Breaking Down Conference Races with One Month to Go

Somehow, we only have four full weeks of college football left in our simulated season. Although we have already looked at the legitimate playoff contenders left, I thought we could analyze each conference race and see who has the inside track to reaching conference championship games. Also, I love writing this so I don’t have to talk about Notre Dame. Seriously though, let’s get into it! (NOTE: when I list the biggest games remaining this season, these are in terms of the conference races themselves, not other rivalry factors.)

American

Championship Game: Top 2 seeds

Location: #1 seed hosts

Contenders:

UCF, #24 SMU, South Florida, Memphis

Still Alive:

Tulsa, Houston, Cincinnati

Doubtful:

Navy, Temple

No Shot/Eliminated:

East Carolina, Tulane

BREAKDOWN:

The AAC is so balanced this season it’s ridiculous. The American is the class of the G5, but their bottom feeders would be the very best of other conferences it seems. I say this with no exaggeration: anyone can beat anyone. UCF is leading at 4-1, but has shown they are capable of getting upset this year. Matchups with Temple, Cincy, and USF loom for the leading Knights. South Florida has an extremely tough end of their schedule, so we will see if they can stick around. This starts with back to back trips to Memphis and Houston. SMU has a more favorable route, given they have already played Memphis and Cincinnati, and avoid both Florida schools this year. Memphis has two losses, but has more than enough talent to get back to the championship game. Cincinnati has been a major failure this season, but back-to-back ranked wins over SMU and Memphis could spark a hot streak. Do not sleep on the Bearcats. Temple and Navy are listed as “doubtful.” However, of all the conferences I wrote about, the AAC’s “doubtful” category has the highest chances of actually reaching a conference championship game, with how balanced the league is. Also, both of these programs have had solid track records including plenty of recent success. I would not be surprised if the top of the league beats up on each other, and either Temple or Navy gets hot and making a run. Temple’s schedule is brutal down the stretch, however. At the bottom, Tulane has been disappointing and ECU has shown promising signs during their rebuild. Keep in mind, especially in the American, that the highest Group of 5 CHAMPION makes the New Year’s Six. So even if there is a higher ranked team that misses out on the championship due to some tiebreakers, the representative must be a conference champ. This should be intriguing the entire way.

Biggest Games Remaining:

5. Houston @ SMU (Nov. 21)

4. Houston @ Cincinnati (Nov. 7)

3. Cincinnati @ UCF (Nov. 21)

2. South Florida @ UCF (Nov. 27)

1. South Florida @ Memphis (Nov. 7)

ACC

Championship Game: Atlantic Division Champ vs. Coastal Division Champ

Location: Charlotte, NC

Atlantic

WINNER:

#4 Clemson

No Shot/Eliminated:

#19 Louisville, Florida State, Wake Forest, Boston College, Syracuse, NC State

Coastal

Contenders:

North Carolina, Duke

Still Alive:

Miami, Pittsburgh

Doubtful:

Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech

No Shot/Eliminated:

Virginia

BREAKDOWN:

Once again, the ACC appears to be the worst of the Power 5 leagues. Clemson has owned this league for a long time and 2020 looks no different. Due to playing South Carolina, Notre Dame, and cupcake Wofford in November, Dabo Swinney’s squad had a frontloaded conference schedule. Thus, the undefeated Tigers have already clinched the division for the sixth consecutive season. The division is just not competitive at this point. At least there’s another ranked team as of now. Louisville is enjoying a great season, and FSU is showing signs of significant improvement under Mike Norvell. But Clemson is a national power, and they’re not slowing down. Also, Wake, BC, NC State, and Syracuse are all having down years. Clemson’s championship opponent however, may not be known for a while. This is expected in a division that has seen all 7 teams take turns winning the division the last 7 years. UNC and Duke appear to be the top in the Coastal and yes, this is football we’re talking about. While UNC has one more win, Duke has beaten the Tar Heels, giving them the inside track. The Tar Heels do have BC and NCSU left on the schedule however, giving them two rather winnable games. The second tier is made up of Pitt and Miami, both 2-2 in conference. If Pitt can beat North Carolina, they have a real chance of getting back in the race, as they serve as Duke’s only defeat. Miami beat the Panthers, but are hurting after a rough loss to Wake Forest earlier this season. They also still have FSU on the docket. Georgia Tech has been surprisingly relevant this year, but three losses might be too much to overcome. VA Tech was one of the division’s favorites, but they have a huge hole to climb out of, despite their talent. Last year’s division winner Virginia has struggled this season.

