By Andy Staples
November 17, 2009
NCAA Football Power Rankings
11 Stanford Cardinal
Last Week: 22
This may be a complete overreaction on my part, but in the past two weeks the Cardinal has hung 50 points on the two preseason favorites for the Pac-10 title. No team in the country is hotter. In the Pac-10, that kind of heat usually foreshadows a crushing defeat, but Stanford seems ready for The Big Game.
Last game: Beat USC, 55-21
Next game: Saturday vs. Cal
12 Oregon Ducks
Last Week: 13
Oregon bounced back nicely from its loss to Stanford, and the Ducks still control their destiny for the Pac-10 title. Beat Arizona and Oregon State, and Oregon is in the Rose Bowl. That's easier said than done, though.
Last game: Beat Arizona State, 44-21
Next game: Saturday at Arizona
13 Iowa Hawkeyes
Last Week: 11
This is a correction to my AP poll ballot filed Sunday. On my ballot, I ranked Wisconsin No. 13 and Iowa No. 14. That was a mistake. I thought I'd examined all the head-to-head matchups and decided whether there was enough evidence to ignore a head-to-head win (USC-Ohio State, for example). I overlooked Iowa's win at Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes and Badgers have similar records and play in the same conference. Iowa should be ranked higher. Sorry, Hawkeyes. It'll be fixed in the AP poll next week as long as you beat Minnesota for the Floyd of Rosedale.
Last game: Lost to Ohio State, 27-24
Next game: Saturday vs. Minnesota
14 Wisconsin Badgers
Last Week: 18
It's a good thing for Iowa and Ohio State that they faced the Badgers when they did. Wisconsin, with its huge offensive line, bruising backs and suffocating run defense, is a nightmare to matchup at season's end, when the temperature dips and the depth chart thins. The Badgers haven't allowed a Big Ten opponent to gain 100 rushing yards yet, and Northwestern won't be the first.
Last game: Beat Michigan, 45-24
Next game: Saturday at Northwestern
15 Penn St. Nittany Lions
Last Week: --
Dropping the Nittany Lions out of the poll was too harsh a punishment for their loss to Ohio State. This feels like a good spot for Penn State, which is good but not elite.
Last game: Beat Indiana, 31-20
Next game: Saturday at Michigan State
16 Virginia Tech Hokies
Last Week: 19
The Hokies might be the unluckiest team in America. Seriously. They've lost the coin toss in all 10 games this season.
Last game: Beat Maryland, 36-9
Next game: Saturday vs. NC State
17 Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Last Week: 20
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Monday he expects quarterback Zac Robinson to play Thursday against Colorado even after the hit he took from Texas Tech's Jamar Wall. The Buffaloes haven't had the best season, but if Robinson doesn't play, they can beat the Cowboys.
Last game: Beat Texas Tech, 24-17
Next game: Thursday vs. Colorado
18 Clemson Tigers
Last Week: --
The Tigers gave away a game to Maryland earlier this season. This week, they'll face the ACC's other doormat. Clemson should have plenty of motivation to avoid the upset, though. A win Saturday would clinch the ACC Atlantic Division and set up a rematch with Georgia Tech on Dec. 5.
Last game: Beat NC State, 43-23
Next game: Saturday vs. Virginia
19 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Last Week: 25
When Iowa State handed Nebraska its second consecutive home loss on Oct. 24, the Cornhuskers' Big 12 North title hopes seemed doomed. But they've recovered and can clinch the division this week with a win against Kansas State.
Last game: Beat Kansas, 31-17
Next game: Saturday vs. Kansas State
20 USC Trojans
Last Week: 14
The fall of Troy has been an absolute train wreck. Fortunately, USC has an open date to prepare for UCLA in a game Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel would love to use as a recruiting tool.
Last game: Lost to Stanford, 55-21
Next game: Nov. 28 vs. UCLA
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