Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon often was his own worst enemy last season. Now he's the biggest nemesis for every Pac-10 rival.
Dixon threw four touchdown passes Saturday in a 35-23 victory over previously unbeaten Arizona State before leaving in the fourth quarter with a leg injury that isn't considered serious. Dixon's performance made him the new No. 1 quarterback in the Rivals.com Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top players and coaches at each position.
One year ago, Dixon threw more interceptions than touchdown passes and was benched in the midst of a four-game losing streak that ended the season. Dixon has emerged as one of the nation's most improved players this season, as he has thrown 20 touchdown passes with only three interceptions.
Dixon has thrown for 2,074 yards and has rushed for 549 yards while directing an offense that averages 42.8 points per game. He took the top spot in the quarterback rankings from Boston College's Matt Ryan, who threw three interceptions in a 27-17 loss to Florida State.
"Our offense is like a big ball," Dixon said after the Arizona State game. "Once we get rolling, it's hard to stop us."
McFadden tied a Southeastern Conference single-game record Saturday by rushing for 321 yards in a 48-36 triumph over South Carolina. The 2006 Heisman Trophy runner-up ran for a touchdown and also threw a touchdown pass in that game, which helped him rise to the top of our running back rankings.
The Arkansas junior moved ahead of Oregon's Jonathan Stewart, who rushed for 99 yards against Arizona State.
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.
By the end of the season, our power rankings should provide an accurate indicator of which players and coaches were the best at their respective positions.