It's clear that the College Football Playoff has no interest in selecting a mid-major team to join its supposedly "inclusive" postseason, so we at Underdog Nation have taken it upon ourselves to organize and stage a Group of Five Playoff. We're working on venues and funding, but we can let you know who is in the driver's seat for the four-team tournament.
The voting process for the Group of Five Playoff is straightforward:
- All Group of Five conference teams are eligible, as are the service academies and BYU.
- Vote for the top teams at this moment — don't project or extrapolate. (Otherwise I wouldn't have anything to write up later...)
- Strength of schedule is a factor, and who a team beat is just as important as who beat a team.
1. Colorado State
The Rams might not be in control of their own destiny in the Mountain West Conference, but an impressive 8-1 record, which includes wins over Boston College and Colorado, makes CSU the top team in the Group of Five. The Rams' only loss came to Boise State in Week Two, a factor lauded, not punished, by the committee.
Conference USA's undefeated juggernaut received the same amount of first-place votes as Colorado State and had the same average ranking as the Rams, but received one fewer second-place vote, pushing the Herd to the No. 2 seed. Marshall's unblemished — and unchallenged — record is clearly laudable, but concerns over strength of schedule (a refrain heard when discussing the College Football Playoff) hindered it in the G05 Playoff voting as well.
3. Boise State
The Broncos have two losses, having fallen to both Ole Miss (acceptable) and Air Force (less so), but they're in the G05 Playoff choices because of a wins over Colorado State, UConn, Nevada and ULL. The Broncos control their destiny in the Mountain West, another important factor in voting, as the MWC is the top G05 Conference this season.
4. Georgia Southern
The Eagles are ineligible for a bowl game this year because of NCAA transitional program rules, but the two-loss leaders in the Sun Belt claim the last spot in this week's rankings thanks to dominating performances in league play and respectable losses outside of it. Georgia Southern is the nation's top rushing offense and they still have an opportunity to claim a big out-of-conference win. GSU travels to Navy on Nov. 15.
The Pirates will likely remain on the outside after three-straight lackluster performances followed by a loss to Temple. Upcoming games with Cincinnati and UCF could help right the ship, but it'll likely take something pretty ugly above them to slide ECU back into the Top Four.
Mountain West dominance. The Wolfpack have three losses and yet have plenty of voting support. A leap into the Top Four looks unlikely with Air Force, UNLV and Fresno State left on the schedule.