Welp, the chaos gods got bored after all the excitement early last week, and decided to play in the Top 25 as a bit of a nightcap. Michigan, Clemson, and Washington all lost last weekend, and allowed Ohio State to climb back in the top four of the CFP committee’s rankings. The AP and the coaches seem sold on Louisville and Western Michigan much more than the committee are, and it shows that SOS is very important to them. 8-1 West Virginia is lurking further down, just waiting for more teams ahead of them to lose in this last two weeks. The race for the playoff is on, but before we get there are at least two more weeks of regular season football, a heck of a lot of rivalry games, and the conference championship. Ample opportunity for Chaos to reign and shock us all, no matter what conference.
Group of Five Rankings
5. Troy Trojans
Troy did nothing to deserve me dropping them to number five other than not being SDSU. They beat a pretty good App State team last weekend – not a blowout, but definitely a win. Troy is on track to win the Sun Belt with nobody that they can’t beat left on the schedule. This is your weekly reminder that the only loss this team has had was by 6 points to Clemson, and are going to deserve a far better than a 7 win MWC team as a bowl opponent if they win out.
4. University of South Florida Bulls
Hey, USF, welcome back! Sorry to have doubted you! Beating Memphis and Navy has put this team back on the map, and they’re actually in position to win the damn conference. Go get em, gents.
3. San Diego State Aztecs
When Donnell Pumphrey isn’t searching his own name on Twitter to get in to arguments with opposing fans and give the Mountain West’s RB’s even more material for their shoulder chips, he’s a damn fine running back. A broad shouldered beast of a runner, strong enough to pick up the rest of the Aztecs and carry them to victory week after week. The Aztecs are on a roll, and have the hot hand in the Mountain West right now. Too damn bad they lost inexplicably to an FCS team earlier in the season – this could’ve been Rocky Long’s sweet swan song.
2. Boise State Broncos
Yes, I know that the CFP committee dropped WMU under the BSU Broncos by a spot this week, and there are a lot of pissed off rowers right now. I did think this day would come if Boise managed to make it to the MWC champ game, but was hoping they wouldn’t make this move until after that game is settled. It is what it is, and I don’t feel like Boise, who is a pretty good squad in their own right, should take the top spot in the chase for the NY6 bowls based on nothing but SOS and name recognition. They gotta win that conference championship first…but look on track to at least get the shot.
1. Western Michigan Broncos
Still undefeated. Still kicking the crap out of people. Running the gauntlet, dealing with the national media salivating, hosting Gameday…it’s a good time to be of the WMU faithful. Enjoy it while it lasts, guys – G5 teams burn bright and fast. Only time will tell if Coach Fleck has installed his system well enough to sustain success and allow a team like WMU access to the big money bowl games. As much as I want WMU to get their shot, that is not the system we have. The one we have is weighed heavily toward strength of schedule and is at the mercy of human opinion. WMU is an excellent football team that executes well, is humble, driven, and does a lot of good in their community. They also just f’ing win. Unfortunately, it’s not enough unless Boise loses one more time. The margins for error are tiny for the top 2 teams at this point, and their SOS is only separated by .06%. WMU is top Bronco for now on this list, and many others. I hope they take the chance to savor it.
Games to watch in the Group of Five
Hey y’all, watch this! – Louisville @ Houston – Thursday, 8:00p ET, ESPN
Louisville is ranked #6, has the dominant Heisman candidate in Lamar Jackson, and should be on their way to playoff glory. Oh, wait, just one thing, gotta take out Houston. The Coogs are inconsistent, but super talented. Louisville does not look like they have a weakness, but if there is one to be found, Houston will do it. The chaos gods might leave this game alone, but either way it’s going to be a battle and super fun to watch.
Luck Be A Lady (In Blue) – UNLV @ Boise State – Friday, 9:00p ET, ESPN2
Two storylines here – Wyoming, who beat Boise, turned around last week and lost to UNLV in a four OT display of a lack of defense rarely ever seen. UNLV is capable of demoralizing opponents with their never say die attitude, and it showed against Wyoming. Next, this game is EVERYTHING for Boise State right now. With Wyoming’s loss, there is now a three way tie between Boise, WYO, and New Mexico. A conference loss for Boise basically would be lighting a dumpster fire at this point, and these guys will do anything to protect their home (blue) turf and keep their goal of winning the Mountain West and making a big bowl game alive.
Sittin on the dock of Gameday – Buffalo @ Western Michigan – Saturday, 3:30p ET, ESPNU
Might as well tune in for some Group of Five gameday signage in the morning and to watch them scream themselves hoarse in the afternoon. Buffalo is not likely to make this much of a game, but #MACtion is real and so is the fact that going undefeated is super hard, especially with the hype train of ESPN rolling in to town to mess up their schedules.
Cheer for the meteor – SDSU @ Wyoming – Saturday, 3:30p ET, CBSSN
Sure, it’s possible that this is another blowout for SDSU, but it’s equally as likely to be an insane explosion of points and turnovers and the very best of #MWCAfterDark happening during the day. Both team have strong rush games, the Aztecs play amazing defense, and Wyoming may or may not show up like they did against Boise and did not against UNLV. Watch this one to see running backs doing running back things.