Not surprisingly, most of the college football world’ attention is focused on the Power Five conference teams and the College Football Playoff heading into the last full weekend of the 2014 regular season.
There are, though, other goings on in the sport, namely conference races for the other five conferences dubbed the Group of Five. All five of those leagues have yet to see an undisputed 2014 champion decided; four of those, though, will crown a champ — or co-champ — this weekend, with the AAC being the lone exception (possibly).
With that as a backdrop, here are those various clinching scenarios for the Group of Five leagues:
Memphis sits at 6-1 with one conference game remaining (vs. UConn), while Cincinnati and UCF are each 5-1 with two games each left (at Temple and vs. Houston for the former, at USF and at East Carolina for the latter). This conference, however, does not have a championship game, so its method for determining its champ is laid out in the league’s weekly notes package:
In the event of a tie for the American Athletic Conference title, any tied teams would be declared co-champions. There is no formal conference tiebreaker policy for this season. The College Football Playoff committee would be able to select any of the tied teams for a New Year’s bowl game, based on the committee’s rankings.
Memphis is the only team that could claim the outright championship in Week 14, and that would happen if it won and Cincinnati and UCF lost. Memphis, with a win, is also the only AAC team that can claim at least a co-championship this weekend.
At 7-0, Marshall has already clinched a spot in the conference championship game.
This division is nearly as simple as the winner of the Week 14 game between Louisiana Tech (6-1) and Rice (5-2) will face Marshall.
Another issue for the conference to be decided is where the title game will be played. If Marshall beats Western Kentucky Saturday, the Herd will host the Louisiana Tech/Rice winner in Huntington. If Marshall loses and Rice wins, Marshall would again host. If Marshall loses and Louisiana Tech wins? I’ll go ahead and allow the conference to lay out the particulars:
If Marshall loses to WKU on Friday and Louisiana Tech defeats Rice, both teams would have the same conference record (7-1). Marshall and Louisiana Tech do not play in the regular season, eliminating the head-to-head tie-breaker, the second tiebreaker after conference record. Therefore, the CFP ranking is the next tie-breaker. If neither team is in the top 25 of the CFP Rankings, average select computer ranking (Anderson and Hester, Billingsley, Colley Matrix and Wolfe) would be used to determine host.
At 5-2, Bowling Green has already clinched a spot in the conference championship game.
Three teams at 6-1 all remain alive in the divisional race: Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan. NIU and WMU play late Friday morning, while Toledo faces Eastern Michigan a couple of hours later. What follows are the scenarios for each to claim the West:
Northern Illinois wins the West if… It beats Western Michigan; NIU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Toledo.
Toledo wins the West if… It beats Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois loses; UT holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Western Michigan.
Western Michigan wins the West if… It beats Northern Illinois, Toledo loses.
Boise State, Colorado State and Utah State are all 6-1 entering the last week of the regular season, with Boise State and Utah State playing late Saturday night and Colorado State traveling to Air Force. Here are the clinching scenarios for each team:
Boise State wins the Mountain if… It beats Utah State; BSU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Colorado State.
Colorado State wins the Mountain if… It beats Air Force and Boise State loses to Utah State; CSU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Utah State
Utah State wins the Mountain if… It beats Boise State and Colorado State loses to Air Force.
With two teams at 4-3 (Fresno State, San Diego State) and two at 3-4 (Hawaii, Nevada), the West is a clusterf… well, you know. So much so, in fact, that I’m just going to let the conference put this one into the barn:
- Fresno State: wins the division with a win over Hawai‘i.
- San Diego State: wins the division with a win over San José State and a Fresno State loss to Hawai‘i.
- Hawai‘i: wins the division with a win at Fresno State and losses by Nevada (at UNLV) and San Diego State (vs. San José State).
- In the event Fresno State loses to Hawai‘i, Nevada defeats UNLV and San Diego State falls to San José State, it will create a four-team tie atop the West Division standings at 4-4. In that scenario, Fresno State clinches the division based on the MW divisional tiebreaking procedures.
As is the case with the AAC, there is no conference championship game in the SBC. Georgia Southern (7-0) has already clinched a share of the 2014 title in its first season in the league, with a win over Louisiana Monroe Saturday giving them the undisputed title. Louisiana-Lafayette can earn a co-championship with a win over Troy combined with a Georgia Southern loss.