BIGGEST SURPRISE: Eighth-ranked Tennessee (5--1) hasn't just shaken off last year's 5--6 disaster, the Vols have buried it. From an opening-week rout of Cal to last week's 51-point explosion at Georgia, Tennessee hasn't looked this good in years.
BIGGEST FLOP: Since its near upset of top-ranked USC last November, Fresno State (1--4) has dropped seven of eight games, including a 13--12 loss at previously winless Utah State last weekend.
COACH OF THE FIRST HALF: Despite losing record-setting quarterback Brad Smith, oft-criticized Gary Pinkel has steered Missouri to its first 6--0 start since 1973, with Smith's replacement, sophomore Chase Daniel, leading the way.
BEST MOMENT: The one-yard touchdown pass from Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (above) to tight end Tate Casey on an old-fashioned run-and-jump play against LSU last Saturday. "Did they have video in 1913?" said Gators coach Urban Meyer. "I think that's where we got that play from."
BIGGEST EMBARRASSMENT: The seasonlong rash of poor officiating that has marred the outcome of several games. The latest: a suspect pass-interference call in overtime that negated Minnesota's game-ending pass breakup against Penn State last Saturday. The Nittany Lions won 28--27.
BEST PLAYER YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF: Ball State sophomore Darius Hill leads all tight ends nationally in receiving with 551 yards and eight touchdowns.
THUMBS UP: Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, ABC's new Saturday-night games, N.C. State quarterback Daniel Evans, the Big East
THUMBS DOWN: Alabama running back Ken Darby, Michigan State coach John L. Smith, the new clock rules, Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter, the ACC
FIVE TEAMS ON THE RISE: Arkansas, Cal, Clemson, Washington, Wisconsin
FIVE LOSING STEAM: Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest