Group of Five Doomsday: Breaking Free From the Power Five

With all this possible playoff expansion talk, it got me thinking; what would be the worst-case scenario for the Group of Five?

Well, it would be where an expanded playoff doesn’t include an auto-bid for at least one G5 team.  What does that mean for the G5, you might ask? It’s time to go our separate ways.

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you, I used to love the idea of a G5 playoff but have since been talked off that ledge. The G5 and P5 are both FBS and should be treated as such.

The FBS is the only division of college football that doesn’t give each conference winner a chance at the National Championship. That needs to change. My ideal playoff would include all ten FBS conference winners plus six at large bids.

However, if the G5 doesn’t get at least one seat at the table, here’s what I think should happen.

Realignment

Here’s how the new G5 will look. There are no independents. Army, Liberty, UConn, UMass, and NMSU all have new homes.

 

American Athletic Conference

East

UCF
USF
ECU
Navy
Temple
FAU
FIU

 

West

Cincy
Memphis
SMU
Houston
Tulane
Tulsa
UAB

 

FAU, FIU, UAB all get added to the conference; these are the schools with both enrollment and endowment on par with the rest of the AAC.

Two Florida additions help everyone by giving them a chance to recruit Florida more often by playing more games there. UAB gets the promotion because their enrollment is over 20k and have an endowment of nearly $500 million.

Conference USA

East

Army
Marshall
WKU
Charlotte
MTSU
ODU
Liberty

 

West

LA Tech
So. Miss
Rice
North Texas
UTSA
UTEP
NMSU

 

Army fans: I know, a lot of bad memories of Army’s old C-USA days but they needed a home. I didn’t want to make Army/Navy a conference game so this was the next best spot.

Liberty and NMSU get put in here because it makes the most sense geographically. NMSU pairs with UTEP and Liberty is close to ODU, Charlotte, and Marshall.

Mid-American Conference

East

Miami
Ohio
Kent St
Buffalo
UMass
Akron
UConn

 

West

BGSU
CMU
WMU
Ball St
NIU
Toledo
EMU

 

UConn and UMass join the MAC East which indirectly helps Buffalo by being close-ish to two more teams. Bowling Green moves to the West because we didn’t want to split up Miami and Ohio, and they’re closer to two West teams than they are to the entire East.

Mountain West Conference

Mountain

Boise St
Air Force
Utah St
Wyoming
Colorado St
New Mexico

 

West

Hawai’i
SDSU
Nevada
SJSU
Fresno St
UNLV

 

No changes here.

Sun Belt Conference

East

App St.
Georgia Southern
Georgia State
Troy
Coastal Carolina

 

West

Lousiana
Ark. St.
ULM
TXST
South Alabama

 

No changes here either.

 

Playoff System Option 1

If you win your conference, you get a shot at the championship, what a novel concept.

Eight teams, five conference winners plus three at large bids.

The first-round is hosted at the higher seeds stadium. The Final Four and Championship game at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

Winning your conference doesn’t mean you get a home game because, you know… math. But you do get a 1-5 seed.

Seeding

  1. Memphis
  2. Boise State
  3. Appalachian State
  4. FAU
  5. Miami
  6. Cincinnati
  7. Navy
  8. Air Force

Cincinnati, Navy, and Air Force got the at-large bids and I don’t think anyone could be mad at three 11 win teams getting a chance at the title.

I ran each matchup through a simulator and here’s what we got back.

First Round

#1 Memphis escapes #8 Air Force, 37-34

#2 Boise State tops #7 Navy, 31-23

#3 Appalachian State falls to #6 Cincinnati, 24-23

#4 FAU beats #5 Miami in the only blowout of the first round, 26-3

Final Four

#1 Memphis routs #4 FAU, 66-20

#2 Boise State escapes #6 Cincinnati, 24-21

Championship Game

#1 Memphis blows #2 Boise State out, 41-17

 

Playoff System Option 2

If you win your division, you’re in.

No more conference title games, the division winners will play it out in the playoff.

12 teams, ten division winners plus two at large bids.

Top four division winners get byes.

First two rounds hosted by the higher seed, final four hosted at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

Seeding

  1. Memphis
  2. Boise State
  3. Cincinnati
  4. Appalachian State
  5. FAU
  6. Louisiana
  7. UAB
  8. Hawaii
  9. Miami
  10. Central Michigan
  11. Navy
  12. Air Force

Navy and Air Force get the two at-large bids as two great 11 win teams.

I ran these matchups through another simulator and here’s what we got.

First Round

#5 FAU routs #12 Air Force, 30-6

#6 Louisana gets blown out by #11 Navy, 52-23

#7 UAB gets upset by #10 Central Michigan, 35-34

#8 Hawaii escapes #9 Miami, 21-17

Second Round

#1 Memphis tops #8 Hawaii, 35-13

#2 Boise State gets upset #10 Central Michigan, 27-20

#3 Cincinnati gets upset by #11 Navy, 21-20

#4 Appalachian State escapes #5 FAU, 27-23

Final Four

#1 Memphis tops #4 Appalachian State, 35-21

#10 Central Michigan continues cinderella run over #11 Navy, 27-24

Championship Game

#10 Central Michigan routs #1 Memphis, 41-23

 

This simulation was nuts. I expected to see an upset here and there, but then the computer kept spitting out Navy and Central Michigan wins.

See what happens when you give teams a chance, they can make a magical run. Who doesn’t love a Cinderella story?

What do you think the G5 should do if they aren’t given a seat at the CFP table? Feel free to yell at me on Twitter: @AlexFunderburke

 

 

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