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The Top Ten Coaching Performances That No One Saw Coming

Some teams are winning in unexpected ways (Texas Tech, Bowling Green) and others are winning unexpectedly (Tulane, UNLV). Here are 10 teams whose efforts through the first six weeks of the season most did not see coming.

1. Tulane - Check the Conference USA standings this morning and sitting atop the West Division are Curtis Johnson and the Tulane Green Wave. Johnson's team has already matched its win total from the 2011 and 2012 seasons combined at 4-2, and they're only three points away from being 5-1. The 4-2 mark and 2-0 begin to conference play is Tulane's best start since its undefeated season in 1998. 

2. Missouri - The two undefeated teams in the SEC are Alabama and... Missouri. The Tigers are 5-0 for the first time since 2010 and getting outstanding play from the quarterback position - James Franklin's 278-yard, four-touchdown performance produced a higher rating than any game from Chase Daniel's 2007 Heisman finalist season. And for the first time since the halcyon days of the Chase Daniel era, this program has mojo again. 

3. Florida State - It's not surprising that Florida State is 5-0, but the way Jimbo Fisher's team has won its five games is pretty dang impressive. After losing both coordinators, the Seminoles are better on offense with a redshirt freshman running the show instead of a future first-round pick, and a defense that still ranks in the top seven in total defense and scoring defense.

4. Texas Tech - Just like we all knew on the date of his hiring, Kliff Kingsbury is winning with defense at Texas Tech. After finishing last season ranked 91st nationally in scoring defense, the Red Raiders are up to eighth this year. Texas Tech also ranks second in the Big 12 defensively on a yards per play basis, and lead the league in rushing defense. 

5. Virginia Tech - After the way last season ended, who saw Virginia Tech starting 5-1? Or how about 8-1, with games against Pittsburgh, Duke and Boston College before a trip to Miami on November 9? Bud Foster's defense has yet to allow an opposing offense to top 21 points, and they're one of four teams allowing under four yards per play. 

6. East Carolina - A 4-1 start, with the only setback coming by a 15-10 decision to the No. 5 team on this list, has Ruffin McNeil's Pirates looking like the clear class of Conference USA. With a 55-31 stomping of North Carolina, East Carolina also has a legit claim to being the best college football team in North Carolina. 

7. Bowling Green - That Dave Clawson's team leads the MAC in total defense should be of no surprise. They did the same last season. But a No. 2 ranking in the MAC's offensive standings should be. The Falcons ranked 11th last year, and this year's 5-1 start represents an improvement of more than 115 yards per game. 

8. Ball State - A fourth-quarter collapse at North Texas in a 34-27 defeat is the only thing keeping Pete Lembo's bunch from the ranks of the unbeatens. A 21-point win at Virginia takes a good bit of the sting out of that loss, though.

9. Houston - This time last year, Houston was 2-3 on its way to a 5-7 debut campaign for Tony Levine. Today, they're 4-0 and looking like the closest thing to a challenger Louisville may have in the American. 

10. UNLV - The Rebels have one less win than Tulane, but they too have bettered their win totals from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons. Upcoming dates with Hawaii, Air Force and San Diego State (combined wins: 3) mean the program's first bowl trip since 2000 is a realistic possibility.