By Andy Staples
October 06, 2009
NCAA Football Power Rankings
11 Oregon Ducks
Last Week: 13
Ducks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli picked a great time to look like a completely different player than the one who opened the season at Boise State. In two Pac-10 games, he's completed 81.4 percent of his passes.
Last game: Beat Washington State, 52-6
Next game: Saturday at UCLA
12 Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
Last Week: 17
Prior to last week's win against Oklahoma, Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris told his teammates to turn off ESPN and turn on SpongeBob SquarePants. Just imagine how good Miami will be if the 'Canes ever discover the Snorks.
Last game: Beat Oklahoma, 21-20
Next game: Saturday vs. Florida A&M
13 Iowa Hawkeyes
Last Week: 11
Iowa has twice survived slogs against less talented teams. While the Arkansas State win wasn't quite as scary as the Northern Iowa win, it still gave me pause. The Hawkeyes need to learn to feast on the creampuffs, not nibble on them. This week, they'll be back in prime time against Michigan and never-say-die quarterback Tate Forcier, who isn't due for another unlucky break until Week 10.
Last game: Beat Arkansas State, 24-21
Next game: Saturday vs. Michigan
14 Brigham Young Cougars
Last Week: 14
It's all Mountain West play from this point forward for the Cougars, who should be 6-1 when TCU comes to Provo for homecoming.
Last game: Beat Utah State, 35-17
Next game: Saturday at UNLV
15 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Last Week: 16
Conference divisional races should really begin to shake themselves out this week, and the first big matchup should give us a better idea about the Big 12 north. Las Vegas handicappers offer a bad omen for the Cornhuskers by installing them as three-point favorites on the road. The home dog often bites back on Thursday night. Just ask Ole Miss.
Last game: Beat Louisiana-Lafayette, 55-0
Next game: Thursday at Missouri
16 Auburn Tigers
Last Week: --
Auburn probably deserved to be ranked earlier, but it's still so hard to wrap the brain around the Tigers' metamorphosis with basically the same players who went 5-7 last year. Auburn will have to play some defense this week, because Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino's offense can score almost as quickly as Auburn coordinator Gus Malzahn's.
Last game: Beat Tennessee, 26-22
Next game: Saturday at Arkansas
17 Penn State Nittany Lions
Last Week: 18
Penn State appears to have scheduled itself an easy win with Eastern Illinois coming to Beaver Stadium. Remember, Nittany Lions, devour your cupcake. No one likes to watch you play with your food.
Last game: Beat Illinois, 35-17
Next game: Saturday vs. Eastern Illinois
18 South Florida Bulls
Last Week: 19
The Bulls survived their post-Florida State euphoria by forcing seven Syracuse turnovers. They'll need to do something similar next week to beat the Bearcats.
Last game: Beat Syracuse, 34-20
Next game: Oct. 15 vs. Cincinnati
19 Wisconsin Badgers
Last Week: --
Badgers coach Bret Bielema probably would tackle me for ranking his team this high. He likes the fact that his players still must earn respect. Tailback John Clay and his teammates will earn that respect Saturday if they win in Columbus.
Last game: Beat Minnesota, 31-28
Next game: Saturday at Ohio State
20 Missouri Tigers
Last Week: 21
Quick, guess who leads the Big 12 in quarterback efficiency rating. Colt McCoy? Nope. Todd Reesing? Nope. Zac Robinson? Nope. Landry Jones' mustache? Nope. It's Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, at 168.57. Of course, that came against a worse-than-expected Illinois, Bowling Green, Nevada and FCS school Furman. Now, Gabbert will have to throw while running away from Ndamukong Suh.
Last game: Beat Nevada, 31-21
Next game: Thursday vs. Nebraska
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