NCF Nation: Power-rankings-112210

SEC Power Rankings: Week 13

November, 22, 2010
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Here’s a look at this week’s SEC Power Rankings:

1. Auburn: After 11 straight weeks of playing, the Tigers (11-0, 7-0) had a much-needed open date last week. Now, the real season begins. It’s a two-game season for the right to play for the national championship -- at Alabama on Friday in the Iron Bowl and then South Carolina on Dec. 4 in the SEC championship game.

2. LSU: The Tigers (10-1, 6-1) obviously like to keep it interesting. Hey, that’s the way the Mad Hatter rolls. They went back and forth with Ole Miss last week, and even though the defense sort of took the day off, the offense had one of its better days in a 43-36 win over the Rebels. A showdown with Arkansas in Little Rock awaits on Saturday.

3. Alabama: By moving the Georgia State game up, Alabama (9-2, 5-2) doesn’t have to worry about the short week to prepare. And let’s face it: How much time did the Crimson Tide really have to spend on Georgia State last week? They won 63-7 last Thursday and were already thinking about the Iron Bowl before halftime.

4. Arkansas: The Hogs (9-2, 5-2) are one of the league’s hottest teams and extended their winning streak to five straight games with a 38-31 overtime win against Mississippi State this past Saturday. Bobby Petrino’s club has shown a lot of resolve this season. The Hogs get a chance against LSU to go from a good season to a potentially great season if they can take down the Tigers.

5. South Carolina: There haven’t been any signs of one of those November swoons that typically derail the Gamecocks. They were all business last week in taking apart Troy in a 69-24 rout. They travel to Clemson this Saturday before taking their shot at Auburn in the SEC championship game on Dec. 4. The Gamecocks (8-3, 5-3) will be gunning for nine or more wins for only the third time in school history.

6. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs (7-4, 3-4) are suddenly going the other way after winning six straight games. The 38-31 double-overtime loss to Arkansas at home Saturday was a tough one to swallow. But there’s still a chance for eight regular-season wins if Mississippi State can win for the second year in a row over arch-rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.

7. Florida: It’s been a disappointing season for the Gators, who took out some of their frustration on FCS foe Appalachian State Saturday in a 48-10 mismatch. Florida (7-4, 4-4) hopes to keep it from getting even more disappointing this weekend by beating bitter rival Florida State for a seventh straight time. A loss to the Seminoles would really make this a season to forget.

8. Georgia: Coming off an open date, the Bulldogs (5-6, 3-5) look to salvage something out of this season when they take on Georgia Tech at home this Saturday. Georgia needs to win to keep its bowl streak alive. The Bulldogs have made 13 consecutive bowl appearances. Georgia coach Mark Richt is 8-1 against Georgia Tech.

9. Kentucky: The Wildcats (6-5, 2-5) should be as rested as they possibly could be at this point in the season. They travel to Tennessee on Saturday coming off an open date and had convincing wins over Vanderbilt and Charleston Southern in the weeks prior. The Wildcats are already bowl-eligible, but the “prize” they want is their first win over the Vols since the 1984 season.

10. Tennessee: It’s down to a one-game season for the Vols (5-6, 2-5) if they want to keep playing. They’ve won three in a row, including last week’s 24-10 victory over Vanderbilt, but they need to make it four in a row to qualify for a bowl game. There’s a lot of young talent on the offensive side of the ball for Tennessee, but the defense will have its work cut out in trying to slow down a Kentucky offense averaging 34.7 points and 441.5 yards per game.

11. Ole Miss: The Rebels (4-7, 1-6) showed some life last week after being left for dead two weeks ago in an embarrassing 52-14 loss at Tennessee. They went toe-to-toe with LSU before losing 43-36 in what was a terrific football game. The Rebels have been eliminated from bowl contention, but could still go out feeling better about themselves if they could knock off Mississippi State at home this Saturday.

12. Vanderbilt: The Commodores’ wretched performance on offense last week in a 24-10 loss to Tennessee was enough to move them back into the cellar. Missed passes, dropped passes and a general ineptitude on offense were enough to do them in for a sixth straight game. The Commodores (2-9, 1-7) could end the season with a win, though. They’re favored at home this week against Wake Forest.

Pac-10 Power Rankings: Week 13

November, 22, 2010
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

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

1. Oregon: The two biggest games in Oregon history are coming up. If the Ducks win, there will be a third that will stand alone.

2. Stanford: Stanford maybe should be No. 2 in some other polls. Know what the coach of every other team in the nation would say to himself if he had to play the Cardinal in a bowl game? "Drat. We're doomed."

3. Arizona: Sometimes not playing is the best thing -- just ask USC. From here down in the power rankings, it's like I threw a bunch of teams in a crock pot and made chili and somebody watching from outside tried to list what ingredients I used. Because if you don't like the order here, heck, do your own power rankings.

4. Washington: Huskies whipped UCLA on Thursday and beat Oregon State on Oct. 16. So they are ahead of the Beavers.

5. Oregon State: Anyone go into Saturday thinking the following? "Oregon State is going to beat USC 36-7. I'm sure of it."

6. Arizona State: The Sun Devils got blown out at California, but a week ago, they played a competitive game with Stanford. What did Cal do Saturday?

7. USC: This isn't USC's spot in the actual standings, but getting blown out at Oregon State means you need to sit in the corner with a dunce cap on. And the Trojans went from looking like a likely 10-win team to a potential 7-6 team, particularly with Matt Barkley suffering a high ankle sprain.

8. California: The Bears picked a fight before the Big Game, then got bullied by Stanford when the game actually started.

9. UCLA: The Bruins looked terrible at Washington. If the Huskies' struggling defense can shut them down, what might Arizona State's solid defense do?

10. Washington State: The win over Oregon State looks even more impressive now. But it's still the only one against a conference foe.

Big Ten power rankings: Week 13

November, 22, 2010
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

There aren't many changes to this week's power rankings, as the top three remain in order. Illinois makes a nice move after running all over Northwestern. Iowa beat Penn State way back on Oct. 2, but I can't keep the Hawkeyes on the No. 4 line after back-to-back losses.

Remember, these rankings reflect how a team is performing right now. They're supposed to change and will change each week.

1. Wisconsin (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten): The Badgers look like the Big Ten's top team in 2010. Yes, they lost to Michigan State, but that defeat seems long ago as Bret Bielema's crew has surged since the setback in East Lansing. Wisconsin now ranks sixth nationally in scoring (40.9 ppg) after putting up 131 points in its past two games. The Badgers only need to beat Northwestern at home this week to claim their first league title since 1999.

2. Ohio State (10-1, 6-1): There was the typical slow start and some miscues from quarterback Terrelle Pryor, but the Buckeyes played like a championship team down the stretch. Pryor picked up teammate DeVier Posey in directing the game-winning touchdown drive, and a talented defensive line smothered Iowa in the closing minutes. Ohio State isn't as dominant as most of us thought it would be, but the Buckeyes still know how to win.

3. Michigan State (10-1, 6-1): Spartans teams of the past would have crumbled after Purdue took a 28-13 lead entering the fourth quarter. But the 2010 Spartans have been resilient all season, and they showed it with a furious rally to beat the Boilers. Quarterback Kirk Cousins played through pain and redshirt freshman Denicos Allen made the latest in a series of huge special-teams plays as Michigan State kept its league title hopes alive.

4. Penn State (7-4, 4-3): Behind streaky quarterback Matt McGloin and a huge special-teams play from Andrew Dailey and James Van Fleet, Penn State ensured its sixth consecutive winning season by pulling away from Indiana. This isn't a great Penn State team, but the Nittany Lions have learned how to win in the second half of the season. This should help as a young squad builds toward 2011. Penn State can finish the regular season with a flourish by knocking off Michigan State this week.

