NCF Nation: Power rankings 111609

SEC power rankings, Week 12

November, 16, 2009
11/16/09
9:16
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Not that it really matters at this point, but Alabama and Florida are switching places at the top of the SEC power rankings this week.

The Crimson Tide have been the more complete team the last two weeks, so they move back into the No. 1 spot.

The good thing is that Alabama and Florida will settle this whole debate on the field come Dec. 5:

1. Alabama: The way Alabama (10-0, 7-0) disposed of Mississippi State in such a hostile environment last Saturday was impressive. The Crimson Tide won 31-3 at Scott Field, and in doing so, showed off their offensive firepower. They had three scoring plays of 45 yards or longer. And defensively, they’ve allowed just three touchdowns in their last five games.

2. Florida: Consider the Gators 1A. They’ve occupied the top spot for the last two weeks and have won 20 straight games dating back to last season. But as well as they’re playing on defense, there’s still something missing on offense. The Gators (10-0, 8-0) just can’t seem to consistently generate a downfield passing game, which is something they’re going to need down the road.

3. LSU: The Tigers (8-2, 4-2) will find out over these next two weeks if they’ve had a very good season or an OK season. They get Ole Miss on the road this weekend and then return home to face Arkansas in the regular-season finale. Their 24-16 win over Louisiana Tech last Saturday was a struggle the whole way, and it’s obvious the Tigers need to get Jordan Jefferson back at quarterback.

4. Ole Miss: The Rebels (7-3, 3-3) had sort of been floundering along and beating up on lightweights all season until Dexter McCluster decided to cut it loose last Saturday and torched Tennessee for a school-record 282 yards rushing. Actually, it was Houston Nutt & Co. that cut McCluster loose, and it’s made all the difference in Ole Miss’ team. The Rebels now have a chance to play their way into the Capital One Bowl.

5. Tennessee: The Vols (5-5, 2-4) are bunched in with several other teams right in the middle of the pack in the SEC after being whipped 42-17 at Ole Miss. Good thing they don’t have to face spread offenses every week, huh? The Vols really had some momentum and good karma going until the arrest of the three freshman players last week and then the blowout loss to the Rebels two days later.

6. Georgia: The Bulldogs (6-4, 4-3) are on the brink of passing Tennessee and probably will if they beat Kentucky this week and finish up 5-3 in the conference. It’s hard to move them into the top 5 of the league right now, though, given the way they were routed by the Vols back in October. The 31-24 win over Auburn last Saturday was one this team had to have, and the Bulldogs delivered. The bad news is that they will be without star receiver A.J. Green for a while after he injured his shoulder.

7. Arkansas: If only the Hogs (6-4, 2-4) could play offense the whole time. Quarterback Ryan Mallett is lighting it up this season and coming off five touchdown passes in the 56-20 win over Troy. This final stretch, starting with Mississippi State in Little Rock on Saturday, will determine what kind of season it’s going to be for the Hogs. If they can get to seven or eight wins, there could be a Cotton Bowl date in their future.

8. Auburn: This is probably a little too low for the Tigers (7-4, 3-4) considering they beat Ole Miss and Tennessee ahead of them, but they also lost to Kentucky below them. The fact is that the Tigers haven’t looked like the same team ever since their 5-0 start and have lost four of their last six games. They couldn’t hold a 14-0 lead over Georgia last Saturday and fell 31-24 in Athens. They get their first bye of the season this week before taking on Alabama.

9. South Carolina: Once again, that late-season slope has been a slippery one for the Gamecocks (6-5, 3-5). They’ve lost three in a row coming off a hard-fought 24-14 loss to Florida and get a week off before taking on Clemson. The Head Ball Coach has done his best to remain positive. The Gamecocks do have a lot of young talent in the program and have endured a rash of injuries on defense. Their undoing has been crippling mistakes.

10. Kentucky: The Wildcats (6-4, 3-3) have done a nice job of persevering this season despite a glut of injuries. They rallied in the second half last Saturday to beat Vanderbilt and become bowl eligible for the fourth straight year. With Mike Hartline undergoing surgery to repair cartilage in his knee, freshman Morgan Newton will remain at quarterback with help from Randall Cobb in the Wildcat formation. Hartline hopes to be back for the bowl game.

11. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs (4-6, 2-4) had been so close at home this season that it stood to reason that they might be due to knock off somebody. That somebody wasn’t Alabama, which flattened Mississippi State 31-3 and left the Bulldogs in an unenviable position these last two weeks. They need to beat both Arkansas and Ole Miss if they’re going to become bowl eligible in Dan Mullen’s first season in Starkville.

12. Vanderbilt: After a season to remember a year ago, it’s been a season to forget this year for the Commodores (2-9, 0-7). They’re mired in their first seven-game losing streak since 2003 and will try to keep it from becoming eight in a row this Saturday against Tennessee. Scoring points has been the Commodores’ problem all season long. They took a 13-10 lead into halftime last week against Kentucky, but were shut out in the second half and lost 24-13.

Big 12 power rankings, Week 12

November, 16, 2009
11/16/09
9:15
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Here's a look at the Big 12's power rankings after last week.

1. Texas: The Longhorns didn’t have to sweat much against Baylor, jumping to a 40-0 halftime lead and cruising from there to another easy victory. Cody Johnson and Tre’ Newton both emerged in their new roles as the team’s featured running backs. And the second- and third-stringers on defense struggled enough late to endure the wrath of Will Muschamp in practice this week. The defense will get a challenge over the next two weeks as it faces two teams ranked among the top 17 in passing in the nation in Kansas and Texas A&M. That might be best for their hopes for a Big 12 title -- and beyond.

2. Oklahoma State: After struggling in the first half, the Cowboys turned to a bruising running game to subdue Texas Tech. Zac Robinson paid the price for that and might not be ready to go this week. But Kendall Hunter is getting better every week, adding another weapon to the conference’s best ground attack. And Bill Young’s defense is growing into a determined unit. The Cowboys have a short work week heading into the Colorado game before Bedlam. Win them both and OSU might have better BCS at-large hopes than most might expect.

3. Nebraska: Roy Helu Jr.’s return has finally given the Cornhuskers an offensive weapon they can lean on and Niles Paul gives them an emerging game-breaker. The results have pushed them into the driver’s seat for the divisional championship. The Bo Pelini vs. Bill Snyder rivalry will have an intriguing first matchup when they meet Saturday with the North title at stake.

4. Oklahoma: Nothing like a couple of big special-teams plays to help jump-start a sputtering offense. The Sooners got that and more and were able to use those breaks to spark a feeding frenzy against Texas A&M with 51 unanswered points. Landry Jones bounced back from his struggles against Nebraska to throw five touchdown passes and DeMarco Murray showed why he is the most versatile running back in the league. A tough battle at Texas Tech looms, but the Sooners should be heading to Lubbock with a lot of confidence after their skewering of the Aggies.

5. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders’ quarterback controversy continued as Taylor Potts started against Oklahoma State before he was pulled in favor of Steven Sheffield, who played until his injured foot gave out. The Red Raiders played well in the first half before their defense wore out under the pounding against Oklahoma State in the second half. They won’t face nearly the inside running challenge against Oklahoma, a team they have beaten in Lubbock in their last two tries there. The winner of this game likely is headed for San Antonio with the loser ticketed for El Paso.

6. Missouri: Danario Alexander has emerged in the nick of time to boost the Tigers to a bowl trip. He’s playing like the Big 12’s most explosive offensive weapon after back-to-back 200-yard receiving games. But just as impressive against Kansas State was a determined defense that limited the Wildcats to four field goals. And the Tigers finally converted turnovers into points with three KSU miscues turned into touchdowns. Before Saturday, the last time the Tigers had turned a turnover into a touchdown had come Sept. 25 against Nevada.

7. Kansas State: Bill Snyder’s team threw their first home clunker in an embarrassing 38-12 loss to Nebraska. But they can turn those bad memories around quickly in a Big 12 title game-or-bust matchup at Nebraska. If the Wildcats win, they qualify for their first Big 12 title game since 2003. If they lose, they are eliminated from bowl contention.

8. Texas A&M: Special-teams mistakes were a killer for the Aggies against Oklahoma, along with a litany of other mistakes. Troubles fielding kicks, running and passing helped lead to the blowout loss to Oklahoma. The Aggies had three fumbles and an interception that all led to touchdowns against the Sooners. And they struggled offensively, producing season lows in passing yards and total yards in their worst loss of the season. But they can put all those demons behind them by beating Baylor and qualifying for a bowl game on Saturday.

