We are starting to see the top teams in Group of Five rise to the top as we head closer to the mid-point of the season. Two schools remain undefeated and both are from the Sun Belt East Division in Coastal Carolina and James Madison. Both schools took care of their cross-West Division foes this week and both on the road.
Coastal Carolina has not won emphatically thus far but still remains with a zero in the loss column. The Chanticleers defeated ULM in Monroe this week 28-21. Coastal raced out to a 28-14 halftime lead but it was its defense in the second half that preserved the victory. The Chanticleers defense made a stop on a pair of fourth downs inside the red zone in the second half to help the Chanticleers escape with the win.
Coastal outgained the Warhawks 433 yards to 424 yards for the game, with 323 yards coming in the first half. RB CJ Beasley was the highlight for CCU as he rushed for 115 yards and two scores.
James Madison had an easier time with its opponent on the road in Arkansas State. QB Todd Centeio threw four touchdown passes, including a pair of fourth-quarter strikes to put the game out of reach, and James Madison shut down the Arkansas State running game to remain undefeated following a 42-20 over the Red Wolves. JMU allowd ASU just 20 net yards on the ground.
The FCS transitioning Dukes so far have not had much trouble in the FBS ranks with their 5-0 overall record.
See highlights of these games below:
Cincinnati Sneaks Bye
The Bearcats are currently ranked as the top Sagarain ranked G5 team and should they win out likely will be going to their third straight New Year’s Six Bowl game. But this week was no picnic for Cincinnati.
RB Charles McClelland ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns as Cincinnati sweated out a 28-24 victory over visiting South Florida this week.
McClelland ran in his second touchdown from 35 yards out in the fourth quarter to make the difference.
Cincinnati trailed 17-14 at halftime but still pulled out its 30th straight win at home and its 18th straight win over a conference opponent.
Cincinnati QB Ben Bryant was 15-for-21 passing for 178 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions before leaving in the fourth quarter with an unspecified injury.
See highlights of this game below:
Notching First Win
The G5 no has no winless teams as Colorado State notched their first win of the season and their first win overall in its last 10 games. Coach Jay Norvell’s team defeated his old team in Nevada 17-14 in Reno.
The Rams won the game on on K Michael Boyle 43-yard field goal kick. CSU’s last victory came against New Mexico on Oct. 16, 2021.
Tensions in this game started from the beginning as Norvell and now Nevada Coach Ken Wilson had a heated exchange before the game even kicked off.
But with the win, the Rams now only see former rival in the PAC-12’s Colorado as the lone winless team in all of the FBS. See highlights of the game below:
To be honest, I was wondering when the dominos would start falling in another round of conference expansion when USC and UCLA made the move this past summer from the Pac-12 to the Big 10.
Last year after losing Oklahoma and Texas, the Big 12 took BYU and three AAC schools that started the dominos falling in three G5 leagues. But thus far, no moves by any Power Five league have been made to really kickoff the dominos.
One of those leagues that was hit hardest by the realignment was Conference USA that lost much of its league a year ago.
Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB, and UTSA will be heading to the AAC next year, and it also lost Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss, which all three bolted for the Sun Belt already for this season.
For 2023, Conference USA is adding two FBS independents in Liberty and New Mexico State as well as two FCS move-ups in Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State.
With all the moves, C-USA will be at nine schools next year with FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, UTEP, and WKU as the current members joining the four new schools.
A tenth school looks like another FCS move-up. This past Friday afternoon, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported on Twitter that the Owls may be a favorite to join C-USA as early as 2024. Of course nothing is official yet and neither the university nor C-USA have made any public statement. Nonetheless, there’s still lots to ponder on what it could mean for KSU and the FCS if this were to come to fruition.
Kennesaw State’s football program is only eight years old–located just outside Atlanta, Georgia. Their football program began playing in 2015. Since then, the Owls have been a fairly successful FCS team, making the playoffs four times and winning three conference titles as members of the Big South and now are a member of the Atlantic Sun. The team has an overall record of 64-21 with a 5-4 record in the postseason.
TOP 5 GAMES
Here are my top five games outside of what I showed above with Houston’s wild come-from-behind win at Memphis on Friday toping my list, along with a C-USA Championship game rematch of UTSA holding off Western Kentucky.
Here are highlights of these games with game recaps in the hyperlink.
1. HOUSTON 33 MEMPHIS 32 (MEMPHIS, Tenn.)
2. BALL STATE 17 CENTRAL MICHIGAN 16 (MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich.)
3. SAN DIEGO STATE 16 HAWAI’I 14 (SAN DIEGO, Calif.)
4. UTSA 31 WESTERN KENTUCKY 28 (SAN ANTONIO, Tex.)
5. UTAH STATE 34 AIR FORCE 27 (LOGAN, Utah)
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: