By Andy Staples
November 03, 2009
NCAA Football Power Rankings
11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last Week: 12
When Miami and Virginia Tech saw that Georgia Tech fell behind 31-28 to Vanderbilt, the Hurricanes and Hokies probably felt a little better about their chances to climb back into the ACC Coastal Division race. Then they probably looked at Georgia Tech's schedule and realized that Wake Forest and Duke -- the Yellow Jackets' only remaining ACC foes -- can't outscore Paul Johnson's crew.
Last game: Beat Vanderbilt, 56-31
Next game: Saturday vs. Wake Forest
12 Pittsburgh Panthers
Last Week: 14
The Panthers had better work out all their kinks Saturday against Syracuse, because they close the season against Notre Dame, West Virginia and Cincinnati. After the mysterious departure of star receiver Mike Williams, the Orange shouldn't pose much of a threat to Pitt.
Last game: Beat South Florida, 41-14
Next game: Saturday vs. Syracuse
13 Houston Cougars
Last Week: 15
The Cougars survived a scare from Southern Miss last week, and quarterback Case Keenum threw for a mind-boggling 559 yards and five touchdowns. If Keenum keeps hanging half-a-thousand on teams, he'll remain a frontrunner in a wide-open Heisman race.
Last game: Beat Southern Miss, 50-43
Next game: Saturday at Tulsa
14 USC Trojans
Last Week: 5
The Trojans' stranglehold on the Pac-10 title appears broken after last week's drubbing at Oregon, but don't expect any major changes. After several fans e-mailed to inquire about possible tweaks, USC coach Pete Carroll responded with a very Zen answer on the program's Web site, "We don't change our philosophies after something like this, because we believe in what we're doing, and we believe in the stuff we've done over the years," Carroll told the site. "How we respond is to go back to the truth of who we are and demonstrating resiliency. It's not about changing -- it's about recapturing." I'm going to steal that line the next time my editor hates one of my stories. I'm not rewriting. I'm recapturing.
Last game: Lost to Oregon, 47-20
Next game: Saturday at Arizona State
15 Ohio St. Buckeyes
Last Week: 17
Even though two Big Ten teams sit above the Buckeyes in the polls, Ohio State still controls its destiny in the conference title race. This week, quarterback Terrelle Pryor will take the field in his home state for the first time. Unfortunately, he'll be facing the Big Ten's best pass defense.
Last game: Beat New Mexico State, 45-0
Next game: Saturday at Penn State
16 Utah Utes
Last Week: 19
Utah Utes (7-1)
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham knew true freshman quarterback Jordan Wynn was precocious during spring practice. After leading the Utes to a win against Wyoming, Wynn probably will get his first start on Saturday against New Mexico. Not bad for a guy who thought he would redshirt when he arrived on campus.
Last game: Beat Wyoming, 22-10
Next game: Saturday vs. New Mexico
17 Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
Last Week: 20
Quarterback Jacory Harris is better known now as a Spongebob Squarepants fan than as a Heisman contender, but Harris saved Miami's bacon Saturday against Wake Forest, leading the 'Canes on a game-winning drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin with 1:08 remaining. This week shouldn't be so dramatic. If Duke can thump Virginia, so can Miami.
Last game: Beat Wake Forest, 28-27
Next game: Saturday vs. Virginia
18 Arizona Wildcats
Last Week: 21
Washington State wouldn't normally be dangerous for the Pac-10's other title contender, but Arizona probably will be playing without top tailback Nic Grigsby and third option Greg Nwoko, who both have sprained shoulders. Still, backup Keola Antolin should be fine against the Cougars, who have one of the nation's worst run defenses.
Last game: Beat UCLA, 27-13
Next game: Saturday vs. Washington State
19 Wisconsin Badgers
Last Week: 22
The Badgers came out of their whipping of Purdue relatively healthy. With the Big Ten's best rusher (John Clay) and a steady defense, a 10-2 record isn't out of the question in Madison.
Last game: Beat Purdue, 37-0
Next game: Saturday at Indiana
20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Last Week: 23
For the first time since an opening-day win against Nevada, the Fighting Irish whipped an inferior opponent. Notre Dame fans probably were thrilled to watch their team's first boring game since September. Don't get used to it, though. Navy's option could make this week far more interesting than it should be.
Last game: Beat Washington State, 40-14
Next game: Saturday vs. Navy
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