G5 Gurus analysis of the AP and Coaches Polls.
With a a highly successful bowl season by the Group-of-Five in the rear-view mirror, how did G5 teams fare in the final national rankings?
In the AP Poll, Cincinnati closed their historic season at #4. The highest for a team in the Group of Five since Boise State finished fourth in 2009. 13-1 Louisiana finished at #16, unchanged from the end of the regular season. Houston moved up 4 spots to finish at #17, followed by BYU at #19. Utah State and Sand Diego State eked into the final rankings finishing #24 and #25 respectively.
In the Coaches poll, Cincinnati closed at #4, Houston edged Louisiana for #17, with BYU at #22 and Utah State at #24.
In looking at the polls, we had a few closing thoughts. The 6 teams in the final AP rankings feels just about right. While we would have loved to see UT San Antonio break the Top 25, two losses in their final three games dimmed their position with voters. Our beef lies with the voters continued bias when it comes to head-to-head results. San Diego State beat Utah and finished the season 12-2 versus the Utes 10-4. San Diego State won their bowl game, while Utah dropped a thriller to Ohio State. So how does Utah warrant a ranking 13 slots higher? San Diego State’s two losses? To #24 Utah State and to Fresno State (10-3). Utah’s four losses? #25 San Diego State, #19 BYU, #6 Ohio State, and to 6-loss Oregon State.
Other examples are Pittsburgh and Wake Forest. Don’t get us wrong, we enjoyed watching the Panthers and Deacons this year. But Pittsburgh had 3 losses. Two were to unranked teams with four losses (Miami and Western Michigan). A loss in their bowl game did not drop them at all in the rankings. Wake Forest lost to 7-loss North Carolina and struggled early against an 8-loss Rutgers team in their bowl before winning. Yet, they jumped 5 spots over a thirteen win Louisiana team in the final AP rankings?
In the Coaches Poll, we are admittedly puzzled. 32 of the 62 voters are Power 5 coaches so we expect a slight bias. However, leaving a four loss Texas A&M team in the rankings over San Diego State made absolutely no sense at all. We provided a glimpse into San Diego State’s resume earlier. Texas A&M had the great win over Alabama. Their other wins? Only one was over a team that finished the year with a winning record (South Carolina at 7-6). Their losses included ones to an unranked, 7-loss LSU team and an unranked, 6-loss Mississippi State. We suppose, to voters, losses really don’t seem to matter.
In the final G5 Guru Poll of 2021, Cincinnati completes the season on top. The Bearcats spent the entire 2021 Season in the #1 slot. The other G5 team with 13 wins, Louisiana, remains at #2, Houston jumps 2 spots to 3, followed by Utah State and San Diego State. The second half of the top 10 begins with BYU. The Cougars are followed by Fresno State, Texas San-Antonio, Air Force, and Coastal Carolina.
The second 10 begins with Army, Appalachian State, Western Kentucky, UCF, and UAB. Central Michigan jumps 4 spots to #16, followed by Northern Illinois, Liberty, Western Michigan, and SMU. Liberty and Western Michigan were both unranked heading into bowl season. Boise State and Nevada just missed the top 20.
2021 Final AP Rankings
|San Diego State||12-2||137|
Other G5 teams with votes: UTSA (9), Army (6), Fresno State (2), Coastal Carolina (2), Air Force (1), UAB (1)
2021 Final Coaches Rankings
Other G5 teams with votes: San Diego State (114), Air Force (42), UTSA (11), Coastal Carolina (7), Fresno State (3), Army (1)
2021 Final G5 Gurus Rankings
|San Diego State||MWC||12-2|
|Texas San Antonio||CUSA||12-2|
Other teams with votes: Boise State (1), Nevada (1)