Boise St. in line for big-time bowl

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By C.J. Doon

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.

JOHN LOCHER/AP

Quar­ter­back Hank Bach­meier has helped Boise State go to 5-0 and move up to No. 14 in the AP Top 25 poll.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.