Group of 5 and Independent Top 10: BYU Goes to 1


2. Temple Owls

Temple opened 2015 with two games that could be called statement wins. In Week 1, the Owls teed off on future NFL draftee quarterback Christian Hackenberg for their first defeat of Penn State in 74 years.

In Week 2, Temple took an early advantage in the American Athletic Conference championship race with a 34-26 defeat of Cincinnati that was more dominant than the final score.

The Owl defense was again feisty, but the real story was the 193-yard rushing performance from Jahad Thomas. He paced Temple’s 21-point, third-quarter eruption.

1. BYU Cougars

Extracurricular activities aside, BYU arguably has the best two-game start in all of college football.

While other programs have opened with one or two tune-ups, BYU kicked off the season at Nebraska, where a Week 1 visitor hadn’t won in 30 years; then came home to face the Group of Five’s reigning New Year’s Six representative.

With games against UCLA and Michigan still to come, BYU could have easily started 0-4. Instead, the Cougars have roared to Top 20 placement and are just two wins shy of igniting some very real Playoff buzz.

It hasn’t been easy. Both wins came on remarkable touchdown passes in the final minute.

Quarterback Tanner Mangum’s play in Taysom Hill’s stead has been inspired, particularly in those end-of-game situations. The Week 3 matchup with UCLA has two of the nation’s best freshmen on opposite sides at quarterback.