Biggest Games Remaining:

5. Miami @ Virginia Tech (Nov. 14)

4. Florida State @ Miami (Nov. 7)

3. Duke @ Georgia Tech (Nov. 7)

2. Duke @ Miami (Nov. 28)

1. North Carolina @ Pittsburgh (Nov. 14)

Big XII

Championship Game: Top 2 seeds

Location: Arlington, TX

Contenders:

#17 Texas, #10 Oklahoma, #14 Iowa State

Still Alive:

#20 Oklahoma State, #21 Baylor

Doubtful:

Kansas State

No Shot/Eliminated:

Kansas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, TCU

BREAKDOWN:

The Big XII has quite a bit of parody this season, as these tiers of teams have seen plenty of moves depending on what week you look at it. For example, TCU and Texas Tech were both ranked for a little bit this season. After a horrible non-conference start, Texas is 5-0 in conference and looking like the team to beat. They have winnable matchups with Kansas and TCU before two more challenging games. Their game with Iowa State may end up being a must-win. Oklahoma is seeming to hit a stride of sorts after their loss to the rival Longhorns. It seems extremely likely they will run the table. If they do that, they’ll be playing for a title a month from now. Iowa State does have the head-to-head loss to the Sooners, and a much tougher November schedule that the other two contenders. But they will have their shot against Texas, meaning they are very much in play. OK State and Baylor are still alive, and have hung with the big dogs in the conference this year on occasion. But with each having two conference losses, it will make it hard to sneak in this late, but they do still have a decent chance. Luckily, these two face off in Waco this week, with the loser’s conference title hopes almost certainly left for dead. I am having a tough time getting a read on how good K-State really is, but they are starting to slide, and still have OU, OK State, and Baylor left to play. They should turn their focus to bowl eligibility instead. The bottom of the Big XII is somewhat surprising. It appeared pretty clear after a few weeks that Kansas and West Virginia were going to struggle this year. But WVU then upset #22 TCU, as the Frogs have lost 4 of 5. TTU spanked lesser competition to start, but the Red Raiders are looking pretty fraudulent at the moment, as they have lost 4 of 5 as well. Both of those teams should look towards bowl eligibility instead, as 1-4 conference records are too much to overcome. KU and WVU have great opportunities to play spoiler. There is a lot to sort out down the stretch, folks.

Biggest Games Remaining:

5. Kansas State @ Oklahoma (Nov. 14)

4. Baylor @ Iowa State (Nov. 14)

3. Texas @ Oklahoma State (Nov. 27)

2. Oklahoma State @ Baylor (Nov. 7)

1. Iowa State @ Texas (Nov. 21)

Big Ten

Championship Game: East Division Champ vs. West Division Champ

Location: Indianapolis, IN

East

Contenders:

#1 Ohio State

Still Alive:

#5 Penn State

Doubtful:

Indiana, #15 Michigan

No Shot/Eliminated:

Maryland, Rutgers, Michigan State

West

Contenders:

#18 Nebraska, #7 Wisconsin

Still Alive:

#25 Northwestern

Doubtful:

Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue

No Shot/Eliminated:

Iowa

BREAKDOWN:

