After only 2 weeks of college football in the books, why not start ranking teams? I have constructed a list of whom I deem the best G5 schools this year (in no particular order because that seems like even more work). I did this because 1) listing things is the easiest form of journalism and 2) a list of the top 5 P5 schools would go something like, Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma, Cowboys, and the Yankees. If you prefer that kind of list then I hate your lack of interest and probably you as a person. So, without further ado, here is the ultimate list of top 5 G5 teams.
In our week 1 preview I talked about how Boise State could open up this season with 4 or 5 immediate losses and although they are only 1-1, I was totally wrong. They defeated Troy, who I supported as great team this year, and lost to Washington State in overtime due solely to a wild 4th quarter punt. I don’t suspect Washington State will win the Pac by any means but I absolutely think Boise State is that good. SDSU and Colorado State appear to be the toughest opponents left on their schedule so it’s very possible the Broncos are sitting on 6 or 7 more wins and will contend for the conference.
The Rams opened up their season impressing everyone with a solid win over Oregon State in week 0. In week 1 however, their offense was no match for Colorado’s defense as they were held to merely a field goal. The Rams picked up their second win over the infamous powerhouse, Abilene Christian on Saturday, beating them by 28 points. This weekend will be the ultimate test as they face off against Alabama. Of course, no one expects them of actually winning, but their competitiveness against the best team in college football will definitely help us gage where they fit in the G5 race. Colorado State has the pleasure of getting to sneak past SDSU in regular season play. It won’t be an easy process getting to the MWC championship game however as their Mountain division is stacked with the likes of Air Force, Boise State, and even Wyoming. All the while SDSU is sitting comfortably on top of the West division with no real threat in sight.
San Diego State
With a 2-0 record including a win over a Pac team, the Aztecs already look like this season’s G5 New Years Bowl team. This week will be a huge test as they face Stanford at home. Although the Cards whooped Rice in Australia to open week 0, this team is no Rice and Stanford showed a lot of weaknesses in their loss to USC. If SDSU can sneak by this weekend with a win and beat Boise State at home in mid October, they are looking at a possible undefeated season which would include two Pac 12 wins. If that happens, not only are they guaranteed a spot in a New Years Bowl but depending on the records of other teams, would be at least in discussion for a playoff spot. As a G5er, even the thought of this gets me pretty excited.
Disclaimer: I’m going to try my best to be as unbiased as possible… Unfortunately for all of us, we have only been able to see the Cougars play one game this year due to Hurricane Harvey. Based on that one game however, the Coogs look pretty dangerous. UH seemed to have found their new QB in Texas A&M transfer, Kyle Allen, as he looked fairly confident back home in Arizona throwing for 225 yards. Yet, the most dangerous weapon for the Coogs this year appears to be Ed Oliver. Coming off an incredible freshman season last year, Oliver seemed to have lived up to his hype in this season’s opener with 11 tackles, 8 solo, 1.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and a field goal block. Another defensive player that seemed to get over-looked was Junior Safety, Garrett Davis, accounting for 11 tackles, 9 solo, and an interception. Although one win against a weak Pac team doesn’t prove much and there are some obvious points that need polishing like Allen’s two interceptions, it did show us the type of talent Major Applewhite is working with on the field.
Charlie Strong is finally coaching a ranked team once again and unsurprisingly it’s not the Longhorns. Although the Bulls looked dead in the first quarter against San Jose State in week 0, USF came alive with 42 points to shut down the Spartans in California. With a similar performance in week 1 against Stony Brook, the Bulls appear to be have found their rhythm. Star QB, Quinton Flowers has lived up to his name so far with 398 passing yards, 137 rushing yards, and 5 TDs in only two games. This weekend will be a test as they face their only P5 opponent of the year, Illinois at home, who is coming off a solid win over the Hill Toppers. If they can get passed the Fighting Illini with a win, the Bulls don’t have much competition until late October when they are faced with Cincinnati, Houston, and Tulsa in three consecutive away games against some of the conference’s toughest opponents. Their chances at an ACC championship lie within the meat of their schedule however, consisting of East division teams they should beat.
So there you have it, my list (and probably the only list) of the Top 5 G5 teams as of now. A few schools that just missed the cut:
Memphis – As previously discussed, the Tigers look dangerous this year for the AAC. With QB, Riley Ferguson, and RB, Doroland Dorceus, leading their strong offense, Memphis definitely appears able to takeover the notoriously competitive West division. Unfortunately, with the postponement of their game against UCF, I have just not seen enough action from the Tigers to rank them yet.
Toledo – The Rockets look offensively great this year. With Senior QB, Logan Woodside, throwing for 546 yards and three running backs rushing for a combined 440 yards in two games, Toledo will definitely contend for the MAC. Similar to Memphis however, I have not seen them play enough competition to gage their success against competitive programs. Hopefully this week against Tulsa will change that.
The Sunbelt – I was fairly hyped-up about a competitive Sunbelt Conference this year with Appalachian State and Troy looking hopeful. With their disappointing first losses of the season to Georgia and Boise State however, I have already lost faith. I know both of those teams are great this year and shouldn’t be surprised by the losses, yet the lack of competitiveness in both games was a bummer. I hope those teams can step it up throughout the season and get me interested again.