Week One G5 games to watch; Can FAU compete with OU?

Week one is finally here! And there are many solid games on the slate for the Group of 5 teams. Will there be upsets? Most likely there will be a few. Here some games to watch out for this week with the Group of 5.

Friday, August 31

Syracuse at Western Michigan, 6 p.m. ET, CBSSN

Anytime an ACC school plays at a MAC school, you know it will be a goodie. At least we can hope. The Orange are a 5 point favorite, but this could be an upset by the Broncos at home.

Colorado State vs. Colorado, 9:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN

Though Colorado State lost its home opener to Hawai’i, the Rams will play Colorado in Denver for what could be a great game. There’s no better way to get over a disappointing loss than to beat your rival. Buffs are 7 point favorites.

Saturday, Sept. 1

Florida Atlantic at No. 7 Oklahoma, Noon ET, FOX

We’re gonna find out right away if FAU is any good. Of course winning in Norman would be an amazing feat, just keeping it close would be a major boost to the Owls’ resume. OU is favored by three TDs.

Northern Illinois at Iowa, 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN

NIU has the reputation of beating Power 5 teams and it’ll get a shot right out of the gate. The Huskies are coming off an 8-5 season with a disappointing bowl loss to Duke. But remember, NIU beat Nebraska last year in Lincoln. Iowa is a 10-point favorite.

Washington State at Wyoming, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN

Washington State had a solid season last year, falling flat, however, in the Holiday Bowl. The Cougars will head to Laramie to play Wyoming, a team that allowed less than 150 total yards last week at New Mexico State.  WAZZU is a 3 point favorite.

No. 22 Boise State at Troy, 5 p.m. ET, ESPNews

Boise State will head to the South to battle a very good Troy team. The Broncos won last year in Boise, 24-13. Expect a similar type of game even though Boise State is a 10.5 point favorite.

BYU at Arizona, 10:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

This is an interesting matchup as BYU had its worst season in decades, while Kevin Sumlin takes over a program with a Heisman Trophy candidate in Khalil Tate. Arizona is an 11-point favorite.

Other games of note: Navy at Hawai’i (11 p.m. ET, CBSSN); Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt (7:30 p.m. ET, SECN); Indiana at FIU (7 p.m. ET, CBSN)

Photo: Florida Atlantic will need a huge game from Devin Singletary if the Owls want to keep it close on Saturday against Oklahoma. (Courtesy FAU athletics)

 

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Hawai’i secures huge road win at CSU

The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors last won a football game on the road in Fort Collins way back when head coach Nick Rolovich was just a boy (it was actually 30 years ago). But on Saturday night, the Warriors’ revamped Run and Shoot offense was explosive, leading to a 43-34 win.

Redshirt sophomore Cole McDonald was impressive, completing 26 passes for 418 yards and three TDs. He also ran for 96 yards and two more scores. Not bad for this lightly recruited, two star prospect out Sonora High in La Habra, Calif.

The final score looked a bit closer than it actually was as Hawai’i (1-0, 1-0 MW) led 37-7 with less than 4 minutes to play in the third.

So what does this mean for Hawai’i? Well, it means that they are a legitimate contender to compete for the Mountain West’s West Division. It also means a bowl game is most likely. Next week, the Warriors host Navy in O’ahu followed by another home game against Rice and a trip to West Point to take on Army. The team’s next two are against Duquense (a FCS team that got rolled Saturday by UMASS) and then a trip to the Bay Area to take San Jose State.

It’s reasonable to think Hawai’i will be 6-0 when they host Wyoming on the islands Oct. 6.

Speaking of Wyoming …

The Cowboys’ defense was impressive (or New Mexico State’s offense is just awful) as the Pokes ran over the Aggies 29-7 in Las Cruces. Wyoming’s defense only allowed seven first downs and 135 total yards. Wow! We should learn a bit more about the Cowboys as they host Washington State next week in Laramie.

Photo: Cole McDonald runs past a Colorado State defender Saturday night in Fort Collins. Photo courtesy of UH athletics.

New Mexico State wins a bowl game. Really!

For the nearly 40,000 in attendance in Tucson, they saw something that had not happened since JFK was in office — New Mexico State won a bowl game. Though it appeared they won much more than the Arizona Bowl in the 26-20 overtime win against Utah State.

“You’d have thought they won the national championship or the Super Bowl,” Arizona Bowl executive director Alan Young told the Arizona Daily Star. “It was pure emotion.”

It sure was. Fans stormed the field. They took selfies. They looked around and, well, didn’t really know what to do. It was like a middle school dance. People were ready, but they were unsure of what to do.

Click here for recap from Arizona Daily Star

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics

No. 25 Memphis gets comeback win against Houston

No. 25 Memphis came back from a 17-point deficit to win at Houston on Thursday night, topping the Cougars 42-38.

The win for the Tigers (6-1, 3-1 AAC) keeps them in the hunt for a NY6 game if they can keep winning, but may need to win in the AAC title game as well, likely against South Florida.

