Last weekend was pretty stable, as far as the top teams go. Louisville lost to Houston, and is probably now out of playoff contention, but the top 4 stayed the same. It’s more interesting as we go down the rankings though. Utah had a free fall like nobody quite believes they are P5 yet. WVU also dropped a bunch of spots after losing to Oklahoma. Florida had a big jump after looking like they might be able to win the SEC East by beating LSU. Rivalry weekend is upon us, and the top of the rankings is going to be shook by the time it’s over. I believe that Michigan is going to get their dreams crushed by Ohio State, and Bama very well could lose the Iron Bowl to a streaking Auburn. If Washington wins the Apple Cup, they should slide in to the #4 slot, just ahead of Michigan. The Group of Five, however, gave us surprises.
Group of Five Rankings
5. University of South Florida Bulls
USF has a three game winning streak after dropping a game to Temple, and is heading in to their rivalry game with UCF as the favorite. No, I don’t think USF has a shot at making a NY6 bowl, but they are good enough to make this list.
4. Navy Midshipmen
Navy just over here winning games, you guys. Lots and lots of them. They came back in to the CFP top 25 this week after putting 66 on E. Carolina, and are now up against one of the better teams in the AAC – Southern Methodist. The Ponies beat Houston earlier in the season, and could very well trip up Navy and open up the door for…
3. Houston Cougars
Welcome back, Coogs. Turns out that loss earlier wasn’t so bad. Helps when they take out a top ten team and leave a leader for the Heisman laying on his back on the turf 11 times.
2. Boise State Broncos
Boise is only #2 here because I can’t justify them being number one when they don’t even control their conference destiny. The Alpha Broncos need help from New Mexico late on Saturday night (/dies laughing) to take out Wyoming and put Boise back in the conference champ game. If Wyoming wins, Boise State gets to start prepping for whatever 6-6 P5 team they get stuck with in a pre-Christmas bowl.
1. Western Michigan Broncos
Still undefeated. Only one team left on the schedule and they’ve been winning a lot lately – but they’re still Toledo. WMU deserves a shot to play a P5 team in a big money bowl at the end, but I just don’t think their SOS will allow it. Thanks, committee.
*Note: The CFP rankings are nicely set up to get either Houston or Boise in to the NY6 ahead of WMU. Good work, committee. Boise is at 19, Houston is at 20, and Western Michigan is at 21. As a Boise State fan, its making me feel conflicted. I *want* teams like WMU to get a chance. I remember what it was like to feel so pissed at the system – knowing that your team is amazing and knowing they can beat any given team on any given night given an equal shot and also knowing the powers that be will never allow it. On the other hand, Boise and Houston are known quantities. They’ve beaten top teams, either this season or in the recent past, have reasonable SOS, and eyeballs will tune in. It’s going to be really interesting to see how this shakes out for the G5 – there are three teams that are very damn close and it all hinges on this weekend.
Games to watch this week:
IT’S LIT – Houston @ Memphis, Friday, 12:00p Eastern, ABC
Oh heyyyy, its a G5 game in the middle of the day on OTA TV! That’s pretty sweet! This one especially! You see, Memphis is a talented group. So is Houston. Memphis is playing for pride, and Houston is playing for it all. Their first NY6 game. Their Heisman candidate – Greg Ward Jr. Their monster of a defense. A conference championship berth. Gonna be nuts.
Go Zoom Yourself – Boise @ Air Force, Friday, 3:30p Eastern, CBSSN
Air Force has beaten Boise twice in a row. That’s not really a *thing* that happens, and its even more rare to beat them three times. 2016 has been the Bronco Revenge Tour – beating WSU, Utah State, New Mexico, and BYU have righted a lot of wrongs in Bronco Nation’s eyes. Just one left – freaking Air Force. These teams don’t match up well – AFA’s defense is decent but not amazing, but their offense is ridiculous to contain. (FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUU TRIPLE OPTION!) Boise is better on the road than at home, and has looked like theyre executing better in the last two games. They also are out two of their best defenders. AFA might run wild and get hundreds of yards on the ground, but BSU QB Brett Rypien might be on his own bombing run that day.
Perfection might be underrated – Western Michigan @ Toledo, Friday, 5:00p Eastern, ESPN2
Toledo is the last challenge left for an undefeated Broncos squad. It’s TOUGH to go undefeated. The G5 will never convince every team in the P5 of this because most of them do it so damn rarely. It’s hard to listen to a fan of a team that isn’t bowl eligible and has blown millions in the pursuit of those five wins try to preach that your team, who has beat everybody its come across, is not as good for no reason other than a star ranking here and there and conference affiliation. WMU has done nothing but execute and win, and not thinking Toledo will do much to stand in their way. This game will likely be closer than it should be because end of season and pressure and all that, but this game is worth keeping an eye on at the end just to watch the Broncos celebrate if they do manage to pull off perfection.
Damn the Torpedos – Navy @ Southern Methodist, Saturday, 3:30p Eastern, ESPN3
Watching Navy is pretty entertaining because they’re giant killers. The option is much more fun when it’s not in the Mountain West. SMU are also giant killers though, and should make this a great game. This game is important because it has consequences for Houston, so definitely one to watch. Hell, if the Chaos monsters get bored, Navy might end up jumping everybody in the rankings by the time this thing is through.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy your family, watch some football, stuff your faces, and relax for a minute. We’ve earned it.