A much-improved defense is the key to Northwestern's first 5--0 start since
1962. Under new coordinator Mike Hankwitz, the Wildcats rank ninth nationally
in scoring defense (12.4 points per game), up from 88th a year ago, and with 17
sacks are just one short of last season's total.
BYU (4--0) is up to seventh in the coaches poll and eighth in the AP poll.
Traditionally, an unofficial ceiling has been placed on non-BCS teams (in 2004
undefeated Utah peaked at No. 4), but increased respect for the Mountain West
could prompt voters to treat the Cougars more generously.
No. 4 Missouri's defense ranks 79th in yards allowed, but the Tigers (4--0) say
that's because their offense scores so quickly. We'll soon find out if that's
the case: They face top 20 passers Joe Ganz (Nebraska), Zac Robinson (Oklahoma
State) and Colt McCoy (Texas) in their next three games.