5. Iowa (7-4, 4-3): A football season is shaped by just a handful of plays, and arguably no team in America has proved this more than Iowa the past two seasons. In 2009, the Hawkeyes made all the plays they needed to in clutch situations. This season, they're failing to do so. Iowa has blown three fourth-quarter leads in Big Ten play and allowed late touchdowns in all four of its losses. While Iowa's record is very disappointing, how the Hawkeyes got to this point stings the most.

6. Illinois (6-5, 4-4): Vic Koenning's defense carried Illinois in the first half, but Paul Petrino's offense has caught up in a big way. Both of Illinois' first-year coordinators have fostered impressive turnarounds as the Illini are going bowling for the first time in three seasons. Mikel Leshoure had a historic rushing performance (330 yards) at Wrigley Field and Illinois' offensive line imposed its will against Northwestern.

7. Northwestern (7-4, 3-4): Northwestern got the fans and the media to come to Wrigley, but Pat Fitzgerald's defense was a major no-show. The Wildcats' defense got totally steamrolled by Leshoure and the Illini in a game where it needed to help out new starting quarterback Evan Watkins. Things could get very ugly this week against a red-hot Wisconsin offense at Camp Randall Stadium.

8. Michigan (7-4, 3-4): All four of Michigan's losses have followed a similar pattern. The Wolverines start slowly on offense before rallying but can't overcome their chronic miscues on defense. Wisconsin's running backs consistently broke tackles and Badgers quarterback Scott Tolzien completed his first 13 pass attempts at the Big House. Michigan's defense won't be fixed for a while, so the Wolverines need better starts from Denard Robinson and crew.

9. Purdue (4-7, 2-5): The sting from Saturday's loss will linger as it eliminated Purdue from bowl contention. But the Boilers' toughness this season after enduring an incredible number of injuries is impressive. Cornerback Ricardo Allen is blossoming into one of the Big Ten's top freshmen, and quarterback Rob Henry did a lot of good things before a troublesome fourth quarter. Three consecutive bowl-less seasons is a major concern, but I still think the future will be bright for Purdue.

10: Minnesota (2-9, 1-6): The Gophers got an extra week to savor their first Big Ten victory of the season. Now they aim for their first win at TCF Bank Stadium in 2010, and it would be a huge one. Minnesota has been shut out in each of its past two games against Iowa, but the Gophers seem to be gaining some confidence on offense. A major upset this week would finally bring a rivalry trophy to Minneapolis.

11. Indiana (4-7, 0-7): Bill Lynch's teams can compete for stretches in Big Ten games, but they simply can't win them. While the Hoosiers overcame a lackluster start against Penn State and tied the score at 24-24 late in the third quarter, a special-teams disaster doomed them at FedEx Field. Will a win in the Bucket game ensure Lynch returns in 2011? Tough to say. This much is clear: Indiana has lost all the momentum it generated from the 2007 season.

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 13

November, 22, 2010
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Lots of movement at the top, but very little at the bottom, where lots of teams lost or beat up on overmatched opponents. Oklahoma State is a slight cut above every one else, but the next four teams are almost entirely interchangeable.

1. Oklahoma State (10-1, 6-1, last week: 2) No team in the Big 12 has been more consistent than the Cowboys, who have shown up in every game this year and are the only team in the Big 12 with just one loss. Best of all the loss was to a very good Nebraska team.

2. Texas A&M (8-3, 5-2, LW: 5) The Aggies momentum is more tangible than ever, and it lifts them to No. 2 here after a five-game winning streak that featured two wins over top 10 teams.

3. Nebraska (9-2, 5-2, LW: 1) The Huskers continue to look very average on offense without a full-strength Taylor Martinez. They should be able to beat Colorado, even if Martinez still isn't back to his old self, but he'll have to be healthy in the Big 12 title game for Nebraska to reach a BCS bowl.

