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Small Conference Teams Hope to Make the Big Six

The fourth week of the college football season saw one of the three remaining undefeated teams from the Group-of-5 fall, while a one-loss team became the first non-AQ school to move into the Top 25.  Right now, there are four teams that have established themselves as serious contenders to receive the big 

Pirates storm into Top 25 – The East Carolina Pirates became the first school from the Group-of-5 to appear in the AP Top 25 this season this week, achieving a No. 23 national ranking. Following a close loss at South Carolina, East Carolina pulled off a huge win on the road in Blacksburg against No. 17 Virginia Tech.  Saturday, the Pirates made a huge statement, defeating the undefeated and nationally-ranked North Carolina TarHeels 70-41. Senior QB Shane Carden has gotten national attention the last two weeks by throwing for 865 yards and 7 TDs, and rushing for 3 TDs.

Thundering Herd marches on – The Marshall Thundering Herd had been rolling opponents in the first three weeks of the season, but had yet to play a formidable opponent in this year. The Herd traveled to Akron over the weekend and stomped the Zips 48-17, behind a dominant rushing attack that ran for 284 yards and 5 TDs. The win may not seem like a big one, but the Zips are a quality team that played tough against Penn State into the fourth quarter this season. If the Herd are to receive a bid to a Big Six bowl, they will need to go undefeated this season while winning the Conference USA championship.

Broncos continue to pile up wins – After losing in the opener of the season to Ole Miss, the Boise State Broncos have picked up three quality wins.  They’ve busted Colorado State, UCONN and Louisiana-Lafayette the past three games and have looked like a team that could win the Mountain West championship this year.  A trip to Nevada and a match-up against BYU could spell trouble for any team, but if the Broncos win out and take the Mountain West championship, they will enter the discussion .

Bearcats escape, face Buckeyes in quest to be The team– Cincinnati is one of only two remaining undefeated teams (Marshall is the other) from Group-of-5 conferences.  After looking dominant in their first game against Toledo, the Cincinnati Bearcats looked vulnerable in their second game of the season against Miami (Ohio), narrowly escaping with a 31-24 win. The Bearcats will need to have the mojo they had in game one this Saturday.  They travel to Columbus to face the No. 22 Ohio State Buckeyes, currently thought of as The State Team from Oho. For the Bearcats to make any noise and potentially become a ranked team that could make a Big Six bowl game, they will need to pull off the upset Saturday night.


The College Football Playoff selection committee  will choose one team from the Group-of-5 conferences to receive a bid to a Big Six bowl game.   Every week, we’ll provide coverage on the teams that are vying for that bid.   Notre Dame and BYU are not part of Group-of-5 conferences, and do not have a specific path to receive a bid to a Big Six game.

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