Week Nine Power Rankings

1.     Florida

Cue up the James Brown record, because the Gators must “Feel Good” after shellacking hated rival Georgia on Saturday. For the first time in 2009, Florida looked like the team we imagined they would all year. They jumped out to a 14-0 in the first quarter, and never looked back.

If you are looking to find a similar schedule in November to Florida’s, go check out your latest high school sports web site. Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Florida International and Florida State conclude the Gators’ season. Tim Tebow should breath easy along the path to a second straight 12-0 season.

2.     Alabama

I’ve never agreed with knocking someone off a pedestal when they haven’t done anything wrong, like benching an injured quarterback, or moving a team down in the rankings after a bye week.

However, I can’t ignore the dominance Florida displayed in Jacksonville, and the last image of Alabama in my head is Terrance Cody blocking the game-winning field goal to beat a mediocre Tennessee team.

Every team has an “off game”, and that was the Tide’s. However, I’ve always been in Florida’s corner in terms of who is the most talented team. Alabama earned the top spot by playing on a higher level than Florida much of the season, but after last week, the tables might have turned once again.

3.     Texas

Just like Florida, Texas has finally emerged as the team we all thought we’d see in 2009. Colt McCoy is finally not forcing throws, pressing to make big plays. He has a strong running game as well, and a defense/special teams responsible for nine touchdowns so far this season.

The Longhorns made going into Stillwater and winning look easy. They dominated the Cowboys for 60 minutes, and have left hardly any doubt that they deserve to be in the BCS championship should they win out.

4.     Oregon

It’s not insane to think the Ducks could be the number one team in the nation right now. Quietly, Chip Kelly’s team has blown away almost every opponent since its loss to Boise State, including the 47-20 dominance of USC. LaMichael James made the Trojan defenders look like a powderpuff team.

There is not a team in the nation right now that would love to face the Ducks this season. They could play anyone in America, and probably win right now. They are the hottest team in the country, and are an legitimate darkhorse for the national title.

5.     Cincinnati

So far, Cincinnati has played like the fifth-best team in the country. That’s not to say they will end the year in that fashion. Upcoming dates with Pittsburgh and West Virginia will prove to challenge the Bearcats as the pressure for an undefeated season builds.

Zach Collaros has been sensational as the replacement for the injured Tony Pike. Pike has insisted he may be ready to play this weekend against Connecticut. This is a dangerous game for the Bearcats. It is their first appearance in prime-time national television on a Saturday night, and nobody knows how Pike would perform in his return.

Connecticut has lost two games in a row since the death of cornerback Jasper Howard, both in heartbreaking fashion. The Huskies led both games (against West Virginia and Rutgers) in the final moments before allowing a late score.

They will continue to play inspired football no matter what happened the week before, and would love nothing more than to spoil the undefeated Cincinnati season. Upset alert in Ohio this Saturday night.

6.     Boise State

The heart of college football goes out to Boise State, because they just can’t catch a break. The consensus opinion all season was the Broncos needed Oregon to continue winning to make their schedule more credible. All of a sudden, the Ducks have not only won, but also won big.

Boise is in serious danger of being surpassed in the rankings by the Ducks, by virtue of the lack of quality opponents on the Broncos’ schedule, and the Ducks’ continued dominance. As of now, the BCS still honors the results of the 19-8 Boise State win, but in a month’s time, it might not look so similar.

7.     TCU

This is a tough choice, putting the Horned Frogs behind Boise St., but the Broncos just barely get the nod. TCU also has a month to prove they are the best non-BCS conference team. Either way, somebody is likely to be left in the BCS backdrop, aka the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

8.     Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets reverted back to their old defensive self on Saturday, giving up 31 points in the first 40 minutes of the game. Trailing 31-28, the offense responded with 28 unanswered points to win in a rout.

However, after back-to-back dominant defensive performances against Virginia Tech and Virginia, their struggles against the Commodores should scare the fans.

If lowly Vanderbilt can light up that defense, imagine what the recently powerful Duke offense could produce in a few weeks.

Besides the lack of defensive prowess, the offense is as good as any in the country at the moment, and the Jackets are clearly the best team in the ACC.

9.     Iowa

The Hawkeyes are running out of chances to prove they are worthy of the national spotlight. Indiana nearly ruined the undefeated run by the Hawkeyes, leading 21-7 at halftime, before giving way late in the game to a flurry of touchdowns.

Ricky Stanzi threw four interceptions in the third quarter alone, having many people leaving them up for dead. Instead, Stanzi responded with a huge fourth quarter to secure the 42-24 win.

Iowa needs to win much more convincingly in November if they want any chance at a national championship. The Big Ten is weak, arguably even weaker than the Big East, which means Cincinnati has a stronger case for the title chase at this point. Any one-loss SEC team or Texas would easily get the nod over Kirk Firentz’s team.

Fact of the matter is, even if Iowa runs the table, their chances at the national championship rival the odds Jim Tressel is invited to speak at Michigan’s Big Blue Booster Club dinner.

10. LSU

This Saturday, the Tigers will head to Tuscaloosa for Saban Bowl III in a make-or-break game for their season. John Chavis, the defensive coordinator for LSU will have to dial up pressure on Greg McElroy, forcing the Tide’s quarterback into several mistakes.

The best hope for LSU is to capitalize off turnovers and win the field position battle. Jordan Jefferson failed to step up to the challenge against Florida last month, and this is his second chance to prove to the Tiger faithful he is up to the task.

Alabama struggled last time out two weeks ago, so the Tigers have to believe they can come into Bryant-Denny Stadium and shock the college football world. Should they pull off the upset, that world will be turned upside down.

11. Penn State

12. USC

13. Pittsburgh

14. Houston

15. Utah

16. Ohio State

17. Notre Dame

18. Oklahoma

19. South Florida

20. Virginia Tech

21. Miami

22. Clemson

23. Arizona

24. Oklahoma State

25. Texas Tech



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