Which Group of Five school had the most impressive Week 1?

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The College Football Playoff selection committee will guarantee one spot in a big revenue bowl game at the end of the season to the highest-ranked conference champion from the so-called Group of Five — American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West Conference, Sun Belt Conference. With no team from any of those conferences starting the season ranked in the top 25 polls, it was crucial for one team to step up and state its case for consideration early on. The opening weekend of the college football season saw more whiffs than home runs by schools fighting for that big bowl game at the end of the year.

Boise State and Utah State, perhaps two of the perceived leading contenders, came up small in their battles with SEC schools. Boise State was taken down by Ole Miss on a neutral field in Atlanta on Thursday night. On Sunday night Chuckie Keeton and Utah State were rolled by Tennessee in Knoxville. If either Boise State or Utah State would have won, they would have become the leader in the clubhouse for the guaranteed bowl spot. So who had the most impressive season debut from each of the Group of Five conferences? Is there a favorite at this point?

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

The favorites in the AAC did not get off to a great start this season. Houston was embarrassed by UTSA in the grand opening of Houston’s new football stadium. Defending champion UCF was sloppy for most of the afternoon in Ireland against Penn State. A change at quarterback gave the Knights a spark and UCF took a late lead on the Nittany Lions but a field goal by Penn State as time expired dropped UCF to 0-1. Cincinnati, the media’s preseason favorite, did not play this weekend due to some bizarre scheduling. East Carolina held up their end of the bargain with a home blowout of a FCS program, but you don’t win points for that.

Temple may have had the most impressive season debut out of the American Athletic Conference. The Owls opened on Thursday night on the road at Vanderbilt. After sitting through a lengthy weather delay, Matt Rhule‘s program blew away Vanderbilt and ruined Derek Mason’s debut on Nashville. Temple gets a chance to build on that start this weekend at home against a Navy team that gave Ohio State a battle until the fourth quarter.

CONFERENCE USA

In the opening weekend of the season Conference USA teams did not fare well against power conference competition, but the conference did score some big wins by picking on other Group of Five conferences, which is equally important in this conversation. UTSA’s win against Houston raised plenty of eyebrows and has thrown UTSA into contender status in Conference USA as a result. Perhaps just as shocking was Western Kentucky’s blowout of defending MAC champion and 2014 favorite Bowling Green. UTSA’s victory over Houston on the road against an offense that is supposed to put up plenty of yards and points may be the more complete victory in my book, but Western Kentucky smacking around Bowling Green the way they did should not go unmentioned. These two wins alone may have been enough to suggest Conference USA is ahead of the MAC early on. Conference USA is still full of young, growing programs though so let’s see how the season plays out.

MAC

The two most convincing victories in the MAC this weekend happened to come against a pair of FCS opponents. Akron and Northern Illinois had no problems with their season-opening opponents, but they will hardly do anything to convince voters to place them above the performances of schools like Temple, UTSA or Western Kentucky (naturally). There was one MAC contest played this weekend, resulting in Ohio getting a jump in the standings following a road win at Kent State.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

On a weekend that saw Boise State, Utah State and Fresno State all lose to power conference opponents, Colorado State’s win against Colorado could not have come at a better time. Colorado State’s 31-17 victory over in-state rival Colorado put on display every reason why the Rams are expected to make a run in the Mountain West Conference this season. Having Dee Hart at running back will be a nice luxury after rushing for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Colorado may not be a great program, but Colorado State will take it. The Rams, right now, may be at the top of the pack among Group of Five contenders thinking about the big bowl reservation.

SUN BELT

It was not a great weekend for the Sun Belt Conference. Louisiana Monroe’s home victory over a weak Wake Forest team may be the best victory in the books in week one. Georgia Southern nearly pulled an upset at North Carolina State, which would have been the top win among Sun Belt teams this weekend. If not ULM, then Texas State should probably get the nod following a 65-0 victory over Arkansas Pine-Bluff, but again, no points for blowouts of cupcakes, even in the Sun Belt.

WHAT ABOUT BYU?

Under the new structure of the College Football Playoff and the associated bowls, there is not automatic way for BYU to be invited to the party. BYU is not eligible to be considered for the reserved spot among Group of Five champions, even if the Cougars are ranked and no Group of Five conference champion is ranked. BYU’s only way to gain a spot in the bowl rotation is to 1) be selected to play in the College Football Playoff as a semifinalist or 2) be selected as an at-large team in the remaining bowl spots that are open after conference champions and automatic bids are selected.

BYU had one of the most impressive wins of the weekend from any school not in a power conference, dominating UConn in Connecticut. It was just the Huskies, but it was a show of dominance by Taysom Hill and the Cougars that would fare well with any other victory from the Group of Five schools on the opening weekend.

Oklahoma State QB John Kolar announces transfer to Iowa State to play with brother

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Oklahoma State should have a bit of a quarterback competition going into the 2019 season, but John Kolar will not be a part of it. Kolar announced his decision to transfer to another Big 12 school on Sunday night. He’s heading to Iowa State, where his brother Charlie Kolar plays tight end.

