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November 21, 2006

Foster has Hokies defense back on track

Rivals.com Power Rankings
Week 12 Video Highlights
The College Football Wire

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Virginia Tech won't end the season atop the ACC Coastal Division standings, but its defensive coordinator just might finish atop the Rivals.com College Football Power Rankings.

The Hokies' late-season surge has moved Bud Foster back atop the power rankings, which measure the nation's best players and coaches at each position. Foster moved ahead of Ohio State's Jim Heacock, whose team defeated Michigan 42-39 last week.

Foster was rated as the No. 1 defensive coordinator early this season before tumbling down the charts after the Hokies' 38-27 loss to Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech followed that up with a 22-3 loss to Boston College that dropped the Hokies' record to 4-2.

The Hokies have since regrouped to become the hottest team in the ACC, though Georgia Tech already has clinched the Coastal Division title.

Virginia Tech has allowed a total of 29 points during its current five-game winning streak, including a 27-6 triumph over Wake Forest last week. The Hokies have scored a defensive touchdown in each of their last two games.

The Hokies are allowing just 10.2 points per game to lead the nation in scoring defense. They're also ranked second in total defense and second in pass-efficiency defense.

Foster's move to the No. 1 spot on the list of defensive coordinators represented the only change at the top of the power rankings.

Players or coaches maintaining their status as the best at their respective positions included Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Wisconsin tight end Travis Beckum, Clemson defensive lineman Gaines Adams, Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis, California defensive back Daymeion Hughes, California punt returner DeSean Jackson, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel and Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe.

The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week depending on how they fared the previous Saturday, but the power rankings measure their overall careers as well as their most recent performances.

For example, McFadden gained just 3.2 yards per carry in a 28-14 victory over Mississippi State last week though he also scored on a 92-yard kickoff return. Michigan's Mike Hart rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-39 loss to Ohio State.

Hart certainly had the better week, but we believe McFadden is the better player. That's why McFadden remained atop our list of running backs.

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.

Click here to check out the complete rankings after Week 12.

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