and his receivers (despite their huge numbers last week).
Last game: Beat SMU, 43-7.
Next game: Saturday vs. Massachusetts.
17 Kansas Jayhawks
Last Week: 16
QB Todd Reesing carried the Jayhawks a long way against USF, going 24-of-51 for 373 yards and three touchdowns, but unfortunately, his interception to Nate Allen in the final 40 seconds set up the Bulls' game-winning field goal.
Last game: Lost to USF, 37-34.
Next game: Saturday vs. Sam Houston State.
18 Ohio State Buckeyes
Last Week: 4
Three words: More Terrelle Pryor. The freshman is nowhere near Todd Boeckman in his grasp of the offense, but with an overmatched offensive line and no Beanie Wells, OSU desperately needs more of Pryor's playmaking ability.
Last game: Lost to USC, 35-3.
Next game: Saturday vs. Troy.
19 Clemson Tigers
Last Week: 23
Four teams ranked 15th or lower last week suffered defeats, causing teams like Clemson to rise higher than is really merited. QB Cullen Harper had a solid game against N.C. State, but the running attack remains alarmingly unproductive.
Last game: Beat N.C. State, 24-7.
Next game: Saturday vs. South Carolina State.
20 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Last Week: 24
Who ever thought we'd see the day when Wake Forest holds a two-game winning streak against Florida State? Apparently not the Vegas oddsmakers -- they've dubbed the Demon Deacons a five-point underdog in Tallahassee this weekend.
Last game: Beat Ole Miss, 30-28.
Next game: Saturday at Florida State.
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