The bowl season after the first weekend looked much like it did in the 2020-21 season as we saw several games canceled or opponents displaced because of the COVID-19 outbreaks amongst the teams. In fact, five bowl games were altogether canceled this season including four that involved Group of Five squads.
But the big story this year was Cincinnati getting its spot in the College Football Playoff as the last remaining undefeated team. The Bearcats would fit hard but could not overcome a talented squad in Alabama in the Cotton Bowl to fall 27-6.
Some say that Cincinnati did not belong in the Final Four but the Bearcats actually held Alabama to their closest margin of victory in the Crimson Tide’s last five match-ups in the CFP semifinals. Plus, the Big Ten champion Michigan lost by a larger margin to the the team Alabama beat in the SEC title game in Georgia, 34-11. So the CFP national title will again be two SEC schools.
While the loss in the CFP was not a good thing for the Group of Five, the G5 saw success in other Power Five match-ups. In fact, the G5 would win all other six match-ups this year. This included UCF over Florida, Utah State over Oregon State, Army over Missouri, Houston over Auburn, Air Force over Louisville, and Central Michigan over Washington State.
The bowl challenge given to the conference that had the best record in the bowls has the following standings with one bowl games (Texas Bowl: Kansas State vs. LSU). The Mountain West Conference will win the trophy as the best conference record. And two other G5 leagues in the AAC and Sun Belt were tied for second.
|Mountain West Conference (MWC)||5-1||Fresno State, Utah State, Wyoming, San Diego State, Air Force||Nevada|
|American Athletic Conference (AAC)||3-1||Tulsa, UCF, Houston||Cincinnati|
|Sun Belt Conference||3-1||Coastal Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia State||Appalachian State|
|Big 12 Conference||4-2||Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor||West Virginia, Iowa State||Kansas State|
|Big Ten Conference||6-4||Minnesota, Maryland, Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State||Rutgers, Michigan, Penn State, Iowa|
|Independents||2-2||Liberty, Army||BYU, Notre Dame|
|Southeastern Conference (SEC)||5-6||South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky||Missouri, Florida, Auburn, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Ole Miss||LSU|
|Conference USA||3-5||Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky, UAB||UTEP, Marshall, Old Dominion, UTSA, North Texas|
|Mid-American Conference (MAC)||3-5|
Miami (Ohio), Western Michigan, Central Michigan
|Toledo, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Ball State|
|Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)||2-4|
Clemson, Wake Forest
|Louisville, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Pittsburgh|
|Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12)||0-5||Oregon State, Oregon, Arizona State, Washington State, Utah|
I looked at the first weekend of bowls previously and here are highlights and recaps of the remaining bowls involving Group of Five teams:
MYRTLE BEACH BOWL (CONWAY, S.C.) MON, DEC. 20
TULSA 30 OLD DOMININON 17
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL (BOISE, IDAHO) TUES, DEC. 21
WYOMING 52 KENT STATE 38
TROPICAL SMOOTHIE CAFE FRISO BOWL (FRISCO, TEX.) TUES, DEC. 21
SAN DIEGO STATE 38 UTSA 24
LOCKHEED MARTIN ARMED FORCES BOWL (FORT WORTH, TEX.) WED, DEC. 22
ARMY 24 MISSOURI 22
FRISCO FOOTBALL CLASSIC (FRISCO, TEX.) THURS, DEC. 23
MIAMI (OH) 27 NORTH TEXAS 14
UNION HOME MORTGAGE GASPARILLA BOWL (TAMPA, FLA.) THURS, DEC. 23
UCF 29 FLORIDA 17
TAX ACT CAMELLIA BOWL (MOBILE, ALA.) SAT, DEC. 25
GEORGIA STATE 51 BALL STATE 20
QUICK LANE BOWL (DETROIT, MICH.) MON, DEC. 27
WESTERN MICHIGAN 52 NEVADA 24
TICKETSMARTER BIRMINGHAM BOWL (BIRMINGHAM, ALA.) TUES, DEC. 28
HOUSTON 17 AUBURN 13
SERVPRO FIRST RESPONDERS BOWL (DALLAS, TEX.) TUES, DEC. 28
AIR FORCE 31 LOUISVILLE 28
TONY THE TIGER SUN BOWL (EL PASO, TEX.) FRI, DEC. 31
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 24 WASHINGTON STATE 21
CFP SEMIFINAL: GOODYEAR COTTON BOWL (ARLINGTON, TEX.) FRI, DEC. 31
#1 ALABAMA 27 #4 CINCINNATI 6
CANCELED BOWL GAMES:
The following are the bowl games that were canceled due to COVID-19 protocols against at least one of the teams playing in the game.
Dec. 24: Hawai’i Bowl — Hawai’i vs. Memphis
Dec. 27: Military Bowl — Boston College vs. East Carolina
Dec. 28: Holiday Bowl — NC State vs. UCLA
Dec. 29: Fenway Bowl — Virginia vs. SMU
Dec. 31: Arizona Bowl — Boise State vs. Central Michigan (CMU moved to Sun Bowl due to Miami (FL) not being able to play in that bowl)
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football is the Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
Reach him at this email or click below: