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November 14, 2006

McFadden rises to top of Power Rankings

Rivals.com Power Rankings
Week 11 Video Highlights
The College Football Wire

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A part-time quarterback is the new No. 1 running back in the Rivals.com College Football Power Rankings.

Arkansas sophomore Darren McFadden rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns Saturday in a 31-14 victory over Tennessee. That performance was good enough to move the Southeastern Conference rushing leader to the top spot in our power rankings, which measure the nation's best players and coaches at each position.

The star tailback also lined up at quarterback for several plays last week. When he took a direct snap, McFadden usually handed off to running back Felix Jones or kept the ball himself. But he also fooled the Volunteers once by throwing a 12-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Marcus Monk.

McFadden now has thrown for touchdowns on each of his two pass attempts this season, but he has done most of his damage with his feet. McFadden has rushed for 1,219 yards this season and has gained 400 yards in the last two weeks.

The Arkansas standout wasn't the only player to move up to the top of the charts this week.

Wisconsin sophomore Travis Beckum replaced Minnesota senior Matt Spaeth as the No. 1 tight end after catching eight passes for 70 yards in the Badgers' 24-21 victory over Iowa. Beckum has 51 catches for 686 yards and four touchdowns this season.

Players or coaches maintaining their status as the best at their respective positions included Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith, Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Clemson defensive lineman Gaines Adams, Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis, California defensive back Daymeion Hughes, California punt returner DeSean Jackson, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe and Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock.

The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week depending on how they fared the previous Saturday, but the power rankings measure their overall careers as well as their most recent performances.

For example, Clemson freshman running back C.J. Spiller rushed for 154 yards last week in a 20-14 victory over North Carolina State, while teammate James Davis gained just 39 yards on 13 carries.

Spiller certainly had the better game Saturday, but we still feel Davis is the better player. That's why Davis remains ahead of Spiller in our running back rankings.

By the end of the season, our power rankings should provide an accurate indicator of which players and coaches were the best at their respective positions.

Click here to check out the complete rankings after Week 11.

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