9. Iowa State: Paul Rhoads put a capper on his remarkable first season by earning bowl eligibility. A defense that had been blistered for an average of 34.5 points in its last two games limited Colorado to a season-low 10 points, with only three points in three trips inside the ISU 10. These Cyclones aren’t the most talented team, but they have played with grit and determination all season long for Rhoads. And the practices around the bowl trip will be important in developing his team for the future.

10. Baylor: The Bears still have slim bowl hopes if they can sweep Texas A&M and Texas Tech in their final two games. But they looked outmanned against Texas in a blowout loss where a couple of late touchdowns made the score look a little less embarrassing. If the Bears have any hope at Texas A&M, they need to be able to take advantage of the Aggies’ weak secondary with their underrated passing attack.

11. Kansas: What happened to these guys? Only a month ago, they were ranked No. 16 in the nation after starting the season 5-0. Coach Mark Mangino hyped starting quarterback Todd Reesing as a potential Heisman candidate. Five losses later, the Jayhawks are struggling mightily and will be challenged to even make a bowl trip. One of Mangino’s most talented teams will be remembered more for its late-season swoon, taking away from what the Jayhawks have accomplished in recent seasons.

12. Colorado: Remember when this team was going to “win 10 games with no excuses” before the season? Instead, Dan Hawkins’ boast rings hollow as the Buffaloes were the first team in the Big 12 eliminated from bowl consideration with their seventh loss. The Buffaloes have the conference’s longest road losing streak with 12 games. And it won’t get any easier as they face a huge challenge heading into Oklahoma State on a short week.

Big East power rankings, Week 12

November, 16, 2009
11/16/09
9:06
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1. Cincinnati (10-0, 6-0 Big East): The Bearcats have had to sweat out their last two games at home, but they were also playing teams desperate for a win for bowl eligibility (UConn) and to stay alive in the conference title mix (West Virginia). Cincinnati can use this bye week to heal up some players and take a break from the mental pressure of trying to stay unbeaten

2. Pittsburgh (9-1, 5-0): This is nearly a 1 and 1A situation between the Panthers and Bearcats. And each week, it becomes more and more baffling how Pitt could have lost at NC State.

3. Rutgers (7-2, 2-2): Welcome back to the upper echelon of the power rankings, Scarlet Knights. Of course, I had them at the top before the 47-15 opening thrashing by Cincinnati. Since then, Rutgers' only loss was by a touchdown to Pitt, and it finally got a signature win with a 31-0 blowout of South Florida. The Scarlet Knights are also ranked in the Associated Press poll this week for the first time since Oct. 21, 2007.

4. West Virginia (7-3, 3-2): You get the feeling that this team can beat anybody when it's clicking on all cylinders. Yet, the Mountaineers' best win is over a 4-5 UConn team. They have one of the weakest résumés, so far, in recent West Virginia history.

5. Connecticut (4-5, 1-4): Forget the record. The Huskies have been far more competitive against Cincinnati (lost by two), Pitt (lost by three) and Rutgers (lost by four) than the No. 6 team on this list.

6. South Florida (6-3, 2-3): The Bulls have lost to Cincinnati by 17, Pitt by 27 and Rutgers by 31. Just when you think this program is getting closer to contending for a Big East title, it goes out and proves that it's actually getting farther away.

7. Louisville (4-6, 1-4): The Cardinals won the Big East Basement Bowl over Syracuse thanks to a missed Orange extra point, a touchdown with 1:24 left and an interception in the final minute. The fight for seventh has never been fiercer.

8. Syracuse (3-7, 0-5): Go ahead and get comfortable here, Orange. You could be living in the basement for a while.

ACC power rankings: Week 12

November, 16, 2009
11/16/09
9:05
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There are only two more weeks remaining in the regular season, which means there’s little time for anyone to make a serious move in the conference race. We know who is the best -- and who is the worst -- in the ACC. Georgia Tech is No. 1 until somebody proves otherwise. We’ll find out this week if Clemson will get that chance in the ACC championship game. Maryland remains No. 12.

Here’s how the ACC hierarchy looks heading into Week 12:

1. Georgia Tech (10-1, 7-1 ACC; LW: No. 1) –The Yellow Jackets clinched the Coastal Division title with their convincing win over Duke, and have the bye week to enjoy it before hosting rival Georgia. They remain at No. 7 in the BCS standings this week, and have earned their spot as the top one-loss team in the country.