4. Oklahoma (9-2, 5-2, LW: 3) The Sooners dominated Baylor, but Oklahoma State made it clear when it played Baylor two weeks ago that beating the Cowboys is a much different, much more difficult task. Oklahoma will have its hands full trying to win the South.

5. Missouri (9-2, 5-2, LW: 4) Nebraska's game against Colorado on Friday will have a major effect on the intensity level of Saturday's Border Showdown. If the Huskers clinch the North, Missouri will be trying to avoid an embarrassing loss and maybe improve on its bowl standing. If the Huskers lose, the Tigers will have an entire season at stake against the rival Jayhawks.

6. Texas Tech (6-5, 3-5, LW: 8) Regardless of who you're playing, a 44-0 halftime lead is a good day. The Red Raiders have to clean up their season with a hopeful seventh win against Houston, who knocked them off last year.

7. Baylor (7-5, 4-4, LW: 7) The Bears season came to a disappointing end with three consecutive double-digit losses. But seven wins is still more than most pegged them for this year, and they'll be back in 2011 hungry for more after tasting bowl season over the holidays.

8. Kansas State (6-5, 3-5, LW: 6) The Wildcats win for the most perplexing loss of the week. Bill Snyder's team couldn't stop Colorado running back Rodney Stewart. This week they'll face another interim coach with a quarterback, Riley Dodge, whose father was fired during the season.

9. Colorado (5-6, 2-5, LW: 11) The Buffaloes look rejuvenated under Brian Cabral, and beating K-State is way more impressive than beating Iowa State. Now, time to crank up the difficulty level to 11 for a season-ending trip to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

10. Iowa State (5-7, 3-5, LW: 9) The Cyclones couldn't go out in style without Austen Arnaud, but as the season closes, the future is bright for Paul Rhoads' Cyclones, who are moving in the right direction.

11. Texas (5-6, 2-5, LW: 10) The Longhorns didn't fall as much as they were leapfrogged by a surging Colorado team now a win away from bowl eligibility. The 51 points on the board look pretty good, but Texas did score on a Hail Mary and a defensive touchdown. And it was Florida Atlantic. We'll see if the offense can take a step forward next week against a Texas A&M team playing some of the best defense in the league.

12. Kansas (3-8, 1-6, LW: 12) The Jayhawks showed some first-half fight, but Oklahoma State has too much offense for Kansas to handle. Turner Gill could tie a nice bow on the season with an upset of rival Missouri to close a first year filled with frustration.

Non-AQ Power Rankings, Week 13

November, 22, 2010
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Not much has changed in this week’s power rankings. Here they are for Week 13:

1. Boise State (10-0). The Broncos destroyed Fresno State 51-0 in a nationally televised game that sent a message this defense is for real. Kellen Moore, Titus Young and Austin Pettis make it easy to overlook the defense, but that obviously would be a mistake. Fresno State coach Pat Hill had strong praise for the Broncos afterward, saying in all of his years of coaching, his team has never been manhandled like that. If they pass their big test at Nevada on Friday night, the Broncos should be the top non-AQ choice this season.

2. TCU (11-0). Coach Gary Patterson made his pitch this week about why his team deserves consideration. But being off this week, the ending against New Mexico ends the season on a low note, especially when Boise State has more opportunities to impress. That being said, it would be a crying shame if an undefeated non-AQ team gets left out of the BCS. TCU is an excellent team and deserves a shot.

3. Nevada (10-1). The Wolf Pack easily dispatched New Mexico State 52-6 and are ready for their shot at the Broncos. The games between them the past three seasons have been close -- decided by an average of 6.7 points. Colin Kaepernick has nine career touchdowns against Boise State, though he hasn’t run for 100 yards on the Broncos since his breakout performance in 2007, a 69-67 four-OT heartbreaker.

