Power Rankings (Week 11)  

Posted by Frazier

Ok, now on to this week's rankings. Unfortunately, the 323 was unable to deliver its' usual level of collaboration this week, mostly because of some situations beyond our control. So the only voice being heard this week is from myself, but not even flames will prevent the 323 from delivering as usual. Like the Phoenix, the 323 will rise. (Oh, and don't ask, the whole thing is a long story, everyone is fine.)

#1 Ohio St.

I said it last week, and I'll say it again, it's not entirely clear how good this team is. They do have loads of talent, and are returning a fearsome, proven offense, and a defense that has seemed excellent. But, their best win was over Texas, a team that clearly hadn't found itself yet, and was totally exposed defensively by K State. Their second best victory was either over a Penn State team that has generally underachieved, and that game was pretty tight until very late turnovers, or over an Iowa team that has been lousy at late. Of course, their next one is the only one that matters, and they have a chance to prove once and for all that they truly are a juggernaut.

#2 Michigan

We actually know something about these guys, at least we think we do. Their best win was either over Notre Dame (a beatdown of epic proportions) or Wisconsin. But, neither of those teams have really beaten anybody either. Wisconsin doesn't have any really meaningful wins, and Notre Dame has escaped some disasters with their only real win in the opener against Georgia Tech. But shutting down PJ Hill says something, and their defense is for real. Whether Henne and company have finally reached their potential is something we'll find out Saturday.

#3 Arkansas

Definitely willing to forgive their only loss this season. That game was impossible for them. Right now, they might be playing better than anyone in the country. McFadden is an incredible weapon, and Dick has run the offense efficiently. They absolutely blasted the Vols last week, in a way that no other team has been capable of. The Hogs are an absolute beast right now. When they play Florida, they are going to smack the Gators in the face. While they have two very difficult games left, it's become clear that this bunch may find themselves with a chance to win a national championship. But beware, Houston Nutt still has a chance to ruin this thing.

#4 Rutgers

Their game against Louisville was absolutely thrilling. However, it was pretty sloppy, and I'm still not entirely sure how they won that thing. Maybe I'm just a hater, that's a real possibility. Maybe I think that other teams do what Rutgers does (run the ball, play stout defense, have a quarterback make just enough plays and not kill them) but much better (Michigan absolutely leaps to mind, but the same could be said for Wisconsin, or Arkansas to some extent). Honestly, I just don't think this team could beat those teams, and probably a bunch of others, but they have won every single game so far, and stopped the nations top offense dead in its' tracks in the second half. So they absolutely deserve this spot. I'm just saying that I don't exactly love their chances in a bowl game.

#5 Florida

Attrition alert! Attrition alert! Attrition alert! After the chaos of last week, they had to move up, too many teams in front of them lost. I will not say under any circumstances that their win against S. Carolina was impressive, but they did pull it off. Really, it's a matter of the teams behind them. I just wasn't comfortable moving them ahead of a team whose only loss was to an Auburn team with a lot of talent who played a good game against them. Basically, their loss is not a "bad" one, and they have some solid wins. But, they are still a shaky bunch.

#6 USC

Wow, that was a short vacation for them. This is where the pack gets completely muddled. I didn't like their loss, and their dismantling of Oregon isn't all THAT impressive, but they still have lots of talent, the best defense in the Pac 10, and a very legitimate shot at the national title game. This just sort of feels like the right place for them.

#7 Boise St.

Probably the only time a narrow win over San Jose St. will get you moved up in the power rankings. But on a weekend where a ton of teams had their dreams dashed, and blew games to lesser competition, they found a way to win. So they will get credit for it, especially when a bunch of teams in front of them fell pretty hard.

#8 Wake Forest

Another team that was totally underrated around here for too long. But not as underrated as they were by the national press or the oddsmakers. Their brutal beatdown of Florida St. was a sight to behold. Shutting out Bobby Bowden at home is pretty much unprecedented. I don't care how down the Seminoles are, Wake took that team's pride. Unbelievable. This team has been playing its' best football of late, and Jim Grobe has done an amazing job putting his players in position to win. Fearless play calling has allowed an uninspiring offense to create points, and the defense has been very stout. Finally, this team is a 4th quarter meltdown against Clemson away from being undefeated and a player in the title chase. The 323 heartily welcomes the Deacs to the power rankings.

#9 Notre Dame

Ugh, you know I HATE to put these guys in the rankings, but we can only avoid it for so long. Now that they have been vacationing from legit competition for a couple of months, we are about to find out if they are actually any good. They may be the luckiest team in the country, but they have been winning games, and they do have a very good offense. While we have been absolutely killing their schedule, as we should, we can't hold them down forever. It's not like Boise St. has been slaying giants or anything, so the Irish have finally returned. I still think they're lousy.

#10 Wisconsin

The final spot is always a tough call. I considered a bunch of teams, but this was the one that made the most sense. I couldn't include West Virginia, since they can't be ahead of Louisville since being rolled by them a couple of weeks back. And I can't include Louisville since they got shut out in the second half against Rutgers, and really don't show much life. So despite the fact that Wisconsin really doesn't have a good win all season, they break into the rankings. Their only loss was to an excellent Michigan team, and they have been handling Big 10 competition all season. While that conference hasn't shown a ton of depth, it's always a rugged fight. The Badgers really deserve some credit for holding the line this year.


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