By Darnell Sallins
As the college football is set to kickoff officially tonight with so huge games and of course Saturday full slate of games, the main talking point is the Power 5 Conferences. Alabama defending National Champions with a new cast of characters. Clemson looking to rebound after losing to Bama in the semifinals and replace Trevor Lawrence. Same for Ohio State as they lost in the Championship game and is replacing Justin Fields. All of these things will be interesting to watch including my Florida Gators but I am not here to talk Power 5.
One thing I am look forward this season is the Group of 5 race.
That's right the Group of 5 race because one year a Group 5 team will knock off a Power 5 powerhouse in a major bowl game and at some point a Group of 5 team will make the playoffs. Last season, the Cincinnati Bearcats came up just short of knocking off the Georgia Bulldogs in the Peach Bowl, 24-21. The year before it was the Memphis Tigers who had the opportunity but did not matchup well with Penn State in the Cotton Bowl losing 53-39.
This season has a different feel to it for the Group of 5 especially with three teams in the opening AP Poll: Cincinnati, Louisiana, and Coastal Carolina. More eyes are starting to pay attention to these teams now after what Boise State did in the early 2000s especially knocking off Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl back in 2007 and UCF in the 2010s with feats of knocking off Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl back in 2014, finished an undefeated season 2018 with knocking off Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
Cincinnati won the race last year and is looking to repeat and earn an opportunity to take a Power 5 powerhouse. The American conference has been dominating the Group 5 with the past winners coming from conference: UCF back-to-back in 2017 and 2018, Memphis in 2019, and Cincinnati last season.
But only team can the opportunity that these had in past and to begin the 2021 season here is my Top 5 Group of 5 Teams.
Cincinnati Bearcats (American): Currently 8th in the AP Poll and returning top Group 5 Champ. Plays Miami (OH) Saturday
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (Sun Belt): Surprise of the season last season. Currently 22nd in the AP Poll. Plays The Citadel tonight.
Louisiana Ragin' Cajun (Sun Belt): Made some noise last season. Beating a few Power 5 teams. Currently 23rd in AP Poll. Plays @21. Texas Saturday
UCF Knights (American): Down year for the Knights last season. Looking to rebound. Plays Boise State tonight
Boise State Broncos (Mountain West): Has fallen in past few years in the Mountain West. Plays @UCF tonight
Check back with The Playmakerz Blog website as we will continue to keep an eye on the Group of 5 race this season. Next Week we will reveal the Top 5 for Week 2.