Week Eight Power Rankings

1.     Alabama

Terrance Cody’s fame in Tuscaloosa may be bigger than his 350-pound frame after blocking two fourth-quarter field goals in the Tide’s 12-10 win at Tennessee last week. After leading 12-3 with less than four minutes to play, a touchdown drive and ensuing onside kick gave the Vols a chance for the miraculous upset.

In fact, an upset would maybe not have been so miraculous. Monte Kiffin has turned the Volunteer defense into one of the best in the country, and it’s never easy to come into Knoxville and beat the orange-clad home squad.

The game was set up for a classic, and it was just that. This was the Tide’s one allotted scare for the year, now they must dominate from here on out to retain the top spot.

2.     Florida

Tim Tebow: where is your 2008 season and what did you do with it? It’s been a month since the Gators quarterback was knocked out of the Kentucky game with a concussion. He no longer can use that as an excuse for subpar play. Tebow threw two interceptions (both of which were returned for scores) against Mississippi State in a 10-point win.

The excuse of not having Percy Harvin is getting a little old as well. There is not a soul on this Earth that can honestly say the athletes lining up in the Gators’ backfield shouldn’t be dominating defenses like the Bulldogs’.

I trust Urban Meyer, and that is the biggest reason I am keeping the Gators at this spot. Where is the fire in this team? Where is Tebow storming down the sidelines, running into his kickoff team’s huddle screaming at the top of his lungs?

Despite what’s being said in the Florida locker room all year, it seems that the Gators have fallen into the realm of being content; the hunger for the title that we saw a year ago is MIA.

3.     Texas

Ladies and Gentlemen: we have a Colt McCoy sighting. Contrary to Tebow, McCoy’s stock in the Heisman/NFL Draft race increased tenfold after only throwing six incompletions in the Longhorns’ blowout of Missouri. It could not have come at a better time, either, after perhaps his worst game in four years against Oklahoma.

It was games like that which the country needs right now: a statement game. McCoy came up big in his push for the Heisman, while Texas dominated a top-25 team like no other perennial national title favorite has done to date.

Sure, Florida beat LSU 13-3, and Alabama beat Virginia Tech 34-24, but Texas just looked unstoppable.  Should that trend continue, consider the Longhorns a lock for Pasadena.


4.     Boise State

It’s no mystery why the Broncos thrashed Hawaii in such fashion late Saturday night. They understand that TCU is nipping at their heels for the higher ranking from a non-BCS conference school.

After the Horned Frogs embarrassed BYU on the road that evening, Boise went out in the middle of the night and took the Warriors behind the woodshed.

For those of you who don’t know Kellen Moore, you might want to take notice. The Bronco quarterback, who is only a sophomore, has 1,627 yards, 21 touchdowns, and two interceptions. It doesn’t matter who you play, it takes a talented quarterback to put up numbers like that.

Jeremy Avery has also picked up the slack at running back for the injured D.J. Harper. Avery is averaging nearly six yards per carry to keep the Boise attack balanced.

If you are ever around Boise in the coming weeks (yeah, okay, I know) and you see students donning green and yellow apparel across campus, do not be confused. At this moment, the Broncos are the Oregon Ducks’ biggest fans. The win over Oregon is the only game on Boise’s schedule carrying any weight in the BCS, and they need the Ducks to go as far as possible. If Oregon falters down the stretch, the “smurf turf” boys might be in trouble.

5.     Cincinnati

The Bearcats toppled Oregon State in Corvallis early in the season by a score of 28-18. That margin of victory is larger than the six points that USC edged the Beavers by at home last week.

To quote Lee Corso, “Somebody knows something I don’t know.” Unlike Iowa, or even Florida for that matter, the Bearcats have won in convincing fashion every week. Their schedule is not as weak as one might think, and upcoming dates with Pittsburgh and West Virginia will give Brian Kelly’s squad much too strong of a resume to be ignored in the national championship discussion.

6.     TCU

If you are around Fort Worth, Tex. in the coming weeks (Last time, I promise…you never know!) and you see quite a lot of orange dotting the TCU campus, it’s because Clemson’s recent surge to the front of the ACC Atlantic Division has Horned Frogs fans energized.

TCU was the last team to beat the Tigers, and after thrashing BYU 38-7 Saturday the Horned Frogs are leaping everyone in the rankings.

If only BYU had played more respectably against Florida State earlier this season, this most recent TCU victory probably would have propelled them to fourth in the rankings.

Nevertheless, its schedule, which includes Virginia, the Tigers, and Cougars, is much stronger than Boise State’s, which bodes well for the Frogs down the stretch.  Keep an eye on the way TCU finishes the season. If they win convincingly while running the table, they won’t be left out of the BCS equation.

7.     USC

Ivan Maisel at ESPN brought up an excellent point about Matt Barkley. The kid is playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the country…and this is the worst he is ever going to be. He is leaps and bounds beyond the level he was playing at when USC beat Ohio State in Columbus, and the offense in LA looks peerless.

Oregon better had come prepared this week, or they just might get embarrassed. Autzen Stadium is one of the toughest venues for opponents to win, but USC is simply on a mission to dominate everything in its path.

If the Trojans dismantle the Ducks, and I think they will, they will be yet another team to throw into the BCS title discussion, and with good reason.  

8.     Georgia Tech

Paul Johnson has his team feeling as if they are on top of the world. It has been made clear the win over Virginia Tech was one of the biggest in program history, and he is using the emotion stemming from that game to propel the Jackets through the final month of the season.

Wake Forest and Duke are the only opponents in the ACC remaining on their schedule. Don’t discount Duke, but the Jackets seem to be in perfect position to capture their second Coastal Division title since its inception.

This year will be the fifth with the ACC title game at the end of the season. It will in all likelihood also be the fifth year the game is played without Miami, once the crown jewel of the conference’s expansion. Food for thought…

9.     Iowa

Just look at the previous post to see my thoughts on the Hawkeyes. Congratulations for making it to this point undefeated, but win with some conviction before thinking you are more deserving than the teams higher in this list.

10. LSU

If things fall into place, the Tigers just might sneak into a BCS bowl as an at-large representative. Nobody is talking about Les Miles’ team since its loss to the Gators three weeks ago, which is probably a good thing. Early in the year, the Tigers got too much attention for virtually no accomplishments.

Now they can play the final weeks of the season relatively pressure-free (or as close as it gets to that in the SEC) and try to take care of business without all the attention of the nation.

11. Virginia Tech

12. Oregon

13. Penn State

14. Pittsburgh

15. Oklahoma

16. West Virginia

17. Notre Dame

18. Houston

19. California

20. Utah

21. Clemson

22. South Carolina

23. Mississippi

24. Arizona

25. Stanford



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