Highlights: CSJ FBS Group of Five Top Five Games and Recap of Week 12

UTSA players celebrate with their conference division trophy after their win over UAB on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

There are still two.  That is two undefeated G5 teams as we now enter the last weekend of the regular season. 

This week, Cincinnati had SMU, who earlier in the season looked like the best chance of any AAC team to knockoff the Bearcats.  But Cincinnati was dominate in their last regular season home game.  The final score was 48-14 but the Bearcats may have been even more dominate than that final score. 

The eight-win Mustangs came into this game as the top AAC team in both scoring and total offense.  SMU was averaging 498.7 yards per game and scoring 41.6 points per game. 

The Cincinnati defense was smothering and held the Mustangs to season lows of just 199 yards and just the 14 points.  And the 14 points came basically after the game was already decided in the fourth quarter. 

On senior day at Nippert Stadium, QB Desmond Ridder made the most of his last regular season game at home. He threw for three scores, while also rushing and receiving touchdowns. See highlights of this game below:

The Bearcats will play its last regular season game next week at East Carolina and will play Houston in the AAC title game.  A win over ECU next week will assure one more game at Nippert for this team. 

And Cincinnati also received some help in the Pac-12 for its College Football Playoff hopes.  The Bearcats were ranked #5 in the latest rankings but with Oregon losing in a blowout at Utah, Cincinnati should move up to the #4 spot.  It also got some help from its signature win this season as Notre Dame remained undefeated against all other competition with its blowout win at home over Georgia Tech. 

It is looking more and more likely that we will finally see a school from a Group of Five conference finally get a nod in the four-team CFP.  Here are the full rankings from last week. 

The other undefeated team in G5 remains UTSA.  The Roadrunners had a much more difficult time as it played Conference USA West Division three time defending champion UAB at home. 

UTSA won a back-and-forth game.  The Roadrunners were down 31–27 with seven seconds left in the game against the Blazers and had the ball at the one-yard line. The play started off with disaster when QB Frank Harris fumbled the snap, but he quickly recovered.

Harris rolled to his left as soon as he recovered the ball and threw a jump-pass to the end zone but the ball was tipped. Despite this, the ball somehow ended up in the hands of TE Oscar Cardenas for the touchdown and game-winning score to give UTSA the C-USA West Division crown. See full highlights of this game below:

UTSA finishes its regular season next week with a road game at North Texas.  The Roadrunners have already clinched the home field for the C-USA title game and will play either Western Kentucky or Marshall in the title game.  Those two teams will play a de facto C-USA East Division title game in Huntington, W.Va next week to decide who will get the chance in the title game.  

Other G5 Conference Races

The MAC West Division has already been decided with Northern Illinois won its game earlier in the week over Ball State to secure the MAC title appearance in Detroit. The Huskies opponent will be the East Division winner which will either be Kent State or Miami of Ohio. Those two teams will play another de facto division championship game as Kent State will host Miami next weekend.

The Sun Belt title game is set with two familiar opponents. Discounting last year’s game, which was canceled due to COVID-19 reasons (which would have been Louisiana versus Coastal Carolina), the same two teams will again play this year that have met in every SBC championship that has ever been played. Appalachian State and Louisiana will again play for the crown, but this will be the first time that Ragin’ Cajuns will host the game. Both teams play rivalry games next week that will not have any bearing on the SBC outcome. Louisiana hosts Louisiana-Monroe, while App State hosts Georgia Southern.

The Mountain West Conference title game is the most in question as neither the West or the Mountain Division has been decided. San Diego State leads the West Division and will need either to defeat Boise State in its regular season finale next week or have Fresno State lose to San Jose State. If SDSU loses and Fresno State wins, the Bulldogs would be the winner.

In the Mountain Division, Utah State had a chance to wrap up the division this past week but the Aggies fell at home to Wyoming to set-up an interesting scenario in the final weekend. Utah State is currently tied with Boise State and Air Force in the Mountain Division. A win by Boise State over San Diego State would give the Broncos the crown. A loss by Boise State and a Utah State win over New Mexico would give the Aggies the crown. A loss by both BSU and USU and an Air Force win UNLV over would give the Falcons the crown.

G5 Bowl Eligible Teams

This year, there will be 41-bowl games in all of FBS meaning there are 82-schools that will get a bowl bid.  To be considered for a bowl game, a team needs to have six wins (with one of those that can be against a FCS opponent). 

Going now into the final regular season weekend, there are 70 FBS teams that are currently eligible.  Here are all the FBS teams that are eligible by conference with the G5 teams highlighted in bold:

AAC5Cincinnati, East Carolina, Houston, SMU, UCF
ACC8Boston College, Clemson, NC State, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Wake Forest, Louisville, Miami
Big 126Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech
Big Ten8Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
C-USA5Marshall, UAB, UTEP, UTSA, Western Kentucky
Indp.4Army. BYU, Liberty, Notre Dame
MAC7Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Toledo, Miami, Kent State
MWC7Air Force, Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, San Diego State, Utah State, Wyoming
Pac-126Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah, Washington State
SEC10Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Missouri, South Carolina
Sun Belt4Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia State
Total teams70

The following are the current five-win teams within the G5 that will need to win their last regular season game this upcoming week to be considered for a bowl game:

AAC: Tulsa, Memphis

C-USA: Old Dominion, Florida Atlantic, Charlotte, Middle Tennessee, North Texas

MAC: Ball State

MWC: San Jose State

SBC: Troy, South Alabama

Top Five Games of the Week

Outside of the games mentioned above, here are my top five games of the week. I could not narrow it down to just five so I added in two additional bonus games.

1. Air Force 41 Nevada 39 (3OT) (Reno, Nev.)

2. Northern Illinois 33 Buffalo 27 (OT) (Buffalo, N.Y.)

3. Eastern Michigan 22 Western Michigan 21 (Ypsilanti, Mich.)


4. East Carolina 38 Navy 35 (Annapolis, Md.)

5. Georgia State 28 Arkansas State 20 (Atlanta, Ga.)

BONUS 1: Old Dominion 24 Middle Tennessee 17 (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

BONUS 2: Hawai’i 50 Colorado State 45 (Honolulu, Hawaii)