Highlights: CSJ FBS Group of Five Top Five Games and Recap of Week 13
November 29, 2020
This was the week that the first College Football Playoff rankings came out and to say the least, I was surprised with the rankings. Below were the Committee’s rankings from this past Tuesday.
I was not too surprised with the teams selected, although I thought Liberty should have been in the Top 25 given its two wins over what the Committee has with two teams in the Top 4 from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
But the four current undefeated teams of Cincinnati, BYU, Coastal Carolina, and Marshall were all ranked, as we one loss Tulsa to give the Group of Five schools five teams in the Top 25 rankings.
The big surprise was where BYU was slated at #14. Yes, the committee is taking into account the teams schedule and the Cougars do not have the strongest schedule but no fault of their own after all but two teams on its original schedule dropped them before the season. BYU had Power Five schools of Utah, Michigan State, Arizona State, Minnesota, Missouri, and Stanford originally on their schedule. Only Houston, Boise State, San Diego State, and FCS North Alabama remained as opponents this year from their original schedule. To replace the P5 games, BYU had to schedule games against Group of Five conference teams
BYU hammered Boise State, the favorites to win the Mountain West Conference, on the road this year and now just have San Diego State left in a couple of weeks. BYU was open this week and are also open next week, before hosting San Diego State, and again have another off-week Dec. 19th.
The Cougars could still add two more games, or possibly make-up the Army game that was postponed earlier due to COVID-19 concerns. This past week, Washington inquired about a game with BYU but the Pac-12 mandate is to play another Pac-12 team if an opponent can not play and instead Washington hosted Utah this week.
Colorado also lost a game but instead of looking at BYU, asked another G5 school in San Diego State to make the trip this week. The Aztecs lost the game 20-10.
While the schedule for BYU this year can not be argued as only Louisiana Tech, UTSA, and Boise State currently have winning records, the eye test for the Cougars play has simply been dominate and in my opinion, likely would have defeated the P5 schools on its original schedule.
We will see if BYU moves up at all next Tuesday in the rankings with only one team ranked ahead of them (Northwestern) having lost this past weekend.
How about the Other Four ranked teams this week?
Like BYU, Cincinnati was off but due to COVID-19 reasons having its game against Temple canceled.
Marshall had a scheduled off-week, while Tulsa also lost its game against Houston this week and will be made up Dec. 19th if the Golden Hurricane are not in the AAC title game scheduled also for that date.
Coastal Carolina was the only CFP Top 25 ranked team to play this week and picked up an easy win at Texas State, 49-14. The Chanticleers were able to come back from an emotional win at home over perennial Sun Belt winner Appalachian State last week to pick up the win.
The Chanticleers (9-0, 7-0) had 572 yards of offense in extending their winning streak to 10 games. RB C.J. Marable ran for 157 yards and three touchdowns to led Coastal to the victory.
Sun Belt Title Game set
With Coastal Carolina’s win over Texas State, the Sun Belt title game is set as Louisiana had already clinched the West Division a week ago. The location of the game is likely to be in Coastal’ s home of Conway, S.C. given its win over Louisiana earlier this season.
Coastal Carolina has an out-of-conference highlight game this week in hosting one-loss Liberty next Saturday. The Chants also play at Troy Dec. 12th to end its regular season.
Louisiana defeated rival Louisiana-Monroe easily on the road 70-20 this week and will have one more regular season game at Appalachian State this upcoming Friday before the rematch with Coastal.
The big story in the MAC was Buffalo RB Jaret Patterson tying a FBS record of eight touchdowns scored in the Bulls win over also previously undefeated Kent State. Patterson ran for a eye popping 409 yards in the win and this followed up his last game with against Bowling Green where he rushed for 301 yards and four scores.
The eight rushing scores tied an FBS record that Illinois RB Howard Griffith (and later Super Bowl champion with the Denver Broncos) record of eight from 1990 had against FCS Southern Illinois. The 409 yards is the second most from an FBS RB since Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine’s 427 had in 2014 versus Kansas.
