NCF Nation: Power-rankings-102411

ACC power rankings: Week 9

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
9:26
AM ET
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

This will mark the fifth straight week that Clemson has held the No. 1 spot in the ACC power rankings. Yes, these Tigers have proven capable of consistency. The rest of the ACC? Flip a coin. Here’s a look at how the league stacks up heading into Week 9:

1. Clemson (8-0, 5-0 ACC; LW: No. 1) -- It was a complete effort in a 59-38 win over North Carolina, as the defense forced six turnovers, and five different receivers caught touchdown passes. Quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for five touchdowns and he ran for another. Defensive end Kourtnei Brown accounted for two more touchdowns on turnovers. Can they keep it up on the road this weekend against a Georgia Tech program that thrives on beating Clemson?

2. Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1; LW: No. 2) -- The Hokies got off to a slow start offensively against Boston College, but they bounced back in the second half thanks to a 42-yard touchdown run by running back David Wilson. Virginia Tech has a road trip to Duke, which is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Wake Forest, on Saturday. The Hokies have now won three straight and are atop the Coastal Division standings.

3. Miami (4-3, 2-2; LW: No. 4) -- With their upset win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Hurricanes evened the playing field in the Coastal Division race and joined a pack of two-loss teams now chasing Virginia Tech. The Canes have a short week to prepare for a Thursday night game against a completely different team in Virginia.

4. Wake Forest (5-2, 4-1; LW: No. 5) -- The Deacs keep finding ways to win, and it seems to be a different player every game. Wake Forest has quietly put itself in a position to challenge Clemson for the Atlantic Division title, but they’re in a must-win situation on Saturday at North Carolina.

5. Georgia Tech (6-2, 3-2; LW: No. 3) -- The Yellow Jackets seem to have gone backwards in each of the past two weeks, as upset losses to Virginia and Miami have them looking up at Virginia Tech in the conference standings. Saturday marked the worst offensive output of the season for Georgia Tech, which will need far more than seven points to beat Clemson this weekend.

6. Florida State (4-3, 2-2; LW: No. 7) -- The Seminoles took another step forward with a win against the Terps, and this time, they got their running game going in the process. Devonta Freeman has now had two straight games of 100 yards rushing. (Where has HE been?) The Noles have home field advantage again this weekend against NC State.

7. NC State (4-3, 1-2; LW: No. 11) -- Coach Tom O’Brien has fared well in the second half of the season during his tenure in Raleigh, and he continued that trend on Saturday with a road win at Virginia. It was the Pack’s first ACC road win of the season. NC State is still three wins shy of bowl eligibility, but it suddenly looks like a much more realistic possibility.

8. North Carolina (5-3, 1-3, LW: No. 6) -- The Tar Heels were beaten soundly by Clemson on Saturday. The secondary was picked apart. The offense turned it over six times and not much went right for UNC, which fell into a hole in the Coastal Division standings that it probably won’t be able to climb out of. And yes, UNC fans should be worried about Wake Forest this weekend.

9. Virginia (4-3, 1-2; LW: No. 8) -- The Cavaliers were unable to build any momentum from their upset win over Georgia Tech and lost at home to NC State. It’s not going to get any easier this week with a Thursday night trip to Miami. The Canes have put together back-to-back wins and now have a roster free of suspensions.

10. Maryland (2-5, 1-3; LW: No. 9) -- The Terps are sinking, but on Saturday, they’ll finally meet up against a team that has fared worse this season in Boston College. Pride will be on the line in this one. The Terps have home field advantage, but BC played Virginia Tech tough on the road this past weekend. Maryland has to win four of its final five games to reach a bowl.

11. Duke (3-4, 1-2; LW: No. 10) -- The Blue Devils gave it everything they had against Wake Forest, but it was too little, too late. Wake Forest almost squandered a 17-point lead, but the defense came through in the clutch and Duke lost its 12th straight to Wake Forest.

12. Boston College (1-6, 0-4; LW: No. 12) -- For the second straight year, BC is off to an 0-4 start in conference play. The Eagles haven’t won since Sept. 24 against Massachusetts, and the next three games are against Atlantic Division opponents. BC doesn’t need to worry about getting to a bowl game, it needs to worry about winning a game. Any game.