4. Utah (9-2). The Utes live, but it was not easy. They had to overcome a 17-point second-quarter deficit at San Diego State and needed interceptions on back-to-back drives to close the game and a seal 38-34 win. The victory broke a two-game losing skid and brought the offense back from the dead.

5. Northern Illinois (9-2). The Huskies have won eight straight, and easily beat Ball State to clinch a spot in the MAC title game for the first time since 2005. Aside from the four undefeated teams, it’s hard to find a hotter team in America.

6. Hawaii (8-3). The Warriors returned from a bye to beat San Jose State 41-7 as quarterback Bryant Moniz set a new school record with 560 passing yards, breaking the old record of 559 by Colt Brennan versus Arizona State in the 2006 Hawaii Bowl. With games remaining against New Mexico State and UNLV, this is shaping up to be a 10-win season.

7. Southern Miss (8-3). The Golden Eagles played with heavy hearts against Houston, but they let it serve as extra motivation in a 59-41 win. Austin Davis had a great day, and if not for one-point losses to UAB and East Carolina, they would be in the driver’s seat to make it to the C-USA title game.

8. UCF (8-3). The Knights blew out Tulane 61-14 and need a win over Memphis this weekend to host the C-USA title game. They remain behind Southern Miss because they lost to them 31-21 last week, the same week they secured their first Top 25 ranking.

9. Tulsa (8-3). The Golden Hurricane have won five straight and still have a shot at the C-USA title game. They need to beat Southern Miss and hope SMU loses to East Carolina. They get the edge over Navy because their three losses are to bowl teams. Navy has a bad loss to Duke.

10. Navy (8-3). The Midshipmen beat Arkansas State 35-19 and have won eight games for the eighth straight season. They get the nod over San Diego State because they have beaten three bowl-eligible teams; San Diego State has beaten one. The Aztecs (7-4) are right on the cusp of the rankings -- they have lost each of their four games by five points or less -- three to ranked teams.

Dropped out: Temple, San Diego State.

Big East Power Rankings: Week 13

November, 22, 2010
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

The pecking order is becoming mildly clearer with just two weeks to go in the regular season.

1. Pittsburgh (6-4, 4-1 Big East): The Panthers stay on top after a key win on the road at South Florida. They could clinch the Big East title this week if they beat West Virginia and UConn loses.

2. Connecticut (6-4, 3-2): The Huskies have won three straight and have beaten the other two top contenders, West Virginia and Pitt. They were impressive in shutting down Syracuse on the road Saturday. It took a while, but this team is finally playing like the Big East contender we thought it would be.

3. West Virginia (7-3, 3-2): That defense is spectacular. Oddly, though, the offense has only scored 13 points and just one touchdown in the second half during its five Big East games.

4. Syracuse (7-4, 4-3): The 4-0 road/0-3 home split is mind-boggling. Doug Marrone is an excellent coach, but he makes a lousy ticket salesman.

5. South Florida (6-4, 3-3): The Bulls' deficiencies on offense, especially in the passing game, came back to haunt them in the Pitt game. But this is a program moving in the right direction.

6. Louisville (5-6, 2-4): What could have been for the Cardinals this season. Four of their five losses have come by margins of of eight points or fewer. I imagine Charlie Strong will be winning those kinds of games once he gets his program where he wants it to be.

7. Cincinnati (4-6, 2-3): Where in the heck did that 69-point outburst against Rutgers come from? One clue: The Bearcats finally won the turnover battle (2-1) and showed what their offense could be when they stay out of their own way.

8. Rutgers (4-6, 1-4): No contest for the worst team in the league right now. The Scarlet Knights have lost four straight, and for a Greg Schiano-coached team to surrender nearly 70 points is nearly unfathomable.

