Love ya, Stephon Tuitt. And your game Saturday might have been the best of your career. But we're kidding ourselves if we think anyone other than No. 5 is in this conversation after the midway point of the season.
Manti Te'o, linebacker: He is shooting up every national ranking after another remarkable defensive stand, one led by the man in the middle. With his parents in the stands after making the trip from Hawaii, Te'o notched a game-high 11 tackles, and the Irish defense withstood four straight Stepfan Taylor overtime rushes from inside the 5-yard line, as sure a sign as any that it can compete with the elite. "Those are moments that you remember," Te'o said after the win, "and I think that you remember it's one of the most gritty, just get-after-it defenses."