The college football season is flying by. How is it Week 11?
We only have a few weeks left in the regular season, unfortunately, but let’s take a glass half-full view of the next few weeks. November means important college football games, and there are no shortage of meaningful games this week, especially at the Group of Five level. Teams are jockeying for position in the conference standings, while others are grinding to reach six wins to secure bowl eligibility.
Using college football betting odds as a guide, let’s look at five must-watch Group of Five games this week.
5. Ball State at Toledo, Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET
This game receives a midweek primetime spot on ESPN, and it should capture the attention of die-hard college football fans. Toledo (6-3, 4-1 MAC) is a double-digit favorite, but Ball State (5-4, 3-2 MAC) has been competitive in all five of its league games this fall.
The Cardinals settle for red-zone field goals more than they’d like, but they’re a capable offensive unit, and the pass defense is solid. Toledo scores plenty, leading the MAC with 35.9 points per game. Expect fireworks Tuesday night, as the Rockets may lean on their rushing attack to take control of the MAC West.
4. App State at Marshall, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
I’m a little surprised these teams are each 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the Sun Belt, especially after how each program started the season. App State nearly took down North Carolina before upsetting Texas A&M, and Marshall won at Notre Dame. They’ve sputtered in Sun Belt play, but these are two solid programs, and the winner clinches bowl eligibility.
App State is strong offensively, while Marshall relies heavily on its defense to win games. There’s enough here to make this game intriguing, even if the teams aren’t winning the SBC East.
3. San Jose State at San Diego State, Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET
Two of the three best teams in the Mountain West’s West division battle to keep pace with Fresno State atop the division standings. It’s expected to be a tight contest – sportsbooks have San Jose State (6-2, 4-1 MWC) as roughly a field-goal favorite – with minimal scoring.
Each team’s defense is strong, while the two offenses aren’t quite as consistent. San Jose State is better on the offensive side, but San Diego State (5-4, 3-2 MWC) should keep this game competitive thanks to its defense.
2. East Carolina at Cincinnati, Friday, 8 p.m. ET
Two of the best AAC teams square off Friday night on ESPN2. A red-hot ECU (6-3, 3-2 AAC) hits the road hoping to upset a Cincinnati program (7-2, 4-1 AAC) that has taken a step back from its College Football Playoff appearance a season ago. Each team hopes to keep pace in the conference standings with Tulane, which has yet to drop a conference contest.
Online sportsbooks consider Cincinnati a short favorite over the Pirates.
1. UCF at Tulane, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
If Tulane (8-1, 5-0 AAC) picks up a home win over UCF, the Green Wave position themselves to win the AAC regular-season title, although upcoming games with SMU and Cincinnati won’t be easy. Tulane is currently the highest-ranked Group of Five team, but UCF (7-2, 4-1 AAC) is close behind in the battle for a New Year’s Six bowl game berth.
Sportsbooks expect a highly competitive game, with Tulane a short favorite, and I’m expecting an entertaining atmosphere Saturday as Tulane fans try to propel their team to its ninth win.