By Andy Staples
December 08, 2009
NCAA Football Power Rankings
21 West Virginia Mountaineers
Last Week: --
There are a couple of problems with the Gator Bowl bending selection rules to take Florida State. First, several better teams got stiffed. Second, the Seminoles will have to face West Virginia, which is a far superior team. After seeing FSU's defense get shredded this year, it's easy to imagine Mountaineers tailback Noel Devine running for 200 yards and handing Bowden his first losing season since 1976.
Last game: Beat Rutgers, 24-21
Next game: Jan. 1 vs. Florida State in Gator Bowl
22 Brigham Young Cougars
Last Week: 25
The Cougars fell off the national radar a bit after losing to TCU, but they should get some attention Dec. 22. BYU-Oregon State is one of the most intriguing matchups on the bowl slate, and I can imagine a lot of weary fans plopping down on their couches after a day of frenzied Christmas shopping and catching a thriller live from Vegas.
Last game: Beat Utah, 26-23 (OT)
Next game: Dec. 22 vs. Oregon State in Las Vegas Bowl
23 Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Last Week: 23
In the Cotton Bowl, the Cowboys will have a chance to redeem themselves after their horrendous showing against Oklahoma in their regular-season finale. Looking back, it's a positive sign that a team that lost receiver Dez Bryant (NCAA suspension) and linebacker Orie Lemon (knee) for the season and lost other key cogs to various injuries for stretches had the depth to win nine games. Still, that 27-0 Bedlam loss was pretty ugly, and Oklahoma State could use a win to wipe away the bitter taste.
Last game: Lost to Oklahoma, 27-0
Next game: Jan. 2 vs. Ole Miss in Cotton Bowl
24 Texas Tech Red Raiders
Last Week: 24
The Red Raiders aren't even the top passing offense in the state anymore -- that would be Houston -- but second place in Texas is still good for second in the nation. Texas Tech averaged 380.67 yards this season through the air, and that number could go up after an Alamo Bowl against a Michigan State team in turmoil.
Last game: Beat Baylor, 20-13
Next game: Jan. 2 vs. Michigan State in Alamo Bowl
25 USC Trojans
Last Week: 18
The Trojans' run at the top of the Pac-10 had to end sometime, but it's shocking how far USC fell this season. Just enjoy it now, USC haters. Judging by the way the Trojans have recruited in recent years, this may only be a temporary blip.
Last game: Lost to Arizona, 21-17
Next game: Dec. 26 vs. Boston College in Emerald Bowl

Next five: Central Michigan, East Carolina, Utah, Cal, Northwestern

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

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