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

TeamRecordPoints
Georgia (61)14-11,525
Alabama13-21,464
Michigan12-21,361
Cincinnati13-11,349
Baylor12-21,259
Ohio State11-21,247
Oklahoma State12-21,177
Notre Dame11-21,039
Michigan State11-21,026
Oklahoma11-2966
Ole Miss10-3926
Utah10-4851
Pittsburgh11-3741
Clemson10-3538
Wake Forest11-3533
Louisiana13-1517
Houston12-2513
Kentucky10-3446
BYU10-3435
NC State9-3382
Arkansas9-4371
Oregon10-4364
Iowa10-4171
Utah State11-3163
San Diego State12-2137

Other G5 teams with votes: UTSA (9), Army (6), Fresno State (2), Coastal Carolina (2), Air Force (1), UAB (1)

2021 Final Coaches Rankings

TeamRecordPoints
Georgia (62)14-11550
Alabama13-21488
Michigan12-21398
Cincinnati13-11346
Ohio State11-21279
Baylor12-21275
Oklahoma State12-21197
Michigan State11-21066
Notre Dame11-21028
Oklahoma11-2994
Ole Miss10-3909
Utah10-4877
Pittsburgh11-3742
Wake Forest11-3609
Kentucky10-3592
Clemson10-3528
Houston12-2510
Louisiana13-1502
NC State9-3453
Arkansas9-4354
Oregon10-4336
BYU10-3284
Iowa10-4276
Utah State11-3142
Texas A&M8-4133

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

TeamConfRecord
CincinnatiAAC13-1
LouisianaSBC13-1
HoustonAAC12-2
Utah StateMWC11-3
San Diego StateMWC12-2
Brigham YoungInd10-3
Fresno StateMWC10-3
Texas San AntonioCUSA12-2
Air ForceMWC10-3
Coastal CarolinaSBC11-2
ArmyInd9-4
Appalachian StateSBC10-4
Western KentuckyCUSA9-4
UCFAAC9-4
Alabama BirminghamCUSA9-4
Central MichiganCUSA9-4
Northern IllinoisMAC9-5
LibertyInd8-4
Western MichiganMAC8-4
SMUAAC8-4

Other teams with votes: Boise State (1), Nevada (1)