Boise St. in line for big-time bowl
Welcome to the college football overreaction index, where we examine the most important storylines from the last weekend of games to determine what’s worth paying attention to and what’s getting a little too much attention.
Let’s get to the biggest takeaways from Week 6.
The race for a New Year’s Six bowl bid in the Group of 5 is wide-open.
Verdict: Not an overreaction.
Cincinnati’s win over UCF not only launched the Bearcats into contention for its first New Year’s Day bowl game since 2008, but it knocked the Knights out of the race for their own major bowl bid. You hate to see it.
This is as wide-open a race for an at-large bid in a major bowl game (likely the Cotton Bowl) as there has been in recent memory. With UCF out of the picture, the team to beat is Boise State, which rose to No. 14. The Broncos are the likeliest of the remaining G5 contenders to finish undefeated, though they have a tough test remaining at BYU.
In the American Athletic Conference alone, Cincinnati, Temple, SMU, Memphis, Tulane and Navy all have a legitimate chance to finish the season with either zero losses or one loss and a conference championship.
In the Mountain West, Wyoming, Hawaii and San Diego State will compete to not only take down undefeated Boise State, but perhaps jump into the Top 25 themselves.
In the Sun Belt, Appalachian State and Louisiana get to fight for conference supremacy Wednesday night.
In the MAC, title favorite Toledo is favored to win all seven of its remaining games, per ESPN.
Even in Conference USA, Louisiana Tech has a chance to run the table and finish with one loss.
An undefeated or one-loss Group of 5 champion has yet to get serious consideration for a spot in the College Football Playoff, but a game in Dallas against one of the nation’s best teams isn’t a bad consolation prize.
Michigan’s defense is good enough to keep the Wolverines in the Big Ten title race. Verdict: Not an overreaction.
So much for the offense getting back on track.
Quarterback Shea Patterson and Co. couldn’t get anything going in a 10-3 win over Iowa. But the offensive ineptitude didn’t cost the Wolverines this time, thanks to a dominant defensive performance.
Michigan had eight sacks, three picks and a forced fumble and held the Hawkeyes to a sack-adjusted 3.0 yards per carry.
The reality for Michigan is that it will need to win more games the way it did Saturday to have any hope of competing for a Big Ten title.
Expecting first-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to turn the Wolverines into a team that can keep up with high-scoring opponents like Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State is foolish.
But there’s a glimmer of hope for the Wolverines, and that’s the way the defense played Saturday. Whether they can improve on offense just enough to take advantage remains to be seen, but the winning blueprint has been laid out.
Quarterback Hank Bachmeier has helped Boise State go to 5-0 and move up to No. 14 in the AP Top 25 poll.