The Temple Owls may have fallen just shy of a monumental victory over Notre Dame Saturday night, but the program should feel incredibly confident moving forward in pursuit of the American Athletic Conference championship. The AAC title may still prove to be the tipping point in the Group of Five race to the New Years Six bowl line-up, so long as the last team staining in the conference has just one loss.
At the moment, Memphis continues to be in the driver’s seat. That remained the case when Memphis shook aside a sluggish start at home against Tulane only to win by a 41-13 margin. The Tigers remain undefeated and still own the most impressive single victory in the Group of Five with a home win against Ole Miss. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the AAC West, Houston is keeping its foot on the gas with a second victory over a Power 5 program this weekend. The Cougars demolished Vanderbilt, 34-0 and are a home game against Cincinnati from hosting Memphis in what could be the game of the year in the AAC. And d not be foolish enough to forget about Navy. The Midshipmen are also undefeated in conference play and, like Temple, have just one loss that came against Notre Dame. All three AAC South programs are 4-0 in conference play and have yet to face each other. That division is still up for grabs.
Up north, or in the east, Temple remains in a solid position to at least play for the AAC Championship at the end of the season. The Owls still own a clean 4-0 conference record and have a two-game edge on everyone in the division, with head-to-head tiebreakers against Cincinnati and East Carolina. Temple will host Memphis later in November in what could be a conference championship game preview, but has breathing room with three other games against SMU, USF and UConn. Matt Rhule said after the Notre Dame loss he was still dry proud of his team and likes the motivation they have with a shot at a conference title still in front of them. He should feel good, because Temple showed they were worthy of being on the same field as one of the best teams in the country Saturday night.
So, as we do every Sunday, here is how I would rank the current Group of Five contenders at this point in the season for consideration for the New Years Six bowl spot.