There was a shakeup within the top three spots in this week’s Group of Five Power Poll after two of those squads matched up last week. With the rest of the teams handling business, nearly all of the remaining spots remain unchanged while no teams dropped out.
1. UCF, last week: 2
For the first time this season, the Knights are No. 1 here. This ranking comes after a 38-31 win over Tulane which moved UCF up to the 17 spot in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. The CFP rankings have yet to be released, but the Knights should land right around there. Next up is Navy, who just gave Notre Dame a run for its money.
2. Cincinnati, last week: 3
A fourth-quarter field goal was the difference in the Bearcats’ Week 11 win over ECU. Cincy stopped a late potential game-winning drive from the Pirates to escape and remain at 5-1 in AAC play — a three-way tie with the top three teams in this poll. The Bearcats are ranked 21st in the country, and college football betting odds currently list them as the favorite to win the league at +105.
3. Tulane, last week: 1
Despite the loss to UCF, the Green Wave’s season has still been impressive and they remain at No. 21 in the AP Top 25. Tulane wraps up the season with two tough games, this week against SMU and Nov. 25 at Cincinnati. The Green Wave will need to win both for a shot to play in the AAC title game.
4. Coastal Carolina, last week: 4
Just like the three teams ahead of them in this poll, the Chanticleers are ranked, and for the third consecutive season:
Big time for a Group of Five team from the Sun Belt. Coastal survived a scare from Southern Miss last week, falling behind in the fourth quarter, but survived to clinch the Sun Belt East and a spot in the Sun Belt championship.
5. Troy, last week: 5
Another team that dodged an upset, the Trojans needed a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown to defeat Army 10-9. I don’t think many other teams would have been able to grind through that game and come away victorious, but Troy has been nothing but gritty this year. The Trojans shouldn’t have any problems with LA-Monroe this week.
6. UTSA, last week: 6
The Roadrunners are running through the C-USA and are -110 favorites to win the conference. Rice and UTEP are the only two teams stopping UTSA from finishing the season undefeated in league play and with 10 wins. I like their chances.
7. ECU, last week: 7
Even with a loss, the Pirates fell just one spot from last week. They continue to prove that they’re not a team others want to see on the field. At 3-3 in the best G5 conference in the country, ECU could easily be one of the top dogs in a different conference. This week should be another good one against Houston.
8. Boise State, last week: 8
There wasn’t much excitement in the Broncos’ thrashing over Nevada last week. But there should be some excitement in Laramie on Saturday as Boise visits Wyoming. The winner of that matchup should represent the Mountain Division in the MW title game. Things are getting interesting.
9. South Alabama, last week: 9
The Jaguars are five points away from more than likely playing for a Sun Belt championship, but we already mentioned how Troy likes to grind out wins. Regardless, South Alabama should finish the year a 10-win team and should receive a quality bowl bid.
10. SMU, last week: 10
The explosiveness of this offense continues to be on display. SMU has scored at least 40 points in four of its last five games, and rank ninth in the country with 40.3 PPG. The Mustangs look to carry that into this weekend against a solid team and a solid defense in Tulane.