In a shocking twist, the B1G East is Ohio State’s to lose. The Buckeyes have been dominant the entire season, at this point, I don’t know who can beat them if Penn State could not. OSU does have Indiana and Michigan left, (along with Maryland and Illinois) but for the Nittany Lions to sneak ahead of the Buckeyes they need to lose two, and the Hoosiers and Wolverines both come to Columbus. Penn State should probably spend their time coming up with a case for the Playoff committee about why they belong, rather than praying OSU loses twice. It’s not going to happen. Michigan in all likelihood was going to have its chance once again on Thanksgiving weekend to take the division, but then it lost at home to 2-6 Purdue. Indiana is having a great season, but they are just not at the top of the class, and it has shown in their losses thus far. The bottom of the conference has been ugly to say the least this year. Outside of a few games here and there, Maryland and Rutgers have not looked good this year. Also, what did Mel Tucker get himself into? Michigan State is an absolute train wreck this year, although a couple late wins over the fellow bottom feeders to close out the year could generate a little positive energy for 2021? Maybe? The West is way more wide open. I had lots of trouble deciding what tier to put teams into. Wisconsin and Nebraska are the co-leaders at this point and are still yet to play in Madison. Nebraska’s schedule is insanely challenging the rest of the way. Wisconsin has a few losable games as well, however. Northwestern is a half-game behind both, but has that second loss, and have already lost to Nebraska. A win against Wisconsin this weekend is a must if they want a shot. Minnesota has a real chance to get to 6-3, but would need a 5-4 Wisconsin team then, and that’s almost certainly not happening. Illinois has had an up and down season to say the least, but needs to pull an upset to get Lovie Smith to his second straight bowl. Purdue has been one of the biggest disappointments in the country this year, but has the potential to pull upsets, as seen in Ann Arbor. Iowa is in a very unusual spot. They were ranked the first 7 weeks of 2020, but have lost 3 straight and sit at 1-4 in the B1G. This is just too much to overcome to win the West. But, we all know Iowa is Iowa under Kirk Ferentz and it would surprise no one if they won out. They have the players to beat both Nebraska and Wisconsin and they both come to Kinnick. I’m predicting those games to be very competitive, and don’t be surprised if the Hawkeyes work some magic.

Biggest Games Remaining:

5. Nebraska @ Iowa (Nov. 14)

4. Minnesota @ Nebraska (Nov. 27)

3. Penn State @ Nebraska (Nov. 7)

2. Wisconsin vs. Northwestern (Nov. 7)

1. Nebraska @ Wisconsin (Nov. 21)

Conference USA

Championship Game: East Division Champ vs. West Division Champ

Location: Higher ranked division champ hosts

East

Contenders:

Marshall

Still Alive:

Florida Atlantic, Charlotte

Doubtful:

Western Kentucky, FIU

No Shot/Eliminated:

Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee

West

Contenders:

UAB, Southern Mississippi

Still Alive:

North Texas

Doubtful:

UTSA

No Shot/Eliminated:

Louisiana Tech, Rice, UTEP

BREAKDOWN:

C-USA has a few top programs atop the contenders list and a huge number of teams in the middle of the pack. The East is headlined by Marshall, who are two wins away from their first division championship since 2014. They are sitting at 4-1 in conference thus far. Behind them at 3-1 is FAU. But the Owls lone conference loss is to the Thundering Herd, meaning they’ll need some help to attempt to repeat. Charlotte is also still alive, even with a 2-2 record in C-USA. They have two winnable games they absolutely need, and then have to travel to Huntington, where they get their shot at Marshall. Win out, and the division is theirs. Quite a turnaround for this program. WKU and FIU are both 2-2 as well, but have already lost to Marshall, and the Hilltoppers have a tough stretch to close out their season. Old Dominion has a brutal end to their season, but they have lost quite a few close ones, so maybe they’ll get some luck and knock off a favorite. They are still way too far down in the standings to even think about catching up. MTSU has been dreadful this season, and that’s putting it nicely. Out west, there are two favorites on a collision curse for the division championship Thanksgiving weekend. UAB is 4-0 and has stifled opponents all season long. Southern Miss is 4-1 and if they can get by sneaky WKU in Bowling Green, and take care of business against UTSA, they will play UAB for the division, but they can’t afford a loss. North Texas has turned around their season drastically, winning three straight. They somehow control their own destiny but every game remaining is losable. Also, they have to travel to Birmingham to play the Blazers. Regardless, the Mean Green still have a lot to play for. UTSA has shown signs this year, but are most likely not going to catch UAB after a loss to them earlier. LA Tech is a team that is better than their record, so watch for them to play a factor. But 2-3 in conference means their hopes are just about doomed. Rice is enjoying a surprisingly decent year, so they should focus on getting to a bowl game, as 1-3 is too deep of a hole. UTEP is in the cellar of the division per usual.