Both the scoring and rushing records set single game MAC high marks.
And in the outstanding individual Patterson effort, the Bulls defeated the Golden Flashes 70-41 to give Buffalo (4-0, 4-0 MAC) the lead in the MAC East Division alone with two games to go. Buffalo travels to Ohio this upcoming week and then hosts Akron the following week.
In the West Division, Western Michigan is now the only undefeated team left. The Broncos rallied to edge Northern Illinois 30-27. D’Wayne Eskridge ran a kickoff back for a touchdown and capped a big day with a reverse that set up the winning field goal.
Eskridge, whose 100-yard return gave the Broncos (4-0, 4-0 MAC) a 20-17 halftime edge before Northern Illinois retook the lead, ran 27 yards to the NIU 9 that set up Gavin Peddie’s field goal with 2:23 remaining. NIU couldn’t muster a first down on its final possession.
WMU hosts Eastern Michigan this upcoming week before traveling to Ball State to end the season in what might be a MAC West practically title game as Ball State sits at 3-1 currently after its narrow win at Toledo Friday. The Cardinals have a trip to Central Michigan, who also might fit in the West race if it wins out as well.
Conference USA Standings in limbo
Marshall looks to be the East Division to beat as it has two games with Rice at home and Florida International on the road. The Thundering Herd really just need to win one of the two games to secure the East Division. Although, a lost game with Charlotte from two weeks ago remains on the postponed list but does not look like there will be an opportunity to make this up.
The West Division though is very sketchy. UTSA finished its regular season this week with an emphatic win over North Texas, 49-17 at home.
RB Sincere McCormick set a program record with 251 yards rushing and also had two touchdowns in the win. The win put the Roadrunners at 7-4 overall and 5-2 within C-USA play.
UAB, who sits second currently in the standings, had its third straight game canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 concerns against Southern Mississippi. UAB has two games remaining on the schedule with UTEP and Florida Atlantic, both of which were postponed earlier this season.
UAB did defeat UTSA earlier this season so the Blazers could be the West representative should they win their final games.
Mountain West Mess
Nevada looked to have the inside track for a spot in the MWC title game but Hawai’i did not abide yesterday. The Rainbow Warriors held on to defeat the Wolfpack 24-21 in a game that Hawai’i led since the halftime break. QB Chevan Cordeiro passed for 246 yards and a touchdown and scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter in what turned into the game winner.
With the Wolfpack loss, Boise State and San Jose State remain the only undefeated teams within league play. Both the Broncos and Spartans had their games canceled this week due to COVID-19 reasons.
Boise State has two road games at UNLV and Wyoming left on its schedule, while San Jose State has two home games with Hawai’i and Nevada left on its schedule.
Those home game for the Spartans could be in jeopardy, however, as the recent re-tightening of restrictions in Santa Clara County, where SJSU is located, due to COVID-19 has raised questions about whether the Hawai’i and/or Nevada games would be moved.
COVID-19 Postponements and Cancelations
This week as the COVID-19 numbers continue to spike throughout the country, had the worst week of college football cancelations. This week, 18 total games in the FBS were cancelled or postponed. This number includes 9 that involved G5 squads.
Here is a list of all the games this week and if the game as canceled or just postponed:
Colorado State at Air Force
San Diego State at Fresno State
Washington at Washington State
Miami at Wake Forest
Louisiana Tech at FIU
Arkansas at Missouri
Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Southern Miss at UAB
Tulsa at Houston
Minnesota at Wisconsin
Utah at Arizona State
Cincinnati at Temple
Oklahoma at West Virginia
Colorado at USC
FAU at Middle Tennessee
Virginia at Florida State
San Jose State at Boise State
UTEP at Rice
Top 5 Games of the Week
Here are my top five games of the Group of Five games with highlights for this week. . I added four more nail bitters to the list this week as well. Click on the score link for the full game story.
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 in the western half of the United States– the Big Sky Conference and 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.
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 in the western half of the United States-- the Big Sky Conference and 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.