SEC power rankings: Week 9

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
9:25
AM ET
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

We are closer and closer to the historic clash between Alabama and LSU. Both are off this weekend, so we'll have to wait two weeks before our top teams return to the playing field.

It should be well worth the wait.

Let's check out the rankings for Week 9:

1. LSU (8-0, 5-0): The Tigers just keep getting stronger each week. Even when you take key guys out of the lineup, LSU just bounces back even better. LSU might have played its best game of the season when it ran Auburn out of the bayou before the third quarter was even over. Some have doubted LSU because of the distractions and some inconsistency on offense, but the Tigers haven't missed a beat this season. They are at the top of the BCS standings for a reason and that is just adding even more hype to the Tigers' showdown with Alabama.

2. Alabama (8-0, 5-0): For 30 minutes Saturday, we realized that Alabama was human. The Crimson Tide had just six points at halftime against a battered Tennessee team and we quickly realized that even one of Nick Saban's best teams can be susceptible to looking ahead or having a lack of focus. But the Alabama team we've seen consistently run over and through opponents showed up in the second half and pummeled the Vols by scoring 31 straight points in the last two quarters. Now, the Tide can rest before their epic battle with LSU. Some Alabama players tried to downplay their excitement for this game, while others seemed relived that it was finally time to focus on LSU.

3. Arkansas (6-1, 2-1): The Razorbacks were lackadaisical coming out against Ole Miss and it almost resulted in their second loss of the season. That exciting passing game was nonexistent and the running game continued to struggle. But like Alabama, the Hogs rallied at halftime and blew past Ole Miss in the third on their way to a closer-than-expected victory. This isn't the first time Arkansas has gotten off to a slow start, and with a few tough games remaining, that is a concern going forward. Still, the Razorbacks have the best passing game in the league, so Tyler Wilson's arm will keep the Hogs in any game. We still need to see more out of the running game and more consistency on defense.

4. South Carolina (6-1, 4-1): The Gamecocks were off over the weekend, giving them time to regroup and find some more weapons to help soften the blow of losing running back Marcus Lattimore. South Carolina will have to heavily lean on its defense from here on out and that might not be such a bad thing. The Gamecocks rank fourth in the SEC in total defense (278 yards per game) and have forced a league-high 24 turnovers. This group went from flaky to fierce, which has to be comforting for South Carolina's staff. The Gamecocks will have to rely on Brandon Wilds at running back from here on out. Remember, he was fifth on the depth chart coming into the season. He'd better stay healthy because the depth isn't great at all and there are former walk-ons waiting in the wings.

5. Georgia (5-2, 4-1): The Bulldogs were off as well before they take on Florida in what should still be referred to as the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Georgia will come out of the bye feeling a little healthier as well with linebacker Alec Ogletree coming back and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell probably returning as well. Georgia has the least taxing schedule remaining in the East, and if the Bulldogs win out, there's a strong chance they will represent the East in the SEC championship game. South Carolina still needs to lose at least one game, but with Arkansas and Florida remaining, that's a definite possibility. Georgia needs to focus on itself, and it's done a great job of that since starting off 0-2. The Bulldogs can thank their tenacious defense for this turnaround.

6. Auburn (5-3, 3-2): The Tigers have been fun to watch all season because of the heart and resiliency they have played with. However, we quickly realized just how young this team was against LSU. This group of Tigers was blasted over the weekend, and not even making a change at the quarterback spot could save it. Clint Moseley was abused against LSU's defense and Auburn totaled just 248 yards and the defense let LSU move up and down the field with relative ease. We know this team has some nice talent, but the youth is starting to catch up with it.

7. Florida (4-3, 2-3): The Gators had to be thrilled that they were off over the weekend. Florida stumbled into its bye week with three straight losses and an offense that seems to have regressed to what last year's looked like. The hope in Gainesville is that quarterback John Brantley (lower leg) will be back for the Georgia game, but that isn't a given. With an extra week to prepare for the Bulldogs, you'd think that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis could cook up a decent game plan for his two freshmen quarterbacks. A week hasn't been enough for him or his youngsters since Brantley went down. Florida has the mental edge over Georgia after winning 17 of the past 20 meetings, but not getting a win this weekend against the Bulldogs will send Florida into a deeper downward spiral.

