Despite the huge news of Cincinnati, UCF and Houston preparing to depart for the Big 12, there is still lots of Group of 5 football to be played this year! Check out a quick Group of 5 Week Two Review.
To no one’s surprise the AAC is topped by UCF and Cincinnati with Memphis and SMU also remaining undefeated at the top. In week 2, Cincy continued the easy trend of games, but get a taste of Power 5 competition in Indiana this week and then Notre Dame next week. UCF had a much easier week against Bethune-Cookman after their come from behind war against Boise State in week 1. It feels quite clear that UCF and Cincinnati are in control of the AAC.
Memphis and SMU are not surprises, but haven’t been met with stiff competition. Transfer Tanner Mordecai has stepped in splendidly for SMU at QB. With 629 yards and an 11:2 TD to INT ratio in two weeks. Memphis had a high scoring affair with Arkansas State this week and the team is paced by senior WR Calvin Austin who has 286 yards and four TDs through two weeks.
It’s tough to see them keeping this pace at the top with the defense giving up over 33 points and 489 yards of offense per game. Tulane has been a team to talk about. Yes, they blew out Morgan State this week, but pushed Oklahoma to the brink in week 1. Another interesting Power 5 team awaits in week 3 in Ole Miss. Can Michael Pratt and Tulane repeat week one with a better result against Matt Corral and Ole Miss?
In the East, Marshall dominated yet again putting up 93 points in the first two weeks and allowing only 17. East Carolina and App State over the next couple weeks should prove whether or not this Marshall team is the real deal! Colour me intrigued as their 112th ranked returning production and new head coach had me skeptical heading into this season.
On the West side, I had Louisiana Tech as the team to beat. Their losses on the defensive and offensive side of the ball are proving tough to overcome. They have managed 408 yards of offense per game, but have allowed 515 per game. UTEP and UTSA lead the way, with UTEP a game in hand after week 0. UTEP expectedly got beat badly by Boise State and have a tough stretch of inter-conference games after New Mexico this week.
UTSA was the team I had atop the West with Louisiana Tech. They impressed against a Power 5 opponent in Illinois and took care of business whole handedly against Lamar. Sincere McCormick and Zakhari Franklin pace an offense pumping out 462 yards per game. While the defense has been impressive allowing only 267 yards per game and 30 total points despite no sacks or interceptions!
The MAC has been all around meh. What else is there to really say? The entire West division is 1-1 with Toledo leading the charge. The East has four winless teams with Buffalo and Kent State leading the way at 1-1. Toledo took Notre Dame to the finish losing by a field goal in an impressive week two showing. Toledo’s defense is proving to be a strong point with seven sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions in two games. While Buffalo despite leading the East drew a Power 5 opponent in Nebraska who they lost to in convincing fashion and now Coastal Carolina this week! Lucky for them they may come out unscathed as Kent State, after a convincing win over VMI, gets a date with Iowa and then Maryland over the next two weeks.
The Mountain West remains strong early with six undefeated teams at 2-0. Obviously this will change as the inter-conference play begins soon. On the West side, Nevada and San Diego State lead the way but don’t count Fresno State out yet. They have managed 44 points per game while only allowing 13 points this included an impressive week one showing against Oregon. This week they get UCLA!
Nevada and Carson Strong remain undefeated in a convincing victory over Idaho State. They now face two of their stronger opponents in Kansas State and Boise State. San Diego has struggled to establish much of a passing game. Leaning heavily on a rushing attack which has produced 267 yards per game behind the legs of Greg Bell. Their defense remains a force as well with nine total sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles.
On the Mountain side there are three undefeated teams and none are called Boise State. Boise State have a big four weeks against undefeated teams including: a Power 5 opponent in OSU this week, back-to-back inter-conference meetings with Utah State and Nevada and wrapping up the gauntlet against BYU. It’s a prove it or lose it type of gauntlet. If Boise State struggles, my eyes are on Utah State and Wyoming at the top to take advantage and make the Mountain division interesting.
Coastal Carolina was a Cinderella story in 2020 and are continuing to ride that wave of success this season. Fresh off a second blow out, this time against Kansas, Coastal Carolina should continue cruising against Buffalo in week 3. Their offense is humming with over 50 points and over 500 yards per game. Behind Grayson McCall at QB, Reese White on the ground and Jaivon Heiligh and Isaiah Likely through the air. The defense has yet to force a turnover and some further support on defense could really separate Coastal Carolina in the Nation!
App State has impressed and almost pulled off the upset over Miami this past week. The two headed monster in the backfield of Camrun Peoples and Nate Noel pacing their offense. Three of their next four games are big, facing: Marshall, Louisiana and Coastal Carolina. Louisiana has had a tough start to the season losing to Texas was unsurprising, but had a close matchup with Nicholls last week. South Alabama and Arkansas State are pacing Louisiana in the West. South Bama is struggling to put up points, while Arkansas State can’t stop giving up points. There is plenty to watch behind Coastal in the Sun-Belt.
Written by Connor @connorten