What is the Underdogs Poll? Every week, writers and editors from SB Nation's Group of Five blogs -- Bull Run, The Daily Stampede, Down the Drive, Hustle Belt, Miner Rush, Mountain West Connection, The UConn Blog, Underdog Dynasty, and Vanquish the Foe -- put their heads together to determine the best of the best, week in and week out, from the teams we cover.
Man, time flies, doesn't it? Next thing you know, we're all gonna be sitting around like Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, wistfully looking back on the unpredictability of our beloved game until next fall, but it's not quite that time yet. Even so, it's interesting to take a look back at how the season has met, or failed to meet, our preseason expectations among voters in the Underdogs Poll.
|1||Western Michigan (9)||90||1|
|6||San Diego State||35||3|
|Dropped out: BYU | Others receiving votes: BYU (1)|
Start here, maybe switch back and forth a few times between tabs, and you'll see a lot of familiar names... just not in the order you might have anticipated. Who are the big risers and fallers?
Western Michigan, by virtue of their ascendance to the number one spot, is definitely the poll's biggest winner. Things in the MAC West have turned out exactly as we might have expected, though Toledo has had a couple of stumbles where the Broncos have cruised to perfection.
Wyoming has come from nowhere to shock the college football consciousness, too, and Craig Bohl's Cowboys are on the doorstep of the program's first MWC title game appearance. Troy, too, has commanded a lot of respect despite the Trojans' recent setback, while Louisiana Tech has slowly carved a niche among our voters on the back of a powerful offense and a respectable defense.
On the flipside, there was disagreement in how to interpret BYU's record from week to week, as the Cougars have faced a unique slate of opponents among their peers, but they finally fell from the rankings despite four losses of three points or loss; them's the breaks. Marshall has, perhaps, underperformed in 2016 after overperforming last season, while San Diego State, despite a wealth of stars on both sides of the football, has failed to reach its very high ceiling with its two losses.
Of course, things can change during championship week, so stay tuned for that.
Underdogs of the Week
Justin Clifton, DB, Arkansas State - Five tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions in a 35-3 win at Troy
Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State - 31 carries, 206 rushing yards, four touchdowns in a 42-25 win vs. UNLV
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston - Six tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss in a 36-10 win vs. Louisville
Other performances of note: Zach Terrell, Western Michigan; Tyler Rogers, New Mexico State
Top Underdogs Games of Week 10 (all times PT)
#20 Boise State vs. Air Force, 12:30 PM, November 25 (CBS Sports Network) - While the Broncos will need some help to get to the Mountain West championship game, they'll first need to help themselves in the season finale against the Falcons.
While many pegged this as the game of the year within the preseason, the Falcons faltered but are still very dangerous. Sophomore quarterback Arion Worthman assumed the starting role after an injury to incumbent Nate Romine and, in a month's time, has already established himself as the Mountain West's most explosive running quarterback: His 534 rushing yards, accumulated in just four starts, are already with 200 yards of team leader Jacobi Owens.
Toledo vs. #14 Western Michigan, 2:00 PM, November 25 (ESPN2) - People have questioned the Broncos' strength of schedule, but a convincing win against the powerful Rockets, the winner of which will punch a ticket to the MAC title game, should silence a lot of critics and should bolster their standing in the College Football Playoff rankings if things break against them elsewhere.
It may come down to which quarterback has the ball last in this one: Toledo's Logan Woodside and WMU's Zach Terrell have both completed over 70% of their passes, they're second and third in FBS quarterback rating, they're tied for third in the FBS in yards per attempt (9.9) and, while Woodside leads the nation in touchdown passes (40), Terrell has thrown just one interception in 268 attempts.
Central Florida vs. South Florida, 9:00 AM, November 26 (CBS Sports Network) - South Florida, like Boise State, will need some help to get to the American championship game, but they will take the field before Temple and must hold serve at home against the surprising Knights to keep their hopes alive.
While everyone knows about Quinton Flowers's exploits, UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton has very quietly put together a steady freshman campaign: 57.3% completion rate, 6.2 yards per attempt, nine touchdowns to five interceptions. He struggled a week ago against Tulsa, but he nearly engineered upsets against Temple and Houston and the Bulls will need to be ready.
Other games of note: Akron vs. Ohio; Louisiana Tech vs. Southern Mississippi; Arkansas State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette; East Carolina vs. Temple; Wyoming vs. New Mexico;