Biggest Games Remaining:

5. Louisiana Tech @ North Texas (Nov. 7)

4. North Texas @ UAB (Nov. 13)

3. Southern Mississippi @ Western Kentucky (Nov. 14)

2. Charlotte @ Marshall (Nov. 21)

1. Southern Mississippi @ UAB (Nov. 28)

MAC

Championship Game: East Division Champ vs. West Division Champ

Location: Detroit, MI

East

Contenders:

Buffalo

Still Alive:

Miami (OH), Ohio

No Shot/Eliminated:

Kent State, Bowling Green, Akron

West

Contenders:

Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Toledo

Doubtful:

Ball State, Northern Illinois

No Shot/Eliminated:

Eastern Michigan

BREAKDOWN:

The MAC has fallen off quite a bit in terms of BCS/New Year’s Six contending programs, but this league has a ridiculous amount of parity now that it didn’t have 5-10 years ago. The top three teams in the MAC East are quite a bit better than the bottom three. But Buffalo has been prepared enough to win the games it is supposed to, and thus, put itself in the driver’s seat to reach Detroit. The Bulls still do play the two teams chasing them, and a tough WMU squad from the West. Miami would have been in the contenders tier of teams if not for last weekend’s upset loss to Ball State. Now, the Redhawks are 3-2, and need help. Ohio is at 2-2, but has a matchup with the Bulls still. The Bobcats need to win out, and hope Buffalo beats Miami, but loses to WMU. Kent State has shown flashes of competitiveness this year, (pun) but has yet to put it all together. Akron has three wins! But, none of them came in conference. Bowling Green is horrendous, but has a weak end to their schedule to try to salvage a couple wins. In the West, there are three teams with legit shots to take the division crown. CMU is 4-0, but has tough games with Ohio, and at Toledo left on the docket. WMU lost to CMU in a close one, so it sits at 4-1, with a game remaining with Buffalo. WMU has beaten Toledo, so it can afford to tie with the Rockets, but not the Chippewas. Speaking of Toledo, they have turned their season around, but against mostly lesser competition. They do have a win against Ohio, but if Toledo wins out, the division is theirs, provided WMU drops one more game. I would not be surprised if we see a three-way tie here. Ball State will be a tough out for CMU and Toledo, as they won’t win the division, but they are fighting for a bowl and are red hot at the moment. NIU is the exact opposite, as they’ve dropped three straight. But, the Huskies are always a tough out. EMU is a disaster this season, which is shocking because Chris Creighton seemed to have momentum building in Ypsilanti. This title game could have a plethora of matchups.