2. Clemson (7-3, 5-2; LW: No. 4) – With their win over NC State, the Tigers are finally in a position to make the program’s first appearance in the ACC title game. First they need to guarantee it with a home win over Virginia this weekend. It's been an impressive season for the Tigers in the first full year under coach Dabo Swinney.

3. Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2; LW: No. 3) – The Hokies got a complete effort against the bedraggled Terps, and haven’t given up on their goal of a 10-win season. While it’s not the finish they had been hoping for this year, Virginia Tech deserves credit for regrouping instead of letting back-to-back losses to Georgia Tech and North Carolina snowball into a disaster.

4. Miami (7-3, 4-3; LW: No. 2) – The Canes have been struggling on both sides of the ball lately, and turnovers have been costly. This isn’t the same team that started the season with a 3-1 record, and the loss to North Carolina on Saturday ruined any remaining shot Miami might have had of receiving a BCS bowl bid.

5. North Carolina (7-3, 3-3; LW: No. 6) – The Tar Heels have reversed their fortunes, and now look capable of contending for the Coastal Division. Unfortunately for them, it’s too little, too late. Still, the program is capable of improving upon last year’s eight-win season and earned a bowl appearance. Hardly the disaster it started out to be. I know UNC just beat Miami, but I keep my power rankings the way my Top 25 looks, and I just sneaked the Tar Heels in this week at No. 24.

6. Boston College (7-3, 4-2; LW: No. 5) – The Eagles have found ways to overcome their weaknesses all season, and Saturday at Virginia was no different. BC picked up its first road win of the season, and kept its hopes alive to sneak into the ACC championship game. They’ll need some help from Virginia this weekend, though, as BC needs Clemson to lose.

7. Florida State (5-5, 3-4; LW: No. 9) – With Christian Ponder watching from the sidelines, backup quarterback E.J. Manuel made a smooth transition into his starting role, and everything was clicking on offense for the Noles in their win over Wake Forest. They seem to have salvaged their postseason hopes, but can’t afford an embarrassing slip-up now at home against Maryland.

8. Duke (5-5, 3-3; LW: No. 7) – Duke proved that there is still a significant gap in the Coastal Division between the best team and the Blue Devils, though the conference standings indicated Duke and Georgia Tech were closer. Duke still has a chance to become bowl eligible, though, and they’ll be catching Miami while it’s down.

9. Wake Forest (4-7, 2-5; LW: No. 8) – It was a disappointing home finale for senior quarterback Riley Skinner, who had an uncharacteristically off performance in the loss to Florida State, and the Demon Deacons will be home for Christmas. Wake has a bye week this week, but it does the Deacs little good now.

10. Virginia (3-7, 2-4; LW: No. 10) – If athletic director Craig Littlepage hasn’t begun to think about the program’s future without Al Groh, now is probably the time to start. With only one home win this season -- against Indiana -- the Cavaliers’ fans have had little to cheer for. The only hope left is to play spoiler against Clemson and beat rival Virginia Tech.

11. NC State (4-6, 1-5; LW: No. 11) – The Pack has lost five of its past six, but this one stung particularly hard because it ended NC State’s hopes at bowl eligibility. It won’t get any easier as the Pack will face a ranked Virginia Tech team on the road this weekend.

12. Maryland (2-8, 1-5; LW: No. 12) – The best news for the Terps is that there are only two weeks remaining. They’ll have to face a Florida State team on the road this Saturday during a game in which the Seminoles are still playing for something. Even if Ralph Friedgen were to lose his job -- a costly $4 million option for Debbie Yow -- little would change in 2010.

Non-AQ power rankings, Week 12

November, 16, 2009
11/16/09
9:04
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1. TCU: The Horned Frogs got over their last major obstacle of the year with a big win against Utah, but in some ways the next two games might be just as difficult as the Horned Frogs try to maintain focus to win out and capture the Mountain West title and the school's first BCS bowl berth.

2. Boise State: Not sure what to say about Boise State. The Broncos continue to do all that is asked of them and yet they might still be left out of a BCS bowl. They were helped this week by the USC loss. Not much Boise State can do other than win its games. It’s a good thing Nevada is playing well because that might be the quality win the Broncos need to put them over the top.

