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Stats Corner: Ranking the G5 team making New Year’s Bowl

Which G5 teams are most likely to get the New Year’s Bowl spot

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Vrbo Citrus Bowl - Iowa v Kentucky Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The big dogs have thrown the “mutts” some more scraps to keep them happy. After finally allowing the top best of 5 a New Years Day bowl spot, and allowing Cincinnati to get a playoff spot, the decision was made to expand the playoff to 12 spots with the top 6 conference champions getting a bid plus six at large spots. Theoretically, this means the top conference champion from the MWC, AAC, or Sun-Belt gets in. It will be interesting to see what happens if say, the MWC and AAC champions are ranked higher than the PAC 12 or PAC 10 champion do both get in and the PAC Whatever gets left out? It also makes conference realignment interesting as would San Diego State, Boise State, or Fresno State (interesting that none of those are actually states), move to the PAC 12 and take more money to be middle to low conference teams or stay in the MWC with a better chance to make the college playoff, especially against a watered down AAC with Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF leaving? Same for Oregon, Washington, or Utah leaving the PAC 12 for the BIG10, stay with a better chance of making the playoff or try and make it to the top of the BIG 10? Sounds like a future Stats Corner article. But for this week we are going to look at this year and which Group of 5 has the best chance of making the New Year’s Day bowl. The criteria are current rankings, as shown before on Stats Corner preseason rankings give an advantage combine with the likelihood of running the table or at most one loss. I realize that New Mexico can still go undefeated, but the chance is so same they are not included here but Lobos, feel free to prove me wrong and I will write an article apologizing. Probabilities are from ESPN.

The Favorites


Houston gets the top spot based on their current ranking: they are 25th in AP poll and 28th in the Coaches Poll. Other than BYU they are the only non P5 school to be ranked. They are also undefeated which gives them an edge over Cincinnati, even if it took three overtimes. They are favored in every game except Texas Tech, but since they are undefeated they have the advantage of losing that game and still being the top G5 team. They also miss Cincinnati and UCF in the regular season allowing one of those schools to knock off the other without affecting Houston. They have a low probability of winning out 2.63%, but winning all games except Texas Tech is at 7.64% which, when combined with their current ranking makes them the current favorite to get the New Year’s Bowl.

Texas Tech 34.4%

Kansas 83.6%

Rice 96.5%

Tulane 68.8%

Memphis 56.1%

Navy 86.9%

South Florida 87.4%

SMU 73.3%

Temple 96.7%

East Carolina 54.2%

Tulsa 84.1%


They made it last season, what do they have for an encore? A not too bad lose to Arkansas does not ruin their chances, but they have lost any wiggle room. They are still close to being ranked 29th in both the AP and Coaches poll, gives them a fair shot to be ranked in a couple weeks. Heavily favored in every game for the rest of the year expect for UCF, they have a 7.12% of winning out. By Halloween either Cincinnati or UCF will be out of the running, but the current higher rankings gives the advantage to the Bearcats.

Kennesaw St 97.9%

Miami Ohio 87.5%

Indiana 80.6%

Tulsa 80.6%

South Florida 92.9%

SMU 61.5%

UCF 40.1%

Navy 95.4%

East Carolina 78.5%

Temple 95.4%

Tulane 78.2%

Ready to pounce if there is a mistake


UCF gets the edge of Fresno State for a couple reasons despite both of them getting 22 votes in the AP poll and 23 for UCF and 21 for Fresno State in the Coaches Poll. First, UCF has the more favorable schedule and is favored in every game for the rest of the season, giving them a 3.69% chance of winning out. Second, they are playing Cincinnati and if they win they knock off a team ahead of them in the rankings.

Louisville 78.6%

FAU 75.1%

Georgia Tech 83.6%

SMU 55.7%

Temple 97.8%

East Carolina 68.8%

Cincinnati 59.9%

Memphis 63.1%

Tulane 63.9%

Navy 95.6%

South Florida 86.3%

Air Force

There is an advantage to getting some votes in the Polls, for the Falcons it is 8 votes in the AP and 18 in the Coach’s Poll. While they are behind Fresno State in both polls but their favorable schedule puts the Falcons ahead of them on this list. They are favored in every game for the season, with most games being north of 70%. An undefeated Air Force, a 3.4% chance, would not have a signature victory (Colorado may be a PAC 12 team, but they are not great), but added to a Commander in Chief cup would put themselves squarely in the conversation.

Colorado 78.5%

Wyoming 78.2%

Nevada 78.2%

Navy 91.0%

Utah State 68.9%

UNLV 72.8%

Boise State 54.0%

Army 57.1%

New Mexico 86.0%

Colorado State 89.0%

San Diego State 65.7%

Fresno State

The Bulldogs are getting more votes than the Falcons, and favored in all their division games so why are they below Air Force and UCF? It comes down to 3 games: Oregon State, USC, and Boise State. The Bulldogs are underdogs in all three. They could lose one and be fine, but they have a .25% of going undefeated only 2.03% chance of losing to USC and winning they rest. Those are lower odds than either UCF or Air Force. However, if they beat USC they jump to the top of the list.

Oregon State 47.8%

USC 12.4%

UCONN 81.7%

Boise State 33.7%

San Jose State 85.7%

New Mexico 70.3%

San Diego State76.7%

Hawaii 96.5%

UNLV 69.6%

Nevada 58.2%

Wyoming 85.5%

No more mistakes and needs help

Boise State

Boise has fairly workable schedule, the only games they are not favored in are Air Force and BYU. They only have a 2.06% of winning out, and to make it to the New Year’s Bowl they need to do that. They cannot afford another loss.

New Mexico 76.0%

UT Martin 96.6%

UTEP 85.7%

San Diego State 82.6%

Fresno State 66.3%

Air Force 46.0%

Colorado State 90.2%

BYU 36.3%

Nevada 60.7%

Wyoming 78.6%

Utah State 83.1%

Utah State

The Aggies are on the list for one reason, they are getting 5 votes in the Coaches Poll. Getting some votes is key, as once your name is on the list it is easier to increase the total then to try and get started. Therefore, the Aggies do have a slight advantage over the other schools from the G5 they also have played 2 games, meaning they have one less game to affect their probability. The loss to Alabama was bad, but if they Aggies win out and go 11-1, while very unlikely, at .02%, they would need to do (beating both Boise State and BYU), but since they are getting votes they get a spot on the list.

Weber State 80.7%

UNLV 66.8%

BYU 7.9%

Air Force 31.1%

Colorado State 55.5%

Wyoming 47.9%

New Mexico 65.8%

Hawaii 74.4%

San Jose State 71.1%

Boise State 16.9%

Just because I wanted to put a long shot on the list.

East Carolina

The Pirates lost by missing a last second field goal to the NC State Wolfpack, who were a top 15 team. It’s not a bad loss, so a 11-1 East Carolina team would get national attention. Their season, and chance at New Year’s bowl, will be decided over 4 weeks. They get UCF, BYU, Cincinnati and Houston. If they can run that gambit, they would have knocked off three teams ahead of them in these rankings and would put themselves in the driver’s seat. It’s only .04%, but it’s possible.

Old Dominion 80.1%

Campbell 98.6%

Navy 85.2%

South Florida 66.5%

Tulane 35.4%

Memphis 58.0%

UCF 31.2%

BYU 15.1%

Cincinnati 21.5%

Houston 45.8%

Temple 87.3%