Biggest Games Remaining:

5. Buffalo @ Western Michigan (Nov. 27)

4. Ohio @ Central Michigan (Nov. 4)

3. Buffalo @ Ohio (Nov. 18)

2. Miami (OH) @ Buffalo (Nov. 10)

1. Central Michigan @ Toledo (Nov. 11)

Mountain West

Championship Game: Mountain Division Champ vs. West Division Champ

Location: Higher ranked division champ hosts

Mountain

Contenders:

Air Force

Still Alive:

Boise State, Wyoming, Utah State

Doubtful:

Colorado State

No Shot/Eliminated:

New Mexico

West

Contenders:

San Diego State, Fresno State

Still Alive:

Nevada

Doubtful:

San Jose State, Hawaii

No Shot/Eliminated:

UNLV

BREAKDOWN:

I feel as if the MW does not have as many high profile teams as they would in a normal season this year. Usually they have a team or two ranked this late in the year, but that has not been the case so far. I am not ruling it out down the stretch run though. The Air Force Falcons overcame a midseason two game losing streak to become the clear favorites in the Mountain division. If they can win 2 of their final 3 conference games, they’re in, and the schedule is rather manageable. Boise State’s uncanny four game losing streak all by a single point, seems like ages ago, and the Broncos are heating up to play like the team we have become accustomed to. BSU doesn’t have great odds though, as they need AF to lose 2 of 3, along with winning out themselves. Wyoming sits at 2-2, but also needs the Falcons to drop 2, as they also lost the head to head. USU has been rather unimpressive this year, but nevertheless sit at 2-2 and have Air Force still on the schedule. The schedule is challenging but they did beat SDSU this year, so upsets aren’t off the table. CSU is in it, but do they ever have a gauntlet in front of them. I could see an 0-4 finish for the Rams. The Lobos under first year coach Danny Gonzales have taken a few strides but is clearly the worst in the division. The West division is an apparent 2 horse race between the Aztecs and Bulldogs. SDSU, asides from a 5 point loss in Logan, has been perfect this year, led by a dominant defense. They sit at 4-1 in the MW. Fresno State has surprised folks this year, by starting 3-1 in conference. These two play in Fresno later this month, and in all likelihood, will settle the division. Nevada is bowl eligible for the second straight season, and they have beaten Fresno State this year. If the Wolf Pack can win out, which will be tough, but also reasonable, and FSU beats the Aztecs but drops another, a three-way tie is possible and the tiebreaker scenarios start. SJSU has been a pleasant surprise this year, but two straight losses mean they are probably out of the division race. The Spartans have a decent bowl shot. Three straight losses against tough teams have pretty much ruled out the Rainbow Warriors from retaining their division crown. UNLV has been horrendous, aside from somehow upsetting Arizona State. This conference looks more straightforward than some of the others I’ve covered.

Biggest Games Remaining:

5. Fresno State @ Utah State (Nov. 14)

4. Air Force @ Utah State (Nov. 28)

3. Wyoming @ Nevada (Nov. 14)

2. Boise State @ Wyoming (Nov. 21)

1. San Diego State @ Fresno State (Nov. 21)

Pac-12

Championship Game: North Division Champ vs. South Division Champ

Location: Las Vegas, NV

North

Contenders:

#11 Oregon

Doubtful:

California, Oregon State

No Shot/Eliminated:

Stanford, Washington, Washington State

South

Contenders:

#13 Utah, Arizona State

Still Alive:

USC

Doubtful:

Arizona

No Shot/Eliminated

Colorado, UCLA

BREAKDOWN:

