After going 4-7 last season, the Deacs lost their starting quarterback, Ben Mauk, for the season (broken arm) in Week 1. Then they lost starting running back Micah Andrews (knee) in Week 3. But last week they went on the road and stomped Ole Miss 27-3, improving their record to 4-0 (with each win coming against a BCS conference team).
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Michigan's front seven
Many believe that the Wolverines have always had the athletes on defense but lacked the right man to lead them. This year, under new defensive coordinator Ron English, Michigan's defense has noticeably increased its aggressiveness and possesses a swagger reminiscent of the Charles Woodson-led 1997 group. The Wolverines lead the nation in rushing defense, giving up only 18.5 yards per game.
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When Missouri lost dynamic four-year starter Brad Smith, the offense was supposed to sputter. But sophomore Chase Daniel has carried Missouri to a surprising 4-0 start, throwing for 1,020 yards and nine touchdowns (to two interceptions) and running for 100 yards and three scores.
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He showed flashes of greatness last season, rushing for 678 yards and four touchdowns, but it's hard to say that anyone outside of the state of Idaho expected him to dominate like he has this season. The 5-foot-11 Boise State speedster ranks third in the country with 156.5 rushing yards per game. He torched Oregon State for 240 yards and five touchdowns in just 22 carries.
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Louisville's starless offense
In the first half of the season opener, Heisman Trophy candidate RB Michael Bush broke his leg, effectively ending his season. Yet Louisville still ranks seventh nationally with 249.5 rushing yards per game. A second Heisman trophy candidate (QB Brian Brohm) went down in the third quarter against Miami, but the Cardinals continue to roll with backup QB Hunter Cantwell (left).
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Last year, in his debut season with Washington, Tyrone Willingham went 2-9. His Huskies weren't expected to fair much better this season, but coming off a 29-19 win over previously unbeaten UCLA, Washington is 3-1, with its only loss coming at No. 16 Oklahoma.
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Voted into the AP Top 25 (No. 23) for the first time in 30 years, Rutgers is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1980. The Scarlet Knights eked out a 21-16 win over North Carolina in the opener and pummeled Illinois, Ohio and Howard. Rutgers' key is its dynamic backfield duo of RB Ray Rice and FB Brian Leonard.
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Dan Hawkins' debut
After building Boise State into a mini-powerhouse, Dan Hawkins came into Boulder with big goals in mind. But almost a month into his new job, he has yet to taste victory. Colorado even lost to Division I-AA Montana State.
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Ohio State's defense
Having lost nine starters from last year's team, the defense was supposed to be Ohio State's weakness. But the Buckeyes have given up only 32 points in four games. The no-name D is led by big-play linebacker James Laurinaitis, who paces Ohio State with 36 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.
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Off to a 1-2 start, the Hurricanes are out of the AP poll for the first time in six years. Miami was untouchable at the turn of the millennium, with coach Larry Coker winning 24 of his first 25 games, including the 2001 national title. But now the 'Canes have lost four of their last six, and Coker has received the bulk of the criticism. While Coker's players have come to his defense, it's possible that this could be his last year.
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