8. Vanderbilt (4-3, 1-3): Coach James Franklin made the right decision when he started Jordan Rodgers at quarterback against Army. Sure, Army isn't the most imposing team, but the Commodores totally clicked on offense for the first time in a while. Rodgers can sling the ball around the field and he can also make plays with his legs. He got nearly 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing over the weekend, and the more snaps he takes out there, the more comfortable he'll be. This defense continues to impress as it forced three more turnovers Saturday. This isn't the Vanderbilt opposing teams have come to know and love.

9. Tennessee (3-4, 0-4): The Vols kept up with Alabama for the first half Saturday, but after the half it became painfully obvious that Tennessee just doesn't have the manpower to sustain such life against bigger, better teams. The Vols have a lot of young talent, but it is all starting and the depth issues are very much a concern right now. Sure, Tennessee is out of the SEC East hunt, but you can tell that the wheels are moving in the right direction for this team. Coach Derek Dooley has instilled the right mindset into his players, but it's just tough that there aren't able bodies to consistently come in and help out on both sides of the ball. Not having four of your best players -- Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter, Herman Lathers and Janzen Jackson -- doesn't help, and it has showed in the past few weeks.

10. Mississippi State (3-4, 0-4): The Bulldogs have had a ton of offensive problems since Week 2, and the hope is that a lot of those execution issues were cleared up during the bye week. Coach Dan Mullen can't be happy with how his spread offense has looked of late and making personnel changes, starting with the quarterback spot, wouldn't surprise anyone. Chris Relf was benched for Tyler Russell against South Carolina, but nothing really changed for the offense, meaning that he quarterback battle should continue until someone runs away with the position. This team was supposed to make noise in the SEC West this year, but it has yet to get a conference win. A trip to Lexington, Ky., could help deliver that first win, but even the Wildcats' offense looked better Saturday than Mississippi State's has since September.

11. Kentucky (3-4, 2-5): After a strong offensive showing against Jacksonville State on Saturday, the Wildcats are out of our SEC cellar. No, Jacksonville State isn't SEC competition, but coming off the bye, Kentucky had the performance it needed to get out of its rut and stop its four-game slide. Kentucky put up a season-high 445 yards. The passing game wasn't great, but quarterback Morgan Newton was as efficient as ever and took a step in the right direction against the Gamecocks. But Kentucky still has a long way to go. Mississippi State is the next opponent and it has its own struggles to work out. Can the Wildcats squeak by at home to get its first conference win of the year?

12. Ole Miss (2-5, 0-4): The Rebels fought for four quarters against Arkansas, but just couldn't hold up with depth issues plaguing them on both sides of the ball. The offense was clicking early, but got nothing going in the third quarter and trudged along in the fourth. If not for a badly thrown pass from Randall Mackey that was intercepted to seal the game for the Hogs, Ole Miss might be grinning from ear to ear after a major upset. But that didn't happen and the Rebels remain winless in the SEC. Ole Miss is having to use a plethora of youngsters, especially from its freshman class, and that means tons and tons of growing pains. Houston Nutt's seat in Oxford is only getting hotter and hotter with each week that passes by.

Pac-12 power rankings: Week 9

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
9:00
AM ET
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

If you don't like where you are in the power rankings, play better.

See last week's power rankings here.

1. Stanford: Stanford retakes the top spot with a dominant performance against Washington, the Cardinal's 15th consecutive victory and 10th in a row by 25 or more points, which has never happened in the modern era. Never!

2. Oregon: The Ducks' JV -- no quarterback Darron Thomas, nor running back LaMichael James -- whipped Colorado. Reporters then rejoiced because they get another week of speculating about Thomas' and James' status amid a cloud of grumpy verbal scorn heaped upon them by coach Chip Kelly. And, by the way, I'm hurt that some of you might suggest there's anything but pure intent bouncing Oregon and Stanford back and forth in the top spot. Sniffle.

3. USC: Everyone together now: Sorry, Trojans. Just about everyone thought you were going to get pushed around at Notre Dame. Just about everyone was wrong. Strong effort on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense against a super-galactic Fighting Irish offense.

