Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? Food, food, more food, and maybe some drinks? If nothing else your body usually feels like doing very little the day after Turkey Day. What looked like an amazing three-game slate on Friday in August, now seems like a snooze-fest.
So this is what it comes down to? Or at least maybe. At the start of the season most pundits thought it would UCF that would roll to another undefeated season, and most likely, another NY6 bowl game.
But that’s why they play the games, someone once said.
So here we are! It’s late November and the American Athletic Conference has a showcase game featuring No. 18-ranked Memphis (6-1 AAC, 10-1 overall) and No. 19 Cincinnati (7-0, 10-1). The winner will be in the driver’s seat for the coveted trip to Dallas to play in the Cotton Bowl. Continue reading “Showdown on the Mississippi: Can Memphis tackle Cincinnati?”
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:
- UCF (5-0) — Sure they are ranked lower than USF, but schedule thus far is slightly better. Golden Knights take on Navy this weekend.
- USF (6-0) — A road trip to Tulane doesn’t seem like much of a challenge.
- Boise State (4-2) — A tough schedule so far (ranked No. 54) and a win over No. 19 San Diego State was huge.
- 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.
- Memphis (5-1) — The Tigers are legit, or are they. We’ll find out Thursday night against Houston.
- Toledo (5-1) — The Rockets are flying under the radar for now.
- Navy (5-1) — The AAC is deep, but that may be a problem for many of these teams.
- Colorado State (5-2) — The Rams nearly lost at home to a not-so-good Nevada team. Their defense may be the downfall.
- Houston (4-2) — Thursday night against Memphis will be a big one for the Cougars as well.
- 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.
- SMU (4-2) — A win this weekend at Cincinnati gets them closer to a bowl game.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- South Florida (3-0) – The Bulls beat the snot out of Illinois, perhaps the worst Power 5 team in the nation.
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 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.
- San Diego State (2-0) Good win on the road earns the Aztecs the top spot this week.
- USF (2-0) Two wins against no-names, but the Bulls are in the Top 25 AP poll.
- Houston (1-0) The Cougars notched a win on the road at Arizona.
- Boise State (2-1) The Broncos topped New Mexico, 28-14 Thursday night
- Central Michigan (2-0) The Chips have another winnable game against Syracuse
- Eastern Michigan (2-0) Because the Eagles beat a Big Ten team
- Toledo (2-0) Maybe the best team in the MAC
- Army (2-0) The Black Knights are 2-0. Freedom!
- Navy (2-0) Lower the Army ’cause it lost last year to Black Knights
- Air Force (1-0) The Falcons won’t be on this list next week after a trip to Ann Arbor
- Old Dominion (2-0) Why not, the Monarchs are off and running this year
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