2021 Week 1 Summary

Week 1 in the Group of Five (G5) saw the following breakdown of games:

  • 26 G5 vs Power 5 (P5)
  • 25 G5 vs Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)
  • 9 G5 vs G5

The G5 struggled against the P5 with 6 wins against 20 losses.  Wins included Northern Illinois over Georgia Tech (ACC), Charlotte getting its first ever P5 win over Duke (ACC), UTSA over Illinois (BIG10), Utah State over Washington State (PAC12), Nevada over Cal (PAC12), and BYU over Arizona (PAC12).  3 other teams came tantalizing close to wins as Tulane gave #4 Oklahoma all it wanted in a 40-35 loss, Fresno State fell 31-24 to Oregon, and Louisiana Tech was a point away in a 35-34 loss to Mississippi State.

The G5 dominated FCS competition, finishing 21-4.  Three of the losses were to teams ranked in the FCS Top 25 including UC-Davis upending Tulsa in a shocker.  The only loss to an unranked FCS team was UConn dropping a 38-28 decision to Holy Cross.    

In the G5 games, Sunbelt, Conference USA, and Mountain West all finished 2-1 for the week.  The AAC wrapped up a tough first week at 2-2, while the MAC (0-1) and Independents (1-3) struggled against other G5 teams. 


UCF’s dramatic come-from-behind win over Boise State was a great matchup of two of the G5’s best over the past few seasons.  The Knights are looking for big things under first year coach Gus Malzahn.  While the loss was tough for Boise, we at G5 Gurus have no doubt they will bounce back. 

P5 Winners.  Northern Illinois has a tough last two seasons, including a winless 2020 campaign.  Yet, they went into Atlanta and knocked off Georgia Tech.  Charlotte got sweet revenge for a 34 point loss to Duke in 2020 by beating the Blue Devils 31-28 in a wild game that saw three touchdowns in the final 3 minutes.   UTSA showed why many believe they can make a run at the CUSA West title by going into Champaign and beating Illinois.   Utah State made Blake Anderson a winner in his first game by surprising Washington State in Pullman.  Nevada again showed why they are a team to be reckoned with by knocking off a CAL team expected to be near the top of the PAC12 North.   BYU got off to a good start by knocking off Arizon in a neutral site game in Las Vegas. 

Army marched into Atlanta and dismantled a Georgia State team that many believe will challenge in the Sunbelt East.  The Black Knights held the potent Panther offense to 177 yards, while piling up 258 yards rushing on the way to a 33-point victory.   Marshall put the memories of the disappointing end of 2020 behind them with a surprising blowout of Navy.

While we don’t believe in moral victories per se, we couldn’t help but be impressed by Tulane’s performance against Oklahoma.  Originally scheduled to be played in New Orleans, Hurricane Ida forced the game to be moved to Norman.  Tulane fought back from an 18-point 4th quarter deficit to get within 5 points.  A late fourth down conversion in Oklahoma territory came up just short.   Given the turmoil of the week and the magnitude of the opponent, we must give a winner’s nod to Tulane. 


Connecticut lost two games in the first two weeks.  A 45-point shut-out loss to Fresno State and a 10-point loss to FCS Holy Cross.  As a result, Randy Edsal stepped down as coach.  It looks to be another very rocky year for the Huskies.   Tulsa returned 17 starters from a team that won the AAC West in 2020.  While UC-Davis is no slouch, they weren’t expected to give Tulsa much of a game.   Temple was a two-touchdown underdog to a Rutgers team expected to be near the bottom of the Big10 East.  A loss wasn’t unexpected, but a 45-point loss and surrendering 61 points was eye opening. 

For the second straight season, Navy opened with a blowout loss.  In the past two seasons, the Midshipmen have lost their openers by a combined score of 104-10. 

G5 Gurus Top 20 following Week 1.

Cincinnati was a unanimous pick for #1 as the Bearcats dominated Miami (OH) in its opener.  UCF, with its impressive comeback win over Boise moved up 4 spots into number 2.  Liberty, slipped one spot to #3 despite a 42 point win over Campbell.  BYU and Nevada round out the top 5. 

Two Sunbelt teams lead of the second 5 with Coastal Carolina picking up where they left off in 2020 with a 38-point win over Citadel.  Louisiana dropped 4 spots after dropping its opener to Texas.   Boise fell two spots to number 8.  App State moved up two spots after dominating East Carolina.  Army rounded out the top 10. 

Toledo remained at number 11, while Marshall moved up 4 spots to number 12.  UAB moved up 1, while San Jose State dropped 5 spots following a 30-7 loss to Southern California.    Air force dropped a couple of spots after a 34-14 win over FCS Layfette.  Ball State moved up two slots, followed by Fresno State.  Fresno State shutout UConn and played tough in a 7-point loss to Oregon, driving their first appearance in the poll this year.  SMU moved up two spots, Wyoming remained at #19, and Tulane got its first appearance in the poll at number 20 following its close loss to #4 Oklahoma. 

Utah StateMWC11-3
San Diego StateMWC12-2
Brigham YoungInd10-3
Fresno StateMWC10-3
Texas San AntonioCUSA12-2
Air ForceMWC10-3
Coastal CarolinaSBC11-2
Appalachian StateSBC10-4
Western KentuckyCUSA9-4
Alabama BirminghamCUSA9-4
Central MichiganCUSA9-4
Northern IllinoisMAC9-5
Western MichiganMAC8-4

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