Winner: Dan Mullen gets a signature win
After Florida lost to Kentucky, there were some ready to jump off the Dan Mullen bandwagon. If you did, shame on you, because Mullen has the Gators playing their best football of the year. Florida handed LSU their first loss of the season with a 27-19 win in The Swamp that had the most passion from the fans in a long time. The excitement is back in Gainesville as Mullen is doing his best to make fans forget about the miserable job done by his predecessor, Jim McElwain. More big wins are coming for Mullen and this was the big sign that Mullen is the right man to narrow the gap between the Gators and Georgia in the SEC East.
Loser: Florida State finds a new way to lose to Miami
Florida State couldn’t wait to kick Jimbo Fisher out of town and welcome in Willie Taggart, but halfway into his first season in Tallahassee, it’s been nothing short of a three-alarm dumpster fire. The Noles dropped to 3-3 after blowing a 20-point third-quarter lead over rival Miami that saw them lose 28-27. Of the three losses for Florida State this year (Virginia Tech, Syracuse), this one is easily the most painful and FSU fans have to be wondering if they can start a GoFundMe to raise funds to pay for Taggart’s reported $20 million buyout.
Winner: The Pac-12’s only undefeated team, Colorado
Does anyone outside Boulder realize the Buffs are undefeated?! This is the most underappreciated 5-0 team in America. I know the schedule hasn’t been lined with great teams, but they’ve done what they’re supposed to do against teams they’re supposed to beat. Quarterback Steven Montez threw four touchdowns, including a pair to Laviska Shenault who also ran for a pair of scores in the 28-21 win over Arizona State. He literally was the entire scoring offense for Colorado.
Loser: Chip Kelly and UCLA inch closer to irrelevancy
I was excited for UCLA and their fans when they hired Chip Kelly in the offseason. Kelly was one of the best college coaches in the nation during his time at Oregon, but his return to the college game has been a disaster so far. Kelly is still searching for his first win after the Bruins fell to Washington, albeit by only seven in a game that was closer than anticipated. Worse yet, the stadium was half full for an afternoon kickoff against a Top 10 opponent. It would appear the fans have already given up on Kelly halfway into his first season in Westwood.
Winner: Dwayne Haskins’ Heisman chances
How many programs could lose their conference’s all-time touchdown leader and his replacement is even better? That appears to be the case at Ohio State where Dwayne Haskins is putting up ridiculous numbers in his first year as J.T. Barrett’s successor. Barrett left Ohio State as the Big Ten’s all-time touchdown leader, but Haskins is trying to catch up in a hurry. Hawkins matched a program record with six touchdowns in the 49-26 win over Indiana that saw him complete 33-of-44 passes for a whopping 455 yards. What is this the Big 12?!
Loser: Michigan State
Is there a bigger disappointment so far this year than Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartans? A preseason Top 15 team, the Spartans barely got past Utah State in the opener before losing at Arizona State. Wins against Indiana and Central Michigan did little to instill the fans with much optimism and after blowing a five-point third-quarter lead to Northwestern, they are sure to fall out of the Top 25 and their Big Ten title hopes are on life support. I’m ready to proclaim them dead, but I’ll save that for Penn State next week who is going to blast the Spartans into oblivion.