Group of 5 Conferences Preview and Predictions

2017 was probably the best team the Group of 5 has put forth in the Playoff Era. UCF went undefeated and beat Top 10 Auburn in a bowl game.  Still was unable to come close to the playoff.  There is a healthy chance that UCF could be even better in 2018, but with a much more difficult schedule.  If they are able to run the table again they should be looking at a potential playoff spot. Other schools who could fight for that Group of 5 New Years Bowl slot are Memphis, FAU, Boise St, San Diego St, Northern Illinois, and maybe a few others.

 

American Predictions:

East

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Central Florida – 11-1 (7-1)  /  8.72 (5.82)  /  4.29
  2. South Florida – 8-4 (6-2)  /  7.54 (4.73)  /  3.86
  3. Temple – 6-6 (4-4)  /  6.04 (3.91)  /  3.53
  4. ECU – 5-7 (3-5)  /  5.83 (3.58)  /  3.41
  5. Cincinnati – 5-7 (3-5)  /  5.13 (3.18)  /  3.21
  6. UCONN – 4-8 (2-6)  /  4.05 (2.35)  /  2.88

West

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Memphis – 9-3 (6-2)  /  8.19 (5.09)  /  4.12
  2. Houston – 8-4 (5-3)  /  7.84 (5.04)  /  3.86
  3. Navy – 7-5 (4-4)  /  5.71 (3.12)  /  3.34
  4. SMU – 6-6 (4-4)  /  6.5 (3.40)  /  3.70
  5. Tulsa – 5-7 (3-5)  /  5.82 (3.97)  /  3.97
  6. Tulane – 2-10 (1-7)  /  4.43 (2.87)  /  3.20

Memphis and UCF meet again in the AAC championship game. UCF wins the AAC and repeats as the Group of 5 representative in the New Years 6 bowls. Memphis finishes as a borderline top 25 team. 7 teams are bowl eligible.

 

 

MWC Predictions:

Mountain

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Boise State – 9-3 (6-2)  /  8.46 (5.98)  /  4.05
  2. Wyoming – 8-4 (6-2)  /  6.92 (4.72)  /  3.46
  3. Utah St – 7-5 (5-3)  /  6.83 (4.63)  /  3.43
  4. Colorado St – 7-5 (5-3)  /  6.40 (4.55)  /  3.41
  5. Air Force – 4-8 (3-5)  /  5.05 (3.05)  /  3.05
  6. New Mexico – 5-7 (2-6)  /  4.90 (2.75)  /  2.83

West

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. San Diego St – 8-4 (6-2)  /  7.30 (5.10)  /  3.59
  2. Fresno St – 7-5 (5-3)  /  6.42 (4.45)  /  3.43
  3. Nevada – 7-5 (5-3)  /  5.82 (3.77)  /  3.18
  4. UNLV – 5-7 (3-5)  /  5.34 (3.44)  /  2.99
  5. San Jose St– 3-9 (1-7 )  /  4.65 (3.05)  /  2.64
  6. Hawaii – 3-9 (1-7 ) /  4.84 (2.51)  /  2.57

Boise St against San Diego St in the MWC Championship game.  Boise St winds up the MWC champions.  MWC ends up with 7 Bowl Eligible teams.

 

 

 

 

CUSA Predictions:

East

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. FAU – 9-3 (7-1)  /  8.38 (5.83)  /  4.08
  2. Marshall – 8-4 (6-2)  / 6.70 (4.65)  /  3.53
  3. MTSU – 6-6 (5-3)  /  5.90 (4.35)  /  3.60
  4. FIU – 6-6 (5-3)  / 6.36 (4.16)  /  3.26
  5. Old Dominion – 6-6 (4-4)  /  6.40 (4.10)  /  3.24
  6. Charlotte – 6-6 (3-5)  /  5.67 (3.52)  /  3.32
  7. WKU – 3-9 (1-7)  /  4.10 (2.75)  /  2.52

West

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. UAB – 9-3 (6-2)  /  7.98 (5.38)  /  3.63
  2. Southern Miss – 7-5 (5-3)  /  5.90 (4.35)  /  3.17
  3. North Texas – 5-7 (3-5)  /  6.15 (4.00)  /  3.27
  4. UTSA – 4-8 (3-5)  /  4.36 (3.41)  /  2.91
  5. UTEP – 4-8 (3-5)  /  5.50 (3.50)  /  2.89
  6. Rice – 4-8 (3-5)  /  4.62 (2.95)  /  2.70
  7. La Tech – 4-8 (2-6)  /  4.97 (3.20)  /  2.97

FAU runs through the Conference USA and almost pulls off a major upset in Norman. They win against UAB in the CUSA championship game and crack the top 25 poll. 7 teams from CUSA gain bowl eligibility.

