By Stewart Mandel
October 07, 2008
NCAA Football Power Rankings
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11 Florida Gators
Last Week: 13
The Gators got a chance to take out their post-Ole Miss frustrations against Arkansas. Speedy tailbacks Jeffrey Demps (48- and 36-yard touchdown runs) and Chris Rainey (75-yard score) ran wild against the Razorbacks' defense.
Last game: Beat Arkansas, 38-7.
Next game: Saturday vs. LSU.
12 Utah Utes
Last Week: 19
Utah Utes (6-0)
This is another team whose standing I readjusted. Down eight with just over two minutes left against Oregon State, QB Brian Johnson orchestrated a quick 60-yard touchdown drive, got the ball back and set up a game-winning field goal.
Last game: Beat Oregon State, 31-28.
Next game: Saturday at Wyoming.
13 Ohio State Buckeyes
Last Week: 16
It seemed a little cocky at the time when the cameras caught Malcolm Jenkins partaking in Wisconsin's fourth-quarter "Jump Around." Then he went out and backed it up with a game-sealing interception of Badgers QB Allan Evridge.
Last game: Beat Wisconsin, 20-17.
Next game: Saturday vs. Purdue.
14 Vanderbilt Commodores
Last Week: 20
It's been a season of "first time since ..." for the Commodores, and this week brings another. For the first time since -- I don't know, electricity? -- Bobby Johnson's team has to beware of complacency as it visits Mississippi State.
Last game: Beat Auburn, 14-13.
Next game: Saturday at Mississippi State.
15 Boise State Broncos
Last Week: 17
There's only one area in which the Broncos have struggled this decade: Nonconference road games. They've gone 7-9. It's a stat to be leery of as Boise travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., this week to take on Southern Miss.
Last game: Beat Louisiana Tech, 38-3.
Next game: Saturday at Southern Miss.
16 Illinois Fighting Illini
Last Week: --
How dramatically has Juice Williams improved in the course of a year? He's produced 1,619 yards of total offense, up from 753 through his first five games last year, and ranks 28th nationally in pass efficiency, up from 81st last season.
Last game: Beat Michigan, 45-20.
Next game: Saturday vs. Minnesota.
17 Oklahoma State Cowboys
Last Week: 22
The Cowboys have been undeniably impressive in outscoring their first five foes 263-115, but those teams are also a combined 8-16. We'll find out a whole lot more about Zac Robinson & Co. this weekend when they visit Columbia.
Last game: Beat Texas A&M, 56-28.
Next game: Saturday at Missouri.
18 Virginia Tech Hokies
Last Week: 21
The Hokies took a major hit against Western Kentucky when RB Kenny Lewis Jr. suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon. Freshman Darren Evans has been more productive, but Lewis "was the leader of our bunch," said Evans.
Last game: Beat Western Kentucky, 27-13.
Next game: Oct. 18 at Boston College.
19 North Carolina Tar Heels
Last Week: 23
The Tar Heels continue to excel on special teams. LB Bruce Carter blocked not one, not two, but three-straight punts against Connecticut. Amazingly, that gave him four-straight blocks dating to the previous week's Miami game.
Last game: Beat Connecticut, 38-12.
Next game: Saturday vs. Notre Dame.
20 Kentucky Wildcats
Last Week: --
It's pretty astonishing when you think about it. The Wildcats went to Tuscaloosa and held the nation's No. 2 team to one offensive touchdown. Granted, the 'Cats allowed 282 rushing yards, but at least they rendered the Tide one-dimensional.
Last game: Lost to Alabama, 17-14.
Next game: Saturday vs. South Carolina.
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