It is quite incredible just how fast this season is going right now.
Last week saw some incredible turns in every conference, as teams are knocked out of title contention in each conference or thick in the fight for the NY6 Bowl bid.
This week looks to have a lot of blowouts in G5 play, but these should prove to be the exceptions in week 11:
1. The Shula Bowl (Saturday, 6 p.m., Stadium’s website)
Both teams stumbled early, as FAU got embarrassed by Ohio State and UCF while FIU lost in big games to Tulane and Western Kentucky. After that, their seasons have taken vastly different turns.
FIU would surprise many by getting a three-game winning streak after a loss to Tech, only to then get embarrassed by Middle Tennessee State and since effectively eliminated from Championship conversation.
FAU, on the other hand, is tied with the division leader (which it narrowly lost against) and can remove lingering doubts (and continue their dominance of the rivalry) by taking the win at home this Saturday.
2. UAB at Southern Miss (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., NFL Network)
The Blazers looked terrible at Rocky Top last weekend, so this gives them a chance to put it behind them. Not to mention that a win here keeps them within striking distance of the West lead, with a game against Tech later this season.
The Golden Eagles have the advantages of both being at home, and coming off a bye week. They will definitely have a chip on their shoulders after the heartbreaking loss to Tech, knpwing they have to win out and pray to get back to the top.
Big C-USA implications here.
3. Appalachian State at South Carolina (Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN2)
Speaking of teams with a chip on their shoulders, the Mountaineers fell to their bitter rivals at home and were removed from the top 25 for the first time in nearly a month.
The good news is they still are in the driver’s seat for the Sun Belt Championship Game, but I personally know that they desire more than that. Bouncing back with another win against another big Carolina team would likely push them back into the top 25, and at least in the conversation of NY6.
4. Utah State at Fresno State (Saturday, 7 p.m., CBSSN)
These teams are on entirely different trajectories than just a few weeks ago.
The Aggies were in the talk for the division crown, and even threatening top 25 consideration. Then they fell flat at Fort Collins, hoped the bye would help but instead got beaten up at home by in-state rival BYU they are still in the crowded field chasing Boise State, with a game looming with them later this month, but a loss in Fresno removes all doubt.
The Bulldogs, early preseason favorites to return to the Championship game, stumbled through their first month, but have heated up of late. They blew out UNLV, showed a challenge to Colorado State, and are fresh off a comeback victory in Hawaii. They lead a pack chasing down San Diego State, which is their game next week, but like Utah State cannot afford a loss here.
5. Wyoming at #21 Boise State (Saturday, 10:15 p.m., ESPN)
This battle has big Mountain Division implications. The Broncos already beat Air Force, which evidently exhausted them because after that (and losing Hank) they fell to BYU before a much-needed bye, and then needed all the Hank they could get to win a shootout in San Jose against a vastly underrated Spartan team. Also another loss, and they can kiss goodbye the NY6.
If the Cowboys win, they take the top spot by tie-breaker. Many, myself included, expected the upset of Missouri to be an aberration. But Wyoming only lost to Tulsa by a field goal and now-ranked San Diego State by 4 points. Starting here, their schedule doesn’t get easier, so winning out to make the Championship game is a necessity in Laramie.
In a rarity, there is no honorable mention this week.