The Red River Rivalry and Heisman Level achievements kick off week 6 of college football action.
Florida's first-year coach beat rival Tennessee in September and one of six best opponents to open October. The Florida coach could be Dan Mullen, who has the surprising Gators at 5-1 after beating LSU No. 6 27-29.
The Florida coach could also be Mullen's predecessor Jim McElwain, who scored a similar number in his debut season of 2015 with victories over the volunteers and then-no. 5 Mississippi led the Gators to a SEC East Division title and place in the last Amway Coaches Poll.
In other words, we have already seen this act. Why is 2018 different?
It was with cautious optimism that Mullen's term began, and for good reason. He helped Urban Meyer lead Gators to a pair of national championships as Meyer's top assistant. He did a minor miracle as he turned the Mississippi state into a real national challenger and even made the Bulldogs top of the 2014 College Football Playoff Rankings.
And Mullen has fulfilled this optimism. September included a loss for Kentucky, a very rare setback for the Gators in the series, but also with gains against Tennessee and a Colorado State team dismantling Arkansas. Now, one week in October, Mullen has achieved the kind of victory that could provide an early and important endorsement for a new coach and his staff.
GATORS CELEBRATE: Trickery, Defense Aid Florida Edge No. 6 LSU 27-19
QUICK START: Alabama scores two touchdowns the first three games against Arkansas
When Mullen has the Gators in the top 25 What does that say at the time of his first season about the potential of this program? Ignore that the same question was posed by McElwain during his debut. Despite the parallels, Mullen's experience and track record as head coach in the SEC support the idea that Florida occupies places.
Here are the remaining winners and losers of Saturday:
The rivalry against Oklahoma is the kind of moment that could change the course of this series and the Longhorns program. Forerunner was quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who threw 314 yards and two scores with another 72 yards and three touchdowns to the ground. Texas is suddenly a player in the Big 12 race and the College Football playoff.
EPIC WIN: Texas beat Oklahoma in Classic also a big win for Big 12
North Carolina State
The Wolfpack speak for it, the second-best team on the Atlantic Coast To be conference. The 28-23 win on Saturday against Boston College marked the first real test of the NC state season, which began with a series of profitable games against less talented competitors, and should open some eyes in the ACC as we delve deeper into the Go to October. Senior quarterback Ryan Finley was as good as advertised for the Wolfpack. After a goodbye? A Showdown with Clemson
Are the Hurricanes thrilled to win a 28-27 win over a Florida State team that wobbles between miserable and average in the first month of Willie Taggart's tenure? Probably not ecstatic, no. But Miami has still found enough in the tank to tease out a close win against its rival in their own country, in a series that has recently gone the way of the Seminoles. Any victory against FSU, no matter how it unfolds, is a banner day for Miami.
The 34-24 win at Central Michigan pulled the Bulls to 5-1, the best start of the year since joining the Football Bowl subdivision. After a ridiculous 109-6 during eight seasons in Wisconsin-Whitewater, a Division III program, Buffalo's Lance Leipold proves he's one of the best coaches in college football.
It's just a loss, and in that sense will not have much of an impact on the team's hopes after the season: OU can still go into the playoff by running the table. The loss to Texas, on the other hand, does not feel that great. The loss also revealed some serious concerns over the game of a defense that has been far below average for far too long and which Sooners paints almost like a national championship charmer.
It's pretty standard of Missouri to outsmart South Carolina by more 100 yards, run for 6.2 yards per carry, while the Gamecocks go for 2.7, start a future NFL starter in Drew Lock against the baking boards quarterback, hit the go-ahead field goal with 78 seconds left … and still lose. That's how Missouri works. South Carolina's 37-35 win will be a hard one for the Tigers.
Speaking of expected: Syracuse has launched Clemson last week and then goes on to lose to Pittsburgh on Saturday. That too is a must for the course for the orange. Now 4: 2, Syracuse is on a bowl game, but probably will not be back in the Amway Coaches Poll to prevent a hot streak at the start of the second half of the regular season.
So much for the Spartans are a factor in the Big Ten. The home defeat on Saturday against Northwestern should put Michigan State out of the Coaches Poll and be the final disappointment for a fanbase that had expected much more from Mark Dantonio's team in 2018. The Spartans were a mess.
ANOTHER STUMBLE: No. 19 Michigan State Lackluster in Loss to Northwestern
The Broncos hopes for a New Year's Six Bowl suffered a fatal hit in a 19-13 loss to San Diego State, who won on a tough path environment despite the backup quarterback and running back. That loss joins a previous setback against Oklahoma State to leave Boise State at 3-2, which is hugely disappointing for a team that was detained in the preseason as one of the best in the group of five conferences.