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.
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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.

Week 3 winners: MAC shows its strength against Big XII; SDSU tops Stanford

The Mid-American Conference has always been able to hold its own with the big boys of college football, and on Saturday it showed that strength again. Of course the MAC is awesome and we love the late-night MACtion, but regardless of how awful Nebraska is right now, a win in Lincoln is just down right super. That’s what Northern Illinois was able to do — walk into a hostile Big Ten stadium and walk away with a win.

So which Group of 5 team has the biggest win of Week 3? There is plenty to choose from, let’s take a look.

  1. Northern Illinois (2-1) – NIU gets the top spot this week because it went into a Big Ten stadium and came away with a win. This is not an easy task, despite how poor a team Nebraska might be.
  2. San Diego State (3-0) – A win at home against Stanford is a great program win for Rocky Long and Co. The Aztecs are legit and will get to prove that in the coming week as, you guessed it, Northern Illinois comes to SoCal.
  3. Memphis (2-0) – The Tigers had a shoot-out with UCLA at the Liberty Bowl, ending with a 48-45 win over the Bruins. Memphis has a easy game this week against Southern Illinois.
  4. Ohio (2-1) – The Bobcats took care of Kansas at home. Any time you get a Big XII team on your own turf, it’s special, even if it is a team that is as bad as Kansas.
  5. South Florida (3-0) – The Bulls beat the snot out of Illinois, perhaps the worst Power 5 team in the nation.

San Diego State jumps to No. 22 in AP poll

The San Diego State Aztecs finished the 2016 season as a ranked team. Welcome back to the Top 25, Aztecs!

SDSU (3-0 overall) topped then-No. 19 Stanford on Saturday night, 20-17. They Aztecs are also ranked in the Coaches’ Poll at No. 25, which is a bit low considering their back-to-back wins against Pac12 teams.

The only other Group of 5 in the poll is South Florida. It is ranked No. 21 after dismantling Illinois on Friday night.

The Bulls have another ESPN prime time game Thursday at they host Temple. San Diego State will travel to Air Force, a game that can be seen on CBS Sports Network (7 p.m. ET)

Memphis, which beat UCLA at home, and Houston, which spanked Rice, are receiving votes as well.

Here is the AP poll:

Week 4 – September 17, 2017
1. Alabama (3-0) (45 first-place votes) – 1,504
2. Clemson (3-0) (15) – 1,446
3. Oklahoma (3-0) (1) – 1,432
4. Penn State (3-0) – 1,306
5. USC (3-0) – 1,241
6. Oklahoma State (3-0) – 1,154
7. Washington (3-0) – 1,141
8. Michigan (3-0) – 1,081
9. Wisconsin (3-0) – 1,031
10. Ohio State (2-1) – 1,015
11. Georgia (3-0) – 940
12. Florida State (0-1) – 922
13. Virginia Tech (3-0) – 730
14. Miami (FL) (1-0) – 606
15. Auburn (2-1) – 596
16. TCU (3-0) – 553
17. Mississippi State (3-0) – 532
18. Washington State (3-0) – 419
19. Louisville (2-1) – 356
20. Florida (1-1) – 308
21. South Florida (3-0) – 272
22. San Diego State (3-0) – 201
23. Utah (3-0) – 194
24. Oregon (3-0) – 158
25. LSU (2-1) – 153

Others receiving votes: West Virginia 114, Colorado 93, Maryland 84, Vanderbilt 83, Notre Dame 57, Memphis 21, California 19, Stanford 16, Kentucky 11, Kansas St. 10, Duke 10, Tennessee 6, Texas Tech 4, Iowa 2, Wake Forest 2, Michigan St. 1, Houston 1

Photo: Courtesy of SDSU athletics.

Week 3 rankings (Top 10, plus 1)

Week three is already upon us, but before we head into the weekend, it’s time to unveil our Top 10 Plus 1. One team probably could have moved up to No. 1, but it let go of a 21-point lead to a Top 25 team. Yeah, we’re talking about you, Boise State! But another Mountain West team, San Diego State, topped a Pac12 team on the road, defeating Arizona State in Tempe.

  1. San Diego State (2-0) Good win on the road earns the Aztecs the top spot this week.
  2. USF (2-0) Two wins against no-names, but the Bulls are in the Top 25 AP poll.
  3. Houston (1-0) The Cougars notched a win on the road at Arizona.
  4. Boise State (2-1) The Broncos topped New Mexico, 28-14 Thursday night
  5. Central Michigan (2-0) The Chips have another winnable game against Syracuse
  6. Eastern Michigan (2-0) Because the Eagles beat a Big Ten team
  7. Toledo (2-0) Maybe the best team in the MAC
  8. Army (2-0) The Black Knights are 2-0. Freedom!
  9. Navy (2-0) Lower the Army ’cause it lost last year to Black Knights
  10. Air Force (1-0) The Falcons won’t be on this list next week after a trip to Ann Arbor
  11. Old Dominion (2-0) Why not, the Monarchs are off and running this year

No. 22 USF Should have its way with Illinois

It’s always a big deal when a Group of 5 team hosts a Power 5, but in the case of the Big Ten, it might even hold a larger slice of dangling fruit. For No. 22 South Florida, it will take on Illinois (7 p.m. ET) as a 16.5 point favorite tonight. A win against the Illini is expected, so tonight’s game should to be a showcase for the Bulls (2-0 overall).

One way that will happen is for Quinton Flowers to keep on doing what he is doing. In two games, he has been solid with four TDs and nearly 400 yards passing. But we all know the Bulls have been holding back the playbook a bit against San Jose State and Stony Brook. Flowers also has 137 yards on the ground and a rushing TD.

(All this of course as there is no hangover from Irma, which has devastated so many people in Florida.)

The bar is high for South Florida this year as they eye a NY6 berth, but of course that road will get tougher tonight as they welcome former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, Lovie Smith, who is in his second year as the Illinois coach (5-9 overall record).

After tonight, the schedule is quite favorable for the Bulls as they have limited challenges. However, don’t count out Houston or Central Florida later in the season.

As for tonight, Flowers will be too much to handle for the Illini, but it will be closer than expects.

Prediction: South Florida 31, Illinois 24

 

 

Mountain West: Boise State drops heartbreaker; San Diego State tops ASU

As predicted earlier this week, there was a decent chance that the Mountain West would be able to notch a win against the PAC12 late Saturday night. For those who stayed up, they were treated to a memorable game — win or lose — between Boise State and No. 20 Washington State.

The Broncos appeared to have sealed the game, leading by 21 with 8 minutes to play. However, with some luck and keep missteps, the Cougars were able to tie the game, ultimately winning in 3 OTs. Click here for a recap.

As for the Aztecs, they took care of business in Tempe as they beat the Sun Devils 30-20.

Of course Boise State and San Diego State will play next month, a battle that could be for a NY6 game.

Boise State next plays Thursday against New Mexico on ESPN, while San Diego State hosts Stanford on FOX.