Welcome to this week’s G5 Top 25. Not a ton of changes at the top in large part due to Air Force winning comfortably and Tulane and JMU both having close calls. But let’s go a little deeper.
1. Air Force (8-0) – The Falcons did what they seemingly always do Saturday: Overwhelm their opponents in the second half. This time it was Colorado St. in snowy Fort Collins, breaking open a 13-13 game and winning 30-13. Next up in a battle with a reeling Army squad.
2. Tulane (7-1) – Depending on your viewpoint, either Tulane faced a stiff challenge from a pesky Rice squad that wouldn’t go away, or the Green Wave took their foot off the gas after a 27-7 halftime lead. Either way, they were able to hold on for a 30-28 win Saturday. Next they head to East Carolina.
3. James Madison (8-0) – JMU had their toughest conference game to date before holding off Old Dominion 30-27. Perhaps they were looking ahead to their trip to Atlanta this Saturday when they face Georgia St.?
4. Fresno St. (7-1) – It feels like it has been a while since we had seen the Bulldogs, they did have a 15 day break since their last game at Utah St. And it took them a while to get going against UNLV, but they were able to turn things on in the third quarter in a 31-24 win. Next they host Boise St. Saturday.
5. Liberty (8-0) – The Flames are cruising right along after their 42-29 win over Western Kentucky last Tuesday night. They should get through the rest of their schedule undefeated with not a lot to show for it, fair or not. They host Louisiana Tech Saturday.
6. Memphis (6-2) – The wildest game of the weekend was probably Memphis’ 45-42 win over North Texas where Seth Henigan threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Scales with 10 seconds left to give the Tigers the win. This Saturday they host South Florida.
7. Troy (6-2) – The Trojans probably put a stamp on the Sun Belt West with their 31-13 win at Texas St. Saturday. They can do so for good with a win Thursday at home against South Alabama.
8. SMU (6-2) – Damn SMU, those Tulsa players have families.
The Mustangs put up 52 in the first half in a 69-10 win over the Golden Hurricane Saturday. Honestly, I probably have this team ranked too low, but the schedule is not doing SMU any favors. This Saturday they take on a Rice team that should put up a challenge.
9. Georgia Southern (6-2) – This year it is “Southern, Not State” after the Eagles beat their state rivals 44-27 Thursday night. They are the current favorites to represent the East in the conference title game, but have a tough November slate, beginning Saturday at Texas St. (Bet the Over.)
10. Toledo (7-1) – The Rockets had a mini Bye Week before getting MACtion kicked off tonight at home against Buffalo.
11. UNLV (6-2) – UNLV outplayed Fresno St. for 3 of 4 quarters, but giving up 24 points right after halftime doomed the Rebels. A birth in the conference is not out of the question though thanks to their game at Air Force in a couple weeks, but for that game to matter there is no margin for error. Saturday they travel to New Mexico.
12. Miami OH (7-2) – Saturday’s 30-6 win at Ohio was a nice bounce back after their loss to Toledo the week before. They look to be the class of the MAC East and have a relatively easy schedule to prove it. They have a Bye Week before hosting Akron next Wednesday.
13. Georgia St. (6-2) – So when Georgia St. looks bad, they look B-A-D. They were not competitive in their loss to Troy and only slightly more so Thursday at Georgia Southern. With games upcoming against James Madison and LSU as well as games against App St. and ODU, this team might go from 6-1 to 6-6.
14. UTSA (5-3) – Did any team in the Group of 5 have a better October than UTSA? Winners of four straight and scoring no less than 36 points in any of those games, the Roadrunners are absolutely resembling the teams of the past couple of years in CUSA. This Saturday they should continue to put up numbies as they take on North Texas.
15. Wyoming (5-3) – THERE’S the Wyoming we all know and love.
Just when you think this year might be different, Wyoming lays an egg. Saturday they got dominated 32-7 on the blue turf of Boise. With a conference title unlikely, they need to focus on not collapsing. They aren’t yet bowl eligible, but can be with a bounce back Friday night in Laramie against rival Colorado St.
16. Ohio (6-3) – With 3 games remaining, the Bobcats do not control their own destiny after a disappointing loss to Miami OH, but they can stay in the picture with a win next Tuesday at Buffalo.
17. Jacksonville St. (7-2) – Jacksonville St. has acquitted themselves quite well in CUSA. They sit at 5-1 after handling FIU 41-16 last week. Now they take a swing at a big fish, taking on South Carolina in a Gamecock vs. Gamecock battle. (I’m not taking suggestions for the trophy in this game, it’s a family site.)
18. Louisiana (5-3) – The Ragin’ Cajuns moved to 5-3 after a borderline dominant 33-20 win at South Alabama. Quarterback Zeon Chriss has become arguably the most “must see quarterback in the Sun Belt and running back Jacob Kibodi is one of the best running backs in a conference full of very good running backs. Louisiana looks to become bowl eligible with a win Saturday at Arkansas St.
19. Texas St. (5-3) – In the battle of the Irresitable Force vs. the Immovable object, Texas St.’s offense was stifled by Troy’s defense in their 31-13 loss Saturday. With the Sun Belt West likely out of the realm of possibility, they can focus on becoming bowl eligible Saturday at home against Georgia Southern. Again, bet the Over.
20. New Mexico St. (6-3) – Winners of 4 in a row, no one may be playing as well in CUSA as New Mexico St. (other than Liberty of course). They moved to 6-3 after a 27-24 win at Louisiana Tech last week. Their November is very tough though, with games at Western Kentucky, at Auburn and a finale at home against Jacksonville St. They probably should win this Saturday at home against Middle Tennessee St. if they want to guarantee a winning record and get to the CUSA championship game.
21. Coastal Carolina (5-3) – Coastal Carolina won their third in a row in a 34-6 thrashing of Marshall Saturday. Backup quarterback Jarrett Guest was the star of the game, filling in for Grayson McCall and throwing for 3 TDs. They head to Norfolk to become bowl eligible against a feisty Old Dominion team.
22. Rice (4-4) – Rice put up a fight against Tulane when it would have been easy to roll over. You gotta respect that. I maintain that this team is going to end up being better than their record will indicate. With their next two games at home against SMU and at UTSA, they may need to rely on their intelligence to make a bowl. But they are sure fun to watch.
23. Western Kentucky (4-4) – Losers of two in a row, WKU probably is past the toughest part of their schedule after their 42-29 loss to Liberty last week. They can go on a run and still make the CUSA championship game (since Jacksonville State isn’t eligible). That begins this Saturday at UTEP.
24. Central Michigan (4-4) – Central Michigan had a mini bye this past weekend before an interesting game tonight against a hot Northern Illinois team.
25. Old Dominion (4-4) – Good try on Saturday.
ODU was game against James Madison before falling to them by a field goal. With road games against Georgia Southern and Liberty, they may need to win their home games to become bowl eligible. That means winning this Saturday against Coastal Carolina.
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.