 

 

 

MAC Predictions:

East

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Miami (Oh) – 6-6 (5-3)  /  6.47 (4.60)  /  3.36
  2. Akron – 6-6 (5-3)  /  5.81 (4.36)  /  3.33
  3. Ohio – 6-6 (4-4)  /  6.02 (3.75)  /  3.01
  4. Buffalo – 5-7 (3-5)  /  5.84 (3.29)  /  3.08
  5. Bowling Green – 4-8 (3-5)  /  4.50 (3.20)  /  2.77
  6. Kent State – 3-9 (2-6)  /  5.00 (3.75)  /  2.86

West

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Northern Ill – 9-3 (6-2)  /  6.05 (4.92)  /  3.64
  2. Western Mich – 8-4 (6-2)  /  6.91 (4.73)  /  3.35
  3. Central Mich – 6-6 (5-3)  /  6.10 (4.35)  /  3.36
  4. Toledo – 7-5 (5-3)  /  6.38 (4.25)  /  3.38
  5. East Mich – 5-7 (3-5)  /  5.55 (3.60)  /  3.06
  6. Ball St – 3-9 (2-6)  /  4.35 (2.90)  /  2.76

Northern Illinois over Miami (oh) in the MAC championship game.  6 teams gain bowl eligibility.

 

Sun Belt Predictions:

East

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Troy – 10-2 (7-1) / 8.02 (5.70) / 3.72
  2. Appalachian St – 8-4 (6-2) / 7.35 (5.20) / 3.50
  3. Coastal Carolina – 4-8 (3-5) / 5.1 (3.40) / 2.83
  4. Georgia State – 4-8 (3-5) / 4.35 (2.90) / 2.69
  5. Georgia Southern – 4-8 (2-6) / 6.45 (4.15) / 3.13

West

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Arkansas St – 8-4 (6-2) / 6.97 (4.82) / 3.32
  2. La-Monroe – 6-6 (5-3) / 6.06 (4.41) / 3.17
  3. South Alabama – 5-7 (4-4) / 5.13 (3.40) / 2.86
  4. Louisiana – 5-7 (3-5) / 4.97 (3.37) / 2.74
  5. Texas St – 4-8 (2-6) / 4.55 (2.70) / 2.53

In the inaugural Sun Belt Championship game Troy over Arkansas St.  Troy finishes in the top 25. Sun Belt finishes with 4 Bowl Eligible teams.

 

 

Independent Predictions:

Team – Record  /  Win-Shares   /  Rating

  1. Notre Dame – 8-4 / 7.66 / 4.40
  2. Army – 7-5 / 6.71 / 3.19
  3. BYU – 6-6 / 6.60 / 3.74
  4. UMASS – 3-9 / 4.28 / 2.90
  5. New Mexico St – 3-9 / 4.50 / 2.80
  6. Liberty – 3-9 / 4.65 / 2.75

3 independent teams wind up Bowl eligible.  Notre Dame cracks the top 25.

2017 CUSA Preview

The CUSA has steadily improved the last few years and has likely overtaken the Mountain West in the conference hierarchy (after the Power 5 and American Conf). There are probably 3-4 teams in the CUSA that would likely win the Mountain West this year. They also have some pretty decent teams in the middle of the pack. If a conference is going to have a team challenge the American conference to take the Group of 5 Contract Bowl bid, it will likely come from the CUSA.

 

For each Conference we will have the Simplified Football predictions (record) with the Projected Win-Shares and rating of each team next to it. We will also have Bowl Projections for each conference.

 

CUSA Predictions:

East

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Marshall – 9-3 (7-1)  /  7.63 (5.37)  /  3.68
  2. Western Kentucky – 8-4 (6-2)  /  7.43 (5.2)  /  3.68
  3. FAU – 6-6 (5-3)  /  6.81 (4.59)  /  3.35
  4. MTSU – 6-6 (5-3)  /  5.25 (4.18)  /  3.06
  5. Old Dominion – 4-8 (3-5)  /  4.75 (3.41)  /  2.85
  6. FIU – 4-8 (3-5)  /  5.73 (3.85)  /  3.09
  7. Charlotte – 2-10 (1-7)  /  4.75 (3.41)  /  2.35

