Let’s Take an Updated Look At Which Forgotten 5 Teams Are Going Bowling

One week later, and now we get to update things. I guess Navy still had some punch left in them after all, while Arkansas State just got punched for four quarters. Let’s update our projections, shall we? I’m consolidating the short list of four-win teams into this same article now, as it is growing much shorter. I’m choosing to leave the 4-6 teams on the outside looking in, because I think winning both of their remaining games and having a few other teams lose out is asking a lot. (Akron played before this initially went up, and Utah State was off, so they remain identical).

Group of Five-Win Teams

Western Kentucky – I was spot on in my assessment of the Toppers against Marshall, but with the way MTSU is playing now that Stockstill is back, so they may have to hope for a strong showing if they’re going to join the growing crowd of bowl-eligible teams in CUSA. Avoiding turnovers would be a big help, as they produced an insurmountable lead against Marshall. Odds are trending downward, for sure. Odds: 30%

UTSA – The Roadrunner offense struggled to do anything consistently again this week, and Dalton Sturm spent an awful lot of time running around. Sure, it led to a touchdown at one point, but they can’t keep relying on him to make plays while the entire rest of the offense looks stuck in the mud. I’m not sure I like their odds against Marshall, though I think their odds of getting a sixth win against Louisiana Tech are probably a bit betterthan they were a week ago. So, as rough as Saturday was, their odds will remain the same for now. Odds: 50%

Akron – The Zips just threw away a golden opportunity Tuesday night as they lost on the road to Miami, which might seem odd until you note that 3-6 Miami actually graded out as the better team and was predicted by S&P+ to win by 10 points like they did. Akron will be an even bigger underdog next week against Ohio, so their hopes rest squarely on their ability to take down Kent State in their home finale. I like their odds in that game because a defense that has been great so far should have no issues stopping an offense that has yet to actually show up for a full game against an FBS team. Odds: 80%

Utah State – These Aggies from Logan, UT have been the truest of Jekyll and Hyde performers. They’re 3-0 when their offense plays great and their defense is at least marginally above average, and they’re 0-3 when both offense and defense get manhandled. Last week was the first time USU played poorly on offense and still won, as their defense carried them against an inconsistent New Mexico attack. That said, I expect the Aggies to reach bowl eligibility since their two remaining opponents both have bottom-15 defenses and offenses that, while good, aren’t nearly as good as the ones that have taken down Utah State so far. Odds: 70%

Arkansas State – Well, apparently I was just as wrong about the Red Wolves as I was about Navy. Good lord that was an awful performance. Arkansas State turned the ball over six times and there’s pretty much no way you can win when you do that. Yes, they still have very winnable games on the horizon at home against Texas State and on the road against ULM, but this was extremely sloppy and is going to cause me to ding them hard on their odds, because they now need to prove that their performance in this loss to South Alabama was a fluke. Odds: 70%

Temple – Things are going just as I expected; Frankie Juice was just good enough to build momentum and pull away from Cinci, and now they run into the UCF buzzsaw. That’s okay, because they get to end the season against an imminently beatable Tulsa team. Nothing’s changed here, so their odds remain the same. Odds: 60%

Middle Tennessee – Yup,Brent Stockstill is most definitely back. After struggling to connect the dots but tossing three touchdowns anyway, he tossed another three and looked much more himself this week in dominating Charlotte. We don’t know anything for sure, but they’re sure to be at least a slight favorite against both Old DOminion and Western Kentucky, and they only need to win one of those to reach a bowl game. No change here. Odds 70%

Four-Win Teams

New Mexico State – Offense can solve many problems for you. When your quarterback is a risk-taker who’s in love with his arm strength, that can also create a lot of problems (what’s up, Logan Marchi, Brogan Roback, and Tyler Rogers). The Aggies have also improved on defense, though they’re still a bit erratic and struggle with good wide receivers if the pass rush doesn’t start hitting home.

The Aggies play their best ball when they can’t relax – when they’re facing an offense as potent as theirs, or one that simply matches up well enough to keep pace. They also need to quit this late fade thing, as they’ve been outscored 48-7 in the last 13 minutes of their last two losses. They have a bye week to plan ahead, only face one team with an offense potent enough to exploit their defensive weaknesses for four quarters, and end with back-to-back home games. As dicey as things have been this season, I like their odds. Odds: 65%

Louisiana-Lafayette – Told you they would get dominated by Ole Miss. Sure the Rebels rank similar to the Cajuns, but they had played very different schedules to date, and it showed. Levi Lewis struggled, as any freshman playing in his first road game and having to do so in an SEC stadium against an SEC defense should. This performance simply solidified my belief that the Cajuns just don’t have two more wins worth of defense in them. They’re just as unlikely to beat NMSU and App State now as they were before. Odds: 10%

Louisiana-Monroe – As poor as ULL’s odds are, ULM has it worse. They’ve got a good enough offense in their corner that they can hang if a shootout ensues, but the problem is that they’re unlikely to be involved in another one this season. They’ve got to face Auburn and Arkansas State, two offenses that are much better than every other offense that has lit up the Warhawks this season, and which are plenty good enough on defense for that not to mean a shootout. ULM will get to end the season by making up a now potentially winnable game against Florida State, but it’s very unlikely to get them to a bowl game even if they win. Odds: 30%

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