Three teams are the frontrunners for a New Year’s bowl.
With San Diego State’s second loss of the season, UCF, USF and Memphis now are the top teams in consideration to represent the Group of 5 in a New Year’s bowl game. The Knights and Bulls are undefeated, and most likely will be by the time they play each other to end the year. Memphis has one loss to UCF, but has two wins over Top 25 teams and might get another shot at the Knights if UCF wins out.
We still have a long ways to go before determining the Group of 5 representative, but the AAC just took the lead for now. This conference continues to take steps in the right direction in their “Power 6” movement. After getting three teams into the AP Top 25, they now push those three teams to the top of the list of NY6 contenders. The movement still has a ways to go, but there are some steps at least being taken to get to that point. The AAC is the top conference for a NY6 bowl this year, and it might take some chaos for them to relinquish this position.
Teams inexplicably continue to kick to Tony Pollard.
Memphis found themselves in need of a spark last Thursday against Houston, and their sophomore receiver/kick returner provided it. Memphis just saw the Cougars respond to their opening touchdown drive with a touchdown of their own, and Tony Pollard decided it was time to make an impact. He took Caden Novikoff’s kick back 93 yards for his third return touchdown this year and fifth of his young career.
Every team has tried to stay away from the dynamic sophomore, but there are times when they have to kick to him. Houston found out the result the hard way, and his run seemed to provide a spark. Breaking multiple tackles, Pollard would not be denied the endzone, and continues to make his case for best returner in college football. If opponents want to continue to kick to him, they better hope their players can cover him downfield. Pollard also made an impact offensively, adding season highs in catches and yards. Mike Norvell has a gem at returner, but knows he also can count on him offensively as well. Note to future teams: don’t kick to him. It doesn’t end well.
Zach Abey’s status is up in the air.
Navy’s quarterback was knocked out of the UCF game after taking a big shot to his head, and Garrett Lewis finished the game at quarterback. Abey extended his streak of 100 yard rushing games to eight, finishing with 25 carries for 126 yards. With his status unknown at this point, Lewis will take over in the midst of a two game losing streak.
They should get back on track next week against Temple, and they hope their normal starter will be able to participate. Navy isn’t technically out of the AAC West division race yet, but they’re going to need some help. They will have to win out to have a chance, but will need their starting quarterback to do so. Abey has been a nice surprise in the conference this year, and the Midshipmen’s success might hinge on his health.