For the third week in a row, we have a new No. 1 team in our Group of Five Power Poll. We touched on how Navy’s win over UCF has created chaos in the AAC title race.
It also caused some movement in this week’s poll.
1. Cincinnati, last week: 2
Cincinnati went from the outside of the AAC title race looking in, to sitting at the top of the conference and the top of this poll again quickly. That could easily change this week against Tulane. The Bearcats are coming off a 23-3 over Temple, and moved up a spot in the Associated Press Top 25, sitting at No. 21. They have a chance to jump higher if they win what is our top G5 game to watch this week.
2. Tulane, last week: 3
Hovering in the top 3 in this poll for almost the whole back half of the season, the Green Wave can finish at the top with a win over Cincinnati this week. It can’t be said enough how important this game is for Tulane. As the No. 19-ranked team in the country, they seem to be entering this game with some momentum after defeating SMU 59-24 last week and slowing down the high-powered Mustangs offense.
3. Coastal Carolina, last week: 4
Already having a spot locked up in the Sun Belt championship game, it may seem like the Chanticleers don’t have much to lose going into this weekend. They’re not going to play like it though. Coastal doesn’t have that one convincing win this season, but that’ll happen with the 96th-toughest schedule in the country. That can change with a win over James Madison.
4. UCF, last week: 1
It was mentioned before the rankings that UCF was upset by Navy. That win didn’t just drop the Knights to the fourth spot in this poll but dropped them to No. 25 in the country. It’s somewhat surprising they’re still ranked. We’ll see where they land on the latest CFP ranking, which is the biggest factor in if they make the AAC title game. Next up is South Florida.
5. Troy, last week: 5
With a win over Arkansas State this week, the Trojans will clinch the SBW and win their 10th game of the season. Their eight-game winning streak is the fifth-longest in the country:
Troy has kind of flown under the radar this year and hopefully won’t have an impact on their bowl selection.
6. UTSA, last week: 6
Both sides of the ball are clicking for the Roadrunners, with the offense scoring at least 41 points in three straight games and the defense giving up a combined 14 points in the last two. They already have a spot locked up in the C-USA championship game, and finish league play unbeaten with a win over UTEP.
7. Boise State, last week: 8
I wouldn’t go as far as saying Boise State was gifted a win last week after Wyoming tossed two interceptions in the final 1:56 in the game (both in field-goal range for UW) because the Broncos easily could’ve won that game if it went to OT. I will say that Boise was the beneficiary of bad mistakes and awful play-calling, and avoided a potential upset. Now they’re playing for another MW title.
8. South Alabama, last week: 9
The Jaguars still have a shot at a Sun Belt title game with a win over Old Dominion and a Troy loss. Stranger things have happened. Conference championship aside though, South Alabama has had a terrific season, and nobody expected it to hang around in this poll for this long.
9. Houston, last week: unranked
There’s still a very slim chance Houston can make the AAC title game. The 39-point win over ECU last week would certainly help and a rout over Tulsa this week would help even more. If it wasn’t for giving up 77 points to SMU two weeks ago, the Cougars would be on a six-game winning streak.
10. JMU, last week: unranked
James Madison’s season is over following Saturday’s contest vs. Coastal Carolina. Because of its transition to FBS, the Dukes are ineligible for postseason play. Still, it was a helluva introduction, and they can cap things with a bang.
Dropped out: ECU, SMU