Conference play is ramping up across college football, including the Group of Five. That means each week should feature some critical matchups across the level, and I’ll try to highlight five every week for G5 fans.
I’ll use college football betting odds to help put together this Group of Five viewing guide, while also considering game time, home atmosphere, and other factors when finalizing the list.
5. Tulane vs. Houston, Friday, 7 p.m. ET
Tulane followed up its win over Kansas State with a disappointing loss to Southern Miss. Regardless, the Green Wave can play. Houston looks shakier than I expected this season, but the Cougars (-2.5) can put up points, and there’s ample time to steady the ship with this game being each team’s AAC opener. The winner of this game stands a decent chance of being in AAC title contention.
4. Troy vs. Western Kentucky, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
Troy might be better than experts predicted before the start of the season. The Trojans nearly upset App State a couple of weeks ago, and they defeated Marshall 16-7 last weekend. That’s a nice win over a projected contender in the Sun Belt East. Western Kentucky (-6) is 3-1 with its lone loss a close call against Indiana. This game won’t draw national headlines, but it should be competitive.
3. UTSA vs. Middle Tennessee, Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Middle Tennessee returns home following a thumping of Miami. The Blue Raiders’ 45-31 win over the Hurricanes signals they could be a threat to contend in Conference USA. UTSA (-4) was stellar a season ago and hasn’t shown any reason why it can’t win the C-USA title this season. This could be one of the best C-USA matchups of the entire season, and it has the potential to be high scoring.
2. Georgia Southern vs. Coastal Carolina, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
Coastal Carolina (-10) is one of only two undefeated Group of Five teams (JMU is the other), and the Chanticleers could be tested by Georgia Southern, which upset Nebraska this season. The Eagles average 322.5 passing yards per game, the second-highest mark in the Sun Belt. Unfortunately, a major weather system could impact this game.
1. UCF vs. SMU, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
SMU whiffed on chances to beat Maryland and TCU, but the Mustangs should be competitive in the AAC regardless. UCF is 3-1 on the season after a 27-10 win over a lifeless Georgia Tech squad. The Knights (-3.5) are short favorites in a game that could feature plenty of scoring. Both of these teams are expected to be forces in the AAC all fall, regardless of Saturday’s result.
Navy vs. Air Force, Liberty vs. Old Dominion, and Central Michigan vs. Toledo
Air Force (-14) looks like a better team than Navy, but the Midshipmen did well to upset East Carolina last weekend. The rivalry game nearly made the must-watch list. Liberty (-1.5) at Old Dominion pins a pair of respectable in-state foes against each other, which should lead to an entertaining game. Central Michigan and Toledo (-7.5) should be among the MAC’s best teams this fall.