Last Friday, Fox Sports released their preview for the Group of Five leagues and independents on their website. The timing was such so they could pay lip-service to the rest of FBS while getting it out of the way on a Friday. However, you can't even get past the headline without sneering elitism. "Non-Power Five" teams? Just say "Group of Five" and keep it positive. Might as well say that these teams don't matter as much.
To drum up page views, authors Steward Mandel and Bruce Feldman added all three FBS independents to the article, including sort-of ACC member Notre Dame. Despite in no way can Notre Dame be considered in this group, The Fighting Irish are the focus of the article as evident by the headline and main picture.
Once you get past the gold and green tinted glasses, the picks for the assorted Group of Five leagues are shown. That's where things really go off the rails. Let's see why with the help of MS Paint.
First, let's start with the picks for Conference USA.
WARNING: Math ahead from a writer who took one math class in college and barely got a C-.
Somehow, the 13 teams of CUSA will finish with a record of 51-53 in league play. Maybe they figure that UTSA vs North Texas rivalry will get so intense on Saturday, November 21st that both teams will have to forfeit after a massive fight breaks out? That fight, started after the MOB halftime infuriates the locals in the Alamodome, would likely spill out to I-37 and then down to the Riverwalk, ending with Larry Coker being thrown into the San Antonio River.
Even nuttier than that is that Feldman predicts Charlotte to actually win a league game and Old Dominion to only win one league game. So either ODU will lose to Charlotte or someone else will lose to Charlotte. Both are highly unlikely.
But surely, one little error has to be it, right?
Welp, here's the Sun Belt for ya, as it was originally published.
Feldman really doesn't like the Sun Belt, having the entire league finishing 10 games below .500. At least Georgia State and Idaho don't play each other, so both could finish 0-8. However, New Mexico State plays both and are predicted to finish 1-7. Maybe he counts those two games of double-forfeits?
Also, Feldman predicts ULM to go 3-9 despite playing a 13-game schedule. Those 8 road games are tough and maybe after the Warhawks final road trip to Honolulu on Thanksgiving weekend, they might not even bother with their final home game versus New Mexico State, giving the Aggies their lone league win. FYI, the two other teams with 13-game schedules, Hawai'i and Colorado, both are predicted to play their entire schedule.
But it's not over yet! Feldman responded on Twitter to the original posting of the 39-49 record. And he wants us to leave Stewie alone!
Thus, the Sun Belt predictions have been updated.
HE STILL GOT IT WRONG! Feldman gave App State, Troy, ULM and Georgia State an extra conference win apiece (which breaks the G-State/NMSU/Idaho paradox) and it's still one game short. And because ULM's 13 games wasn't mentioned in the initial Tweet, they still have only 12 games.
The remaining Group of Five leagues (and indies), the MAC, Mountain West and American Athletic, have perfectly fine even league records between them, although Mandel sort-of cheated on the AAC West Division.
Overall, Feldman and Mandell pick the Group of Five and Notre Dame to go 365-404, a whopping 39 games below .500, which falls to 47 without the Irish.
Since the success rate of math with the Group of 5 Rudy's was so poor, might as well check their other preview pieces to keep the ghastly two-headed monster of Feldell/Manman on the level. So I dove into the previews for the Money 5 teams (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) to make sure their math was done right. I'll give you one guess if it was or not.
If you guessed wrong, go to the corner, now!
In the end Feldman and Mandel's combined record predictions for all of FBS this season is 821-713 and 509-513 in conference play. 108 games above .500 overall but four games below in conference play. Proof that the league slate is the true grind,
To answer the 108 games above .500 dilema, you would think to look at FBS vs FCS games since there are plenty of them. However, by my count there's only
106 107 FBS vs FCS games this season (counted on two different websites), leaving 1 win unaccounted for as no FBS team plays a D2 or lower team. Guess Fox Sports thinks it's going to be a very good year for FBS that there will be an extra win somewhere? Maybe Fox is betting on the SEC West picking it up?