While there wasn’t a change atop this week’s Group of Five Power Poll, there were five new additions that made their way into the mix.
Myself and fellow HERO Sports contributor Bennett Conlin will rank our top 10 G5 teams each week during the regular season, and combine our submissions to form the Group of Five Power Poll. Here are our Week 5 rankings:
1. Cincinnati, last week: 1
The Bearcats have been nothing short of dominant since dropping their season opener to Arkansas, winning their last three games by an average of 31.7 points. The latest came in the form of a Power Five victory over Indiana, as Cincinnati jumped out to a 38-10 halftime lead on its way to a 21-point beatdown.
2. James Madison, last week: unranked
The Dukes haven’t wasted any time making noise in their first season as an FBS program. They beat Middle Tennessee and Norfolk State by a combined total of 91 points in their first two games, but last Saturday was their most impressive feat yet. Trailing 28-3 late in the second half, James Madison scored 29 unanswered points to remain undefeated.
3. Coastal Carolina, last week: unranked
The Chanticleers fell off the radar of many after week two when they nearly got upset by FCS Gardner-Webb. But all of a sudden a third straight double-digit win season is looking like a possibility. Coastal Carolina currently sits at 4-0 following back-to-back double-digit wins over Buffalo and Georgia State.
4. UCF, last week: 6
Outside of a 20-14 setback to Louisville a couple of weeks back, UCF has been arguably the most impressive G5 team in the country this year. The Knights’ 17-point win over Georgia Tech was the latest example of this. After falling behind 7-3, they out-scored the Yellow Jackets 24-3 over the final 32 minutes to improve to 3-1.
T-5. Appalachian State, last week: 2
The Mountaineers seemed in position to cruise past James Madison last week, before blowing a 25-point lead in front of their home fans. They still have the highest quality win of any Group of Five team with a top-10 upset at Texas A&M earlier this year, but last week’s letdown and a close call against Troy are reasons for concern.
T-5. WKU, last week: unranked
It took a few weeks, but the Hilltoppers’ aerial attack is starting to look more like it did last year when Bailey Zappe led them to an FBS-best 433.7 passing yards per game and 63 touchdowns. Austin Reed completed 30 of 35 passes for 381 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions in a 73-0 rout of FIU last Saturday, as WKU improved to 3-1. Its only loss came by three points in overtime at Indiana.
7. SMU, last week: 3
The Mustangs continued to show promise on the offensive side of the ball in last week’s 42-34 loss to TCU, racking up 476 total yards. However, the defense, which is now allowing 400 yards per game, gave up even more yardage. SMU has had a tougher schedule than some teams on this list, but a third straight loss at UCF this weekend will likely drop them out of the rankings.
8. UAB, last week: T-7
The Blazers had a bye after beating Georgia Southern 35-21 on Sept. 17 to improve to 2-1 on the year, with their lone loss coming by a touchdown at Liberty. Their next four weeks could be a challenge, though, with Middle Tennessee and WKU teams that appear to be on the rise coming up on the schedule in October.
9. UNLV, last week: unranked
The Rebels were nothing more than an afterthought during the preseason when they were given college football betting odds as high as 100-to-1 to win the Mountain West championship. Now, they might be the top choice to represent the West Division in the conference title game — especially if Fresno State star quarterback Jake Haener is out for an extended period of time with a high-ankle sprain. UNLV is 3-1, with its only loss coming by six points at Cal.
10. Middle Tennessee, last week: unranked
The Blue Raiders opened the year with a 44-7 loss to James Madison, but three straight double-digit victories — including a 45-31 win at Miami last Saturday — have them looking like a contender in Conference USA. They’ll be tested over their first three C-USA games against UTSA, UAB, and WKU, but the schedule sets up well after that.
Receiving votes: Air Force
Dropped out: Boise State, ECU, Marshall, Memphis, Tulane