ACC Power Rankings: Week 13

November, 22, 2010
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Virginia Tech has been the top team in the power rankings for the past three weeks, and in Saturday’s win at Miami, the Hokies proved why -- they’re the best team in the Coastal Division and the first to secure a spot in this year’s ACC championship game. Having seen NC State, Florida State and Maryland all play live, the Wolfpack looks like the best of the three, but it depends on the day. Against Miami, FSU looked like worldbeaters. Against Maryland, the Noles looked just good enough. NC State's game at Maryland on Saturday will decide the Atlantic Division winner. Until then, the Pack gets the benefit of the doubt.

Here’s how the ACC stacks up heading into Week 13:

1. Virginia Tech (9-2, 7-0 ACC; LW: No. 1): The Hokies forced Miami into six turnovers -- including three interceptions in the final nine minutes -- and won their ninth straight game. It’s the longest winning streak the program has seen since 1999, and Virginia Tech is now 23-5 on the road since joining the ACC in 2004.

2. NC State (8-3, 5-2 ACC; LW: No. 2): The Wolfpack defeated rival North Carolina for the fourth straight year and kept their Atlantic Division hopes alive in the process. NC State needs only to beat Maryland this week in the season finale to advance to the ACC championship game.

3. Florida State (8-3, 6-2 ACC; LW: No. 3): The Seminoles took care of what was in their control -- beating Maryland -- but now their postseason fate rests in the outcome of the Maryland-NC State game. In order for FSU to win the Atlantic Division, Maryland needs to beat NC State on Saturday.

4. Miami (7-4, 5-3 ACC; LW: No. 4): The Canes just weren’t the better team on Saturday, and true freshman Stephen Morris was forced into costly rookie mistakes. The entire team, though, made too many mistakes and not enough plays and once again played its way out of the ACC championship game.

5. Maryland (7-4, 4-3 ACC; LW: No. 5): It was an all-too familiar scenario for the Terps, who two years ago lost a chance at the Atlantic Division title with a home loss to Florida State. This time, turnovers did them in. Maryland had lost the ball just eight times all season entering that game, but gave it away to the Noles four times.

6. North Carolina (6-5, 3-4 ACC; LW: No. 6): The seniors on this roster will graduate without having beaten rival NC State, and now they’ll have to avoid a double dagger by beating rival Duke on the road. Quarterback T.J. Yates had a record-setting performance in the loss, but it wasn’t enough.

7. Clemson (6-5, 4-4 ACC; LW: No. 7): The Tigers defeated Wake Forest with ease, and became bowl eligible in the process, but there was little to be gleaned from beating up on one of the worst defenses in the country. The biggest challenge lies ahead with rival South Carolina coming to town.

8. Georgia Tech (6-5, 4-4 ACC; LW: No. 8): The Yellow Jackets regrouped after an unimpressive first half against Duke and bounced back for a 30-20 win that made them bowl eligible for the 14th straight season. Georgia Tech has now beaten Duke seven straight times and 15 times in the past 16 games.

9. Boston College (6-5, 4-4; LW: No. 9): With the 17-13 win over Virginia, BC became bowl eligible for the 12th straight year and has now won four straight heading into the season finale at Syracuse.

10. Duke (3-8, 1-6; LW: No. 11): The Blue Devils took advantage of a lackluster start by Georgia Tech and led 13-6 at the half, but they couldn’t finish it off, and lost, 30-20. Duke hosts rival UNC in the season finale, but will have to stop the Tar Heels’ potent offense without injured starting linebacker Kelby Brown.

11. Virginia (4-7, 1-6; LW: No. 10): The Cavaliers couldn’t stop BC running back Montel Harris, and squandered a 13-10 halftime lead in the loss to the Eagles. Penalties were a problem again, and Virginia has now lost six of its past eight games. The luster from the upset of Miami has long worn off.

12. Wake Forest (2-9, 1-7 ACC; LW: No. 12): Following the 30-10 loss to Clemson, Wake now has the dubious distinction of owing the second-longest active losing streak in the FBS. The Deacs have now lost nine straight heading into their season finale at Vanderbilt. They were outgained 413-205 in the loss to the Tigers.