3. BYU: The Cougars almost had a major mental lapse against New Mexico, but rallied for the win. A conference title is likely out of the question, but the Cougars are still playing for bowl position and 10 wins. The next two games won’t be easy. Air Force has improved on defense and Utah will be motivated for its second consecutive win over its rival.

4. Nevada: I have to apologize to the Wolf Pack. I haven’t given them the credit that they deserve. After Saturday’s shellacking of Fresno State, Nevada has proven to be the team many thought it would be at the beginning of the season. The Wolf Pack are in prime position to win the conference. Only New Mexico State and Boise State stand in their way.

5. Central Michigan: The Chippewas have been downright dominant during league play this season and appear ready to go undefeated through conference for the first time since 1979, their inaugural year in the MAC (8-0-1). The Chippewas have Ball State this week and then face their last major hurdle against Northern Illinois.

6. Utah: Saturday’s 55-28 loss to TCU was the most points Utah had allowed since 1990. The Horned Frogs were just a better team, plain and simple. The Utes still have two more games remaining in the regular season, including the season finale against rival BYU. Utah will have to get it together so one loss doesn’t turn into a streak.

7. Navy: The Midshipmen struggled early with Delaware, but rebounded well behind the leadership and scoring of quarterback Ricky Dobbs. Navy is a totally different team with Dobbs under center, and with two winnable games remaining, the Mids could notch 10 wins for the first time since 2004.

8. Houston: The Cougars had very little margin for error in conference play, and with the loss to Central Florida, they might have lost their shot at a West Division title. Now all they can do is win and hope SMU stumbles somewhere to open the door back up.

9. Temple: The Owls continue to add to their stellar season, winning their eighth consecutive game. The eight wins this season is the most since the team notched 10 wins in 1979. However, the final two games of the regular season against Kent State and Ohio will determine whether the Owls can keep their spot as the top team in the MAC East.

10. Northern Illinois: The Huskies have won four consecutive games to put themselves right in the hunt for the MAC West title. If they defeat Ohio this weekend, they set up a showdown with Central Michigan that will decide the MAC West title. Amazingly, the bulk of this run has come with their backup quarterback.

Big Ten power rankings: Week 12

November, 16, 2009
11/16/09
9:01
AM ET
For the first time in a while, there are clearly defined tiers in the Big Ten. The bottom of the league no longer looks messy, as it's obvious who belongs there.

Ohio State sits atop the league standings once again, and until someone decides to dethrone the Buckeyes, they will be the league's signature program. Iowa is a clear No. 2, while Penn State and Wisconsin share the third spot.

Heading into the final week of conference play, here's where things stand.

1. Ohio State (9-2, 6-1): The Buckeyes got all they could handle from Iowa on Saturday, but clutch defensive play and a powerful run game proved to be the difference. It wasn't Ohio State's best defensive performance of the season, but the unit stepped up in overtime to silence James Vandenberg. The running backs and offensive linemen have taken heat throughout the season, but they stepped up in a big way. As a result, Ohio State is Pasadena-bound.

2. Iowa (9-2, 6-2): Wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos said Iowa didn't make a statement Saturday because it lost. I'd argue the Hawkeyes made a stronger statement in defeat than they have in several of their victories this season. No one gave Iowa much chance with Vandenberg making his first career start, but the Hawkeyes paced Ohio State for 60 minutes and beyond. If the Big Ten receives a BCS at-large berth, Iowa deserves it.

T-3. Wisconsin (8-2, 5-2): The Badgers torched Michigan in the second half en route to a 45-24 victory. Head coach Bret Bielema has this program reflecting its core values once again, and Wisconsin will be even better in 2010. The Badgers should be playing in a Jan. 1 bowl, and they can notch 10 or more victories for the third time in five years by beating Northwestern and Hawaii.

T-3. Penn State (9-2, 5-2): Thanks to linebackers Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee, Penn State rallied past Indiana after coming out completely flat on Senior Day. The Lions were fortunate not to be in a much bigger hole after committing four first-half turnovers. Penn State are still in the BCS at-large mix, but the Lions need a much more impressive showing next week at Michigan State, where they lost in 2007.

5. Northwestern (7-4, 4-3): It hasn't been an easy road for the Wildcats this year, but they've established the type of consistency the program needs. Northwestern will be going to back-to-back bowls for just the second time in team history. The Wildcats also went 3-1 in Big Ten road games for the second consecutive season. A win this week against Wisconsin would cap a strong finish and continue the momentum generated last year.

