The Week 12 slate provided us with a lot of surprises throughout college football, and across the Group of Five landscape.
There was plenty to take away, most (if not all) of it having an impact on postseason implications, especially in the AAC.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Week 12:
Navy rattles UCF, AAC
The highest-ranked G5 team and the No. 1 team in our G5 Power Poll from last week, UCF seemed to have a clear shot at playing for another AAC title. Navy had other plans. The Midshipmen stunned the Knights with their 17-14 victory as 15.5-point underdogs.
They completed zero passes and attempted just one:
They absolutely gritted out the win and shook up the AAC while doing so. Now, the Knights sit at 5-2 and in third place in the league behind Cincinnati and Tulane, who are both 6-1. Good thing for the Knights, though, they’ve defeated both of those teams. Bad thing for the Knights, though, they can still miss out on the AAC title game.
In a somewhat nutty, confusing scenario, there will be a three-way tie for second place in the league if both UCF (vs. South Florida) and Houston (vs. Tulsa) win this week. Both teams will be tied with the loser of Cincy/Tulsa. If this situation happens, and because Houston hasn’t played either UCF (or Cincy), the team from the three-way tiebreaker that will play in the championship game will be the highest-ranked team in next week’s CFP ranking. Houston did just roll through ECU, who handed UCF one of its losses this season. It’ll be interesting, and a lot of fun, to see how this all plays out.
Confusing, I know. All of that information can be found here.
However, one thing seems probable — the winner of this conference will probably get the automatic bid for the G5’s spot in the Cotton Bowl. There can certainly be arguments made for other programs: an undefeated UTSA team in the C-USA and the winner of the Sun Belt. But let’s be honest, those options will probably be overlooked.
That leads us to our next takeaway.
Tulane bounces back
The Green Wave could’ve mulled over their loss to UCF two weeks ago. Instead, the Green Wave knocked off a red-hot SMU team to continue their unexpectedly impressive season. Their defense slowed down the Mustangs and limited them to 24 points.
SMU has scored 24 or less just once this season — a 41-19 loss to UCF. Now, as we somewhat touched on before, Tulane holds its own destiny to compete for an AAC title and in a NY6 bowl game.
MACtion is thriving again
The midweek MACtion is back, giving us something to look forward to throughout the week. Early in the season, the league seemed very shallow and didn’t provide as much hype as we’re used to. Maybe they just needed to get back to playing on Tuesday nights.
In four of the five in-conference games that were played (Akron at Buffalo got postponed), the underdog didn’t just cover but won outright. Now, we have Eastern Michigan and Toledo vying for the top spot in the West Division. Toledo plays Western Michigan and EMU hosts Central Michigan.
Even better, we have Ohio and Bowling Green playing for the MAC East title … On a Tuesday night!
Who would have thought?
Mountain West title game decided
In a quick swing of events, the Mountain West went from a lot of interest, to somewhat boring. With Boise State defeating Wyoming, and Fresno State picking up an easy victory over Nevada, the MW title game is already set.
That means not much hype going into the final week of the regular season, and another year with Boise or Fresno in the championship. Six out of the previous 10 MW title games have included one of these teams, and four of (including this year) the last 10 title games have featured both of these teams.
We need a little more parity in this league.