West

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Southern Miss – 8-4 (6-2)  /  7.73 (5.45)  /  3.67
  2. La Tech – 7-5 (5-3)  /  6.83 (4.65)  /  3.33
  3. Rice – 5-7 (5-3)  /  5.31 (4.44)  /  3.27
  4. North Texas – 5-7 (4-4)  /  5.48 (3.82)  /  2.99
  5. UTSA – 5-7 (3-5)  /  5.46 (3.71)  /  3.07
  6. UAB – 4-8 (2-6)  /  4.25 (2.58)  /  2.47
  7. UTEP – 2-10 (1-7)  /  3.3 (2.6)  /  2.58

 

Marshall and Southern Miss both win their divisions outright

 

Championship game – Southern Miss beats Marshall getting revenge from a loss earlier in the season.

 

 

That makes 6 bowl teams for the CUSA

 

Boca Raton Bowl – Southern Miss

Heart of Dallas Bowl – Marshall

New Mexico Bowl – Western Kentucky

St Petersburg Bowl – FAU

New Orleans Bowl – Middle Tennessee St

Bahamas Bowl – Louisiana Tech

CUSA Preview and Predictions

For each of the conference Predictions I will put in both the Predicted Finish according to Win-Shares, as well as my own personal predictions (which are largely very similar).

 

C-USA Win-Shares

West

 

Southern Miss – 7.21 (5.08)

Louisiana Tech – 6.88 (4.87)

UTSA – 5.77 (3.99)

UTEP – 6.07 (3.63)

Rice – 5.08 (3.45)

North Texas – 4.82 (2.97)

 

East

 

Marshall – 7.26 (4.99)

Western Kentucky – 6.85 (4.89)

Middle Tenn St – 6.37 (4.54)

Florida Atlantic – 5.78 (3.8)

Old Dominion – 5.3 (3.46)

Charlotte – 5.28 (3.45)

Florida International – 4.53 (2.88)

 

Southern Miss over Marshall in the Conference Championship Game

 

 

Simplified Football Predictions

West

 

Southern Miss = 9-3 (7-1)

La Tech = 7-5 (5-3)

UTSA = 5-7 (4-4)

Rice = 5-7 (4-4)

North Tex = 4-8 (3-5)

UTEP = 4-8 (1-7)

 

East

 

WKU = 9-3 (7-1)

Marshall = 8-4 (6-2)

MTSU = 6-6 (4-4)

FAU = 6-6 (4-4)

ODU = 5-7 (3-5)

FIU = 4-8 (3-5)

Charlotte = 3-9 (1-7)

 

WKU over So Miss in the Conference Championship Game

 

 

That is 5 bowl teams for the CUSA (With FAU also eligible)

Boca Raton Bowl – So Miss

Heart of Dallas  Bowl- WKU

Hawaii Bowl – Marshall

New Orleans Bowl – La Tech

Arizona Bowl – MTSU

 

Group of 5 Notable Win Shares

Here are the teams of note from the Group of 5 and their Win Shares:

American:

Champion: Cincinnati 7.39 (4.89)

Mountain West:

West Champion: San Deigo St 6.97 (4.97)

Mountain Champion: Boise St 9.22 (6.71)

Boise St in Championship over San Deigo St with .67 Win Share.

NOTE: With their strongest team in the last few years and 2 Power 5 opponents on their schedule (both winnable) We could see Boise St crash the Playoff Party if they run the table. Long-Shot but better chance than anyone last year.

Conference USA:

East Champion: Marshall 8.83 (5.95)

West Champion: Louisiana Tech 8.34 (5.85)

Marshall in Championship over La Tech with .55 Win Share

Mid-American:

East Champion: Akron 6.47 (4.7)

West Champion: Western Michigan 6.56 (4.93)

Western Michigan over Akron in Championship with .55 Win Share

Sun Belt:

Champion: Arkansas St 7.04 (5.26)

Independents:

Notre Dame 8.8

BYU 7.29

2014 Group of 5 and Independent Preview

Last year Fresno State came very close to getting into the BCS.  This year everything changes for the Group of 5.  The American Conference goes from being an automatic qualifier (IE being recognized with the top conferences) to being recognized with the Group of 5 conferences.  The highest ranked team from here on out gets to one of the big bowls and a nice pay-day. Of course it is possible that an undefeated group of 5 team can make it to the playoffs, but they will have to win convincingly and/or beat a Power 5 school.