The Pac-12 is very respectable this season in my opinion, but there is not that national championship contender that Power 5 conferences should have. That being said, most of their teams are very…. solid. Oregon is the best team in the conference, but they lost a lot of respect due to how they played against the Buckeyes. The Ducks have played very well as of late, and they look to be the runaway favorites in the North. A win this weekend against USC and a Cal loss to ASU will officially give the Ducks a spot in Vegas for the championship game. The aforementioned Cal has been enjoying a very nice season in 2020. They sit at 4-2 in conference and have the potential to earn 9 wins this year. They’ll need to win out though, and for the Ducks to lose at least 3 of 4. That’s a big ask. Oregon State is clinging to hopes of the North, needing every single game to go their way the rest of the season, but they haven’t been able to say that this late in the season in a long time. So props to the Beavers for being respectable this year. Stanford has been okay this year, and that is a far cry from what they were 5-10 years ago. But, they are 4-4 and a bowl would be huge for the young squad. Even though UW lost Chris Petersen, they have disappointed this year. They have struggled to beat good teams, but they could easily get hot down the stretch, generating some momentum for next year. WSU has been hit hard by Mike Leach’s exit, as the Cougs are winless in conference thus far. Down south, the division is not as cut and dry. Utah is scorching hot, winning four in a row, and sitting at 4-1 in conference. They control their own destiny but still have to travel to Tempe. ASU is tied with the Utes, and have won four in a row themselves. But, they have yet to face Cal and Oregon. I struggled with where to put USC, but they do have a legit shot at winning this division. They’ll most likely need to win out and have ASU beat the Utes. Tiebreakers would be wild, but it would be even better if Utah dropped another somewhere, as the Trojans lost to the Utes. SC has beaten ASU though. Arizona has fallen off the face of the earth after their red-hot start. They have lost three straight and have a tough schedule remaining. A bowl might not be likely at this point. Colorado and UCLA have not looked good this year, but at least the Buffs have a first year coach and have beaten the Bruins. Well, I suppose the Bruins have beaten themselves at times too this year. #KellyOut I’d bank on a rematch of the 2019 championship game.

Biggest Games Remaining:

5. Oregon State @ Utah (Nov. 14)

4. USC @ Oregon (Nov. 7)

3. California @ Arizona State (Nov. 7)

2. Arizona State @ Oregon (Nov. 13)

1. Utah @ Arizona State (Nov. 21)

SEC

Championship Game: East Division Champ vs. West Division Champ

Location: Atlanta, GA

East

Contenders:

#6 Florida

Doubtful:

#23 South Carolina, #22 Kentucky, #9 Georgia, Missouri

No Shot/Eliminated:

Tennessee, Vanderbilt

West

Contenders:

#2 Alabama, #3 LSU, #8 Auburn

Still Alive:

#16 Texas A&M

No Shot/Eliminated

Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas

BREAKDOWN:

Had I written this before last week, I could not describe the importance of the Florida-Georgia game, but now, the SEC East looks pretty decided. The Gators are all alone atop the division at 5-1, and a win in Nashville this weekend will clinch UF’s first division championship since 2016. Now it’s time for Florida to think playoffs. South Carolina has enjoyed a great start to their season and it’s one Will Muschamp needed in the worst way. They are 4-2 in the SEC, but need UF to lose to Vandy and Mizzou, and oh yeah: USC has to beat Georgia off a loss and LSU next week. That’s all. UK lost a ton last year, but is still ranked, so give credit to Mark Stoops. UK needs two Gator losses as well, and to beat Tennessee, MSU, and UGA. Georgia is deeply disappointed, and it looks they will miss the playoff yet again after making it in 2017. They have to rebound though, as the New Year’s Six is in play, and they have a tough Gamecock team, followed up by rival Tennessee, and ranked Kentucky. Mizzou can help its cause by beating Florida! They also have 2 winnable cross-division games left in MSU and Arkansas! But they still need Florida to lose to Vandy, and also: Missouri isn’t the best team. Tennessee has been one of the biggest disappointments this year, as they could easily miss a bowl. Derek Mason is as good as gone at Vandy, as they just can not pull off any wins this year it seems. The biggest game of the season is this upcoming week in the West, as #2 and #3 in the country face off with Alabama and LSU respectively. There’s not much else to say about these two, with how dominant they have been this year. The winner will have the inside track at the division, but still both have to play great teams in Auburn and Texas A&M. That brings me to Auburn. Do not be surprised if Gus Malzahn pulls off something stupid and has a say in who wins this division. They already stomped A&M, only lost to UGA on a fluky OT play, and have given the Tide and Bayou Bengals trouble before. They’re also #8 in the country for a reason. Auburn is right in the thick of this. A&M is a very talented squad. If they play lights out, they could beat one of the two top dogs and hopefully find their way back in this on some sort of tiebreaker mess. Mississippi State has dropped 5 in a row and showed no signs of defense under Mike Leach. They’ll try to right the ship against lesser opponents and get to a bowl game. Ole Miss is past the toughest part of their schedule but still has TAMU to go. We’ll see if the Egg Bowl determines bowl eligibility. Arkansas is pitiful. Next. The SEC has so many massive games remaining.

Biggest Games Remaining:

5. Texas A&M @ Alabama (Nov. 21)

4. LSU @ Texas A&M (Nov. 28)

3. LSU @ Auburn (Nov. 21)

2. Auburn @ Alabama (Nov. 28)

1. Alabama @ LSU (Nov. 7)

Sun Belt

Championship Game: East Division Champ vs. West Division Champ

Location: Higher ranked division champ hosts

East

Contenders:

Troy, Coastal Carolina, Appalachian State

Doutbful:

Georgia Southern

No Shot/Eliminated:

Georgia State

West

Contenders:

Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama, Arkansas State

No Shot/Eliminated

Texas State

BREAKDOWN:

The Sun Belt has been arguably the most improved conference over the last 3 or so years, and 2020 is showing why. While App State is still the only one who ever seems to win the league, there is an inordinate amount of depth at the top tier. The East is the stronger division. Troy always seems to be one of App State’s top challengers. They lead the East at 4-1, but still have games against GA Southern, Coastal, and App State. We’ll see how legit the Trojans are. They already missed a golden opportunity to get a leg up on the rest after falling last week to Arky State. Coastal Carolina has rocketed up to challenge for the division this year, already clinching the program’s first bowl bid. They are 3-1, but have both Troy and App State to play. The perennial favorite Mountaineers are also 3-1, coming off a shocking loss to UL-Monroe. Bottom feeder TX State should be a prime rebound opportunity. They close out the season against CCU and Troy. So all three legit contenders have a round robin ahead of them. I can’t wait. Georgia Southern is a team that is much better than their record in my opinion. They’re 2-3, but I believe they could put a scare into Troy if they’re not careful, and should take care of business against TX State and GA State. That should get them to a bowl. Speaking of the Panthers, they are clearly the worst in the East, but have lost to Troy and CCU by one possession, so maybe they’re due for some good luck. Out west, this division might be the most jumbled mess you’ll see all season. Four teams all have extremely good chances to control their destiny and play for a championship: Louisiana, LA-Monroe, S. Alabama, and Arkansas State. The 2-time defending champ Ragin’ Cajuns are 3-2 and appear to be heating up. They were the favorites coming in, so don’t be surprised if they take the division and run with it. They play all other three challengers though, so we’ll see if the proof is where the pudding is. The Warhawks from Monroe also are 3-2, and fresh off a monster win over App State. They have a winnable Georgia State game up next that they need to have. Then, games with ASU and ULL loom. Side note: they have already lost to the Jags. Speaking of those Jags, they are 2-2 and not only do they have ULL and ASU, they also have Coastal from the East. USA could be in trouble. The Red Wolves of Arkansas State scored a huge win over Troy to get back to .500 in SBC play. They have all four division opponents left on the docket. It’s crunch time, and we’ll see if the experienced team can figure things out when it matters most. The lowly Bobcats of Texas State are 1 of 2 winless FBS teams. They have a few narrow misses, but it’s looking like 0-12 this year. This championship has endless possibilities.

Biggest Games Remaining:

5. Arkansas State @ Louisiana (Nov. 5)

4. Louisiana @ Louisiana-Monroe (Nov. 28)

3. Coastal Carolina @ Troy (Nov. 14)

2. Appalachian State @ Coastal Carolina (Nov. 21)

1. Troy @ Appalachian State (Nov. 28)

Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the insights I offered. It was a marathon, but after writing and rereading it, I am so jazzed for the last month of our season. Be sure to tune in to see what happens the rest of the way!

-Scott

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