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November 4, 2008

Power rankings: McCoy takes turn at top spot

Rivals.com Power Rankings by Position: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST
Coaches Power Rankings: Head Coach | Off. Coordinator | Def. Coordinator

Leave it to the always quotable Texas Tech coach Mike Leach to make the definitive statement about his quarterback in the wake of a program-defining 39-33 victory over top-ranked Texas.

"I think after tonight if you don't have Graham Harrell on your Heisman list, you probably should add him," Leach said.

Only time will tell where Harrell ranks on most voters' Heisman lists, but his performance against Texas lifted him to the top of the Rivals.com College Football Power Rankings.

By winning a head-to-head showdown with Texas' Colt McCoy, Harrell replaced McCoy as the No. 1 quarterback in the power rankings - which measure the nation's top players and coaches at each position.

Harrell went 36-of-53 passing for 474 yards and two touchdowns, including a 28-yarder to Michael Crabtree with one second remaining in the Red Raiders' victory. Crabtree maintained his status as the No. 1 receiver in the power rankings.

"As a quarterback, that's what you live for, a chance to bring your (team) back down the stretch against a great team," said Harrell, who leads the nation in total offense. "All we needed was a field goal, but a touchdown is even sweeter. If you're a quarterback and you don't want to be in that situation, you should probably change positions."

Harrell's move wasn't the only change atop the power rankings.

Texas' loss to Texas Tech also removed Mack Brown from the top of the head coach rankings. The new No. 1 head coach is Alabama's Nick Saban, whose team remained unbeaten after a 35-0 shutout of Arkansas State.

Pittsburgh's LeSean McCoy took over as the No. 1 running back after rushing for 169 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers' 36-33 quadruple-overtime victory over Notre Dame. McCoy has rushed for at least 142 yards in each of Pittsburgh's last five games.

His performance against Notre Dame was particularly noteworthy because it allowed the Panthers to withstand the absence of starting quarterback Bill Stull, who sat out the game after sustaining a concussion a week earlier.

"I kind of had a slow start in the beginning," McCoy said. "I was trying to just find things instead of just hitting it. That's kind of the problem I had in the beginning of the year. And I just relaxed. I couldn't let all the hype and the Notre Dame thing get to me, and I just kind of settled down."

Utah kicker/punter Louie Sakoda replaced Florida's Brandon James at the top of the special teams rankings. Sakoda made field goals from 38 and 43 yards in a 13-10 victory over New Mexico. He also placed four of his five punts inside the New Mexico 20-yard line.

Sakoda's final punt forced New Mexico to begin its last drive at its 1-yard line.

Players and coaches remaining atop their respective positions included Crabtree, Missouri tight end Chase Coffman, Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith, Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo, Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes, Tennessee strong safety Eric Berry, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley.

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

Rivals.com Power Rankings by Position: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST
Coaches Power Rankings: Head Coach | Off. Coordinator | Def. Coordinator

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.

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