BEASTS OF THE EAST
—No. 18 Louisville (5-0)
So far: QB Teddy Bridgewater and the offense have been as good as advertised.
Key remaining games: Cincinnati (Oct. 26); at Rutgers (Nov. 29).
—No. 20 Rutgers (5-0)
So far: Feisty defense and RB Jawan Jamison runs for 100 yards every week.
Key remaining games: at Cincinnati (Nov. 17); Louisville (Nov. 29)
—No. 21 Cincinnati (4-0)
So far: The Bearcats best win is against Virginia Tech, which isn't what it used to be.
Key remaining games: at Louisville (Oct. 26); Rutgers (Nov. 17).
Forecast: The Big East race figures to be fun, especially if these three can avoid being upset in their other games. But it's hard to see any of them making it through the season unbeaten.
No. 23 Louisiana Tech (5-0)
So far: The Bulldogs are the best team most of the country hasn't seen, averaging 53 points per game.
Key remaining games: vs. Texas A&M (Oct 13); Utah State (Nov. 17); at San Jose State (Nov. 24).
So far: Four wins by 10 points or less.
Key remaining games: at Miami, Ohio (Oct. 27); at Kent State (Nov. 23).
Forecast: If La Tech can beat Texas A&M, it's on the fast-track to becoming the third Western Athletic Conference team, along with Boise State and Hawaii, to earn an automatic BCS bid — and leave the conference. As for the Bobcats from the Mid-American Conference, their last four games are on a Thursday, a Thursday, a Wednesday and a Friday. MACtion at its best.
At least for a week, Arkansas' John L. Smith isn't the SEC coach catching the most grief. Auburn's Gene Chizik has taken his place.
The Tigers bottomed out, at least they hope, Saturday in a 24-7 loss to Arkansas. The Razorbacks came in with the worst defense in the conference and recorded eight sacks and five takeaways. Chizik apologized for his team's performance.
Auburn (1-4, 0-3) owns the worst offense in the SEC and the third-worst defense, ahead of only Kentucky and Arkansas. Not good company.
Chizik guided Auburn to the national title in 2010 with Cam Newton at quarterback and Gus Malzahn as offensive coordinator.
Newton was one-and-done. Malzahn left after last season to take the Arkansas State job, and the offense has been a wreck.
Road trips to Ole Miss and Vanderbilt could either ease the pressure or ramp it up to code red.
It might not be fair to take away that championship season from Chizik's record, but the fact is, without it he's 17-14 at Auburn, and 7-12 in the SEC. His contract runs through 2015 and the buyout is reportedly about $7.5 million.
It would seem rash to fire a coach two years removed from winning a national title, but with Nick Saban ruling an empire at Alabama, patience on the Plains will be short.
— It would seem Boston College, 1-4 and coming off a four-win season, is on the way to firing coach Frank Spaziani after the Eagles lost 34-31 at Army. First, though, BC has to hire a replacement for athletic director Gene DeFilippo, who announced in August he was stepping down on Sept. 30.
— Iowa State might have the best pair of linebackers in the Big 12 in Jake Knott and A.J. Klein. They'll test Collin Klein and Kansas State in Ames on Saturday.
— Texas-San Antonio, led by former Miami coach Larry Coker, is 5-0 in its transition season to FCS. It's a nice start, but for perspective on UTSA's competition to this point, the Roadrunners are three-point underdogs at Rice on Saturday. The Owls are 1-5.
Florida running back Mike Gillislee isn't flashy, but he leads the SEC in rushing at 110 yards per game and has scored seven touchdowns.
Is he a Heisman Trophy contender, Coach Muschamp?
"We're in the fifth game of the year," he said Monday. "Next question."