6. Michigan State (6-5, 4-3): Purdue dominated many parts of Saturday's game, but Michigan State made the big plays when it mattered. As a result, the Spartans are bowl eligible and can end up in a pretty nice spot if they knock off Penn State this week in East Lansing. Special teams and big plays from Keshawn Martin, B.J. Cunningham, Charlie Gantt and others helped Michigan State win the shootout at Ross-Ade Stadium.

7. Minnesota (6-5, 3-4): An odd season for the Gophers continued Saturday with a strange victory against South Dakota State. But strong defensive play helped Minnesota get bowl eligible heading into next week's showdown at Iowa. It seems like Minnesota hasn't won a trophy game in forever, and an upset of the Hawkeyes would in many ways validate the season. A loss would increase the grumbling about the direction the program is headed.

8. Purdue (4-7, 3-4): I wouldn't blame Danny Hope for burning the game tapes of Purdue's losses as soon as the season ends. The Boilers once again let one slip away against Michigan State, allowing too many big plays and squandering great performances from Joey Elliott, Keith Smith and Ralph Bolden. Hope should have a good team coming back in 2010, but he needs to figure out ways to get over the hump.

9. Indiana (4-7, 1-6): Bill Lynch might want to join Hope and create a bonfire of game tapes before this week's Old Oaken Bucket game. Indiana's four road losses in Big Ten play have been especially painful because the Hoosiers could have won each game. When a team commits four first-half turnovers like Penn State did Saturday, you have to score more than 10 points. Indiana has made progress this season, even though the record doesn't show it.

10. Illinois (3-7, 2-6): Illinois didn't look like a team fighting for its bowl life until it was far too late in Saturday's loss to Northwestern. The Illini shouldn't have been trailing at halftime, and their third-quarter strategy left many shaking their heads. It's another lost season for head coach Ron Zook, who still must prove he can get the best out of the talented players he recruits.

11. Michigan (5-6, 1-6): Tate Forcier played well and Brandon Graham had another huge performance on defense, but Michigan once again unraveled in the second half to drop its sixth consecutive Big Ten game. The defense needs serious work in the offseason, which could start on Sunday. Michigan needs to beat Ohio State to avoid missing the postseason for the second straight year and finishing last in the Big Ten for the first time since 1962.

Pac-10 power rankings

November, 16, 2009
11/16/09
8:58
AM ET
Look at the top six. Is that how you projected things in August?

Me neither.

1. Oregon: The Ducks rolled over a very good Arizona State defense in a 44-21 victory. Can they do it twice more, starting Saturday at Arizona? If so, they go to the Rose Bowl.

2. Stanford: Not many teams in the nation have posted as impressive back-to-back wins as the Cardinal over Oregon and then USC. The Cardinal conclude their Pac-10 slate at home against rival California.

3. Oregon State: The Beavers took care of business against Washington, and their Rose Bowl path is clear. The defense has grown up and no Pac-10 quarterback is playing better than Sean Canfield.

4. Arizona: The Wildcats offense didn't show up at Cal, and now they must win-out to secure the program's first Rose Bowl. That includes the marquee showdown with Oregon on Saturday.

5. USC: The mighty have fallen. The Trojans surely will do some soul-searching during their bye week, trying to figure out what's gone wrong and how to move forward.

6. California: That was a good win over Arizona, particularly for a beleaguered defense that has underachieved this season. The Bears could feel even better about themselves if they win their next two games, starting with surging rival Stanford.

7. UCLA: The Bruins whipped Washington State and are now only one win from bowl eligibility, though it's more than likely they will have to find an at-large berth in a bowl with no Pac-10 tie-in. Their first chance is at home vs. Arizona State, losers of four in a row. And the season finale at USC suddenly doesn't seem so daunting.

8. Arizona State: The Sun Devils have lost four in a row but can still become bowl eligible if they win their final two games: at UCLA and Arizona. Things might be interesting at quarterback.

9. Washington: A tough reality has set in for Washington, which has lost six of seven since earning a national ranking with a 2-1 start and a win over USC. The Huskies, out of the bowl picture, are, indeed, rebuilding and the process won't be a one-season deal. The Huskies have a bye week to refocus and prepare for a visit from rival Washington State.

10. Washington State: Coach Paul Wulff needs to recruit like he's never recruited before. The season can't end soon enough in Pullman.

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