By Andy Staples
December 01, 2009
NCAA Football Power Rankings
11 Oregon St. Beavers
Last Week: 16
Watch Quizz Rodgers closely on Thursday. The Beavers are 19-2 the past 21 games when one rusher has gained at least 100 yards. If Rodgers hits the century mark, there's a good chance Oregon State will play in the Rose Bowl for the first time in 45 years.
Last game: Beat Washington State, 42-10
Next game: Thursday at Oregon
12 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last Week: 7
The Yellow Jackets allowed 354 rushing yards in a loss to Georgia. If they repeat that performance in Saturday's ACC title game, they'll lose and singlehandedly vault Clemson's C.J. Spiller back into the Heisman race.
Last game: Lost to Georgia, 30-24
Next game: Saturday vs. Clemson in Tampa, Fla.
13 Virginia Tech Hokies
Last Week: 13
The Hokies finally got Al Groh chased from Virginia, but that could hurt Virginia Tech in the long run. A decent coach and aggressive recruiter in Charlottesville could make it tougher for the Hokies to reload every year.
Last game: Beat Virginia, 42-13
Next game: Regular season complete
14 Pittsburgh Panthers
Last Week: 8
Despite what the folks at the BCS would have you believe, not all regular-season games are created equal. If the Panthers upset Cincinnati for the Big East title on Saturday, no one will remember that they lost the Backyard Brawl a week earlier.
Last game: Lost to West Virginia, 19-16
Next game: Saturday at Rutgers
15 California Golden Bears
Last Week: 17
The Jahvid Best injury was terrible, but the Bears haven't stopped running. Sophomore Shane Vereen rushed for 352 yards and four touchdowns in the Bears' past two games. Expect more of the same Saturday against the Pac-10's ninth-ranked rushing defense.
Last game: Beat Stanford, 34-28
Next game: Saturday at Washington
16 Arizona Wildcats
Last Week: --
Arizona and Stanford are the highest ranked four-loss teams because the Pac-10 is exceptionally strong this year. They may not end up ranked this high after the bowl games give us a little clearer picture of relative conference strength, but right now, these two seem a lot better than four-loss teams.
Last game: Beat Arizona State, 20-17
Next game: Saturday at USC
17 Stanford Cardinal
Last Week: 18
Cardinal back Toby Gerhart leads the nation in rushing (1,736) and rushing touchdowns (26), but his Heisman campaign could be hindered by the fact that he doesn't play the season's final week. Of course, given the quality of the defenses Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy will face, Gerhart may be better off at home.
Last game: Beat Notre Dame, 45-38
Next game: Regular season complete
18 USC Trojans
Last Week: 20
The Trojans' fall from atop the Pac-10 might not last very long, but their over-the-top celebration of a run-up-the-score touchdown after an equally boneheaded timeout by UCLA ensured their Pac-10 rivals will enjoy every second.
Last game: Beat UCLA, 28-7
Next game: Saturday vs. Arizona
19 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Last Week: 19
The Cornhuskers had better hope defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh gets himself invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony based on his play against Texas on Saturday, because Nebraska, ranked No. 92 in the nation in total offense, won't be moving the ball much against the Longhorns.
Last game: Beat Colorado, 28-20
Next game: Saturday vs. Texas in Arlington, Texas
20 LSU Tigers
Last Week: 22
LSU Tigers (9-3)
Rarely does a coach receive a more perfect opportunity for redemption than Les Miles received Saturday. A week after bungling the clock on LSU's final drive in a loss at Ole Miss, Miles and his staff orchestrated a flawless field goal drive to force overtime against Arkansas. Miles can think about that when he's riding Big Thunder Mountain a few days before the Capital One Bowl.
Last game: Beat Arkansas, 33-30 (OT)
Next game: Regular season complete
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