Welcome to this week’s Good news bad new5 column. Scroll down to see how many G5 teams I think are better than Iowa. Spoiler alert: More than one.
Good news: Cincinnati did the thing again.
Look, there were 3 AAC games this past weekend. Memphis beat a bad Navy team, Cincinnati beat a not-nearly-as-good-as-they-were-with-Dillon-Gabriel UCF team by 35. and Tulsa eeked out a victory over South Florida. Cincinnati moved up to #2 in the AP poll, not much else to report.
Bad news: South Florida is bad.
Their best bet for a win against an FBS school probably came Saturday against Tulsa, but they couldn’t hold a 31-20 fourth quarter lead and lost 32-31. Insert *Bart Simpson throwing away a cake that says “At least you tried” gif*.
Good news: Marshall might’ve got right.
A couple weeks ago, Marshall lost three games in a row by a combined 11 points. They then escaped Old Dominion in overtime. With so much goodwill towards teams like UTSA and UTEP (and rightfully so), it was looking like last year’s CUSA East champs were going to get lost in the shuffle. But they had a get right game against North Texas, beating them Friday night 49-21 in a game that wasn’t even THAT close. With a couple very winnable games upcoming, the east division is probably going to come down to the Herd going to Charlotte Nov. 20.
Bad news: Southern Miss and Rice are getting it all wrong.
Both teams were shut out this past weekend. Southern Miss by UAB 34-0 and Rice by the hottest girl at the bar (or AP Top 25), UTSA, 45-0. There is absolutely no shame in losing to either team, but both Southern Miss and Rice looked completely listless doing so. It’s has probably gotten as good as it will get for Rice, since they beat the Golden Eagles, and both teams play the team that shut out the other (meaning Rice still has UAB and Southern Miss has UTSA).
Good news: Western Michigan just scored again.
The Broncos hung 64 points on Kent St. Saturday. That’s a lot of points. The team rushed for 341 yards and 5 TDs, while Kaleb Eleby threw for over 300 yards and 3 TDs. I think that was enough for me to sa they are he best team in the MAC. They aren’t above clunkers (see their game against Ball St.) but they do have a win over Pittsburgh that is looking better every week. The MAC West is likely to come down to them facing a surprisingly good Northern Illinois in DeKalb Nov. 20.
Bad news: Ew-hio
Between the Bobcats, South Florida and UNLV, there appeared to be a theme this weekend of “close but no cigar” for the also-rans with their respective conferences. However, Ohio’s loss might have been the most excruciating. Heading into the last 15 minutes of the game, Ohio was up 26-10, quarterback Armani Rogers had an awesome 99-yard touchdown run, for a day life appeared to be good. Then the fourth quarter happened. Ohio gave up 17 points in the fourth quarter to Buffalo, losing 27-26 after a game winning field goal that only happened because an Ohio player was called offsides on the previous attempt (which was missed). Quarterback Armani Rogers had a 99-ard touchdown run.
Good news: The Rebels are collecting moral victories.
UNLV lost 28-24 to Utah St. after giving up a touchdown will 11 seconds to go. The Rebels are winless but showing glimpses behind stud running back Charles Williams, who had 221 yards and three TDs in the loss. The last three losses have all come by double digits and games at home against San Jose St. and Hawaii and at New Mexico are all winnable, hopefully they get at least one of those, I hate seeing teams go winless. Plus they have a sweet slot machine they use to celebrate touchdowns. (Celebrate the small things people.)
Bad news: Where is all the offense?
San Diego St., San Jose St., Fresno St. and Wyoming all put out horrific offensive performances this weekend, to the point that it is cruel that two of them won (since they played each other). The highest output of the 4 was 19 points by SDSU, which took two OTs to accomplish. That’s not to mention New Mexico, who gained a whopping 76 yards in their game against Colorado St. I walk farther than 76 yards getting to my car from work. If you are in the west, I expect shootouts every once in a while please and thank you.
Good news: UL Monroe….where did that come from?
I’ve always had a soft spot for any team coached by a Bowden, so seeing 33 point underdog UL Monroe beat Liberty in the most out-of-nowhere outcome possibly all season after giving up 50 points in back-to-back games warmed the cockles of my heart. At 3-3. the Warhawks are significantly improved from last year’s winless campaign. and I’m not saying a bowl bid is a certainty, but they are playing hard and that accounts for a lot.
Bad news: Appalachian State is a B+ program.
Just because it happened Tuesday doesn’t mean it wouldn’t get mentioned. People don’t forget. But App State had a chance to really cement themselves as one of the Sun Belt’s elite if they could find a way to beat Louisiana and Coastal Carolina in back to back weeks. However, the Ragin Cajuns hammered the Mountaineers 41-13, making the chances of a win against Coastal incredibly unlikely. App State is good, but if they want to be mentioned among the cream of the crop in this conference, they have some work to do.
5 Games to keep an eye on:
1. San Diego St. at Air Force – The best rushing offense in the nation (Air Force) takes on the #1 rush defense in terms of yards per game. SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE!!!
2. Coastal Carolina at Appalachian St. (Wednesday night) – This game lost a lot of luster when App St. got smoked by Louisiana last Tuesday night, exposing flaws on the defensive end that must have the Chanticleers salivating.
3. Northern Illinois at Central Michigan – Central Michigan is coming off a thrilling overtime victory over Toledo, while Northern Illinois is the only undefeated MAC team and looking for bowl eligibility. That was such a weird sentence to type but it’s true.
4. South Alabama at UL Monroe – I’m 100% here for Terry Bowden: Agent of Chaos, but South Alabama is no slouch, sitting at 4-2 with both their losses coming by two points. Either USA loses close or blows out UL Monroe, there is no in-between.
5. Colorado St. at Utah St. (Friday night) – Quietly, the Rams have won 3 of 4, with their only loss being in Iowa City. They are 2-0 in the conference beating New Mexico and San Jose St. by a combined score of 68-21. Also quietly, Utah St. is 4-2, escaping Vegas Saturday like the guys in Ocean’s 11.
Top 10 Group of 5 teams:
1. Cincinnati (6-0) – Them on a mission to boatrace every opponent is masking what could be a kicking issue down the road. Keep an eye on that.
2. Coastal Carolina (6-0) – A win in Boone Wednesday against App St. puts a wrap on the Sun Belt East.
3. UTSA (7-0) – FINALLY ranked after shutting out Rice. Now here is to hoping that they don’t let down at Louisiana Tech.
4. SMU (6-0) – The Cotton Bowl may be aiming a bit high, but I am trying to manifest the UTSA-SMU bowl game into existence.
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5. San Diego St. (6-0) – The defense is as stingy as anyone, but that offense needs to be more consistent.
6. Houston (5-1) – Their schedule will allow them to pad their record, but they are not so good that they couldn’t slip up. (Maybe even this weekend against ECU?)
7. Nevada (5-1) – Can Carson Strong carry this team to a MW title? Maybe, possibly, but not guaranteed.
8. UTEP (6-1) – The Miners are bowl eligible, which in and of itself, is something to celebrate. But this team is good enough to aim higher.
9. Air Force (6-1) – Honestly, they are probably too low. We will find out this Saturday when they host San Diego St.
10. Northern Illinois (5-2) – I don’t know if they are actually the best team in the MAC but they are the only undefeated one. That counts for something.
What teams are over/underrated? Which games involving G5 teams pique your interest? Hit me up in the comments.