This year the top contenders for a playoff spot are Marshall, Boise St, UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati. Marshall has the easiest schedule, but no marquee matchups, so they have the best chance of being undefeated, but they will need to win big in almost every game.  Boise State has a game against Ole Miss to start the season, if they can win that game (provided Ole Miss does well in the SEC) and win convincingly against the rest of their schedule, they will have a good argument.  UCF has Penn State, Missouri and BYU, if they can somehow win 2 of 3 against that and win the rest, they are one team that has any kind of argument with 1 loss (still not a great one). Houston has BYU, so they will need to win convincingly against every opponent and win that game. Cincinnati has Ohio St and Miami (Fl), they like UCF could also have a weak argument for getting in with 1 loss if they win the rest big.  Of course a loss to any other team than one that finishes in the top 5, knocks them out.  With that said I think the best chance lies with Marshall going undefeated.

 

Here is a look at the top teams from each conference that should compete for the conference Title, as well as our picks to win each conference.

 

American Conference

HOUSTON:

Overall Rating: 3.91

AAC Win Share: 5.92 (overall 9.01)

CINCINNATI:

Overall Rating: 3.88

AAC Win Share: 5.86 (overall 8.11)

UCF:

Overall Rating: 3.61

AAC Win Share: 5.29 (overall 7.31)

 

Our Pick for Conference Champion is Houston, winning the tie-breaker over UCF and Cincinnati, All 3 teams get left out of Contract Bowls and Playoff.

 

Mountain West Conference

BOISE STATE:

Overall Rating: 4.05

MWC Win Share: 6.45 (overall 8.98)

UTAH STATE:

Overall Rating: 3.44

MWC Win Share: 5.09 (overall 7.61)

FRESNO STATE:

Overall Rating: 3.39

MWC Win Share: 4.90 (overall 6.39)

SAN DIEGO STATE:

Overall Rating: 3.26

MWC Win Share: 4.51 (overall 6.53)

 

We have Boise State facing off against Fresno State in the MWC championship game, with Boise winning.  Boise will contend with Marshall for the Contract bowl automatic spot, but fall short of the Playoffs.

 

 

Conference USA

MARSHALL:

Overall Rating: 3.63

CUSA Win Share: 5.85 (overall 9.42)

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE:

Overall Rating: 3.32

CUSA Win Share: 5.26 (overall 7.40)

RICE:

Overall Rating: 3.43

CUSA Win Share: 5.36 (overall 6.97)

UTSA:

Overall Rating: 3.37

CUSA Win Share: 5.23 (overall 6.71)

NORTH TEXAS:

Overall Rating: 3.34

CUSA Win Share: 4.87 (overall 6.66)

 

We have Marshall beating Rice in the CUSA Championship game, with Marshall winning and contending with Boise St for the Contract Bowl automatic spot, but missing the playoffs as they will not go undefeated.

 

 

Mid-American Conference

BOWLING GREEN:

Overall Rating: 3.44

MAC Win Share: 6.02 (overall 8.37)

BUFFALO:

Overall Rating: 3.30

MAC Win Share: 5.10 (overall 7.55)

NORTHERN ILLINOIS:

Overall Rating: 3.54

MAC Win Share: 6.30 (overall 8.40)

TOLEDO:

Overall Rating: 3.34

MAC Win Share: 5.09 (overall 6.82)

 

We have Northern Illinois facing off against Bowling Green for the MAC Championship, with NIU winning. However they will not make a run at a big bowl or the playoffs.

 

 

Sun Belt

USA:

Overall Rating: 3.26

Sun Belt Win Share: 5.21 (overall 6.31)

LOUISIANA LAFAYETTE:

Overall Rating: 3.22

Sun Belt Win Share: 5.55 (overall 7.28)

 

We have Louisiana winning the Sun Belt Championship, but falling short of the big bowls and playoffs.

 

 

Independents

NOTRE DAME:

Overall Rating: 4.35

Win Share: 7.21

BRIGHAM YOUNG:

Overall Rating: 4.05

Win Share: 8.48

NAVY:

Overall Rating: 3.48

Win Share: 7.76

 

Despite all of these teams (and potentially Army too) making a bowl game, none of them will come close to competing for a playoff spot.

 

Top 10 offenses:

BYU

Navy

Cincinnati

Notre Dame

Marshall

Toledo

UCF
Louisiana

Houston

Air Force

 

 

Top 10 Defenses:

Boise State

Notre Dame

BYU

Utah State

Colorado State

UCF
Houston

Cincinnati

Middle Tenn St

Rice