Highlights: CSJ FBS Group of Five Top Five Games and Recap of Week 2

BYU Coach Kalani Sitake Soaked after the Cougars defeated rival Utah this week (Courtesy of USA Today)

The biggest news this week was last Friday in the Group of Five will definitely be losing four of its strongest programs to the Big 12 Conference. The American Athletic Conference’s Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF, along with independent BYU, will be the four new members of the Power Five Conference.

The Big 12 unanimously voted with its eight current full-time members voted to bring in these four current Group of Five powerhouses.  The reason for the Big 12 to look to expansion was the soon loss of Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference. 

While these teams will be soon to leave the G5, at least two of these squads are ones that may be considered the top team in this group this year.  Cincinnati and UCF are the top two ranked teams currently (at least as of the Sagarin rankings)

Cincinnati is the current top team and the Bearcats won their home matchup against FCS Murray State easily 42-7. RB Jerome Ford rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns, while QB Desmond Ridder passed for 243 yards and two TDs to gain the victory.

UCF is currently the #2 team in the rankings and the Knights also played a FCS opponent in Bethune-Cookman. The Knights also handled their FCS opponent easily with a 63-14 home victory. UCF raced out to a 42-7 lead in the first half before cruising to the lopsided win. QB Dillon Gabriel finished with 312 passing yards, the 13th time he has thrown for 300 or more yards in his Knight career.

BYU is currently ranked lower (at #19 amongst the G5 teams in Sagarin) and is not eligible for the G5’s automatic bid but still could play a role in the major bowls this year as the Cougars have now also started their season at 2-0 with wins over two Power Five squads. BYU finally got the win over rival Utah this past week in notching one of three P5 wins this week. The Cougars broke a nine-game losing streak to the Utes with a 26-17 victory. QB Jaren Hall threw for 149 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 92 yards. RB Tyler Allgeier added 27 carries for 102 yards.

The other soon-to-be Big 12 Cougars—this one from Houston started their season off with a loss to future Big 12 mate Texas Tech to start their season in Week 1 but got in the win column for the first time in Week 2. Houston beat cross-town rival Rice easily 44-7.

Other Power Five Upsets

Aside from the BYU win, both Coastal Carolina and San Diego State provided upsets of the Power Five opponents and in big ways. 

Coastal Carolina blew out Kansas 49-22 at home after also defeating the Jayhawks a year ago on the road in what started their magical season. RB Reese White ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns, QB Grayson McCall threw for two scores and ran for a third as the highlights in the win to give the Chanticleers their second win on the young season.

San Diego State beat Arizona handedly on the road 38-14. QB Jordon Brookshire threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, while RB Greg Bell tallied 125 yards on the ground, including a 55-yard TD run to pace the Aztecs to a 2-0 start.

Looking Ahead

This week, the big game for Cincinnati is playing for the first time this season on the road when they visit the Big 10’s Indiana.  This game and the one next week at Notre Dame for the Bearcats could use as a justification for being included in the College Football Playoff as two key non-conference games to make the claim as one of the four best teams to play in the final four this year. 

UCF is the third game for the Bearcats in this string of key games following the Notre Dame game and the Knights this week also could help their CFP chances or at least a New Year’s Six bowl with a road game at a Power Five against Louisville. 

Top Five Games of the Week

There were several key non-conference match-ups this past week in the G5 and five stood out to me as the top ones that each went to the final minutes before being decided. This group includes the following. The game recaps are in the link in the score with video highlights of each below.

1. Texas State 23 Florida International 17 (OT) (Miami, Fla.)

2. Army West Point 38 Western Kentucky 35 (Bowling Green, Kent.)

3. Wyoming 50 Northern Illinois 43 (DeKalb, Ill.)

4. Liberty 21 Troy 13 (Troy, Ala.)

5. Memphis 55 Arkansas State 50 (Jonesboro, Ark.)