By Andy Staples
October 20, 2009
NCAA Football Power Rankings
11 Oregon Ducks
Last Week: 11
As of Monday night, Ducks coach Chip Kelly wasn't sure whether Jeremiah Masoli or Nate Costa would start Saturday at Washington. Whomever starts should be prepared for a dangerous Huskies team. Any looking ahead to USC will ensure the Ducks suffer the same fate the Trojans did in Seattle.
Last game: Beat UCLA, 24-10
Next game: Saturday at Washington
12 Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
Last Week: 12
The Hurricanes return to ACC play after two non-conference cupcakes. Miami should be refreshed and recharged and on edge for a schizophrenic Clemson team that has crushed Boston College and Wake Forest and lost to Maryland.
Last game: Beat Central Florida, 27-7
Next game: Saturday vs. Clemson
13 Virginia Tech Hokies
Last Week: 4
The Hokies have some time to lick their wounds before returning to the field next Thursday against North Carolina. If Virginia Tech, Miami and Georgia Tech remain tied in conference play and bunched in the rankings, the Hokies' loss to Alabama could come back to haunt them. The final tiebreaker for teams ranked within five BCS spots of one another is highest BCS ranking. That probably would go to Miami.
Last game: Lost to Georgia Tech, 28-23
Next game: Oct. 29 vs. North Carolina
14 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last Week: 18
A week after launching themselves back into the ACC title race, the Yellow Jackets face a team that went from the dumpster to the penthouse in three short weeks. Virginia opened with losses to William and Mary, TCU and Southern Miss, but followed with dominant victories over North Carolina, Indiana and Maryland. Which team shows up to play Georgia Tech is anyone's guess.
Last game: Beat Virginia Tech, 28-23
Next game: Saturday at Virginia
15 Brigham Young Cougars
Last Week: 14
Since a 51-50 home loss to TCU in 2005, the Cougars have gone 22-2 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Beyond the obvious conference title implications, BYU should have plenty of extra motivation to avenge last year's 32-7 loss in Fort Worth. At the time, the Cougars fancied themselves BCS busters.
Last game: Beat San Diego State, 38-28
Next game: Saturday vs. TCU
16 Houston Cougars
Last Week: 19
Now that the Cougars are on the board with a Conference USA win, they've got to be kicking themselves for their failure to show up at UTEP. No school from outside the six power conferences has a better résumé, but Houston will need a miracle to keep from becoming one of the best teams the Liberty Bowl has hosted.
Last game: Beat Tulane, 44-16
Next game: Saturday vs. SMU
17 Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Last Week: 20
Meanwhile, a team that lost to Houston has a chance next week to take the lead in the race for the Big 12 South title. But that's next week. This week, the Cowboys need to make sure they hold serve against Baylor and try to find a way to free receiver Dez Bryant from NCAA purgatory.
Last game: Beat Missouri, 33-17
Next game: Saturday at Baylor
18 Ohio St. Buckeyes
Last Week: 7
Tresselball is taking a beating these days, and plenty in the 614 are wondering whether the Buckeyes might be better served moving quarterback Terrelle Pryor to receiver. Ohio State's struggles aren't all Pryor's fault, though. If the guy in the sweater vest plans to stick with the sophomore, he needs to design game plans his athletic signal-caller can execute.
Last game: Lost to Purdue, 26-18
Next game: Saturday vs. Minnesota
19 Pittsburgh Panthers
Last Week: --
There's nothing like a Friday night ESPN appearance to introduce the world to an under-the-radar team with a budding star. Shoot, if the Yankees hadn't been playing opposite Pitt's win over Rutgers, freshman Dion Lewis (918 rushing yards, nine TDs, 5.7 yards a carry) might top some Heisman lists.
Last game: Beat Rutgers, 24-17
Next game: Saturday vs. South Florida
20 West Virginia Mountaineers
Last Week: --
The Mountaineers would be undefeated if not for a six-turnover debacle in a monsoon at Auburn. This week, they'll face a Connecticut team playing with a heavy heart following the stabbing death of cornerback Jasper Howard. The West Virginia message boards and blogs have been abuzz with plans to give the Huskies a standing ovation in honor of Howard when they take the field Saturday in Morgantown. A classy move by a fan base that gets a bad rap because of a few couch-burners.
Last game: Beat Marshall, 24-7
Next game: Saturday vs. Connecticut
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