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Original Issue

Stewart Mandel's Two-Minute Drill

SIZING UP the first half of the 2005 season:

BIGGEST SURPRISE: UCLA. There was preseason buzz about Alabama and Penn State, but no one was talking about the Bruins. Following a 47-40 win over Cal in which Maurice Drew (right) scored five touchdowns, UCLA stands 5-0 with a realistic shot at reaching 9-0.

BIGGEST FLOP: Michigan. A preseason top five team loaded at the skill positions, the Wolverines have unexpectedly sputtered on offense behind sophomore quarterback Chad Henne, resulting in their worst start (3-3) since 1990.

COACH OF THE FIRST HALF: Bobby Bowden. Despite losing its starting quarterback, a top defensive tackle and an All-America cornerback over the summer, Florida State is off to a 5-0 start, with improbable wins over Miami and Boston College.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: Texas quarterback Vince Young's 24-yard touchdown pass to wideout Limas Sweed with 2:37 left at Ohio State, officially debunking the myths that Young couldn't win with his arm and that the Horns couldn't win a big game.

WORST MOMENT: Virginia tackle Brad Butler running into the back of Boston College defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka's knees at the end of a play last Saturday. Despite the apparent cheap shot (as of Monday, Kiwanuka's status for this week's game against Wake Forest was uncertain), Butler was neither penalized nor pulled from the game.

BEST PLAYER YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF: Colorado State running back Kyle Bell (left). The sophomore has run for 520 yards and five touchdowns during the Rams' current three-game winning streak.

THUMBS-UP: Penn State coach Joe Paterno, USC running back LenDale White, Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle, instant replay, BeamerBall.

THUMBS-DOWN: Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione, Tennessee offensive coordinator Randy Sanders, Ohio State wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., 20-minute halftimes, two-quarterback rotations.

FIVE TEAMS ON THE RISE: Texas Tech, Boston College, Oregon, Auburn, Baylor.

FIVE TEAMS ABOUT TO FALL: Georgia, LSU, Michigan State, Wisconsin, West Virginia.

Three and Out

1. Miami may have found the breakaway running back it's been missing. Sophomore Andrew Johnson, whom Hurricanes coach Larry Coker had considered redshirting, entered last week's 52-7 win over Duke in the fourth quarter and broke a 46-yard run on his first carry.

2. Louisville's stunning 45-14 loss to South Florida on Sept. 24 is looking more and more like an aberration. The Cardinals (4-1) blitzed respectable North Carolina 69-14 last Saturday. Defensive end Elvis Dumervil has more than twice as many sacks (14) as any other player in the country.

3. If you like plenty of scoring, watch Northwestern. The Wildcats, led by freshman sensation Tyrell Sutton (right)--the nation's second-leading rusher--boast not only one of the country's best offenses (513.8 yards per game, No. 6 nationally) but also one of its worst defenses (509.2 yards, No. 116), resulting in a lot of games like the team's 51-48 win over Wisconsin last Saturday.