The AFC South pretty much has been the province of the Colts and Texans in recent years. Even though Houston fell apart last season, it's not a big surprise it has emerged as the only challenger to Indianapolis in the division this year.
Last week, Arizona, Mississippi, Mississippi State and TCU gave the AP Top 25 an extreme makeover with huge victories. This week, the Wildcats, Rebels, Bulldogs and Horned Frogs try to validate all that attention and prove they are more than October shooting stars.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The expectations that accompanied Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer were largely unfair, and anybody in the Kansas City Royals front office would probably be willing to admit it.
LENEXA - Tamba Hali fled Liberia when it was in the midst of a bloody civil war. Now that the West African nation is at the center of a very different crisis - an outbreak of Ebola - the Chiefs linebacker is lending his support to a humanitarian relief effort.
ST. LOUIS - Matt Adams and the Cardinals are moving on. Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers are going home.
MANHATTAN - Marcus Foster thinks Kansas State can compete for the Big 12 title. So the dynamic sophomore guard isn't paying much attention to any of his October accolades.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Chiefs seemed to have figured out their running game, which remains centered on Jamaal Charles. However, faced with critical third-and-shorts in the waning minutes against the 49ers, coach Andy Reid abandoned the run in favor of passes that kept falling incomplete.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Jim Harbaugh walked out of an elevator at Levi's Stadium with his parents late Sunday evening, smiling and cracking jokes with reporters after a day that began with more fuss about his future.
BRONCOS 41, CARDINALS 20
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Royals stole their way to a 12-inning victory over the Oakland A's in the AL wild-card game. They powered their way past the mighty Los Angeles Angels with an emphatic three-game sweep in the divisional round.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The day began with another round of questions about the relationship between Jim Harbaugh and his players. It ended with him putting a lot of trust in them to make a big play.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Almost an hour had passed, and the postgame party had moved from the field to the Kansas City clubhouse, where victory champagne was once again flowing. Yet as sheets of rain fell at Kauffman Stadium, thousands of celebrating Royals fans refused to leave.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia got some welcome balance on offense against Kansas as the Mountaineers prepare to enter a tough stretch of the Big 12 schedule.
NO. 11 MISSISSIPPI 23, NO. 3 ALABAMA 17
BALTIMORE - Following another successful road show, the Royals are heading back to Kansas City with momentum and history on their side in the AL Championship Series.
MANHATTAN - Even in the midst of a bye week, Bill Snyder didn't have time to blow out any candles.
NO. 3 MISSISSIPPI 38,
LAWRENCE - Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy freely admits that his team doesn't run the ball very well.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - They endured it together, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon. All those years with 90 losses, the managerial changes and youth movements and empty seats come late September.