Memphis, of course, lost to UCF three weeks ago, a team that the Tigers could face again in the title game.

Coming into the matchup with Houston (4-3, 2-2), Memphis was a slight underdog, but a flurry of points — all 42 points — in the second half, and Riley Ferguson throwing the winning TD with less than 2-minutes to play was key to the upset.

“We battled, we knew it would be 60 minutes,” said Memphis head coach Mike Norvell said.

Ferguson led the Tigers with 471 passing yards.

 

Week 8 Top 10 (plus 1)

There was a bit of a shake-up in the rankings this week as San Diego State was clobbered at home by Boise State, a team that looked like it may be headed for a losing season. With the SDSU loss, that opens a big-time opportunity for teams in the American Athletic Conference as South Florida and Central Florida both remain undefeated.

Here is this week’s rankings:

  1. UCF (5-0) — Sure they are ranked lower than USF, but schedule thus far is slightly better. Golden Knights take on Navy this weekend.
  2. USF (6-0) — A road trip to Tulane doesn’t seem like much of a challenge.
  3. Boise State (4-2) — A tough schedule so far (ranked No. 54) and a win over No. 19 San Diego State was huge.
  4. San Diego State (6-1) — There is still a lot to play for this year for the Aztecs as they may have the last laugh in the Mountain West title game against Boise.
  5. Memphis (5-1) — The Tigers are legit, or are they. We’ll find out Thursday night against Houston.
  6. Toledo (5-1) — The Rockets are flying under the radar for now.
  7. Navy (5-1) — The AAC is deep, but that may be a problem for many of these teams.
  8. Colorado State (5-2) — The Rams nearly lost at home to a not-so-good Nevada team. Their defense may be the downfall.
  9. Houston (4-2) — Thursday night against Memphis will be a big one for the Cougars as well.
  10. Western Michigan (4-3) — The Broncos will play cross-state rival Eastern Michigan this weekend. The winner will be the third best team in the state.
  11. SMU (4-2) — A win this weekend at Cincinnati gets them closer to a bowl game.

Week 4 Top 10 (plus 1)

It’s Thursday and the start of another week of college football. No. 21 South Florida has another prime time game tonight, this time against Temple. But are the Bulls the No. 1 Group of 5 football team? Let’s take a look:

  1. San Diego State (3-0) — The Aztecs topped Stanford last week for their second Pac12 win of the year. A tough road game at Air Force awaits.
  2. South Florida (3-0) — The Bulls have had a friendly slate so far, but are really good.
  3. Memphis (2-0) — A home win over UCLA is great. The Tigers get FCS Southern Illinois this weekend.
  4. Houston (2-0) — The Cougars get a home game against Texas Tech, a shootout is likely.
  5. Boise State (2-1) — The Broncos offense has not produced, but that may change with a Friday night game at home vs. Virginia, also 2-1.
  6. Northern Illinois (2-1) — A loss to Boston College by 3 and a road win at Nebraska. How good are the they?
  7. Toledo (3-0) — The Rockets head to Miami to battle the Hurricanes, a win would vault them to the top 3 for sure.
  8. Eastern Michigan (2-0) — The Eagles look to a 3-0 start this weekend as they play Ohio.
  9. Colorado State (2-2) — The Rams scored 23 points at Alabama. A trip to Hawaii will tell us about both these teams.
  10. Navy (2-0) — The Midshipmen take on Cincinnati this weekend.
  11. UCF (1-0 — We’re not sure about UCF, but they play Maryland this weekend and we’ll know a whole lot more.

Best Week 4 games? Texas Tech at Houston; UCF at Maryland

The start of week 4 is nearly here and there are plenty of Group of 5 games to get excited about. South Florida (3-0) has another prime time game as the Bulls host Temple (2-1). The Bulls are a heavy favorite Thursday night on ESPN. Another weeknight game to watch is Boise State (2-1) hosting Virginia (2-1). The Broncos are nearly a two touchdown favorite over the visiting Cavaliers on ESPN2 on Friday night.

Here is a rundown of the best games this week:

Texas Tech (2-0) at Houston (2-0), noon ESPN2/ABC

This is a great game to start your day of football as the Red Raiders head to Houston. The Cougars are a 6-point favorite.

UCF (1-0) at Maryland (2-0), 3 p.m. ET, FS1

Normally this doesn’t look like a must watch, but Maryland is pretty solid and UCF has a legit shot to upend a Big Ten team at home.

Toledo (3-0) at No. 14 Miami (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ACCNE

The Rockets are of to a great start and could catch the Hurricanes napping a bit after only playing one game thus far. Miami is expected to win by two TDs, but hey, the MAC is tough a nails.

Wake Forest (3-0) at Appalachian State (2-1), 3:30 p.m. ESPN3

Another ACC team comes to Boone, N.C., let’s hope it goes better than last year when Miami came to town. That was an ugly 45-10 loss for the Mountaineers. Wake Forest is solid and is a slight favorite. This should be a really good game.