Oklahoma's going to need some help to move to the top of the rankings after losing to Colorado two weeks ago, but the Sooners still lead the way with three selections on the Rivals.com midseason All-America team.
Ryan and new offensive coordinator Steve Logan may be on the verge of rivaling David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez as the most dynamic duo in Boston. Ryan already has thrown 15 touchdown passes, matching his 2006 season total. He ranks third in the nation with 1,857 passing yards and has led the undefeated Eagles to a No. 4 ranking, their highest position since 1984.
In action:Matt Ryan video highlights
McFadden's value becomes more and more obvious every week. When he's on the field, Arkansas looks unbeatable. When he goes to the sideline with nagging injuries, the Razorbacks let leads slip through their fingers. McFadden has rushed for at least 122 yards in every game this year and ranks third in the nation at 155.8 rushing yards per game.
In action:Darren McFadden video highlights
When Michigan was making headlines for all the wrong reasons after losing its first two games, Hart boldly guaranteed a win over Notre Dame the following week. Michigan's leading career rusher backed up his big talk by rushing for 187 yards against the Irish and has carried the Wolverines on his back since. Hart leads the nation with 179 carries and 976 total rushing yards; he's second in the nation with his average of 162.7 rushing yards per game.
In action:Mike Hart video highlights
Crabtree has played so well so early in his career that he still doesn't know the frustration of merely reaching the end zone once in a game. Crabtree has scored at least twice in every game this season and already has set an NCAA freshman record with 17 touchdown catches. Crabtree leads the nation in touchdown receptions as well as overall catches (70) and receiving yards (1,047).
In action:Michael Crabtree video highlights
Kelly got off to a huge start this season by catching seven touchdown passes in the Sooners' first three games. He cooled off in late September and was held without a catch in a loss to Colorado, but Kelly showed his flair for delivering in big games last week by catching the winning touchdown pass against Texas. Eight of Kelly's 22 catches this season have resulted in touchdowns.
You can argue that Beckum doesn't fit the classic definition of a tight end because he frequently lines up wide, but you can't quarrel with his production. Beckum has 41 catches for 485 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Badgers in all three categories. He has caught 21 passes for 292 yards in his past two games.
In action:Travis Beckum video highlights
Baker could have been taken in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft, but instead decided to return for a fourth year as the Trojans' starting left tackle. USC sure is glad to have him back this season. Baker has anchored a line that has allowed USC to average nearly 5.5yards per carry without having a feature back.
In action:Sam Baker video highlights
Mike Hart said he wouldn't have returned for his senior season if Long hadn't also returned. Long has spent the entire season rewarding Hart's faith in him. He has led a line that has helped Hart emerge as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. Long's line also stepped up its performance to protect freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett after Chad Henne suffered an early-season injury.
In action:Jake Long video highlights
We sensed Mack had a bright future last year when he helped pave the way for Cal to rush for 241 yards in a Holiday Bowl rout of Texas A&M. Mack has picked up right where he left off by helping the Golden Bears average 5.7 yards per carry this season. California also ranks fifth in the nation in fewest sacks allowed.
In action:Alex Mack video highlights
Robinson and tackle Phil Loadholt have teamed up to give the Sooners one of the best lines in the nation. Only Tennessee has allowed fewer sacks than Oklahoma. Robinson's solid blocking also has allowed the Sooners to run effectively no matter who is carrying the ball.
This third-year starter has provided a physical presence that has helped make Purdue one of the nation's most explosive offenses. Purdue had scored at least 33 points in each of its first five games before falling 23-7 to Ohio State last week. Grimes has been a second-team All-Big Ten selection each of the past two years, but he should be in line for more prestigious honors this season.
The son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long eventually could follow his father to NFL stardom. For the moment, he is leading Virginia's improbable quest for the ACC Coastal Division title. Long has seven sacks already, including one on a fourth-down play that helped seal the Cavaliers' victory over defending division champion Georgia Tech.
In action:Chris Long video highlights
There hasn't been a more dominant pass rusher this season than this lightly recruited prospect who signed with USF as a center. Selvie has 10½ sacks and 18 tackles for losses to lead the nation in both categories. Selvie is averaging more sacks per game by himself than 67 of the 120 I-A teams.
