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November 18, 2008

Power rankings: Spikes shoots to 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

Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes had no problem sharing the credit after his touchdown on a 12-yard interception return set the tone for the Gators' 56-6 blowout of South Carolina.

"[Linebacker] Brandon Hicks put pressure on [South Carolina quarterback Chris] Smelley, and I was able to step in front of the ball and make a play," Spikes said. "My hat goes off to my teammates, who are playing relentlessly right now."

Spikes might want to downplay his accomplishments, but that won't stop us from saluting the All-America candidate.

His second interception return for a touchdown this season he also scored against LSU last month helped Spikes regain his status as the No. 1 linebacker in the Rivals.com College Football Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top players and coaches at each position.

Spikes moved ahead of Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon, who recorded nine tackles Saturday in a 52-20 triumph over Iowa State. Although Weatherspoon has better overall statistics than Spikes, Spikes' status as the leader of one of the nation's top defenses made him the choice as the No. 1 linebacker.

"The effort was outstanding," Spikes said of the Gators' performance against South Carolina. "I knew we would play well because we had a good week of practice. We were in the right place all day and made plays."

Spikes' rise was the only change at the top of the power rankings.

Players and coaches remaining atop their respective positions were Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell, Iowa running back Shonn Greene, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Missouri tight end Chase Coffman, Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith, Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo, Tennessee strong safety Eric Berry, Florida State kicker Graham Gano, Alabama coach Nick Saban, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and USC defensive coordinator Nick Holt.

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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