By Andy Staples
October 27, 2009
NCAA Football Power Rankings
11 Oregon Ducks
Last Week: 11
Oregon's defense has dominated in Pac-10 play this year. The Ducks have allowed just three touchdowns in four conference games, and all came in the second half with Oregon leading by at least 30 points. Saturday, that Ducks D will get a crack at true freshman Matt Barkley, who has yet to let anything faze him.
Last game: Beat Washington, 43-19
Next game: Saturday vs. USC
12 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last Week: 14
The Yellow Jackets can thank Clemson for breaking the iron triangle atop the Coastal Division by beating Miami in overtime. With Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech no longer handcuffed together, the Yellow Jackets get the nod over the Hokies by virtue of their head-to-head win.
Last game: Beat Virginia, 34-9
Next game: Saturday at Vanderbilt
13 Virginia Tech Hokies
Last Week: 13
The Hokies should still be mad about their loss in Atlanta, because they were within striking distance of the BCS title hunt. Expect them to take out their frustrations on the Tar Heels.
Last game: Lost to Georgia Tech, 28-23
Next game: Thursday vs. North Carolina
14 Pittsburgh Panthers
Last Week: 19
Freshman tailback Dion Lewis wears a huge smile in the photo attached to his online bio. Why such a wide grin? Because Lewis knew what the rest of the country didn't -- that he would be the nation's most dominant freshman. The Panthers have reaped the benefits.
Last game: Beat South Florida, 41-14
Next game: Nov. 7 vs. Syracuse
15 Houston Cougars
Last Week: 16
I'm one of a minority of AP voters who have the Cougars ranked above Oklahoma State, a team they beat in Stillwater on Sept. 12. If the Cowboys upset Texas this week, it's going to be harder to honor that head-to-head win in the rankings. Of course, that may not be an issue, because Southern Miss is no slouch.
Last game: Beat SMU, 38-15
Next game: Saturday vs. Southern Miss
16 Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Last Week: 17
Tailback Kendall Hunter dressed, but didn't play last week at Baylor. As of this writing, Dez Bryant remains suspended. If the Cowboys have both players on the field Saturday, they may have enough firepower to challenge the Texas defense. Quarterback Zac Robinson and tailback Keith Toston are excellent, but they're going to need the help of Oklahoma State's stars against Sergio Kindle and company.
Last game: Beat Baylor, 34-7
Next game: Saturday vs. Texas
17 Ohio St. Buckeyes
Last Week: 18
There's nothing like a week of endless second-guessing to get an offense back on track. Really, Minnesota's defense offered little resistance for quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Neither will New Mexico State's. But don't worry, Penn State's will on Nov. 7.
Last game: Beat Minnesota, 38-7
Next game: Saturday vs. New Mexico State
18 West Virginia Mountaineers
Last Week: 20
In his career at West Virginia, superback Noel Devine has averaged 6.2 yards per carry. He's also only averaged 13 carries a game. He'll be playing two hours from his hometown of Fort Myers, Fla., on Friday. Feed him the ball a little more, coach Stew.
Last game: Beat Connecticut, 28-24
Next game: Friday at South Florida
19 Utah Utes
Last Week: --
Utah Utes (6-1)
The Utes haven't blown anyone away this season, but they've very quietly kept the program rolling despite losing a ton of contributors from last season's Sugar Bowl-winning squad. They won't bust the BCS for the third time since 2004, but the folks in Boise hope the Utes keep things interesting in the Mountain West race.
Last game: Beat Air Force, 23-16 (OT)
Next game: Saturday vs. Wyoming
20 Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
Last Week: 12
The Hurricanes, for all their improvement, still show their inexperience too often. But Miami does play in the ACC, so don't count the Hurricanes out of the conference title race just yet.
Last game: Lost to Clemson, 40-37 (OT)
Next game: Saturday at Wake Forest
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