By Andy Staples
September 07, 2010
NCAA Football Power Rankings
11 Florida Gators
Last Week: 10
Just as many of you thought I ranked the Gators too low in the preseason, many of you will think I have them too high now after only dropping them one spot following this past Saturday's atrocious offensive display. For the moment, I'm writing that off as an aberration. Either center Mike Pouncey and quarterback John Brantley will get the snap issues fixed, or Gators offensive coordinator/line coach Steve Addazio will insert a new center and slide Pouncey back to guard before he has a chance to go Chuck Knoblauch again. Besides, Florida's defense looked athletic and opportunistic, which will keep the Gators ahead of most opponents. That said, if Florida plays offense Saturday the way it did this past weekend, USF can beat the Gators.
Last game: Beat Miami (Ohio), 34-12
Next game: Saturday vs. South Florida
12 Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 11
Just as it's too early to crush Florida for a poor offensive game, the Sooners probably shouldn't be bashed too much for letting Utah State stay in the game this past weekend. Besides, Oklahoma will have to get better this week. Florida State is one of the best teams the Sooners will play all season, and the Seminoles will not fall as easily as the Aggies. If Oklahoma comes out flat again, the Sooners will lose, and they will drop in the polls.
Last game: Beat Utah State, 31-24
Next game: Saturday vs. Florida State
13 Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
Last Week: 12
The Hurricanes can vault into the top 10 and maybe even the top five with a win in the Horseshoe. Of course, Monday's events might have been a bad omen. Remember that the last time the Hurricanes and Buckeyes played, the national title was decided on a rather controversial call. On Monday, a team from South Florida (Palm Beach Dwyer) played in Ohio Stadium and got hosed by the officials in a loss to a team from Ohio (Cleveland Glenville). Was it a disturbing sign of things to come, or was all the bad officiating mojo exhausted by the zebras in the high school game?
Last game: Beat Florida A&M, 45-0
Next game: Saturday at Ohio State
14 Penn St. Nittany Lions
Last Week: 14
True freshman quarterback Robert Bolden looked fantastic in the Nittany Lions' season-opening win against Youngstown State. Youngstown State has one of the best programs in the Football Championship Series. At the moment, Alabama has the best program in the Football Bowl Series. The Crimson Tide also will have 101,000 fans in recently expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium and 11 bloodthirsty defenders ready to give young Mr. Bolden a proper welcome to big-time college football. Bolden might shrink from the moment, or he might turn in a legendary performance. Not knowing which is what makes college football so much fun.
Last game: Beat Youngstown State, 44-14
Next game: Saturday at Alabama
15 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last Week: 15
The schedule makers were more kind to the Yellow Jackets this year. Last year in Week 2, they had five days to prepare for a visit from C.J. Spiller and Clemson. This year, they get to go to Lawrence and face a rebuilding Kansas team that just lost, 6-3, to North Dakota State. For better competition, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson might want to send some players to nearby Kansas City to see how the ribs at that town's legendary barbecue joints (Arthur Bryant's, Gates and Oklahoma Joe's) stack up against the ones from Fat Matt's Rib Shack and Fox Brothers in Atlanta.
Last game: Beat South Carolina State, 41-10
Next game: Saturday at Kansas
16 Georgia Bulldogs
Last Week: 20
If the Bulldogs and Saturday's opponent, South Carolina, watched the awkwardness in Gainesville this past weekend, both teams know this could be the year one of them overtakes Florida for the SEC East title. But which one? The meeting in Columbia should answer that question. Georgia looked smooth on offense in its opener, but so did South Carolina. Saturday should give us a better idea if first-year coordinator Todd Grantham's Georgia defense has truly improved after an awful 2009. Before that, the Bulldogs would like an answer from the NCAA as to whether receiver A.J. Green can play. They'll need him against the Gamecocks.
Last game: Beat Louisiana-Lafayette, 55-7
Next game: Saturday at South Carolina
17 Florida St. Seminoles
Last Week: 21
Samford provided no opposition for the Seminoles. Oklahoma will, but the task isn't insurmountable. If FSU's revamped defense can bottle up tailback DeMarco Murray (207 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Utah State), then the Seminoles have a chance to spring the upset.
Last game: Beat Samford, 59-6
Next game: Saturday at Oklahoma
18 Oregon St. Beavers
Last Week: 17
The Beavers didn't get it done at Cowboys Stadium against TCU, but they still have a chance to be the darlings of the football establishment if they beat Boise State on the Smurf Turf on Sept. 25. First, they get a week to regroup. Then they'll tune up for the Broncos against a Louisville team that appeared improved in a season-opening loss to Kentucky.
Last game: Lost to TCU, 30-21
Next game: Sept. 18 vs. Louisville
19 Utah Utes
Last Week: 24
Utah Utes (1-0)
Utah, almost by default, is the beneficiary of the first Told You So E-mail of the Week. The bulk of the Told You So e-mails came from readers who predicted Boise State would lose by at least three touchdowns to Virginia Tech. Those sentiments seem a bit silly now. But Chris in Penticton, British Columbia, posed a question that got me thinking and kicking myself for being wrong. Here's what he wrote: "Utah beats Pitt to start the season. ... What then?" I replied quickly to Chris. I explained that I do new rankings every week. Teams that win rise and teams that lose fall. I realized shortly after pressing "send" that I had responded too quickly. Chris hadn't asked a football question. He'd asked an existential question. What then, indeed. Would the world collapse upon itself? Would Brent Musberger begin referring to Boise State's quarterback as "Kellen" as if the two were lifelong friends? (Alas, this happened.) Would my inability to correctly place Utah in the rankings somehow adversely affect the quality of the next season of HBO's Big Love? I pondered Chris' query until my head hurt. Lacking the cognitive ability to provide a better answer, I settled for vowing to never doubt Utes coach Kyle Whittingham again.
Last game: Beat Pittsburgh, 27-24 (OT)
Next game: Saturday vs. UNLV
20 Arkansas Razorbacks
Last Week: 22
The Razorbacks get one more tune-up before they embark on a two-week stretch (at Georgia, Alabama) that will define where their season is headed. Saturday was the first time since 2007 that the Hogs have held an opponent without a touchdown. It was only Tennessee Tech, but it's a start. Quarterback Ryan Mallett and company will score a lot of points. If the defense can keep the touchdown total under four, Arkansas can win every time.
Last game: Beat Tennessee Tech, 44-3
Next game: Saturday vs. Louisiana-Monroe
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