1. Ole Miss
The model hasn't changed. There are tall receivers, a quarterback playing on the verge of self-destruction at any second, a running game that makes cameos once or twice a quarter, and a defense built on blistering speed.
The differences so far: Chad Kelly appears to be a much better quarterback than Bo Wallace was, the run game's foibles don't matter when you're throwing to speedy trees capable of outpacing Alabama's secondary, and the defense seems to be a step faster than last year. (And before its post-Auburn malaise, it was faaaaaaaast last year.)
This kind of thing is happening for Ole Miss, too.
You can say that's a random event we shouldn't credit supernatural spirits for, but to paraphrase Kierkegaard: just because something mystical happened in the scope of our experience does not mean it didn't happen.
The Rebels, for one night, had the master controls of the universe in their hands. Maybe they'll use them to get a proper run game and a Waffle House built closer to Oxford.
2. Notre Dame
Honestly, the Fighting Irish never looked close to challenged by Georgia Tech in a 30-22 game only made less lopsided by a noble late flurry. They looked bored, especially on defense, where they might as well have been calling out Paul Johnson's plays before they happened. Oh look, a counter option; wow, another dive play we stop for no gain. WR Will Fuller has the best push-off move in college football, and that's not even a knock on him. It's a work of art.
The polls disagree
3. Michigan State
In a marketplace of underperforming name brands, good ol' generic Michigan State continues to offer the performance you need at half the price. A 35-21 victory over an annoying Air Force doesn't look that impressive, but remember Michigan State is not about impressing anyone, ever.
Mark Dantonio is the plumber who'll come to your house at 3 in the morning in his pajamas in the dead of winter to fix a busted pipe. He won't look pretty, and he may not even speak to you, but dammit your pipe got fixed, didn't it?
One thing Michigan State might want to fix, though: its run game. Sparty didn't even get to 80 yards and averaged just 1.8 per carry. BUT WHATEVER: STRONG GENERIC AMERICAN FOOTBALLS FOR THE PEOPLE BE HERE.
4. Ohio State
#Goutwatch is so real for the Buckeyes right now. A 20-13 win over Northern Illinois leaves Ohio State undefeated and very much on track to win out, but highlights all the ailments a rich diet of easy games can let loose on the unsuspecting aristocrat.
There's having two stellar quarterbacks, neither of whom can seem to get in a rhythm, thus resulting in them playing like un-stellar quarterbacks. There's the sudden lack of play by the receivers and the struggle to get everyone the ball at once. There's the general sense that winning games by seven or 10 or 20 isn't enough anymore and that every victory means less in the face of mounting expectations.
You know, the usual symptoms of Championship Gout, a disease every successful collection of nobles must face.
5. Leonard Fournette
He beat Auburn 45-21 with 228 yards on the ground and three TDs on just 19 carries. LSU came with him. Shut up, Leonard Fournette is a team. You try to tell him he isn't. I dare you to try and do it.
It might not mean much to beat South Carolina this year, but beating a nemesis, 52-20, in a division game still gets you some credit at the company store.
NOTE: A quarterback should not go 24 for 25 pass attempts ever against an FBS defense in any context, but if he does, it probably means the other team is just a bucket of ass. The last people to do something like this were West Virginia's Geno Smith and Tennessee's Tee Martin, who hit 24 straight against the 1998 Gamecocks. That team went 1-10, and this South Carolina team is apparently more than capable of that kind of low. Steve Spurrier might want to book some fall golf dates for 2016 soon. Like, a lot of them.
Jury's still out on what struggling to pull away from SMU means, since SMU might be approaching something like "good" status. Trevone Boykin's back to mind-boggling, though, and that's a positive sign: 21 of 30, 454 yards, and five passing TDs on the day. (He also ran for one. Boykin just throws in extras for his customers all the time.)
I CAN DO THIS IF I WANT TO EVEN IF IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE AND IT DOESN'T. GO HOOSIERS, WHO BEAT WESTERN KENTUCKY 38-35 AND ARE UNDEFEATED. WE WON'T DO THIS AGAIN BUT IT FEELS SO GOOD.
- Baylor, relaxing on the bye week.
- Oregon, who looked shaky on defense against Georgia State (i.e., let GSU score more than once).
- Clemson, because beating Louisville might not mean anything.
- Florida State, which would have lost if Boston College had anything like an offense.
- Missouri, "winners" of a 9-6 game against UConn?
- Texas A&M, which knocked off Nevada while yawning theatrically.
- Oklahoma, which beat Tulsa but still hemorrhaged 603 yards of offense to the Golden Hurricane.
- Miami, which gets some praise for handing Nebraska its weekly soul-crushing loss at the wire.