spotlight Gators and Buckeyes rise, Auburn stumbles: Top 10 college football storylines Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel Oct 8, 2019 0 Facebook Twitter SMS Email Print Save Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel checks out the top 10 things we learned during the college football weekend. Dan Mullen has returned Florida to national prominence The Gators improved to 16-3 under Dan Mullen after overwhelming Auburn and quarterback Bo Nix with a suffocating defense that forced four turnovers and limited the Tigers to a single touchdown. It was the third win over a top-10 team since Mullen arrived in 2018, and it moved Florida into the College Football Playoff semifinal discussion. Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel Auburn will only go as far as Bo Nix allows Auburn quarterback Bo Nix looked like a true freshman vs. Florida, throwing three interceptions while completing just 40% of his passes as the Tigers’ offense struggled against a top-10 defense. All five of Nix’s interceptions this season have come on the road, with two of those turnovers coming in the red zone. James Gilbert/Getty Images Ohio State has a championship defense Defense was Ohio State’s Achilles heel last season, with the team ranked No. 71 in the nation in total defense. This season the Buckeyes have played lights out on defense, ranked third in the nation, after allowing just eight points and 234 yards per game. The last four teams to win the national championship all featured top-10 defenses. Jamie Sabau/Getty Images Michigan can win despite itself The Wolverines sacked Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley eight times while forcing four turnovers and limiting the Hawkeyes to just a field goal. The Wolverines’ offense, however, continued to struggle and is ranked No. 93 nationally in total offense. Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson ranks eighth among Big Ten quarterbacks with a passer rating of 131.8. Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press Wisconsin is winning games the old-school way Wisconsin earned nine sacks and tailback Jonathan Taylor rushed for four touchdowns during a shutout win over Kent State. It was the third shutout this year and the first time the program has recorded three shutouts in a season since 1937. The Badgers are grinding out wins with a suffocating defense and power run game that could propel them to a Big Ten title. Dylan Buell/Getty Images The Pac-12 has no dominant team Washington’s loss to unranked Stanford effectively eliminated the Huskies from College Football Playoff semifinal consideration. Oregon, which survived Cal during the weekend, must win out if the league hopes to send a team to the semifinals for the first time since 2016. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images Baylor could be wild card in the Big 12 The Baylor Bears were projected to finish sixth in the Big 12 behind powers Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa State, TCU and Oklahoma State. But halfway through the season, Baylor is a perfect 5-0 for the first time since 2016 thanks, in part, to a physical defense that is allowing only 16 points and 300 yards per game. Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle Death, taxes and unpredictability in ACC Coastal are only certainties in life While Clemson appears a lock to win the Atlantic Division, the Coastal remains a mystery. Virginia, the front-runner, is coming off a loss to Notre Dame. Virginia Tech and Miami, expected to challenge for the Coastal crown, have struggled. North Carolina and Pitt are next in line. Clemson could easily face a team with multiple losses in the league championship game. Al Diaz/Miami Herald Cincinnati, SMU ready to challenge for Group of 5 superiority Cincinnati and SMU earned statement wins as the Bearcats upended UCF at home while the Mustangs got a miraculous catch by James Proche to remain perfect. The two American Athletic Conference teams could challenge Boise State in the race for a spot in a New Year’s Six Access Bowl game. Joe Robbins/Getty Images Chip Kelly and UCLA continue to underwhelm Chip Kelly was one of the most sought-after coaches before being hired by UCLA in 2018. But since arriving in Los Angeles, the Bruins have been downright awful while posting a 4-13 record, including a 48-31 loss to Oregon State. 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