Dorsey has done nothing to dispute the growing perception that he's the best overall player in college football, regardless of position. Dorsey is the rare defensive tackle who ranks second on his team in solo tackles. He has 30 overall tackles and four sacks as the best player on a team that leads the nation in total defense.
In action:Glenn Dorsey video highlights
Ellis has collected a team-high 5.5 tackles for losses. He also has four sacks and four pass breakups to share the team lead in both categories. Ellis had a huge game last week with six tackles and three sacks against Stanford in a performance that illustrated how Ellis plays his best when the Trojans need him most.
In action:Sedrick Ellis video highlights
Dizon is perhaps the biggest reason Colorado ranks among the nation's most improved teams. Dizon leads the nation in solo tackles (51) and overall tackles (78), but he hasn't exactly been stockpiling tackles against inferior opponents. Dizon had a 15-tackle, two-sack performance against undefeated Arizona State before recording nine tackles and a sack in the Buffs' upset of Oklahoma.
In action:Jordon Dizon video highlights
Leman ranks fifth in the nation with 71 tackles and has come up huge in the Illini's biggest games. He opened the season with a 20-tackle effort against Missouri, made a critical interception in a victory over Penn State and recorded 12 tackles last week to help Illinois beat Wisconsin. Leman is on pace to lead the Big Ten in tackles for the second consecutive season.
Laurinaitis earned a label as a big-play performer last season and has added to that reputation this fall. He picked off two passes in Ohio State's 33-14 triumph over Washington and recorded a sack in three consecutive games earlier this season. Laurinaitis has seven interceptions since he took over as a starter in 2006.
In action:James Laurinaitis video highlights
This third-year starter has established himself as one of the nation's top shutdown corners. Jenkins held Purdue's Dorien Bryant to a pair of catches for minus-4 yards last week in the latest example of how he can turn a star receiver into a nonfactor. Jenkins has picked off two passes and has emerged as a major reason the Buckeyes lead the nation in scoring defense and rank third in pass-efficiency defense.
The season's only halfway over, but Smith already has been honored as the Big 12 defensive player of the week twice. Smith earned his second player of the week award after deflecting two passes and delivering a 33-yard interception return against Texas. Smith already had demonstrated his big-play capability earlier by scoring on a 61-yard fumble return against Miami.
Silva and CB DeJuan Tribble have teamed up to form one of the nation's top ball-hawking duos in the secondary. Silva tied a school single-game record last week by intercepting three passes against Bowling Green. Silva ranks second in the nation with five interceptions and also has a team-high 49 tackles.
His three-interception performance in a season-opening victory over Mississippi State set the tone for a season in which Steltz constantly has shown a nose for the ball. Steltz leads the Tigers in solo tackles (31), total tackles (41), interceptions (four) and forced fumbles (two).
In action:Craig Steltz video highlights
Waters is tied for the NCAA Division I-A lead with 14 field goals and has made 87.5 percent of his attempts, including a perfect 3-for-3 from 50 yards or longer. He set a school single-game record in a 22-0 victory over Alcorn State by kicking five field goals, including a 52-yarder that tied another school record. Waters also serves as UAB's punter and has averaged 41 yards per attempt. Ten of his 30 punts have been downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
Brooks ranks sixth in the nation with his punting average of 46 yards per attempt, but he's actually faring better than those numbers suggest. Only 10 of his 33 punts have been returned, which has allowed Georgia Tech to lead the nation in net punting average. Plus, half his punts have been downed inside the opponent's 20. Brooks, who attended junior college at Georgia Military, is on pace to set a school record for single-season punting average.
Jones isn't the best running back on his team, but he's still one of the best running backs in the nation. Jones has rushed for 631 yards and averaged an astounding 10.5 yards per carry while teaming with Darren McFadden to give Arkansas the nation's second-ranked rushing offense. Jones also is an electrifying special-teams performer who already has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season.
In action:Felix Jones video highlights
We wanted to use this spot to reward a versatile special-teams player who has proved himself equally adept at returning punts and kickoffs. James fits the bill as one of only three players (Utah State's Kevin Robinson and Central Michigan's Antonio Brown are the others) who rank in the top 20 in kickoff- and punt- return average. James is eighth in punt-return average (18.9) and 16th in kick-return average (29.3). He scored on an 83-yard punt return in a 59-20 victory over Tennessee.