The season is about half over already and I’m sad. Let’s just get to the poll, where there is a change at the top.
1. Air Force (5-0) – So that Mountain West showdown was pretty cool huh? Guess what, Wyoming gets to do it again this Saturday. This will likely determine the top spot in this very, very important poll and possibly offer a preview of the conference title game.
2. Wyoming (5-1) – The margin between 2 and 3 is very thin, and recency bias is a real thing. But Saturday night’s win over Fresno St. and the Cowboys Week One win over Texas Tech looks a lot better than Tulane’s best victory (South Alabama) so here we are.
3. Tulane (4-1) – Tulane got a bye week before a big game Friday at Memphis, yet still feels like a loss due to being bumped down a spot. Sorry Green Wave.
4. James Madison (5-0) – JMU was on a bye (get used to that as there were a lot of bye weeks) before their next Conference Game of the Year at home against Georgia Southern.
5. Memphis (4-1) – Bye week before their showdown against Tulane.
6. Fresno St. (5-1) – Shoutout to Fresno, who had a 14 game winning streak going into Saturday night. But you don’t just waltz into Laramie, Wyoming and expect to leave like nothing happened. It changes you. Ask Texas Tech and Appalachian St. Now the key is to not let the 24-19 loss turn into a second loss Friday when they go on the road again to face a tricky Utah St.
7. Liberty (5-0) – For the first half Thursday, Liberty looked like the team they had been all season, moving the ball up and down the field with ease against Sam Houston St. But the second half took on a very, very different tone.
Sure, the Flames were able to hold on for a 21-16 win, but they proved to be mortal after being shut out in the second half. A better offense then the Bearkats will take advantage of that. They play what may be the game of the year in the conference going to Jacksonville St. Tuesday.
8. Georgia Southern (4-1) – Bye week before a game this Saturday at James Madison. That’s going to be so fun, you guys.
9. Marshall (4-1) – I’m actually not going to punish the Thundering Herd for their loss because it was actually a pretty fun, back-and-forth game with a solid ACC opponent. No harm really done. The defense needs to tighten up though because giving up 82 points in 2 games is not a good look heading into a game Saturday at Georgia St. against a Panther team that can up points when they are clicking.
10. Ohio (5-1) – The Bobcats were on cruise control throughout most of their 42-17 win over Kent St. A game Saturday at Northern Illinois will offer up more of a challenge.
11. SMU (3-2) – Bye week before a Thursday night game at East Carolina.
12. Troy (4-2) – There was a lot of talk early on about who might be the best team in the Sun Belt West. (Including some crazy person who said last week Texas St. could go undefeated.)
The answer is what it has always been.
Troy has corrected any issues the defense may have had and running back Kimani Vidal went off, rushing for 245 yards and 3 scores in Troy’s 37-3 win over Arkansas St. Saturday. The Trojans have a non-conference game this Saturday at Army before facing the heart of their conference schedule.
13. UNLV (4-1) – Bye week before a game Saturday at Nevada.
14. Miami OH (5-1) – The best team in the MAC may be a matter of personal preference between Ohio, Miami and Toledo. But the RedHawks defense may be the unit playing the best. They have outscored Kent St. and Bowling Green by a combined 50-3 total. Just get me to that Toledo/Ohio back-to-back stretch and it will resolve itself. But until then, they face a Western Michigan team Saturday in Kalamazoo that will put up points.
15. Toledo (5-1) – I’m kinda still waiting for the Rockets to play a complete game. Saturday they got a bit of a scare from UMass, trailing at half against an inferior opponent before pulling away for a 41-24 win. They get another game against a team they should beat this Saturday at Ball St. before a showdown at Miami.
16. Georgia St. (4-1) – Bye week before a big conference game at home Saturday against Marshall.
17. Jacksonville St. (5-1) – I might be falling more and more in love with this team.
They went to Middle Tennessee St. Wednesday, spot the Blue Raiders a 23-7 halftime lead, then went nuclear in the second half on their way to a 45-30 win. Something, something game of the year this Tuesday against Liberty. (By the way, weeknight CUSA games are to be called “CUSAnity” going forward. The trademark has been applied for and everything.)
18. Western Kentucky (4-2) – The receiving performance of the week might go to Malachi Corley, who had 8 catches for 207 yards and 3 scores in the Hilltoppers 35-28 win at Louisiana Tech Thursday. The next two Tuesdays, WKU goes to Jacksonville St. and hosts Liberty, so expect to learn more about this team very soon.
19. Louisiana (4-2) – I’m not entirely sure how good this team is, but boy is Zeon Chriss fun.
In a game against a vaunted Texas St. offense, it was the freshman quarterback for the Ragin Cajuns who stole the show, throwing for 3 TDs and rushing for another in Louisiana’s 34-30 come-from-behind win against Texas St. Louisiana sits at 4-2 with losses to an Old Dominion team that is looking better than they did in early September and to Big 10 foe Minnesota on the road. They get a bye week before hosting Georgia St.
20. Texas St. (4-2) – This one might be on me, Bobcat fans.
I went out on a limb last week saying this team could win out. So CLEARLY they were going to lose their next game. I’ll never make that mistake again. My bad. Saturday they (probably) get right at home against UL Monroe.
21. Appalachian St. (3-2) – Bye week before a Tuesday (!) night game at home against Coastal Carolina.
22. Boise St. (3-3) – San Jose St. has showed themselves to be a very good first half team and a very, very bad second half one.
The Spartans got out to a 27-14 halftime lead on the blue turf of Boise, then completely shut down in a 35-27 Bronco victory. I don’t like having Taylen Green and Maddux Madsen sharing time at quarterback, but running back Ashton Jeanty is really good and it feels like they are jelling at the right time. BSU heads to Colorado St. Saturday.
23. Utah St. (3-3) – The Aggies are another team that I’m not are actually good, but they are never boring.
Saturday, Utah St. got down 17-3 after one quarter to Colorado St. then exploded the final 3 quarters on their way to a 44-24 conference win. After a wild win over a then-winless UCONN, Utah got its first conference win. They get a chance at a big fish this Friday at home against Fresno St.
24. Tulsa (3-3) – I was torn between USF, Rice and Tulsa for this spot, but Rice lost at home to UCONN and USF gave up about 100 points to UAB, so here we are.
The Golden Hurricane lost 20-17 Saturday at Florida Atlantic in something resembling a hurricane, their first loss against a non-undefeated opponent. That’s at least respectable. They have a bye until a Thursday night game Oct. 19 at home against Rice.
25. Old Dominion (3-3) – It wasn’t pretty (very few Old Dominion wins are) but the Monarchs left Hattiesburg with a 17-13 win Saturday night over Southern Miss. Sitting at 3-3, ODU has two wins over Sun Belt West opponents. The problem is, their remaining schedule consists of East Division foes and a road game at Liberty. They may not make it to a bowl, but linebacker Jason Henderson is a pro. So watch them just for him if nothing else.
So there is this week’s Top 25. Who is overrated? Underrated? Let us know on any of the @walkonredshirts socials. Also, we have partnered with Underdog Fantasy to help give you our Underdog picks for each weekend! Sign up today with Promo Code WALKON and get your first deposit doubled up to $100! Sign up HERE.