One of the most underrated stories at the start of the college football season is the Group of Five’s race for a spot in a “New Year’s Six” bowl game. It’s an open battle throughout a few weeks of the season, and this week’s G5 viewing guide features some teams hoping to compete for the coveted New Year’s Six spot.
SMU may have the inside track to win the spot, while Appalachian State is a legitimate Sun Belt threat. Each of those shows is recorded at the top of this week’s viewing guide. As a reminder, I use college football betting odds to help me select five G5 games to watch each week. Other factors such as home environment, conference races and game times are also considered.
5. Coastal Carolina in the state of Georgia, Thursday, 7:30 pm ET
Coastal Carolina is a perfect 3-0 on the season, but the Chanticleers (-2.5) have failed to cover the lead in consecutive games and have shown vulnerability against inferior foes. Georgia State followed up the Power Five losses with a demoralizing loss to a bad team from Charlotte, but there is still talent on the roster. A desperate 0-3 team hosting a 3-0 team struggling to meet preseason expectations? There is some annoying potential, which makes this game a fun one to watch on Thursdays.
4. Southern Miss at Tulane, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
I’m on top of Southern Miss despite the team’s 1-2 record (that overtime loss to Liberty doesn’t look too bad after the Flames beat UAB and nearly beat Wake Forest) and the Golden The Eagles nabbed Tulane (-12.5) after their massive win over Kansas State. Tulane just battled what I think is a good Kansas State team, winning 17-10 and improving to a perfect 3-0. Could this game be a point of disappointment for Green Wave? If so, it could be more exciting than experts think.
3. Toledo at SDSU, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Few things can feel sweeter than going from taking on Ohio State’s offense to taking on San Diego State. Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but the Rockets (-1.5) have a tremendous chance to take down the Mountain West team this weekend after giving up 77 to the Buckeyes. San Diego State is also coming off a blowout loss to the Power Five, falling to Utah 35-7. While the teams are coming off tough losses, this should be a competitive matchup between a couple of respectable Group of Five teams.
2. JMU on App State, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Three games, three memorable results for Appalachian State. The Mountaineers (-7.5) opened with a 63-61 loss to North Carolina, followed with a 17-14 victory over Texas A&M and beat Troy 32-28 last Saturday thanks to a Hail Mary. What a start to the season! JMU began their FBS tenure with two solid wins, though one of those came against a lackluster FCS team. The Dukes appear to be ready for FBS, but Saturday’s tilt is by far their biggest test of the season.
1. TCU at SMU, Saturday, noon ET
SMU-Maryland delivered an entertaining game last week, and I’ll be bringing SMU back to the top of this weekly list. This game is basically a pick ’em game with TCU favored by one point. A total of 69.5 means that we should expect a lot of points in this contest. SMU gave up a fourth-quarter lead against Maryland last week. Can the Mustangs redeem themselves and take down a Power Five team this week?
Wyoming-BYU, South Florida-Louisville, Indiana-Cincinnati, Marshall-Troy
The betting odds suggest that Marshall at Troy might be the most competitive game on the list, but South Florida-Louisville has a chance to be a good stealth game. South Florida nearly stunned Florida last week, and Louisville hasn’t impressed in three games.
Bennett Conlin is a college football contributor for HERO Sports, working full time covering sports betting industry news and legislation for sports handle Y USA Bets.