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October 6, 2009

Power shift in weekly power rankings

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

West Virginia running back Noel Devine has put himself in a familiar position: Everybody else is fruitlessly chasing him.

Devine's 220-yard performance Thursday in a 35-24 victory over Colorado has made him the new No. 1 running back in the Rivals.com College Football Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

Devine, a junior, needed just 22 carries to reach the 220-yard mark last week. He opened the scoring with a 77-yard touchdown run - the fifth run of at least 70 yards during his three-year career - and added a 56-yard run in the second quarter.

"I hope I never see that guy again," Colorado coach Dan Hawkins said afterward.

Devine's big game against Colorado helped him move ahead of California's Jahvid Best, who was held to 47 yards on 14 carries Saturday in a 30-3 loss to USC.

The change at running back headlined a week full of shifts atop the power rankings.

Houston's Case Keenum fell from the No. 1 position in the quarterback rankings despite throwing for 536 yards and five touchdowns in the Cougars' surprising 58-41 loss to UTEP. Florida's Tim Tebow regained the top spot from Keenum.

BYU tight end Dennis Pitta and Clemson kick returner C.J. Spiller also moved back to the top of the power rankings after one-week absences.

Pitta caught five passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns Friday in a 35-17 victory over Utah State. Pitta moved ahead of Wisconsin's Garrett Graham, who had seven catches for 68 yards with no touchdowns in the Badgers' 31-28 triumph over Minnesota.

Spiller regained his status as the nation's top special teams performer after scoring on a 92-yard kickoff return Saturday in a 24-21 loss to Maryland. Spiller moved ahead of Stanford's Chris Owusu, who leads the nation in kick-return average.

In the Maryland game, Spiller scored his touchdown despite running the last 70 yards with only one shoe. Spiller, the ACC's leader in career all-purpose yardage, leads the nation in punt-return average (30 yards per return) and ranks fourth in the nation in kick-return average (37.8).

"I just kept my feet moving like coach always tells me," Spiller said. "To their surprise, I just got loose and I didn't know where anyone was at, so even without my shoe, I just kept running."

TCU's Jerry Hughes is the new No. 1 defensive lineman after compiling eight tackles and 1.5 sacks Saturday in a 39-14 rout of SMU. Hughes moved ahead of Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy, who had only one assisted tackle in a 21-20 loss to Miami.

Oklahoma's loss also caused the Sooners' Kevin Wilson to fall from the top spot in the offensive coordinator rankings. Wilson was replaced by Auburn's Gus Malzahn, who helped the Tigers gain 459 yards of total offense Saturday in a 26-22 victory over Tennessee.

Auburn is ranked fifth in the nation in total offense and scoring offense this season, Malzahn's first as the Tigers' coordinator. Auburn ranked 104th in total offense and tied for 110th in scoring offense last season.

Cincinnati wide receiver Mardy Gilyard, Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung, South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood, Tennessee strong safety Eric Berry, Florida coach Urban Meyer and Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong remained atop their respective positions.

The ranking of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season, depending on how he fared the previous week. 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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