Week Nine Group of Five Top 10 Poll

So much salt after the AP and coaches polls came out this week. UCF got no love as per usual, but App State did, earning a #25 ranking. Of course…

But let’s not worry about stuff like that right now, let’s talk about the teams in this week’s rankings!

  1. UCF – This one might have been a bit thin on style points, but it’s good to figure out how to win when you aren’t on your “A” game. UCF started their backup quarterback who had zero experience, only scored 17 points on three drives that started at midfield, got zero points on a drive that started at the ECU 35… and still found a way to win by 27, thanks to ECU getting four red zone trips that produced seven points and two fumbles.
  2. App State – That final score of 27-17 was a lot closer than the game itself. Sure, the Cajuns made a field goal with nine minutes left in the first half to make the game 10-10. But after that point, Louisiana only ran 13 plays in App State territory the rest of the game, which included a drive that started at the Mountaineer 32-yard line.
  3. Fresno State – This defense. My goodness. They’ve outscored opponents 105-39 in the second half this season, and 14 of those 39 points were the two garbage-time touchdowns that Toledo scored in the last nine minutes of what had been a 49-13 game. They’re going to make Hawai’i look awfully pedestrian on Saturday.
  4. Utah State – What a strange game against Wyoming. Their third offensive play of the game was a 56-yard touchdown run, their first offensive play of the second half was a three-yard touchdown run, and they followed Wyoming’s first points of the game by returning the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a score. That’s basically it. Granted, Wyoming is 2-6 because of their offense and not their defense, but I’ll expect better against the remainder of their non-Boise schedule.
  5. UAB – It was looking pretty iffy for a while, but once again halftime adjustments and a strong defensive performance propelled the Blazers to a win. UAB has now not only run their conference record to 4-0, but they’ve outscored those four opponents by a combined 61-7 in the second half. They’ve nearly clinched the division but now face a massive trap game in El Paso against an improving UTEP.
  6. Georgia Southern – Don’t let the final distract you from the Eagles dominance – they got outscored 14-3 in the final 20 minutes and still won by 17. Now the real fun starts, with a home game on a short week against App State. I don’t think I’ve seen enough out of GaSo to confidently pick them to win, but anything goes in this rivalry.
  7. Houston – More slow-starting Jekyll and Hyde from the Cougars, who trailed 24-14 with five minutes left in the first half and then scored 35 unanswered before a couple garbage-time scores from Navy. I really have no idea what to expect from them against USF this week, other than probably a shootout. Or maybe they win by 21. Who knows.
  8. South Florida – Are the Bulls 7-0 after beating UConn? They certainly are. However, in the process, they became the first team all season to score less than 49 points against the Huskies, the first FBS team to let UConn score more than 21 points, and the first team to beat UConn by less than 30 points. If you’ve followed UConn at all this season you know how bad USF looked against them; these Bulls are easily the most underwhelming ranked team in the country.
  9. Buffalo – In 29 seasons of FBS football, Buffalo has won eight games twice. In 2008, they went to the MAC title game and got their 8th win by beating then-undefeated and 12th-ranked Ball State in Brady Hoke’s final season. Five years later, they got their eighth win in their next-to-last regular season game in what would turn out to be Jeff Quinn’s last full season. Another five years later, the Bulls could snag their eighth win before November. So I guess this means Lance Leipold is leaving and then we wait another five years for them to be good again?
  10. Army – Cincinnati just misses out, which seems appropriate after a game where they miss three field goals, still led by a touchdown with three minutes left, and then lost in overtime. SDSU also just misses the cut after barely surviving again, this time against winless San Jose State. Army gets the edge for needing double overtime to win, but doing so against an actually decent team in Miami (OH)

Others receiving votes: Troy, Cincinnati, North Texas, San Diego State, Boise, Western Michigan

INTERESTING MATCHUPS:

  • Troy at South Alabama tonight on ESPN2
  • Appalachian State at Georgia Southern, Thursday 8 PM ET on ESPNU
  • USF at Houston, Saturday 3:30 ET on ABV/ESPN2
  • Hawai’i at Fresno State, Saturday 1030 ET on ESPN2

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