UCF did not declare a nationwide championship in 2018, however the Knights’ 25-game win streak did speed up discussions of enlargement to extra inclusive Faculty Soccer Playoff — even for the Group of 5 conferences.
The Knights have performed within the New 12 months’s Day Six every of the final two seasons, and the Group of 5 conferences have a 3-2 document in that bowl sport. UCF, nonetheless, is not the one American Athletic Convention or Group of 5 college that might make that run in 2019.
Right here’s a more in-depth have a look at one of the best of the Group of 5:
Approach-too-early ranked groups
Greatest Group of 5 storyline
The continued fight against the Power 5 gap. The present bowl system does not permit for a lot of pictures on the Energy 5, and Group of 5 colleges completed 2-5 in bowl video games in opposition to Energy 5 and impartial colleges final season. Fresno State and Cincinnati scored massive wins in opposition to Arizona State and Virginia Tech, respectively, however these did not weigh greater than UCF’s loss to LSU within the Fiesta Bowl. To be able to hold that Playoff enlargement speak rolling, Group of 5 groups want to attain massive nonconference regular-season and bowl victories — and it would not damage if one other UCF emerged this season.
High Group of 5 busters
UCF. The Knights aren’t going wherever, and there is quarterback intrigue in Orlando with the addition of Notre Dame switch Brandon Wimbush, who will combat for the beginning job even when McKenzie Milton (leg) returns wholesome. Josh Heupel returns a staff able to returning to the New 12 months’s Day Six.
Cincinnati. The Bearcats completed 11-2 and received the Navy Bowl final season. Luke Fickell brings again lots of expertise for one more run within the AAC. Quarterback Desmond Ridder can be on the middle of that, together with Michael Warren II, who rushed for 1,329 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2018.
UAB. Invoice Clark received Sporting Information Coach of the 12 months honors after main the Blazers to the Convention USA championship final yr Star operating again Spencer Brown returns after speeding for 1,247 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2018. UAB ought to have continued this season.
Boise State. The Broncos are a perennial contender on this record, however they may transfer on from quarterback Brett Rypien and star operating again Alexander Mattison, who left early for the NFL Draft. This can be a problem for a program that’s used to reloading.
Fresno State. Jeff Tedford has the Bulldogs rolling once more. Fresno State is 22-6 the final two seasons, however the offense has to substitute Marcus McMaryion and KeeSean Johnson. If the protection –— which allowed simply 14.1 factors per sport final season — sticks, then the Bulldogs can be tremendous.
Appalachian State. The Mountaineers have one of the best document amongst Group of 5 colleges the final 4 seasons (41-11), however Scott Satterfield has moved on to Louisville. Eliah Drinkwitz is in, and he inherits an offense that returns the explosive offensive trio of Zac Thomas, Darrynton Evans and Corey Sutton.
Ohio. The Bobcats have knocked on the door for a MAC East championship below Frank Solich the final two seasons, and with Nathan Rourke they’ve a dynamic quarterback who has 40 passing touchdowns and 36 speeding touchdowns the final two seasons. Can the Bobcats win the MAC championship, which has eluded this system since 1968?
Affect teaching rent in Group of 5
Dana Holgorsen, Houston. It is not simply the transfer from the Huge 12 to the AAC. It is the cash Houston forked over — which ranges from $3.Four million to $4.Three million by means of 2023 — that exhibits a dedication to paying upper-tier teaching expertise. Holgorsen will win video games, too. That is an enormous precedent for different Group of 5 colleges to observe.
Jake Spavital, Texas State. After stints as an offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, Cal and West Virginia, the 33-year-old takes on his first head teaching job. That ought to energize an offense that ranked 122nd within the FBS with 19.Eight factors per sport.
Greatest Group of 5 nonconference video games
Fresno State at USC (Aug. 31). If the Bulldogs are going to make a press release early within the season, there’s no higher place to do it than the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Boise State vs. Florida State (Aug. 31). The Broncos aren’t any stranger to the large neutral-site opener, and this can be a probability to knock off the Seminoles of their yard at Jacksonville.
Cincinnati at Ohio State (Sept. 7). Fickell returns to his alma mater to tackle the Buckeyes and new coach Ryan Day. That ought to add one other layer to an in-state sport that has had a number of shut calls previously.
Stanford at UCF (Sept. 14). The Knights beefed up their schedule with this sport in opposition to a standard Pac-12 contender, and this can be a method to hold constructing fairness with the Faculty Soccer Playoff committee, particularly after the LSU loss.
Houston vs. Washington State (Sept. 13). A Friday night time particular at NRG Stadium. The teaching matchup between Holgorsen and Mike Leach is well worth the value of admission. What’s the over/below on passes thrown?
Appalachian State at South Carolina (Nov. 9). The Mountaineers additionally play North Carolina on Sept. 21. Think about if App State can pull off that Carolinas sweep.
Daring early prediction for Group of 5
The American Athletic Convention will proceed to enhance — Rod Carey to Temple was one other sound rent — however that’s going to make it tougher to have an undefeated staff within the convention. Can UCF do it once more? They will, however we have to see how the quarterback battle shakes out with Wimbush and Milton.
4-year developments: Greatest Group of 5 information
Groups ranked by win proportion.
|1||Appalachian State (Solar Belt)||41||11||.788|
|2||Boise State (MWC)||40||13||.755|
|3||San Diego State (MWC)||39||15||.722|
|6||South Florida (American)||36||15||.706|
|8||Troy (Solar Belt)||35||16||.686|
|10||Western Michigan (MAC)||34||18||.654|
|13||Arkansas State (Solar Belt)||32||19||.627|
|14||Louisiana Tech (C-USA)||33||20||.623|
*UAB didn’t subject soccer groups in 2015, ’16 seasons.