1. The Big Ten needn't worry about No. 1 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan State failing to match expectations, not as long as No. 13 Northwestern continues to play its brand of defense. The Wildcats have allowed a total of 25 points, 13 in the first quarter, in their five victories. No opponent has thrown or rushed for 200 yards, and Northwestern has created 10 turnovers. FYI, as the Wildcats prepare to travel to Michigan: The last time they began the season 6-0, 1962, they rose to No. 1 in the AP poll.
2. I know this was discussed in the preseason, but seeing it in action is even more, uh, remarkable? Frustrating? No. 8 Alabama didn't play its first game on the opposing team's campus until Week 5. No. 9 Texas A&M won't do so until Week 8. And special recognition to No. 3 Baylor, which will reach Week 10 without playing anyone more dangerous than SMU or Kansas in an away game. I keep hoping the neutral-site games in NFL stadiums will run their course and we will return to home-and-home deals. Here's to the playoff selection committee rewarding road wins more than neutral-site wins.
3. The Group of 5 representative in one of the major bowl games is looking more and more as if it will come out of the American West. Memphis, Navy and Houston are among the 20 undefeated FBS teams, and all three have tough non-conference opponents. Memphis plays at No. 14 Ole Miss on Oct. 17; Houston already has won at Louisville and has Vanderbilt scheduled on Oct. 31; and Navy plays at No. 15 Notre Dame this week. The Midshipmen also must travel to Memphis and Houston in conference play. Don't forget: The West winner may face Temple, also undefeated and leading the American East.