Halfway Home in College Football

We've made it to the "halfway" point of the college football season. With contenders trying to get through their respective slogs of a schedule, some big headlines have popped up regarding the contenders. But there are some other stories that are emerging for teams that want to get (or keep) their names in the Primetime bowl spotlight.

American Pride

Over the last few seasons, the infant-aged American Athletic Conference has made an impact on the Group of 5 leagues. In the five years since the conference's from the old Big East to its current form, member schools have made it to one of the showcase bowl games three times (2014 Fiesta Bowl, 2016 Peach Bowl, and 2018 Peach Bowl). By the way, those were all wins.

It appears that the league is prepared to hold on to the mantle for those "other" conferences. As we head out of Week 6 of the season, 11 teams are undefeated. Three of them reside in the Group of 5. All three of them sit in this conference. Heck, three of them are in the league's East division. UCF was the most noteworthy team coming into the season. They're continuing the nation's longest winning streak (18 and counting) with their 5-0 start.

Cincinnati and South Florida haven't faced the stiffest of competition. Their combined Power 5 wins are over struggling UCLA, mediocre Illinois, and mediocre Georgia Tech. But both have stayed and unblemished and find themselves in the Top 25 polls. As it stands now, these three teams will play each other over the last three weekends of the season. You'd figure that the winner out of this triumvirate will be one step away from a New Years' Six berth.

The Tao of "W"

At the start of the season, three W-fronted schools were thought to have chances to make the College Football Playoff. Those chances have diminished a bit for two programs, while the third's stock has risen. If nothing else, though, these teams could have a say in the representatives of the CFP.


The Huskies entered the season with the opportunity for the best out-of-conference. That neutral-site loss to Auburn damaged the resume, but kept this candidate in the running. Over the next couple of weeks, the Dawgs can keep their chances alive and squash those of Oregon and undefeated Colorado. If they can stay on the path to a Pac-12 title, you'd think they would be in the mix.


The Badgers appeared to have the best path to the get to the national semifinals. Unfortunately, the OOC that didn't trip Bucky up last year did just that in 2018. The return game against BYU turned into a small disaster. The 24-21 loss to the Cougars — a team that Washington later beat 35-7 — put a dent in Wisconsin's shot at the postseason. However, that doesn't mean that they can't dent some other hopes. There will be games at Michigan (next week) and Penn State (Nov. 10), along with a potential Big Ten Championship meeting with Ohio State.

West Virginia

The Mountaineers were ranked going into the year, but Oklahoma was the Big 12 kingpin to shoot for. The Sooners' loss to Texas now gives that role to Appalachia. There are pitfalls to survive, including a last four contests of Texas (road), TCU (home), Oklahoma State (road), and the aforementioned Boomer Sooner (home). Running the table would definitely make WVU a viable candidate for a playoff berth.

Interesting note: we might want to start looking at the NC State contest that was cancelled by Hurricane Florence. Could that be a saving grace?

Fight Easing Up

The way it's shaken out, Notre Dame's season is split into two halves. The first chapter provided some wicked matchups. The opening stanza was a struggle, with a trio of single-possession wins. The second paragraph opened up a bit more. The average margin of victory over Wake Forest, Stanford, and Virginia Tech was 24 points a game. Now, the second act is set to begin. While there are some intriguing games, you'd have to think that UND will be favored in each of their final six games.

It's been 30 years since the Irish found themselves on top of the college football world. There have been other chances since that year, including a pair of No. 2 final rankings in 1989 and 1993. But times have changed, even from the program's appearance in the 2013 BCS Championship Game. Nowadays, the main thing is to be invited to the party. After six weeks, the Irish's invitation appears to be sealed and ready to mail out.

Leave a Comment

Featured Site