Highlights: CSJ FBS Group of Five Top Five Games and Recap of Week 9

UCF Mascot during homecoming game vs. Cincinnati (Courtesy of WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Orlando Sentinel)

The big game in the Group of Five this week had to be the two teams that have represented the G5 the four of the past five seasons in the New Year’s Six Bowl games in Cincinnati playing at UCF.

Cincinnati has been the representative the past two seasons and were even in the College Football Playoff last season. UCF was the representative after the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Knights in the 2017 season being the only FBS team to finish the season undefeated.

For this season, the two teams came into this year’s AAC content looking to again getting back to that level. UCF though likely is in must win mode the rest of the season if it wants to get there, while Cincinnati had been the highest ranked AP poll G5 team with a single loss to start the season.

This highly anticipated match-up of two schools that will no longer being in the G5 after this season as both move to the Power 5’s Big 12 next season did not disappoint.

UCF RB RJ Harvey had a 17-yard touchdown run with 48 seconds remaining, giving the Knights a 25-21 lead and the Knights defense squashed any last second hope for the Bearcats in its last drive.

Harvey’s go-ahead scored capped a seven-play, 75-yard march directed by QB Mikey Keene. The Knight backup signal caller was 4 for 4 for 57 yards on the drive.

Cincinnati took a 21-18 lead with 3:04 remaining as RB Ryan Montgomery scored on a 39-yard touchdown run, and the Bearcats added the 2-point conversion on a QB Ben Bryant pass to WR Tyler Scott.

UCF took a 10-6 lead into halftime on the strength of a 26-yard touchdown run by Harvey. The Knights added a safety in the third quarter when Josh Celiscar sacked Bryant in the end zone.

Cincinnati had won six in a row since a season-opening loss to Arkansas, while UCF was coming off an upset loss last week at East Carolina.

Bryant passed for 298 yards and a touchdown, and Montgomery had a team-high 40 yards rushing on three carries.

Harvey had 18 carries for 84 yards for UCF. The Knights finished with 258 yards on the ground and 247 through the air.

Following a fumble recovery, Bryant threw a 14-yard touchdown to Josh Whyte to make it 13-12 at the end of the third quarter.

The win by the Knights jumbled up the AAC standings as idle Tulane now takes over the top spot this week but the Green Wave still have games against these two teams upcoming.

See highlights of this game below:

Mountain West Mayhem

If the AAC champion does not represent the New Year’s Six, most likely the Mountain West champion will do so but it is also very jumbled up. Here are the standings after this week.

Boise State looks like it has it going now but got off to a rocky start. Starting QB (at least to start this season) Hank Bachmeier entered the transfer portal. That decision came three days after the program fired offensive coordinator Tim Plough following a 27-10 loss to UTEP in Week 4 — a loss that marked one of the worst performances for the program since it made the jump to the FBS level in 1996. But BSU has won four in a row since that loss and sit undefeated in MWC play including defeating Colorado State easily this week. See highlights of this game below:

Wyoming is a surprise in the Mountain Division and is just a game back of the Broncos in the MWC standings. The Cowboys have been a little different as it won its first three games of the season and then lost three straight before now winning another three games in a row. The latest win for Wyoming was at Hawai’i. See highlights of this game below:

Boise State and Wyoming face each other in three weeks in what looks like the Mountain Division title game right now.

In the West Division, it is much more jumbled. San Jose State and Fresno State are tied for the lead with San Diego State and UNLV sitting a game back. Fresno State has the tie-breaker already as the Bulldogs defeated the Spartans a couple of weeks ago.

This week, both SJSU and FSU won their games but both have a couple of tough battles yet.

SJSU defeated Nevada 35-28 this week in comeback fashion. See highlights of this game below:

Fresno State had a wild win against San Diego State in welcoming back QB Jake Haener, who had missed the prior five games with injury. The Bulldogs score two touchdowns in the game’s final 69 seconds for a 32-28 victory at Fresno State. SDSU led 28-17 late in the fourth quarter when Fresno State scored on a 3-yard run by RB Jordan Mims and QB Jake Haener threw for a two-point conversion to make it 28-25 with 1:09 remaining.

The Bulldogs recovered the ensuing onside kick — the ball going off the hand of Tyrell Shavers, then eluding Jesse Matthews — at SDSU’s 37-yard line.

Haener (35-for-46, 402 yards, 3 TDs/2 INTs) immediately hit WR Nikko Remigio with a 37-yard touchdown pass for the winning score with 56 seconds remaining.

The Aztecs had one more chance with the ball, but SDSU quarterback Jalen Mayden’s deep pass was intercepted to complete the Bulldogs’ remarkable comeback. See highlights of this wild game Below:

UConn Rebound

Connecticut has been one of the worst teams the last couple of seasons after the Huskies left the AAC to be an independent. However, this year UConn is starting to look upward. This week, the Huskies beat a Power Five squad in Boston College 13-3 and now sit at 4-5 overall.

For the first time ever, in a rivalry that dates back to 1908, the Huskies defeated the ACC’s Eagles. The Huskies, highlighted by stellar game from their defense that included three interceptions. See highlights of this game below:


The Huskies still are two wins away from being bowl eligible but very well could get there. UConn has three games left against other independent schools in Massachusetts, Liberty, and Army. They will be favored in the UMass game and likely underdogs against Liberty with the Army game being almost a wash.

College Football Playoff Rankings

The first CFP rankings will be released next Tuesday night. As was shown in both the AAC and MWC above, this might be the most wide-open for the Group of Five team.

I would expect Tulane to be the highest ranked team as they are the only one-loss AAC team left. Liberty, who would not be eligible for the G5 spot as an independent, as well as the Sun Belt’s Coastal Carolina are the only other G5 one-loss squads and I would expect those two teams also to be the in rankings.

I believe those will be the only three G5 teams in the first released CFP rankings but we shall see in what will be a mad dash to the end as we do not have a true dominant team really this year like we have had in the G5 most years.


Here are my top five games in the G5 outside of what I showed above. There were two overtime games and a big upset by East Carolina over BYU on the road.

Toledo won in come-from-behind fashion in MAC action, while New Mexico State won its first road game since 2018 to wrap-up my Top Five games.

See all five of my top games below. See the video highlights of these games with game recaps in the hyperlink.