Race To New Year’s Six Bowl Game: Where Does Boise State Fit After Loss?
Broncos are on a bye this week but they could get some help.
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Ranking the G5 teams for a NY6 bid
Boise State was so far ahead of the freeway last week that the only way a team from the Group of Five was going to catch them in the race for the coveted New Year’s Six bid was with a fiery crash.
Well… hate to bring up that BYU loss again, but that was the fiery crash that allowed Memphis, SMU, Appalachian State, and Cincinnati to be visible and some are even looking at the Broncos in the rearview mirror.
All is not lost for Boise State because the loss to the Cougars was not a league loss and thus does not hurt them in the No. 1 goal for making it to the Cotton Bowl which is to be a conference champion. However, things got a lot tougher.
What we will do going forward each and every week is to rank the Group of Five teams that are most likely to reach the big money game. This will not be a weekly ranking of these teams but will be considered where say a one-loss SMU falls in line compared to an undefeated SMU team.
Also being considered is strength of schedule because the American is a bit more top-heavy than the Mountain West as they have two teams ranked in each poll and Memphis 25th in the coaches poll. This also has an inverse effect for Appalachian State which is in the Sun Belt and its strength of schedule is on the other end of the spectrum.
The first College Football Playoff poll does not come out until Nov. 2 and they take a lot into consideration with strength of schedule. The number of teams ranked will vary from week to week and this is not a power ranking poll but how they are likely to finish.
While a two-loss team has made a New Year’s Six bowl game before when Boise State did so in 2014, there will be no two-loss teams listed until it becomes clear that is a possibility.
1. Undefeated SMU
Being the highest-ranked team in the coaches and AP poll it makes sense that if the Mustangs run the table they will make it to the Cotton Bowl. There are some challenges like going to Memphis and Navy. Any slip up and they drop like a rock.
Remaining Games: at Houston, at Memphis, East Carolina, at Navy, Tulane
2. One-loss Cincinnati
The Bearcats losing early gives them a chance to rebuild its reputation with a sheer volume of games to climb higher in the rankings. Their loss is a non-league loss so that gives them a leg up over teams that have a loss.
Remaining Games: at East Carolina, UConn, at USF, Temple, at Memphis
3. One-loss Boise State
The same goes for Cincinnati in that the BYU lose is an out of conference game. The Broncos were in the top 15 so the loss dropped them to No. 21 and 22 in the polls. There is no huge win for the Broncos to prop up because Florida State is just 3-4. Boise State will move up in the rankings and they do need help with SMU and Cincinnati losing one more game each.
Remaining Games: at San Jose State, Wyoming, New Mexico, at Utah State, at Colorado State
4. One-loss SMU
This could depend on when and who the Mustangs lose to. Dropping games to Memphis and Navy would put them on the outside looking into a potential AAC championship game appearance assuming those teams end with one league loss. Also, the one loss being to Houston or somehow ECU would almost for sure drop them too far even if it was their only loss.
5. One-loss Memphis
The Tigers are at the tail end of the pole and still have room to grow with some key games left on the schedule. They get SMU and Cincinnati at home and if both of those teams are ranked and the Tigers get both upsets that would immediately shoot them to the top spot with two of the best wins among the Group of Five.
Remaining Games: at Tulsa, SMU, at Houston, at USF, Cincinnati
6. One-loss Navy
Navy is a team that if they run the table then they are going to be the representative for the Group of Five. Going unscathed means a win over a top-10 Notre Dame team and they would have the inside track, however, that game will be tough as will go on the road three times in November.
Remaining Games: Tulane, at UConn, at Notre Dame, SMU, at Houston, Army
7. Undefeated Appalachian State
The only way App State can get the G5 spot is if every other Group of 5 champ has at least one loss but might even take for some to have a pair of losses to get there.
Remaining games: at South Alabama, Georgia Southern, at South Carolina, at Georgia State, Texas State, at Troy
8. One-loss San Diego State
This team is playing better of late and they have a decent shot to go undefeated the rest of the way to at least be in the top 25. However, the quality wins are not there. The biggest brand name win is a UCLA team that might not even make a bowl game. The rest of the schedule does not provide a great opponent. Hawaii looks to be the best team on the schedule the rest of the way. However, if they make it to the Mountain West title game and face Boise State and win then that victory would clearly put them in consideration with a 12-1 record.
Remaining games: at UNLV, Nevada, Fresno State, Hawaii, BYU