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October 19, 2010

Power rankings: Four changes at the top

Power Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST
Head coach | Offensive coach | Defensive coach

Why is Auburn carrying an unbeaten record into mid-October after going a combined 13-12 the previous two seasons?

The answer is obvious to Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette.

"Cam Newton," Bequette said Saturday after his team's 65-43 loss to Auburn. "He gives a different dynamic to the team. He's like another running back."

Newton carried Auburn to victory last week in the highest-scoring regular-season game in SEC history. He ran for 188 yards and three touchdowns. He threw for 140 yards and another touchdown.

His performance made Newton the new No. 1 quarterback in the Rivals.com College Football Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

The most amazing part of Newton's game against Arkansas was that it basically represented his typical Saturday output. He has accounted for 25 touchdowns this season and has run for more than 170 yards four times.

"I haven't seen everybody," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said, "but he has to be playing as good as the best ones."

Newton took over the top spot in the rankings from Boise State's Kellen Moore, who performed well in his own right. Moore went 14-of-16 for 231 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions in a 48-0 blowout of San Jose State.

The quarterback shift represented one of four changes atop this week's power rankings.

Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi regained his status as the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle for his role in the Badgers' 31-18 upset of top-ranked Ohio State. John Clay rushed for 104 yards in that game to end Ohio State's string of 29 consecutive games without allowing an individual 100-yard rusher. Carimi moved ahead of Florida State guard Rodney Hudson, whose team defeated Boston College 24-19.

"Everybody made a big deal about the 20 games that Ohio State had played without a 100-yard rusher," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said after the game. "I threw it in those guys' faces all week. I threw it at our running backs, but it all starts up front for us. For us to have success, we have to play well at the offensive line.

"I thought the leadership that Gabe Carimi and [guard] John Moffitt gave us was priceless. I can't put it into words."

Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon moved to the top of the receiver rankings after catching 10 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown in a 34-17 triumph over Texas Tech. Blackmon, who had 20 receptions last season, leads the nation in receiving yards per game (159.2) and touchdown catches (12). He took over the No. 1 position from South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery, who caught six passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in a 31-28 loss to Kentucky.

"He's very savvy," Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden said after the game. "This sounds crazy, but I don't look for him every play. Sometimes he's my third read, and I look over and he's wide open. He continues to play hard, block well and make big plays. What's most impressive about him is he's such a big guy with the ball in his hands after the catch. He makes guys miss. He's so strong. He's a great player."

Missouri's Michael Egnew took over the top spot in the tight end rankings after catching 10 passes for 87 yards in a 30-9 victory over Texas A&M. Egnew leads all tight ends in catches (49) and receiving yards (437). Egnew took over the top spot from Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph, who was removed from the power rankings after suffering a torn hamstring that will knock him out for the remainder of the season.

Oregon running back LaMichael James, LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis, Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, Oregon punt returner Cliff Harris, Boise State coach Chris Petersen, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and TCU defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas remained atop their respective positions.

The power rankings measure overall career performances as well as a player or coach's most recent results. The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how he fared the previous week. Our coordinator rankings exclude coordinators who don't call their own plays or signals.

Power Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST
Head coach | Offensive coach | Defensive coach

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.



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