4. Arizona State: How can the Sun Devils rate behind USC, a team they beat? Because they were sitting on their rear ends this weekend while USC was whipping Notre Dame. These are the weekly power rankings. How can the Sun Devils rank behind USC in the Associated Press poll? Well, how can the Sun Devils rank ahead of Illinois? Nature of the system.

5. Washington: The loss at Stanford made clear the Huskies aren't there yet. But here's some advice, Huskies. Don't let the Cardinal beat you twice by not focusing on Arizona, which visits on Saturday. The Wildcats, despite their record, are no patsy. And surely don't look ahead to Oregon on Nov. 5.

6. California: Beating Utah gives a little punch to the Bears. QB Zach Maynard played better and the defense dominated. This should be a bowl team. (By the way, there's a nice symmetry from here down, don't you think?)

7. Utah: What we know about the Utes: They aren't better than USC, Arizona State, Washington and California. What we don't? See below. We still project Utah, 3-4 at present and without a Pac-12 victory, to become a bowl team against this remaining schedule: Oregon State, at Arizona, UCLA, at Washington State and Colorado.

8. Oregon State: The good news is Oregon State no longer looks like a patsy. The bad news is the remaining schedule is pretty darn tough.

9. Arizona: Don't be surprised if the Wildcats finish fairly strong. It might turn out that the loss to Oregon State, Mike Stoops' last game, will be the loss that keeps them from the postseason.

10. UCLA: Based on how the Bruins played at Arizona, it's hard to see them putting up much of a fight -- no pun intended -- the rest of the way.

11. Washington State: Three consecutive defeats and the Cougars are reeling and back near the basement. There is a small consolation. It's Colorado.

12. Colorado: Nothing has gone right for the Buffaloes, from a brutal 13-game, no-bye schedule to an injury list that might be the nation's worst, at least in terms of the number of injuries to starters. The Buffs looked like they'd at least be competitive in the preseason. That has not proven to be the case.

Big East power rankings

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
9:00
AM ET
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

How do you like your power rankings? How about shaken AND stirred?

1. Cincinnati (6-1, 2-0). The only undefeated team in conference gets a turn at No. 1 this week after a come-from-behind win over USF allowed the Bearcats to become the only bowl eligible team in the Big East.

2. Syracuse (5-2, 1-1). The Orange had the most impressive win of the weekend, but they stay here because they do have a conference loss, and they have been in more close calls against lesser opponents.

3. West Virginia (5-2, 1-1).The Mountaineers had a bad game against Syracuse, but the sky is not falling in. They still have a shot to win out and make it to the BCS game if things fall their way. They are the only ranked Big East team in the BCS standings, too.

4. Rutgers (5-2, 2-1). The Scarlet Knights had a disappointing 16-14 loss to Louisville on the road, but they do own a conference win over Syracuse.

5. Louisville (3-4, 1-1). Louisville jumps from last to No. 5 after a big win over Rutgers. That gives the Cardinals a win over a team with a better record than any of the teams in the bottom three.

6. UConn (3-4, 1-1). The Huskies were off this week and get Pitt on Wednesday night.

7. Pitt (3-4, 1-1).It is hard to believe, but the Panthers offense has looked worse than UConn the last two weeks. They were off this week as well.

8. USF (4-3, 0-3).There is nothing powerful about losing three straight and having zero conference wins. The Bulls did lose to UConn and Pitt, too.
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Let's get to the rankings ...

1. Michigan State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten): The Spartans have taken the step from good to elite and deserve to sit atop the power rankings after their dramatic victory against Wisconsin, a team everyone considered the class of the conference. No Big Ten team has been better in crunch time during the past year and a half, and Michigan State is three-fourths of the way through a grueling October with a 3-0 record. Kirk Cousins had arguably his best game as a Spartan against Wisconsin, becoming the team's all-time winningest quarterback. The defense continues to come up with huge plays. As big as Saturday night's win was, Michigan State plays an even more important game this week at Nebraska.

