For the third consecutive week, there is a new team — and in this case a familiar one — atop the Group of Five Power Poll.
Myself and fellow HERO Sports contributor Bennett Conlin will rank our top 10 Group of Five teams each week during the regular season, and combine our submissions to form the Group of Five Power Poll.
Here are our Week 4 rankings:
1. Cincinnati, last week: 3
The No. 1 team in our preseason poll, Cincinnati has climbed its way back into the top spot. This has been a result of the Bearcats delivering a pair of dominant showings, beating Miami (OH) and FCS Kennesaw State by a combined total of 74 points over the last two weeks, as well as struggles by the teams that were ahead of them in the rankings.
The football betting odds to return to the College Football Playoff seems impossible after a loss to a top-10 Arkansas team in the season opener, but a win over an undefeated Big Ten team in Indiana this weekend would be a solid resume booster.
2. Appalachian State, last week: 1
The Mountaineers remained among the most discussed teams in the country last weekend, with “College GameDay” coming to Boone, North Carolina for an electric morning before Chase Brice hit Christian Horn on a 53-yard Hail Mary to avoid an upset at the hands of Troy. This close call dropped them out of the top spot, but an impressive performance against James Madison on Saturday could have them back at No. 1.
3. SMU, last week: 4
The Mustangs seemed poised to vault to the top of the list, leading Maryland by seven entering the fourth quarter. However, they were shut out over the final 21:42, and the Terrapins rallied to win 34-27. Tanner Mordecai continued to produce for SMU, throwing for 369 yards and three touchdowns, but he also turned the ball over three times.
4. Tulane, last week: 10
After blowing out a pair of inferior teams in the first two weeks, the Green Wave made a statement last Saturday with a 17-10 Power Five win over Kansas State. Michael Pratt tossed two interceptions, but he found Tyrick James for the game-winning touchdown with under five minutes left and converted a fourth down in Tulane territory to seal the victory.
5. ECU, last week: 9
The Pirates have rebounded nicely after dropping a 21-20 heartbreaker to NC State in the first game of the season. They followed up an 18-point win over Old Dominion with a 49-10 rout of FCS Campbell last week, as Holton Ahlers completed 17 of 20 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns and Keaton Mitchell added 185 yards and a score on just 13 carries.
6. UCF, last week: unranked
The Knights thoroughly dominated Florida Atlantic in a 40-14 road win, as they out-gained their opponent 653-296 while surpassing 300 yards both on the ground and through the air. UCF has a chance to pick up a Power Five win and send Georgia Tech’s season further into a tailspin on Saturday.
T-7. Boise State, last week: unranked
The Broncos got off to a rough start, falling to Oregon State 34-17 in their opener, but they’ve bounced back with wins over New Mexico and FCS UT Martin by 17 and 23 points, respectively. Last week might have been a breakout moment for running back George Holani, who had 157 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns against the Skyhawks.
T-7. UAB, last week: unranked
The Blazers brought Georgia Southern back down to earth after its upset win over Nebraska, winning the turnover battle 3-0 in a 35-21 victory last week. With the way the schedule shapes up, UAB could easily find itself on a six-game winning streak heading into a Nov. 5 matchup with UTSA that could prove pivotal in the conference title race.
9. Memphis, last week: unranked
A blowout loss to Mississippi State knocked the Tigers off the radar of many, but coming off back-to-back double-digit wins over Navy and Arkansas State, they crack the top 10 for the first time after earning an honorable mention in the preseason poll.
10. Marshall, last week: 2
The Thundering Herd narrowly remained in the rankings, but their last performance is highly concerning. After stunning Notre Dame in South Bend the previous week, Marshall lost 34-31 in overtime to a Bowling Green squad that ranks 123rd out of 131 teams in ESPN’s Football Power Index.
Dropped out: Air Force, Fresno State, Houston, UTSA