We still have no real clue where the Group of Five contenders rank against each other in the eyes of the College Football Playoff selection committee. We do know for sure East Carolina once did enough to impress the committee enough to appear in the first ranking released by the committee just weeks ago. After losing on the road at Temple, is East Carolina cooked or is there a chance for redemption on the field? Whatever the case is, East Carolina must win Thursday night’s game against Cincinnati for the Pirates to even have an argument for consideration to receive the selection committee’s reserved spot in the New Years Six bowl line-up.
“We’re ready to fight back. Like we always say, we have to get our face back,” ECU linebacker Zeek Bigger said, per The Charlotte Observer. “This is a game that we have to play and we have to be ready to play and we will be ready to play.”
There will be one spot in the New Years Six bowl line-up reserved for the highest-ranked conference champion from the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West Conference or Sun Belt Conference. Right now, Marshall is the only undefeated team in the Group of Five, although it is unknown if they would be the favorite or not for the lucrative bowl spot. Boise State, Colorado State and Utah State in the Mountain West Conference could have decent arguments, and Northern Illinois is still lurking after a Tuesday night victory against Toledo. Georgia Southern is making some noise out of the Sun Belt for now, but would need a waiver approved just to play in a bowl game. Then there is the AAC.
Memphis currently sits alone in first place in the AAC, although a win Thursday night will send East Carolina or Cincinnati into a tie for first-place. Defending conference champion UCF is also in the running with one conference loss so far. The perceived problem is every team in the conference has at least two losses, so it is hard to say the conference champion out of the AAC would be a lock to finish ahead of a 13-0 Marshall with a Conference USA championship.
There could still be a big bowl awaiting East Carolina, but winning on the road at Cincinnati is hardly a given. The Pirates may be sending quarterback Shane Carden and wide receiver Justin Hardy to the Senior Bowl, but any hope of playing in the Peach Bowl will be dependant on avoiding another slip-up in conference play. The talent is on the roster, but ECU has to get back to starting strong.
This one will certainly leave a lasting mark.
Over the summer, Troy’s B.J. Smith was named as the Sun Belt Conference’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Two months later, the football program confirmed, the running back will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2019 season because of an injury sustained in the Week 3 loss to Southern Miss.
While the specific nature of the injury wasn’t divulged by the school, it’s believed Smith injured his knee midway through the second quarter of last Saturday’s game.
Last season, Smith led the Trojans with 1,186 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. This season, the fourth-year senior had rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in two games.
Because of the timing of the injury, Smith can take a redshirt for the 2019 season and return to the Trojans next season.
Sitting at the quarter-pole of the 2019 regular season, and Texas is the latest FBS program to feel the pain of the portal.
Joe Cook of InsideTexas.com was the first to report that Caleb Johnson has placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. 247Sports.com subsequently confirmed the initial report, writing that the junior linebacker “feels he has not fit in well since he arrived at Texas.”
247Sports provided further details as to the events leading up to Johnson’s decision.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Johnson met with the staff Monday morning to inform them of his intentions to enter the transfer portal. While the staff requested he think more about his decision, Johnson decided to enter his name into he NCAA Transfer Portal, and is listed in the portal as of Tuesday morning.
Johnson joined the Longhorns from the junior college level, enrolling early and taking part in spring practice this past offseason. He was a three-star 2019 signee who was rated as the No. 3 JUCO outside linebacker in this past year’s class.
Through three games, Johnson hadn’t yet taken the field for the Big 12 program.
When the 2019 campaign kicked off, most assumed that the 2019 Heisman Trophy would be a two-player race. Three weeks in and that number has more than doubled.
In odds released by one offshore sportsbook, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is listed as a 2/1 favorite to win this year’s Heisman. The other preseason co-favorite, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, whose odds now sit at 15/2 — they were at 3/1 a week ago — after a start to the season has seen him throw more interceptions in three games (five) than he had in 15 games (four) as a true freshman a year ago.
Lawrence was actually leapfrogged in this latest odds release by a pair of quarterbacks: Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, who went from 7/2 to 3/1, and LSU’s Joe Burrow, up to 4/1 from 18/1.
Another quarterback also made an upward move as Ohio State’s Justin Fields climbed from 16/1 to 10/1.
The only non-quarterbacks on the list? Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor sits at 20/1, while fellow running backs Travis Etienne of Clemson and D’Andre Swift of Georgia, along with Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, are sitting at 33/1. Another running back, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, is listed at 100/1.
Other quarterbacks that were listed include Georgia’s Jake Fromm at 14/1 (12/1 a week ago), Oregon’s Justin Herbert at 18/1 (25/1), Texas’ Sam Ehlinger at 18/1 (16/1), Notre Dame’s Ian Book at 50/1 (50/1), Michigan’s Shea Patterson at 66/1 (22/1) and Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez at 100/1 (off the board).
A couple of weeks into the 2019 season, Colorado State has realized an immediate infusion of Power Five talent.
Nate Craig-Meyers transferred from Auburn in September of 2018; three months later, he landed at Colorado State. After being sidelined the first three games of this season, CSU confirmed Monday that Craig-Meyers is now eligible to play for the Rams, beginning in Week 4 against Toledo.
“Nate’s been an awesome teammate,” head coach Mike Bobo said according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. “He’s done a good job learning our offense. The first two weeks of the season he did scout team. This past week, when we knew he was going to be eligible for this week, he came down and repped some with the offense.
“He’s in a good position. He’ll be ready to go.”
Craig-Meyers was a four-star member of the Tigers’ 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 receiver in the country; the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 45 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. He was the highest-rated signee on the offensive side of the ball for the Tigers that recruiting cycle.
Despite starting all three games for the Tigers prior to his transfer last season, Craig-Meyers had just two receptions for 39 yards. He finished the AU portion of his playing career with 394 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns on his 22 catches.