2. Wisconsin (6-1, 2-1): Despite the loss, we're putting the Badgers in the No. 2 hole because we don't believe any other team would beat them right now. Wisconsin's heart-wrenching loss will test its character going forward, and coach Bret Bielema has to address several areas, namely special teams and third-down defense. But the Badgers moved the ball well against a good Michigan State defense and showed fight late in the game with two touchdowns to tie the score. Although the loss removes Wisconsin from the national championship picture and Russell Wilson from the Heisman race, the Badgers face a more important game -- at least in terms of the Big Ten title -- this week in the Legends division as they face Ohio State.

3. Penn State (7-1, 4-0): Dismissed after the Alabama loss and overlooked for most of the season, Penn State simply continues to win games. And after Wisconsin's loss, the Nittany Lions sit atop the Leaders division as the lone unbeaten team in Big Ten play. Penn State showed at Northwestern that it could win with offense, as Matthew McGloin seemingly locked up the quarterback position (although JoePa says Rob Bolden still will play) and RB Silas Redd continued to surge. You can knock Penn State for not being overly impressive in victory, but the Lions are providing reasons to believe. They could easily be 8-1 before the bye week and a tough but not impossible November stretch against Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

4. Nebraska (6-1, 2-1): We'll learn more about Nebraska this week against Michigan State, but the Huskers made quick work of Minnesota, surging out to a 34-0 halftime lead behind Taylor Martinez, Rex Burkhead and Kenny Bell. Martinez spread the ball around well in the passing game and the defense recorded a touchdown while holding Minnesota to 11 first downs and 254 total yards. Again, you can't tell too much when a team crushes Minnesota, but Nebraska certainly has some momentum as it returns home to face the Spartans. A win this week means a move up the rankings.

5. Michigan (6-1, 2-1): Can Michigan avoid another late-season collapse? We'll learn a lot about Denard Robinson and the Wolverines this week against Purdue. It marks Michigan's only home game in a stretch of five, so the Maize and Blue must respond against an improving Boilers squad. Robinson has to cut down on his interceptions and start completing more passes, while the defense will be tested by Purdue's strong rushing attack.

6. Ohio State (4-3, 1-2): After a much-needed bye, Ohio State gears up for a season-defining game. An upset of Wisconsin will put the Buckeyes in the mix for the Leaders division title, as they already have a win at Illinois. Ohio State's defense must build off of its stifling performance at Illinois to contain the dangerous Badgers' offense. And, just going out on a limb here, but Braxton Miller will need to complete more than one pass to beat Bucky. It'll be a Scarlet-Out at The Shoe for the Homecoming matchup.

7. Iowa (5-2, 2-1): Credit the Hawkeyes for taking care of business against teams they should beat. After the 3-point performance at Penn State, the Iowa offense has rebounded by racking up 86 points in wins against Northwestern and Iowa. QB James Vandenberg, WR Marvin McNutt and RB Marcus Coker should have another big day this week against Minnesota before the competition gets tougher. Iowa still has a long way to go on defense.

8. Purdue (4-3, 2-1): The Boilers earn a bump in the rankings after upsetting Illinois at Ross-Ade Stadium. Danny Hope's squad discovered its quarterback in Caleb TerBush, executed an innovative offensive game plan and pressured Illinois all day, as DT Kawann Short (2 sacks, 3.5 TFLs) led the charge. The schedule gets tougher in the coming weeks, but Purdue is an improving team that could make some noise down the stretch in the Leaders division.

9. Illinois (6-2, 1-2): A 6-0 start seems like a distant memory as the Illini have looked uninspired in back-to-back games. The offense failed to score in the first three quarters for the second consecutive week and struggled mightily on third down at Purdue. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and Co. must regroup before an even tougher test this week against Penn State in Happy Valley. A win will get the Illini back on track, while a loss will increase chatter about a second-half collapse and put some heat on coach Ron Zook.

10. Northwestern (2-5, 0-4): A nightmarish season continued Saturday night for Pat Fitzgerald's team, which dropped its fifth consecutive game. The Wildcats have had opportunities to win all five, but their inability to put it all together has put them in a precarious position. When Northwestern is scoring at will, it can't get defensive stops (first half against Penn State). When the team shows a pulse on defense, it makes mistakes on offense (second half against Penn State). And for the first time since 2007, Northwestern likely will stay home for the holidays.

