Halfway point it is then. Have you sobered up from another weird Saturday yet?
I tweaked the options again, making it necessary that a team has to be two games above .500 in order to get themselves into the rankings. Sorry MTSU, FIU and I guess Boise.
So where does our opinion of the Group of Five stand at the midway point?
- UCF – Hey, look, it only took 18-0 to crack the top ten of the polls! Make a note, everyone. They had an early scare against SMU with a dropped pick-six that could have given the Mustangs an early 10-0 lead, but the Knights proceeded to outscore them 48-17 the rest of the way instead. This performance was a bit uneven, but they’re still the best until they lose in my book.
- Cincinnati – A slow start turned into a romp at home against Tulane, mostly thanks to a strong Bearcat defense but also thanks to uneven QB play on the part of the Wave. We’ll see what they do in their first road game against a good-ish team.
- USF – On the upside, the Bulls are undefeated and hung 58 points on the board, featuring 300 yards and three touchdowns from Jordan Cronkrite. On the downside, they haven’t really beaten anyone good other than Georgia Tech, and they’re giving up too many yards, garbage time or not.
- App State – Bye week heading into tomorrow’s game at Arkansas State
- Utah State – Took their foot off the gas late but stilldominated BYU. Not sure how much that counts for since BYU has fallen off a lot since beating Wisconsin, but Jordan Love and this offense are not to be trifled with. They might not lose again heading into Boise, and I regret mocking my staffer who picked them to go 10-2.
- Troy – Great news! The Trojans continue their roll through the Sun Belt and move to 3-0 in coference by dominating Georgia State. Bad news! Quarterback Kaleb Barker is done for the season after tearing his ACL. But good news! Sawyer Smith is arguably just as good a passer, and the schedule doesn’t get challenging for a while. So… yay?
- Buffalo – Tyree Jackson finally had an off game, but that’s okay because bot Kevin Marks and Jaret Patterson both went off (36 carries for 288 yards and 2 TDs combined). The offense stalled out inside the 10 twice, the defense gave up a late touchdown, and UB still won by ten. They’re the clear favorite in the East now.
- UAB – This defense is ridiculous; 16 sacks in their last three games, and only 17 points allowed in the last nine quarters. The offense hasn’t been pretty and has taken a while to get rolling the last couple of weeks, but the West division might go through Birmingham now.
- UNT – Or it might still go through Denton, who knows. We’ll find out in a couple weeks when they play the Blazers. UTEP has had exactly one game each of the last six seasons decided by less than a touchdown and the Mean Green get that distinction this season, though it’s never happened this early in the season. Next week against Southern Miss and Jack Abraham will tell us which direction they’re really trending.
- Hawai’i – This was the only place where I disagreed with the rest of the voters – a personal decision on my part to put Hawai’i in the 10th spot ahead of Houston or San Diego State. They have been far from perfect, and they probably have too many warts to do anything better than trip over themselves into the MWC title game. But they’re exciting, and they’re one of only six teams in the country to already achieve bowl eligibility.
Others receiving votes: San Diego State, Houston, Fresno State, Memphis, MTSU, Georgia Southern, Western Michigan
Interesting matchups for next week:
Akron @ Buffalo, 12:00 ET
Southern Miss @ North Texas, 3:00 ET
#10 UCF @ Memphis, 3:30 ET
Middle Tennessee @ FIU, 7:30 ET
Hawai’i @ BYU, 10:15 ET