MEMPHIS, TN – As the 15th-ranked SMU Mustangs (8-0) roll into Memphis to face the 24th-ranked Tigers (7-1) , the race for the coveted Group of Five New Year’s Six bowl invite is heating up?
The Group of Five, which consists of the American Athletic Conference, Sun Belt, Mid-American, Conference USA and the Mountain West currently has five teams in the current AP Top 25 poll in the fore-mentioned 15th ranked Mustangs, the 17th-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats (6-1), the 20th-ranked Appalachian State Mountaineers (7-0), the 21st-ranked Boise State Broncos (6-1), the aforementioned 24th-ranked Tigers and the 25th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs (7-1).
With three teams in the Mustangs, Bearcats and Tigers ranked, as well as having the highest-ranked team in SMU, the AAC has a good shot of securing it’s third straight New Years Six Bowl invite, as the UCF Knights went to the Peach Bowl in 2017 and the Fiesta Bowl last season.
As they are coming down the home stretch, below are the teams with the best odds of securing that coveted New Years invite.
No.15 SMU Mustangs (8-0): The first of two key games in their quest for a New years Six bowl invite, the Mustangs face a tough gauntlet of Memphis, Navy and East Carolina. Per sports betting website, Odds USA, The Mustangs have scored at least 30 points in every game and had a streak of six 40-points-plus games until last week. Texas transfer Shane Buechele has passed for 290.6 yards per game.
- Memphis is 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games when they ran for less than 250 yards in their last game
- Memphis is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games when they scored less than 42 points last game
- The Over is 6-0 in the last 6 SMU games when their opponent is averaging less than 200 rush yards per game
No. 17 Cincinnati Bearcats (6-1): Led by Luke Fickell’s ball-hawking, hard-hitting man-to-man defense, a blowout loss at No.3 Ohio State and an upset 27-24 win over defending conference champion, UCF, the Bearcats boast arguably the best overall resume of any G5 hopeful. If the Bearcats can survive East Carolina today, a season-ending showdown vs. Memphis could very well decide the AAC East title.
- Cincinnati is 9-0 ATS in their last 9 games when their opponent is averaging less than 225 pass yards per game
- The Over is 6-2 in the last 8 East Carolina games when their opponent is averaging more than 150 rush yards per game
No.24 Memphis Tigers (7-1): Thanks to Appalachian State’s upset loss to Georgia Southern, the Tigers may be the biggest beneficiary. Going into their matchup vs. SMU, the Tigers are 5-0 vs. the Mustangs including a 28-18 win in Dallas last year, with their average margin of victory being 35.2. While they face Texas transfer in Shane Buchele, who has been setting the AAC on fire, Tigers QB Brady White isn’t no slouch either as he has quietly passed for 2,161 yards and 20 TD’s.
Perhaps the biggest factor in Memphis’ favor is their schedule as they have both the Mustangs and Bearcats coming to the Liberty Bowl, in what will be de facto NY6 elimination games.
(see above for SMU)
While Boise State, San Diego State and Appalachian State are still on the outside looking in, it’s looking like the G5 New Year’s bowl invite is going to be an all-AAC affair settled between SMU, Cincinnati and Memphis.