SB Nation will be compiling a weekly poll of the top 15 Group of Five teams this season. You can see the complete preseason version here. Here's how I voted, with some observations afterwards.
3. Boise State
4. C. Florida
6. East Carolina
8. Bowling Green
9. Utah State
10. UL Lafayette
11. Fresno State
13. Ball State
14. Colorado State
- I'm fully aboard the Marshall train this season, if only because their schedule is so darned easy. A top-40 team-- and they should be that, with QB Rakeem Cato leading a nasty offense-- probably goes 12-0 with 12 double-digit wins.
- BYU and Boise both look loaded to me. The Cougars have been hampered by tough schedules over the last few seasons and finally have a manageable slate this year, while Boise got a Boise guy in Bryan Harsin to replace Chris Petersen and will probably continue humming along as usual. The Cougars visit the Broncos this season, and I think the winner (if not both teams) could have double-digit wins.
- I think the American is the strongest Group of Five conference, but it doesn't have any teams at the top that jump off the page for me right now. I think any of C. Florida, Cincy, East Carolina and Houston could easily run away with the title. For now I'll give C. Florida the edge, but if Gunner Kiel is the real deal for Cincy, that could change in a hurry. ECU's offense should be fantastic but their defense might struggle, and Houston returns a ton of players, including freshman phenom John O'Korn at QB, but they benefitted from some absurdly good turnover luck last season and those factors will likely even out.
- I took Ball State over Northern Illinois for my last MAC team solely because of Pete Lembo and this. Also, replacing Jordan Lynch figures to be a pain.
- I thought long and hard about that 15 slot. I finally settled on a senior-laden UTSA team that might be the second-best team in an iffy Conference USA over Memphis, my AAC dark horse, whose defense will be scary this season and benefits from a total logjam after the top four AAC teams.
- Your thoughts? Think USF has a chance to crack the rankings by the season's end?