The biggest question for each Top 10 G5 college football team

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Joe Broback

Contributor at Champion Insiders
Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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The race to the NY6 bowl bid is heating up, even though there’s a clear leader. SMU takes the top spot in the G5 after beating Temple to go 7-0 this year, but they have competition behind them. The usual suspects (Boise State and UCF) remain in the hunt, but need some help to get the bid. For now, they must focus on what they can do to help themselves.

G5 leaders

SMU: Can the Mustangs handle the pressure?

SMU’s been the surprise of the Group of 5, and one of the biggest in college football. Shane Buechele’s emergence gives the Mustangs a threat at quarterback and another leader on their team. Now that they have the top spot, the target’s on their backs. Road games to Memphis and Navy, along with a home game to end the season give them challenges, and how they respond determines if they stay on top.

Boise State: Will the Broncos rebound after a disappointing loss?

Freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier’s injury played a role in last week’s loss to BYU, but it was still a game the Broncos should have won. Their remaining schedule features tough tests against Wyoming and Utah State, and they can’t afford another loss. An NY6 bid depends on them winning out, and this team has the talent to do it. Quarterback health will remain another question.

Appalachian State: Is an undefeated season enough?

A weaker than expected conference doesn’t help the Mountaineers. App State sits at the top of the Sun Belt, but there’s not much quality competition remaining. If they go undefeated, that still might not be enough. One loss teams can jump this team because they’ll play tougher competition, and a two loss team figures to still be in the conversation too.

Cincinnati: Can the offense keep up with the defense’s success?

The Bearcats have one of the best defenses in the G5, and have proven they can hang with anyone. What their offense does continues to be the biggest question. Explosive plays come at a premium for this group, but that changes in the next three games. UConn, ECU and USF show up on the schedule, so Cincinnati has three chances to build some momentum offensively.

Memphis: Which Brady White plays the rest of the year?

Memphis remains one of the most talented teams in the conference, so playmakers aren’t an issue for this team. It really comes down to the play of their quarterback. Brady White’s shown he can be dangerous passing the ball (as evidenced by his 358 and five touchdowns passing last week), but we also know his limitations (see Temple game). A third consecutive conference championship game appearance lies on his shoulders, but the remaining schedule isn’t easy.

On the outside looking in

UCF: Are the Knights able to make a statement?

Plain and simple, if the Knights lose, the run is over. An NY6 bid is already nearly impossible, but a third consecutive conference championship game appearance also hangs in the balance. Even if they win out, the Knights need help, but they can make a statement against Temple this week. This is still an extremely talented team that now has their backs against the wall.

Utah State: Can the Aggies handle a tougher second half?

Jordan Love (seven touchdowns and nine interceptions) and the Aggies received plenty of attention heading into the season, but neither have lived up to expectations. While they haven’t lost a conference game, their remaining schedule’s tough. Air Force, BYU, Fresno State, Wyoming, and Boise State are still left, testing both the team and the quarterback.

San Diego State: Will close wins continue?

San Diego State likes keeping things close. They’ll always be in a game, but can they continue that trend? Six of their seven games were decided by 14 points or less. It seems like it’ll be tough to continue competing at that level, and the Aztecs will face either Utah State again or Boise State in the conference championship.

Temple: Which Temple team do we get going forward?

The loss to Buffalo continues to confuse us, but we know they’re capable of beating anyone. Unfortunately for the Owls, a loss this week ends their NY6 and conference championship aspirations. We saw them struggle against SMU last week, and now they must face a UCF team looking to make a statement.

Navy: How legit are the Midshipmen?

Malcolm Perry’s one of the biggest surprises in the G5, and the Midshipmen are only outdone by SMU as the surprise team. Unfortunately, we’ve only seen them play one legitimate team, and they lost that game. Tulane’s up next, and the only easy game going forward is against UConn.

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