11. Indiana (1-7, 0-4): Defense, defense, defense. No matter the coach, the story remains the same for Indiana. Until the Hoosiers can make significant upgrades on the defensive side of the ball, they'll struggle to win Big Ten games -- or merely compete in them. Indiana had no answer for McNutt, Vandenberg, Coker and the Iowa offense and got shredded for the third consecutive week. The good news: freshman Tre Roberson provided a nice spark at quarterback. He could be the answer going forward.

12. Minnesota (1-6, 0-3): The bye week didn't do much to repair the Gophers, who once again were noncompetitive in a Big Ten game. Minnesota fell behind 34-0 on its home field against Nebraska, surrendering big plays and making key errors on offense. Something dramatic needs to shift for the Gophers to compete better down the stretch. Perhaps the chance to hold onto the Floyd of Rosedale this week against Iowa will produce a better effort from Jerry Kill's crew.

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 9

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
9:00
AM ET
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Time for our weekly Big 12 rankings after a crazy Saturday. All four games were won by road teams for the first time since 2000 and the third time in league history.

1. Oklahoma State (7-0, 4-0, LW: 2): The Big 12 Power Rankings have a new No. 1 for the first time this season. Oklahoma State went up to Missouri and impressively took care of business against a good team, outrunning the Tigers by 21 points. Then, the Cowboys sat back and watched their rivals suffer one of the biggest upsets in league history. Not a bad Saturday for the boys in orange.

2. Kansas State (7-0, 4-0, LW: 3): Is K-State better than Oklahoma? We'll find out this Saturday, but I know I saw this team go to Lubbock last week and beat Texas Tech, who beat Oklahoma in Norman on Saturday. The Wildcats' destruction of Kansas this week was also much more complete. And in the red zone, Collin Klein's been much better than Landry Jones, even if the pair are polar opposites. Bottom line: K-State doesn't have a loss. Oklahoma does.

3. Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1, LW: 1): The Sooners will have to pick up the pieces from a crushing loss that, barring complete anarchy atop the polls, eliminates them from a stacked national title race. The blame for this one lays in all three phases: the defense was undisciplined in coverage and tackling, the offense was out of sorts, missed on blocks and throws and the field goal unit kept the Sooners from keeping it close.

4. Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1, LW: 4): The Aggies have rebounded from their two losses with an outstanding game against Baylor and an OK win against Iowa State on Saturday. The offense wasn't sharp, but they leaned on their running back duo and walked away with a two-touchdown win. That'll work in Big 12 play.

5. Texas Tech (5-2, 2-2, LW: 6): Tech grabbed its biggest win under Tommy Tuberville with big guts and a career-defining night from first-year starter Seth Doege. With it ended any serious talk of the Red Raiders' 18-year bowl eligible streak coming to an end, and the win could serve as a launching point for what could be a huge season in 2012.

6. Baylor (4-2, 1-2, LW: 5): Baylor has to sit for two weeks on a frustrating loss to Texas A&M, but it won't get any easier. Undefeated Oklahoma State is up next, and the Cowboys delivered the worst beating to the Bears of anyone last season.

7. Texas (4-2, 1-2, LW: 8): Texas was the other idle team on Saturday, but had to enjoy what it saw. As a friend of mine and Texas fan told me on Sunday: "Oklahoma losing is like bacon. It just makes everything better." The season hasn't been what Texas would have liked, but 4-2 is nothing to be ashamed of.

8. Missouri (3-4, 1-3, LW: 7): Missouri's losses are all to ranked teams, sure, but four losses is four losses. There are a whole lot of good teams in this league, and Missouri has to find a way to beat a couple of them if it wants to claw back into the postseason.

9. Iowa State (3-4, 0-4, LW: 9): Iowa State has made the switch at quarterback, and taking care of the ball will be a big key for Jared Barnett keeping his new gig. ISU, though, is getting outmuscled by better teams and has to show a lot of improvement to justify any bowl talk.

10. Kansas (2-5, 0-4, LW: 10): Letting your rival score 59 on your home field in two consecutive years is a good way to land on the hot seat, and that's where Turner Gill finds himself this week. Kansas better find a corner and turn it real fast. The Jayhawks need a conference win in the worst way, and the next opportunity comes Saturday in Austin.

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