Through two weeks, one Group of Five conference is light years beyond its competitor leagues in terms of earning statements against Power Five foes.
Two weeks into the 2019 college football season, we are already seeing a clear hierarchy break out in the Group of Five ranks. One conference has stood head and shoulders above the rest, while a surprise second-place league has stepped up to challenge the standard bearer over the past several seasons.
In 11 games against Power Five opponents, the Mountain West has posted a winning record. Since late August the westernmost Group of Five league has already claimed six wins over teams in bigger conferences. That includes going 3-3 against the Pac-12, 1-1 against both the ACC and Big Ten, and 1-0 against the SEC.
Only the MAC has played more games against Power Five opponents; the league has yet to see one of its programs pull off an upset in those statement games. Along with Conference USA, the MAC is bringing up the rear in the Group of Five pecking order.
Group of Five conferences against Power Five opponents
(through Week 2)
- Mountain West: 6-5 (.556)
- Sun Belt: 2-5 (.286)
- American: 2-8 (.200)
- C-USA: 0-7 (.000)
- MAC: 0-12 (.000)
The American and the Sun Belt are the only other Group of Five conferences that have claimed wins against Power Five schools, with each knocking off bigger opponents twice. In an interesting twist, though, it is the Sun Belt with a better winning percentage in such contests due to having scheduled three fewer opportunities over the first three weekends.
As a result, teams from the Mountain West have soared up the most recent batch of Group of Five Power Rankings. Out of the 13 remaining unbeaten teams at the Group of Five level, four Mountain West teams are among that crop of still-pristine programs.
Hovering just outside of the top 10 are Temple, Navy, and Troy. All three teams won their season openers against FCS opponents, then took a bye week in Week 2. As a result, they fall just behind the 10 teams with 2-0 records. We also saw five new programs slide up into the rankings and five teams slide out in a massive reshuffling of the deck.
With more statement opportunities over the next few weeks, it will be fun to see how things continue to shake out in the race for the automatic New Year’s Six bid. See where everyone falls as we prepare to head into Week 3 of the 2019 season.