As we progress deeper into the college football slate (six weeks and counting), the usual suspects dominate the upper echelon of the rankings. New representation, however, could be on the way from the Group of Five, the so-called mid-majors who have proven themselves to be small but mighty.
The recent small-time darling, UCF, finds itself at 4-2, putting an end to thoughts of "another" national title. Who will rise in their wake?
1. Boise State (5-0)
Most Impressive Win: 36-31 @ Florida State
Player To Watch: QB Hank Bachmeier (1,489 yards, 8 TD)
The more college football changes, the more it stays the same. BSU football is back on top thanks to the efforts of true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier (2nd in the Mountain West in yardage) and redshirt junior Curtis Weaver (nation-high nine sacks). If they keep it up, another elite bowl game awaits.
2. SMU (6-0)
Most Impressive Win: 41-38 @ #25 TCU
Player To Watch: RB Xavier Jones (646 rushing yards, 13 total TD)
You want to talk about Pony Excess? The Mustangs are 10th in the nation in points (44.2 per game) and they're putting up 499 yards per game (2nd in the AAC). Adding to the fun is former Texas savior Shane Buechele, who's fifth in the nation in passing (1,665 yards).
3. Cincinnati (4-1)
Most Impressive Win: W 27-14 vs. #18 UCF
Player To Watch: QB Desmond Ridder (1,093 total yards, 10 passing TD)
The final fall of the Knights was completed by the Wildcats on Friday night with an impressive win at Nippert Stadium. Cincy also defeated Chip Kelly's new group at UCLA for the second consecutive year and a strong defensive unit (3rd in the AAC) paired with a balanced offense makes them one of the more complete teams in the nation.
4. Memphis (5-0)
Most Impressive Win: W 15-10 vs Mississippi
Player To Watch: RB Kenneth Gainwell (759 total yards, 7 total TD)
The Tigers' comparatively weaker schedule puts them at a slight disadvantage in these rankings, but with their showstopping offense (461 yards per game) and an experienced signal-caller (QB Brady White with 1,163 yards and 11 TD), the Tigers have plenty of time to impress potential new fans.
5. Appalachian State (4-0)
Most Impressive Win: 34-31 @ North Carolina
Player To Watch: LB Akeem Davis-Gaither (32 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT)
One of the handful unbeatens left in the nation, the Mountaineers are proven they're more than just a fun memory for Michigan haters all over the country. Offensively, their 47 points per game are good for fifth in the nation. ASU gives us a big welcome back to midweek football on Wednesday against Louisiana.
6. Tulane (4-1)
Most Impressive Win: 42-33 @ Army
Player To Watch: QB Justin McMillan (1,064 total yards, 11 total TD)
Tired of all the AAC representation? Well tough, because here comes a (Green) Wave of more, this one coming from program seeking redemption. Anchored by the LSU transfer in Justin McMillan, the Green Wave are seeking their first bowl streak since 1979-80 and ended one of the longest home winning streaks at West Point on Saturday.
7. Toledo (4-1)
Most Impressive Win: 28-21 vs. BYU
Player To Watch: RB Bryan Koback (628 rushing yards, 7 total TD)
Ready for some MACtion? The Rockets are flying high thanks to a rushing attack that's assisted by quarterback Mitchell Guadagni (292 yards on the ground), one that currently ranks ninth overall in the nation (264 yards per game).
8. Army (3-2)
Most Impressive Win: 31-13 @ UTSA
Player To Watch: DB Elijah Riley (30 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT)
This one might be more of a legacy award to commemorate the Black Knights' first streak of 10-win seasons in their lengthy program history, but it's still impressive to see what they've done. A narrow defeat on Saturday to Tulane ended one of the longest home winning streaks in the nation at 15.
9. Hawaii (4-1)
Most Impressive Win: 45-38 vs. Arizona
Player To Watch: QB Cole McDonald (1,629 yards, 17 TD)
Honolulu is paradise in many ways, but particularly so for gunslinging quarterbacks. Cole McDonald, the passing leader in not just the Mountain West but the nation as a whole, is doing what he can to follow in the footsteps of Colt Brennan and Timmy Chang before him.
10. Louisiana (4-1)
Most Impressive Win: 45-25 @ Ohio
Player To Watch: QB Levi Lewis (980 yards, 8 TD)
Louisiana has a big opportunity to prove themselves on the national stage when they face off against Appalachian State on Wednesday night. They're currently tops in the Sun Belt for offensive output, notching 540 yards per game, and boast top rushers Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell, who have united for 950 yards and 15 touchdowns already.