“Beyond excited to announce my commitment to finish my academic and athletic career at Iowa State University,” Kolar announce din a brief statement on Twitter. “The opportunity to play alongside my brother in a program as special as this one was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Kolar appeared in just one game in his time at Oklahoma State, in which he attempted two passes with one completion for eight yards and rushed twice for a gain of 18 yards for the Cowboys in 2016. Given his history at Oklahoma State, it stood to reason he was not going to be a factor in the Oklahoma State offense in 2019. How much of a role he ends up having at Iowa State is also a question as the Cyclones are pretty set at the quarterback as well with freshman Brock Purdy showing what he can do this season and sophomore Zeb Noland still in the mix as well. But, as his statement suggests, the chance to close out his college career with his brother is pretty special too.

Charlie Kolar was Iowa State’s sixth-leading receiver this season with 11 receptions for 137 yards and three touchdowns. Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell was also just given a contract extension, and should the situation present itself, it would be nice if Campbell finds an opportunity to allow the Kolar brothers to connect for a touchdown next season.

As a graduate transfer, John Kolar will be eligible to play at Iowa State next season.

Mel Tucker looks to be keeping some Colorado assistants on board in Boulder

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It is not uncommon for a new head coach to wipe the slate clean with a coaching staff once he takes on a job, but sometimes there will be some assistants retained from the previous staff. Such appears to be the case at Colorado where new head coach Mel Tucker appears to be keeping a couple of familiar faces from the previous staff in the program moving forward.

Colorado co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini took to Twitter to confirm the news regarding his status himself by expressing his pride in remaining a part of the Colorado coaching staff moving forward with Tucker.

However, it is not quite known just what role Chiaverini will be taking on with the Buffs. A report from Football Scoop on Monday morning states Tucker will add Jay Johnson as an offensive coordinator. Johnson would be following Tucker to Colorado from Georgia, where he was an offensive analyst and quality control coach with the SEC’s Bulldogs. Chiaverini also held the responsibility of coaching the wide receivers and was Colorado’s recruiting coordinator. Continuing in those roles at the very least may be a likely outcome as the staff roles are defined.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic also reports, via Twitter, running backs coach Darian Hagan is expected to remain on the staff as well.

Hagan, a former Buffs quarterback on Colorado’s 1989 and 1990 teams, has been on the Colorado staff for a total of 14 years between multiple stops in Boulder. Hagan worked with player development from 2013 through 2015 and has worked as director of player personnel and running backs coach under multiple coaches. Having a coach that is as connected to the program as Hagan would be an asset to any new head coach at Colorado, so keeping Hagan in town would be a good move for Tucker.

Scott Loeffler hires Brian VanGorder to initial staff at Bowling Green

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Bowling Green’s new head coach now has his staff in place and ready to go. Scott Loeffler completed the final pieces of his new coaching staff with the Falcons with the additions of Brian VanGorder and Julian Campenni to the coaching staff. VanGorder will take on the role of associate head coach and linebackers coach. Campenni fills the role of the defensive line coach.

VanGorder comes to Bowling Green from a brief stint at Louisville. A head coaching change at Louisville left VanGorder on the market for a job less than a year after taking the job with the Cardinals under former head coach Bobby Petrino. Louisville added VanGorder, a former defensive coordinator at Notre Dame and defensive analyst with Georgia and Oklahoma State, in January to take on the role of defensive coordinator. Loeffler and VanGorder worked together at Auburn in 2012 when Loeffler was the offensive coordinator and VanGorder was the defensive coordinator for the Tigers under former head coach Gene Chizik.

With VanGorder as defensive coordinator, Louisville turned in the nation’s 122nd-ranked defense, allowing 483.5 yards per game this fall. The Cardinals ranked 128th in scoring defense out of 130 FBS teams by allowing 44.1 points per game. Bowling Green allowed 40.0 points per game this season.

Campenni is following Loeffler from Boston College. Campenni was a graduate assistant the past two seasons at Boston College, where he assisted with the offensive line. He previously was a defensive line coach working at Wyoming Area High School in Exeter, Pennsylvania in 2016.

Missouri defensive end Tre Williams arrested for suspected second-degree domestic assault

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Missouri defensive end Tre Williams has been suspended by the Missouri football program following his arrest on Sunday morning. According to The Kansas City Star, Williams was arrested for suspicion of second-degree domestic assault.

“We were made aware of the situation yesterday, and Tre was immediately suspended indefinitely from all team activities,” Missouri head coach Barry Odom said in a released statement. “We will provide an update if his status changes.”

The arrest was made by Columbia police at Williams’ off-campus apartment, but the details regarding the alleged incident have not been reported at this time.

Williams has been suspended in accordance with the Missouri student-athlete handbook’s policies regarding any arrests on felony charges. The charge levied against Williams is classified as a Class D felony in the state of Missouri, according to The Kansas City Star. Williams has reportedly been released on a $4,500 bond.

Williams, a redshirt sophomore from Columbia, Missouri, has played in 12 games for Missouri this season, in which he has recorded 20 tackles with 2.5 sacks. Though he has started for the Tigers this season, Williams has been listed second on the team’s official depth chart at defensive end behind sophomore Akial Byers in the last few games of the regular season.

On a much less significant note, this arrest would seemingly put Williams’ availability for Missouri’s bowl game in jeopardy. Missouri will play Oklahoma State in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31.